SEO is a Strategy NOT a Tactic: Part 3 in a 3 Part Series

seo is a strategy not a tactic

This is the third installment of a three-part series about how SEO needs to be thought of as a strategy, not just a tactic.

SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, compared to 1.7% for outbound leads (Imforza)

It is critical that you optimize any content you put online. Otherwise, you end up with the old adage, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there, did it make a sound?”

I know I sound like a broken record, but I’ll say it again: Your SEO team should be involved from the very beginning! Otherwise, it’s like throwing spaghetti against the wall and hoping it sticks.

Search engine optimization, the thing that many people like to call a mythical, magical thing, really is not so magical if you know where to look for clues.
That is the third reason why SEO needs to be included at the beginning of a project.

3. The results don’t lie! Analyze the SERPs to see Google’s real ranking priorities

Think about it. Digging into the search results to see what types of content is ranking well will lead to a better understanding of what is important to Google’s algorithm. Understanding this is the only way your content will earn a high ranking. Marketers need to understand what is important for their vertical, niche, demographic so that their content has a chance of ranking well. Otherwise, we’re back to the spaghetti analogy.

By comparing what types of content that rank including, factors such as, backlinks, load time, post date, types of visualizations or content form marketers can understand what is most important for a solid search ranking. For example:

  • For your keyword, the search results page is filled with images, infographics, videos, and diagrams. Then searchers for that term prefer visual content.
  • If the results are dominated by comprehensive case studies, text with 2,000+ words. Then users are looking for in-depth long-form content.
  • When the majority of results are videos, then, you guessed it, searchers prefer video.
  • Do maps come up as the first result? Then users are really looking for a location.

I could go on, but I’ll leave it at that. The point is, your SEO team can provide this information to you at the beginning of the project. That way you don’t waste valuable time and effort trying to rank for content in forms that people aren’t interested in seeing.

Hopefully, after reading all three tips you better understand why SEO needs to be included at the beginning of a project rather than later. So for your next content project, invite your SEO team to the initial strategy meetings. This will make sure you are heading in the right direction right from the start.

Need help with your content marketing process? We can help!

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SEO is a Strategy NOT a Tactic: Part 1 in a 3 Part Series
SEO is a Strategy NOT a Tactic: Part 2 in a 3 Part Series

SEO is a Strategy NOT a Tactic: Part 2 in a 3 Part Series

seo is a strategy not a tactic

This is the second installment of a three-part series about how SEO needs to be thought of as a strategy, not just a tactic.

73% of in-house marketers and 76% of US agencies said SEO provided excellent or good return on investment (ROI). (eMarketer)

How do you create an SEO strategy that achieves “excellent or good ROI”? By building SEO into the beginning of every content project, not at in the middle or even worse at the end of the project.

As I said last time, Your SEO team should be involved from the very beginning! This is the only way you will be able to create remarkable content marketing campaigns.

Here is the second reason why SEO and keyword research are so important.

2. Keyword research defines what content to use

Search engines have become much better at understanding user intent. What this means is they can better assess what it is that the searcher is really looking for. Marketers can use keyword research to understand where searchers are in their purchasing journey, what information they need, and what type of information they want to see.

  • Where are searchers in their buyer’s journey?
    Broad keywords that give searchers an intro to a high-level category of results are often used for searchers that fall into the “awareness” stage. Think “shoes.” This a stage where they may not really need shoes, but they are thinking about what is out there. Where more specific keywords typically fall into a stage that is later in the journey. Searchers know they have a problem and they are looking for a solution. Or in this case they know they need new shoes and they know what type of shoe they want. For example, “brown leather hiking boots.”  
  • What information do searchers need?
    Keywords that produce results the include how-tos or basic understanding of a topic are typically being used for a learn intent. Or to gain knowledge. However, if the search results offer product comparisons, branded pages or pricing, then the usually the goal of the search falls into purchase intent.  
  • Who is searching for the information?
    Understanding who needs the information will help marketers build a search strategy for content marketing around personas that match the way people search. For keywords that produce in-depth, highly technical search results, then the audience is most likely people who are working with the products or data. If the search results are a higher level strategy or business ideas, the audience is likely executives or business owners. For example, “specs for Windows laptops” compared to “profitability Windows laptops.”

Doing this kind of keyword research up front will help develop a content marketing calendar that is detailed, is aligned with your business goals and provides direction for content before it is written. Content will then include the relevant information, target the right audience at the right point of their journey and remove the wasted time and effort it takes to fix content after it has been produced.

Next time we’ll talk about how combing through search results pages reveals ranking priority and the most popular ways people are digesting content.


return on investment roi

SEO is a Strategy NOT a Tactic: Part 1 in a 3 Part Series

seo is a strategy not a tactic

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is often thought of as a strangely mystical practice that many people, including marketers, don’t understand. It then becomes an afterthought. The thing is though it is just a strategy that starts with the question, “what are people searching for online?

Keyword research is instrumental in answering this question. It can help determine who your real audience is, where they are in their buyer’s journey, help you discover what information people are really searching for and what formats they like the best. This will help you develop a better more effective content strategy.

SEO is the number one lead-generating source reported by inbound marketing professionals. You should be thinking about search every time you create content! 

Once you understand that the next question you might ask yourself is when do I need to start the process. There’s an easy answer to this too. As soon as possible!

Too often companies wait until too late to get their SEO team involved in content projects. Then it either creates more work because copy needs to be rewritten or it is not effective because not enough consideration was taken when creating content and campaigns. Your SEO team should be involved from the very beginning.

I’ll say it again. Your SEO team should be involved from the very beginning! And here is the first of 3 reasons why. We’ll talk about the other two later in the series.

1. SEO should drive content not be a fluffy decoration that is nice to have.

When you wait until a campaign is developed or a new page is created to consider SEO, it becomes a decoration, not a driver.

When you’re looking for ideas for your content calendar you want to answer questions that your visitors ask. Yes, questions or issues that come from support or your sales team may be good topics to address, but are they really what people are looking for digitally? Online content that has SEO value needs to be developed based on the questions that people are asking, you guessed it, online.

Developing an effective content strategy starts with keyword research. This will give you insight into what your audience wants, needs and questions for which they are searching for answers. The keyword research process helps marketers brainstorm to come up with content ideas, create effective copy the first time and find plenty of ideas to fill their content calendar.

There is, however, one caveat to this one. You do need some direction from your business objectives before starting. Your SEO team will need to understand what you would like to accomplish. Are you trying to sell more product, teach people a new process, etc. For example, if you sell carpet and your keyword research shows that a lot of people are searching for “chairs” is this really helpful to your content strategy? A better scenario would be if you have a new product coming out that is great for offices and if the SEO team is up to speed they will know to look for what office managers are searching for when they think about flooring.

Make sure to involve your SEO team in the very beginning when you are building your marketing strategy. This will keep them close to the business objectives and provide deep insight into what people are looking for online.

Next, we’ll talk about how keyword research should define your content.


Need help with your keyword research and content strategy? We can help!

Data Is Worthless to Marketing

I know a bit overdramatic, but for most marketing teams this is a sad truth. They have data all around them but it’s worthless.

marketer drowning in data

They are almost literally drowning in it.

What’s the strategy?

So often I see companies that don’t have an apparent strategy and they think that collecting data will save them. They randomly collect data from various metrics because they can or because it sounds like something important, but they really don’t have a cohesive plan for what they want to accomplish. Or better said, they don’t have a clear idea what they want their customers to accomplish when they visit the company website, interact with them on social media, or how marketing campaigns should actually equate to more sales.

Chart and Tables and Graphs, oh my!

data puke charts and graphs

Many marketers create a spreadsheet with a ton of metrics to show this went up or this went down. But what does it really mean? The numbers satisfy the desire to report progress and inevitably you can find something that says “Hey we accomplished something!” This quite frankly is the definition of a ‘data puke”.

But in order to keep the doors open, the numbers need to be related to the bottom line.

Instead of creating data and then deciding what to do with it, marketing departments need to decide what to do first and then determine which data they need to show if their efforts were successful or not. If you do this it will give you a much better chance of tracking and proving that their marketing is actually accomplishing something.

Create a strategy that matches with the overall company goals, and collaborate with your sales team, operations, and other departments to understand the full life cycle of a client. This is the first step to creating useful data. 

 

Need help with your digital/website analytics?

Like a Phoenix Rising…

Like a Phoenix Blackbird rising from the ashes.

It has been a bit of a winding road, but after 4 years I’m happy to announce that Blackbird e-Solutions LLC is OPEN FOR BUSINESS and accepting new clients.

Blackbird e-Solutions OPEN FOR BUSINESS rubber stamp

The new Blackbird e-Solutions LLC will be similar to what the company was before with a focus on our core services: Digital Marketing Strategy, SEO, Paid Search, and Digital Analytics.

We’ve added something new and if you read the riddle from last week, this is the answer!

There is, however, one big change. We’ve added something new and if you read the riddle from last week, this is the answer! Website investment.  This is an up and coming way to investment that can offer better returns than the stock market and fewer hassles than real estate. (Although I like to call it digital real estate.) We help you find profitable websites, you invest and we use our expertise to manage and grow your investment.

Let’s Celebrate!

Are you a company that needs help with your internet presence?

To celebrate, we’re offering a consultation to evaluate how your company is performing online.  This includes:

  • Where your website traffic is coming from (i.e. search engines, social media, paid, etc.)
  • What people are doing on your site (pageviews, visits, time on site, etc.)
  • How your site is performing in search engines (visibility, avg position in search, top keywords etc)
  • Are there any structural issues with your site (a full site scan)

For a limited time, you’ll get all this for just $499. Plus a money back guarantee. If the consultation doesn’t give you any actionable insights then we’ll refund you the full amount.

We’re also running a special for the first 4 new clients.

We’re also running a special for the first 4 new clients. Check it out.  We’ll help you get found online!

Are you an agency looking to boost your digital services?

We’re happy to partner with you to better serve your clients with our digital offerings. We’ll help you broaden the services you offer with digital, and you can concentrate on your clients and what you do best. Let’s talk!


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Riddle – An Investment Property, But You Can’t Live In It

 

riddle

An investment property, but you can’t live in it

A business, but you can’t walk into it

Everywhere, but nowhere in particular

A cost, but less than starting from scratch

 

What Am I?

 

*Find out 10/1/18

Don’t Call it a Comeback…

Don't Call It a Comeback

Something is brewing around here. I wouldn’t call it a comeback, but something old is becoming something new! 

Stay tuned to find out more. 

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How Have the Internet and Technology Made Our Lives Better?

I want to hear how you think the internet and technology have made our lives and the world better. Let me know in comments or share with your ideas. How Have the Internet and Technology Made Our Lives Better?

Every once and a while I like to take a look at how the world has changed through technology as well as think about how it has made our lives better. This year the exercise seems to be more relevant than ever. With the backlash Facebook, Google and other tech companies are getting, as well as looming GDPR enforcement date (May 25, 2018), it may seem like technology is something bad.

With great power comes great responsibility

It’s true tech and data companies have become very powerful. Some people say too powerful. They know more then ever about us and this data is so easily distributed. So we must always be conscious that all the great things we are creating can also be used in bad ways. It would be irresponsible for companies, as well as individuals, to ignore the bad side of the equation.

I’m not here to solve those challenges. I think to keep us from slipping into “Techno Panic” mode (Thanks to @JeffJarvis for the quote), it is also a good time to think about how the internet and technology have made the world and our lives better.

The last time I wrote a post about this was in 2010. How the Internet Makes our Lives Better. I first asked people via Twitter and Facebook the following question, “In what ordinary ways has the internet simplified life?”  I received some great answers”

“I use the internet to find locations and people. This makes getting to who & where easier.” -@OttomatedSuccess (Melissa Otto)

“It has made finding information, both useful and useless, extremely easy. discovering music, events, people, etc takes seconds.” -@AdamChlan

“Living in a rural area it is great for shopping and banking.” -Charles Coe

Fast forward back to 2018 and three examples of how things are better today:

  1. Communication: My son is able to communicate and have a relationship with his grandparents across an ocean.
  2. Work: There are now companies where all their workers are remote. They don’t need to be in the same building let alone the same continent. This opens up workers many more job opportunities and companies all new talent pools.
  3. Entertainment: Most of us walking around with a device in our pocket that connects us to endless forms of entertainment: Music, TV shows, Movies, Podcasts… I could go on and on.

Now it’s your turn please comment below or share on social media with your favorite ways technology and the internet have improved your live and made the world a better place.

I’m looking forward to your responses!

Follow Up To “Resist Putting Your Digital Ads on Cruise Control”

This is a follow up to my previous post “Resist Putting Your Digital Ads on Cruise Control” about the Volkswagen Ad that was out of date.

If you remember the copy on the ad was

“It says you’ve arrived. Ahead of schedule.”

But the date was 2017.

Guess what! They updated it and I saw the new ad today. They didn’t even get a “thank you.”   Lol

It says you’ve arrived. Ahead of schedule. VW Jetta 2018

Resist Putting Your Digital Ads on Cruise Control

Everyone gets busy and one of the great things about technology is that it can automate a lot of things. Here are some great examples of automation:

  • The Nest thermostat.
  • Home automation, setting up your lights to automatically come on at night or when you are away.
  • Making your morning coffee. I need this one!

In marketing there are a lot of great automations examples as well:

  • Reporting, so you don’t have to spend hours pulling data and can concentrate on analysis.
  • Email campaigns. Campaigns that start when someone on your site fills out a form. So you don’t have to start a new campaign each time someone signs up.
  • Even automated bidding for digital campaigns is very helpful. This way your bids are automatically optimized so you don’t have to spend hours checking and rechecking them.

Today I was reminded that there are definitely things as marketers we need to remember to not set on cruise control. Automation ok, but you can’t just set it and forget it. Check out the ad from Volkswagen I saw on LinkedIn.

VW ad on cruise control - from 2017

See anything strange?

How about,

“It says you’ve arrived. Ahead of schedule.”

Um “The 2017 Volkswagen Jetta”????  And the ad simply goes to new cars. It’s May 2018!

This is a great example of automation taken too far. Clearly they have not looked at their campaign very closely since the beginning of the year. How do you think it is performing?

To have a successful digital campaigns on any platform you should monitoring them regularly for the following aspects of their performance:

  • Let’s get the first one out of the way. Regular audits of the message.
  • Does the message resonate with your audience?
  • Is it timely? In this case, an obvious no.
  • How’s the visibility? Is it still getting impression?
  • Are people engaging with  the ad?
  • Are your bids still acceptable? Has the ad seen an increase in cost per click for some reason?

Without monitoring these basic aspects you can end up with ads that don’t make sense and are largely ineffective, cost you more than they should, or even worse they could make you look silly.

Moral is automate when it makes sense, but don’t let it your ads go on cruise control!