As I work with clients each day, it’s very common to hear them saying ‘how impactful is SEO in our marketing strategy?’
Many companies are aware of the fact that SEO is important for their businesses but they fail to look beyond investing in just advertising and restrict themselves from taking full advantage of their marketing efforts.
For business willing to consider Inbound Marketing, it’s very simple to understand how impactful is SEO and how exactly it fits their marketing strategy.
SEO and Inbound Marketing have their separate roles to play, however, SEO plays a major part in Inbound Marketing.
Let’s take a quick look at them as separate entities and then dive deeper to understand how they work together.
What is Inbound Marketing?
In simple words, Inbound Marketing is a collaborative effort of employing various digital marketing techniques to attract potential customers to your business before they are even ready to make a transaction. Major focus is given on creating and sharing content especially designed for target prospects.
Digital marketing techniques – Content marketing, PPC, SEO, social media, etc. comes with their unique metrics analyzed by different teams which collaborate to work toward the same goal. You can think of it like a government where each department has a specific focus, but together they work towards a single goal – prosperous development of the country.
Inbound marketing tactics include:
- Content marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- User experience on the website
- And much more
What is SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an aspect of digital marketing concerned with increasing traffic to your website. It serves the website with high quality and relevant traffic through organic search.
First let’s understand what exactly SEO means,
- Quality traffic – Attracting a lot of traffic to the website can be done in any circumstances. But, what really matters is the quality of traffic. Let’s say your agricultural website sells Apples and you are receiving traffic which wants to buy Apple computers, that is not quality traffic. So, you want to attract potential customers who are genuinely interested in the products that you offer.
- Organic traffic – It is any traffic that you do not have to pay for.
So, once you start getting relevant traffic through organic means, more traffic is better.
Over the years, there has been many updates in the algorithm of how the search engines collect data and give us results for the user queries. Historically, when the algorithm was still naive, businesses were able to use tactics that tricked search engines and ranked higher in the SERPs (search engine result page). But, today it is very treacherous as the algorithm has become highly intelligent and you could be penalized for using unfair means to rank higher.
As a result, SEO practices have evolved in such a way that it prioritizes users over the search engines.
Now, let’s look at the real deal.
Content and SEO – How they go together?
To better understand how SEO content and inbound marketing are related, we first need to address the codependency between content, SEO and Inbound marketing.
Content is at the core of any inbound marketing strategy and, SEO is dependent on content. To put it simply, SEO is the essence of inbound marketing and content is the essence of SEO.
Content and SEO are so closely related that they are inseparable today. Since, search algorithms prioritize users over search engines, the main focus of any SEO strategy should be high quality and relevant content that will appeal to the users.
To optimize the content for SEO, here are 5 essential tactics,
Before you even pick a pen or hit that keyboard – Keyword Research
Keyword research is the most important aspect of any inbound marketing strategy. It is concerned with finding the search terms users insert on search engines. With proper research you will get an idea of keyword volume and trends that is out there.
For the main sections on your website, keywords with higher volume can be chased while the sub-sections could use more long-tail keywords.
(LSI)Latent Semantic Keywords or Related Keywords
When you are researching for keywords, you’ll come across keywords related to the services or products you offer. It is advisable to create a list of these terms since they come into play when just the writing is focused on.
LSI keywords also play an important role as users initially don’t have an exact idea what they want and are in the research phase.
Title is the first thing people notice about your business online. An engaging title captures attention of the users thus increasing the chances of them clicking and visiting your website.
Keeping SEO in mind, focus keywords should be placed as close to the front as possible and limiting the titles under 60 characters should be a standard practice.
Their main purpose is to,
- Generate curiosity
- Speak about what readers have in mind
- Establish credibility
- Mentions the benefit of your products/services
You can consider the content as a knowledge bank where the visitors get their questions answered.
Firstly, you can draft the content by writing down the most important thoughts and decide the sub-heads using the focus keywords.
You don’t need to worry about being grammatically correct or the readability. Just focus on the theme and what should you include to address the intent.
After you have created the first draft, you can proceed by organizing the content. Keeping in mind readability and word count (>300), segment the draft using header tags (H1, H2, and so on), bullet points, info graphics etc. While you do this, it’s important to keep the keyword density between 2% to 8% as you could be penalized otherwise.
Meta-description plays a very important role in the strategy. It’s an opportunity to write a description that summarizes the title.
A Good Meta-description increases the chances of the user clicking and visiting your business. The more the CTR (Click-through rate), the greater the chance of people end up using services or buying products that you offer.
That being said, since search engines display first 150 – 166 characters of the description, it is advisable to keep it under that limit.
SEO Content and Inbound Marketing –
The first and the basic goal of inbound marketing is to drive traffic to the website and here SEO comes into picture.
Marketing funnel is a concept which describes how the user will journey through various phases before doing a transaction with your business. Inbound marketing works on the concept of marketing funnel. The very first phase for any inbound marketing strategy is to make the user aware of your brand and what products you offer.
When it comes to your website, a well-crafted and high quality content is often the first thing the users will see. Here you have the opportunity to grab their attention by addressing what the user is seeking by searching for the focus keywords you are targeting. The content usually casts the first impression on the users and rightfully so, the first impression counts.
Creating a content that is SEO friendly helps the search engines to better gauge the intent and authenticity of the information you are serving related the products/services you offer. The content should be user-centric. The more your content serves the exact intent of the user the greater the chance of your business ranking higher on the search engines.
Inbound marketing is all about attracting users to your business. Once they are on your website you can lead them to become a customer. Thus, a good SEO content will rank at the top of the SERPs which increases the click through rate and increase traffic to your website.
Tejas Shahakar is the SEO and Content manager at Convomax Digital. His experience as a digital marketer includes working on SEO (on & off Page), PPC, social media, and content creation. Prior to Convomax Digital, he has worked as a digital marketing freelancer, who brought wealth of knowledge to serve the goals of the clients.