If you are in charge of ensuring your agency is profitable, reaching the right target audiences, generating leads, increasing sales and increasing your army of brand advocates, organic traffic channels will likely be your biggest ally.
But in order to improve your bottom line and get some fist-bumps from your CEO as opposed to the “stink eye”, you need to focus on what will likely be your best channel for increasing sales: organic. And in order to have a winning SEO strategy, the following need to be embedded into the approach and strategy:
- Traffic volume
- Traffic Quality
- Content marketing
- Keywords for modern SEO
- Google’s Mood
This article is really intended for a mixed audience. If you are a member of the C-Suite, you will benefit from this blog by grasping a better understanding as to where your SEO efforts are falling short, and where your team is making great use of their time. You will also get a better idea if it is a smart move to invest in an SEO agency that uses a growth-driven approach as opposed to simply ranking keywords to the moon.
If you are a marketing manager and your goal is to convince your CEO and CFO why they need an SEO strategy while ensuring it can be conducted in a measurable manner thus ensuring ROI, you will find a tremendous amount of value here.
Why Some SEOs Do it Right, and Others Do it Wrong, and How this Impacts Your Needs
Simply put, most SEO agencies focus on ranking content for keywords, Then they do a mic drop and expect a pat on the back. But your need is nott to rank; you didn’t decide to wake up one day and start (or manage) a business to get it seen all over Google. The pain point shared by most businesses who look into the possibility of investing with an SEO agency do so because they want to grow their business by increasing leads, sales, and spreading brand awareness. While ranking for keywords certainly helps, it is no longer the focal point, and this is due in part to how Google’s algorithm has evolved, and how consumers make purchasing decisions.
The Best SEO Agencies Base their Strategy on Specific Buyer Needs
Keywords and the content they feed need to be directly dialed in to the needs behind every Google search query. This means ranking for broad keywords (even if they have the highest search volume) will not convert as well as longtail keywords with context offering value to the searcher.
You are a consumer just like everyone else. Let’s say you want to buy a desk fan for your office, but it must blend well with your design style. Let’s say you want an off-white mid-century modern desk fan. According to SEMrush, “desk fans” gets 9.9K average monthly searches. “Mid century modern fan” gets 210 monthly searches, and “mid century modern desk fan” gets 70 monthly searches.
Ranking for the keyword with the highest search volume as a first objective is a novice goal because it lacks buyer focus. As you start ranking for keywords that are more specific to buyer needs, and you show relevancy between more specific keywords and the broad ones, you will eventually rank for them.
I just did a Google search for “desk fans”, and look what came up in the screenshot below:
As you can see, Amazon and Home Depot come up first, and Google Images show many options, none of which reflect the searcher’s needs.
Now let’s do a Google search for “mid century modern desk fans” and note the results. Some are clearly reproductions in the mid-mod style by big sellers like Wayfair, Amazon, and Lamps Plus. Then there are images to other sellers, some of which are authentic mid-century modern fans from sites like Ebay and Etsy:
Now let’s take our previous search and make it even more buyer focused by adding the desired color: “white mid century modern desk fans”. As you can see in the screenshot below, buyer’s are given several choices to purchase a reproduction white mid-century modern fan, or the real deal in the desired color from Etsy:
If you wanted to buy a white mid-century modern desk fan, which link would you click on first? Home Depot or Walmart? These are multi-million dollar corporations that can’t even get their SEO right. They may rank for broad keywords, but I would love to check their analytics and see how many people actually convert to buyers when using keywords that reflect their needs.
By the way, not only will ranking for these keywords improve lead quality and sales, ranking for them will help your website’s overall ranking.
How Buyer-Focused SEO Keywords Improve Overall Site Ranking
In case you haven’t heard, there was a Google core update that rolled out on March 12. Known as the “March 2019 Core Algorithm Update” the search engine has not confirmed what changes have been implemented, but many in the industry (myself included) noticed some striking similarities with sites that took a dive, and those who only took a temporary hit to bounce back a few days later in full force.
According to Search Engine Land, 60 percent of its 315 surveyed domains recovered from the core update. My agency’s site was one of these, as were a number of our clients. However, after analyzing more than 50 sites that never recovered from the update, the following similarities applied for ALL of them:
- H1 and H2 tags that focused on the brand and not on how a product meets a customer’s need
- No or poor title tags (whether title tag plays into SEO is still a debate)
- Content that doesn’t speak to buyer’s (talks about themselves)
- Content that doesn’t acknowledge a buyer’s need, or offering a resolution
- Focus on broad keywords, used in poorly-written content
Modern SEO Strategies View Keywords as Buyer’s Helpers
Any modern SEO strategy from a cutting-edge digital marketing agency will likely be part of a Growth Stack–a customized set of tools and strategies working together to achieve the same goal.
If your SEO is crawling, your keywords are likely lacking in any buyer-focused data, and if your goals are pretty big, SEO alone may not cut it (or it might). The best Growth Stacks and marketing automation don’t just streamline business growth and cut costs, the approach also generated high-level data that can be used to optimize SEO strategies that attract the right buyers to specialized content and messaging designed to nurture, and convert them into customers. This data leads to creating keywords that rank content for people with real needs, who are ready to buy right then and there. Timing and strategy is everything, so if your organization is ready to start interviewing SEO agencies, be sure to inquire about the approach, how keywords fit into the strategy, and how the organic traffic channel can be a game-changer for your bottom line. And while you are learning about a modern SEO approach, learn how CFOs successfully cut costs and boost results with Growth Marketing stacks that offer measurable ROI to healthier bottom line reporting.
Want to Learn More About the Growth Stack and How Modern SEO Plays a Crucial Role?
Download our FREE Growth Stack guide below, see if the approach makes sense for your business, and give us a call. But if SEO as a solo strategy better meets your needs, we bring a lot to the table. A modern approach to SEO may be just what you need to hit your revenue goals, or the Growth Stack may make perfect sense for your sales cycle. Let’s explore the options together!