While everyone seems to have heard of the acronym SEO, few understand where it provides value and where it doesn’t. I’m writing today to set the record straight about what can be expected from SEO and when it is most definitely not the correct tactic to deploy.
First, let’s start with the basics. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a tactic or set of tactics used to improve the quality and quantity of website traffic. Through research and ongoing refinement, a marketer skilled in SEO tactics will drive significant website traffic by adding terms popular on search engines - particularly Google - to a website’s metadata and webpage content.
When implemented in parallel with paid digital advertising, SEO can deliver on its promise of organic website traffic that matches a company’s ideal prospect. The key is to have this be a coordinated effort with the targets defined by the demand generation professional. If the roles are reversed, the results could be misleading. Here’s an example of how an SEO-led approach could go wrong:
SEO manager uses their SEO-tracking tool to determine the “hot” terms/terms currently being searched the most
The term is given to a contracted writer to create a blog post using this term
It takes two to four weeks for the blog post to be written, edited, approved and published.
The result is a blog post about what was “hot” four weeks ago.
And, in this scenario, we haven’t even confirmed the term matches the company’s ideal buyer.
SEO simply to bring traffic to a website is a mistake. While the increased traffic appears to be a big win for the marketing team, it is really delivering vanity metrics. An ever-increasing traffic flow looks great in a graph to show executives, but the real measure of website traffic success is the number of visitors completing forms to become “known leads” and the conversion rate of website leads to opportunities or, better yet, closed sales. Said another way, if you have 10,000 or 100,000 people on your website each week, but the majority aren’t potential buyers of your product or service, it is no more valuable than having 100 visitors.
This is why it is important for the person implementing SEO and the demand generation professional to work together closely. The demand generation function should lay out the company’s ideal targets and what they care about the most. This gives the SEO function a much better understanding of the ideal visitor. This may mean the website traffic will have a slower climb of new visitors, but they will be ones that fit the company’s products and services best. By working together, the SEO function will help determine the most appropriate content to not only increase these visitors but keep them engaged.
SEO is a valuable partner for demand generation efforts. Working together, the result is more lead conversion.
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