There are very few businesses that don’t have a sales function. The generation of leads is an absolute must for a healthy sales pipeline, in sufficient quality and quantity to meet the financial goals of the business plan and to deliver projected sales forecasts.
Thinking about it in these terms makes it easy to see the relationship between sales and marketing function; the purpose of marketing is to create sales opportunities for a company’s products and services. One way to acquire leads is through a search engine optimisation (SEO) marketing strategy. Many people are suspicious of SEO and this is most probably because it began as a bit of a dark art about a decade ago. These days, nothing could be further from the truth. The aim of search engine optimisation is to wave a flag of welcome to Google’s army of digital robots, which ceaselessly crawl every page of every website around the world, in order to feed information into their data repository. This is then used to solve a hugely complicated algorithm, the essence of which is simply to deliver the best possible results for their customers.
An integrated approach
Of course, all companies are different and each will therefore have its own specific marketing strategy, based on a clear understanding of the target market they are selling to and the features and benefits of their business that make them stand out from the crowd. The marketing plan will ultimately depend on a wide range of factors and will also be informed by what competitors are doing. A customer acquisition strategy will almost always take the form of an integrated approach.
Digital marketing is not rocket scienc
Digital marketing includes search engine optimisation (SEO), advertising on search engines and social media (such as PPC and remarketing), social media marketing, content generation, and email marketing campaigns. Which of these are most appropriate to an organisation will depend upon the business plan, its goals, the marketplace it operates in, its customer base, and so on.
Cold calling is not effective. Ringing hundreds of companies every day in the hope that one might get through to the right person at the right time is a real ‘finding the needle in a haystack” approach – plus most people dislike receiving sales calls. It’s a much better strategy to make sure you are easy to find when people need your services, which it is why it important to have a digital marketing strategy in place that may include SEO. This article explains how to create a successful SEO strategy for your business.
SEO may not be the best strategy for your business
SEO might not be the best) strategy for your business. For example, an SEO strategy is not for those wanting instant results – it can take months if not years to see the fruits of your labour. And, dependent upon the industry sector you are working in, it might take a significant amount of activity each month before your business hits the first page of Google.
Use PPC advertising to test your SEO strategy
Because of the time lag before SEO delivers results, we recommend as part of the planning process that a company invests in a short-term PPC (pay per click) advertising campaign on Google AdWords to identify which keywords deliver the best results in terms of quality and quantity before proceeding with your SEO activities.
Don’t forget about content marketing
An SEO marketing strategy requires an investment in content marketing, such as blogs which support your keyword strategy and talk about subject matter likely to be of interest to prospect customers. Content also includes videos hosted on YouTube (which is owned by Google), presentations hosted on SlideShare (which is owned by LinkedIn, which in turn is owned by Microsoft) and other content hosted both on your website and on third party repositories (such as Pinterest and Vimeo). Always make sure that you write first and foremost for your customers rather than for search engines.
Social media marketing is key
Another key element is social media marketing. This means creating social media sites that are relevant to your business – these typically include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and so on. They to be active, which means an investment in regular and consistent posting. You also need plenty of followers and you will benefit from engagement too, so make sure that your strategy is as interactive as possible.
“On the page” and “off the page”
SEO activity broadly splits into two areas – “on the page” and “off the page”. “On the page” refers to factors relating to your website. “Off the page” relates to factors relating to third party websites where links to your website are hosted. The best summary we have found for all the factors involved in these two areas has been put together by Search Engine Land and is called the Periodic Table of SEO.
Navigation, mapping and journey planning
Technical SEO factors
You also need to think of other technical aspects of how your site’s pages are set up. One example is the use of headers on each page on. Another factor is responsiveness; how well your website displays on a mobile or tablet device. Speed of loading is also key, so you need to make sure that you have a decent cloud hosting package in place.
Building trust and authority
All off-page factors have one thing in common – the aim is to demonstrate that your website is trustworthy in the eyes of Google for the keywords you wish to be ranked well for. Trust has to be earned. We all know this to be true at a personal level. We build up trust in someone or something over time when our expectations are constantly met or surpassed. The same is true for Google and this is why SEO takes time to work well. This is especially true when you have set up a new website and don’t have an online history, so it will take more time and effort to gain good rankings from search engines than with an existing URL.
Both quality and quantity are important
Off-the-page SEO is all about building links on third party websites. All websites are given a series of ranking factors by Google that reflect their authority. The higher this figure, the more authoritative a website is perceived to be. In an ideal world, your website will have backlinks on top authority websites. Of course, this is not easy to achieve, so it is a good idea to target lower authority links too – it is all about getting a decent balance of quality and quantity.
Local SEO is simple
Another factor to consider – and something that is big for Google these days – is local marketing. For example, we predominantly work with companies located within the M25, so our focus is very much on being visible to organisations based somewhere in and around London. Google searches are smart enough to serve up results that are geographically resonant to the person making a search. To achieve this goal, you need to sort out out your NAP (Name Address Phone) profile.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is another factor coming in to play. This basically means that Google not only searches for specific keywords you have targeted through your SEO, but also on others that it believes are related to these keywords. This increases your chances of being found in searches for relevant terms, but only if you are doing all the right things in terms of both on-the-page and off-the-page SEO.
Keep up to date
The world of SEO changes all the time. To keep up to date with all the latest news is almost impossible, but you can keep on top of things by following us on social media – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. If you would like to have a conversation with us about SEO, please contact Stephen Brown on 020 7795 8175 or email to email@example.com – you can also visit our website at www.abacusmarketing.co.uk to find out more. We are more than happy to meet up for a two-hour chemistry meeting at a venue of your choice without cost or obligation to discuss your requirements in more detail.