SEO Strategy and How to Fit It Into a Marketing StrategyFrom Experts
Running your website without SEO is like trying to conduct a business call without proper phone systems — you could be doing your brand more harm than good.
Nowadays, more and more people understand the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to a brand’s growth. But how many people can comprehensively answer what SEO strategy is and how to incorporate it into a marketing strategy? That’s what we’re here for.
The tricky thing about SEO is it is ever-evolving. Trends and best practices shift every year, meaning as your business develops, so must your SEO strategy.
This article will explain what SEO is, lay out the key components any decent SEO strategy should cover, and detail how SEO can be integrated into your business’s marketing plans.
What is an SEO Strategy?
SEO is the process of arranging and fine-tuning online content to improve your website's ranking on a search engine results page (SERP) and increase conversion rates. Simply put, it's the steps you take to get your business to appear first when people Google the products and services you offer.
Broadly speaking, SEO can be split into the following categories:
- On-page SEO — This refers to the content on your site. The main focus here is boosting your website’s ranking for specific keywords.
- Off-page SEO — This focuses on external links (hyperlinks on other websites) directed to your website. The more backlinks your site has from trusted sources, the more search engine algorithms will promote you.
- Technical SEO — This relates to your website’s backend architecture. Having your breadcrumbs and coding well-structured helps search engines recognize and understand the website and thus helps with ranking.
- Local SEO — This relates to how your business ranks locally. It’s more important for businesses with brick-and-mortar stores, so we won’t go into it much in this blog. The one tip we’ll offer, local SEO relies on your ‘Google My Business’ profile. So, make sure you know how to post on Google.
Long story short, there is no SEO without an SEO strategy. Unless your approach is researched, coordinated, and consistent, it will likely have no effect on your SERP ranking.
Moreover, every business’s SEO strategy must be personalized to their business goals, market research, and competitor research. There’s no cookie-cutter solution with SEO. SEO targets must align with the overall objectives of the business and be achievable, measurable, and relevant to the target audience.
SEO and Marketing
SEO is often referred to as an ‘always on’ channel. Once your SEO strategy is in place and your rankings start to rise, you will receive regular, sustainable traffic for free — unlike paid advertisements, where if you stop paying, you stop seeing the benefits.
SEO is also beneficial for marketing because it is highly targeted and adaptable. The traffic you receive from SEO comes from users searching queries relevant to your business. As such, the traffic you receive is from interested potential customers.
In addition, SEO can be adapted to reach any part of the marketing funnel, from loosely related queries to direct searches of your brand.
Implementing an SEO Strategy
As mentioned, every business’s SEO strategy must be personalized and develop as the business grows. Consequently, we can’t tell you precisely what approach best fits your brand’s needs. However, we can give you some pointers on how to integrate SEO practices into all your digital marketing disciplines.
SEO in Brand Building
Web users prefer to click on brands they recognise. So Google gives preferential treatment to big brands. Simple as that.
The good news here is the more you invest in building a recognizable brand, the more your website’s optimisation will naturally improve. The bad news is it can be tough starting off.
Here’s our advice, use this bias to your advantage. Utilize guest posts and external link-building to siphon off click-throughs from bigger brands. Or a cheap investment in social ads or Google Ads for eCommerce are great ways to drive brand awareness
SEO and PR
PR and SEO really go hand in hand. PR will feed into SEO by helping brand awareness, backlinks, and social proofs, while SEO can provide valuable insights to inform PR strategy.
When leveraging SEO for your PR strategy, start with an SEO audit of your website. This really has to be your first step. Otherwise, any fundamental floors in the structure of your site will render your work optimizing redundant.
Once you’ve carried out a full audit, make sure to keep checking your success for your targeted keywords using a rank tracking software like Wincher or SEMrush.
Knowing the overall SEO health of your website is important for two reasons. Primarily, it will ensure that once your PR starts drawing people to your website, you’ll be ready to reap the benefits. Secondly, tracking your data is the best way for SEO to help boost your PR strategy.
SEO in Content Marketing
Content Marketing is where SEO really comes into play, and here your focus should be keywords. The most important thing here is keyword selection. Choose keywords that are broad enough to have a high search volume, but niche enough to target the right audiences and avoid excessive competition.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to the best way of going about this:
- To start, list around ten topics, or short-tail keywords, relating to your product or service that you’d like your content to cover.
- Use an SEO tool to find short-tail keywords (usually 1-2 words) that match these topics. These will be your pillars.
- Around each pillar, produce a topic cluster. So, find around 10-15 long-tail keywords (more specific words or phrases of, say, 4 words or more) that hone in on the original topic keyword.
- Finally, produce your content! Start with creating a pillar page for each pillar. Next, write blog posts on each of your long-tail keywords. Then, continue to post regularly, even if your posts become more tangential to your topic clusters, as this will build authority with search engine algorithms.
Make sure to avoid keyword cannibalization. When you have more than one page or blog post based around the same keyword, you end up competing against yourself for rankings and confusing search engines.
Once you’ve done this, it's really just about producing consistent, high-quality content, and making sure the user experience of your website is as smooth and intuitive as possible.
SEO and Social Media
SEO and social media are another give-and-take pairing, both can feed into the other.
The way to implement SEO into your social media marketing strategy is to include valuable information and relevant keywords in alt-texts, subtitles, captions and closed captions. This will boost your views by helping your posts appear more frequently to social media users.
While social media won’t directly influence your SEO, the links you include will. Linking your content on social media increases your brand exposure. So, sharing links via social media will help with content distribution, boosting organic traffic. It will also help not just recognition, but reputability of your brand.
Another, often overlooked, way social media can help SEO is by extending the lifespan of your content. Often the focus of marketing campaigns is newer, better content. But, by linking older blogs and content, you increase the lifespan of your posts, and get more from the work you’ve already done.
Keeping on top of social media and all your other content output can be a lot. So, we recommend investigating social media scheduling softwares and other digital marketing platforms to help streamline your workflow.
SEO and User Experience
SEO and user experience is a balancing act. SEO aims to make content easily understood by search engines, while working on user experience should focus on making enjoyable content for page visitors. Often the two are pulling in separate directions. There are however two things that can benefit both: Core Web Vitals (CWV) and Technical SEO.
CWV are a set of metrics which describe the ease and convenience of a user’s experience of a website. They’re how you measure how smoothly and efficiently your website runs.
There are three indicators to take into account with CWV:
- Main content load speed (LCP) — The time taken to load the largest element on the first screen of your content. Anywhere below 4 seconds is okay, but if you want to be doing well, you want to get sub 2.5 seconds.
- Time to first interaction with content (FID) — The time before a user can interact with the website before it loads fully. This should be under 300 milliseconds at most, but under 100 is ideal.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) — The amount of blocks of content shifts unexpectedly as a page loads. The fewer, the better: less than 0.1 is good, anything above 0.25 needs improving.
So, reduce delays and unexpected shifts to improve your webpage’s user experience. Doing this will naturally improve your search engine rankings.
Technical SEO refers to how the backend arrangement of your website facilitates intuitive use and navigation by visitors. The best place to start here is with breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs are small text indicators of where the user is on the site. Keeping these in order will improve your pages’ SERP ranking, enhance user experience, and reduce bounce rate.
Breadcrumbs should work somewhat like an automated phone system for businesses, but for your website. Just as customers are directed through a routing menu to find the appropriate department in your business, internal links and breadcrumbs guide users to your website’s pages that are most useful to them at that point.
SEO and Paid Search
This might seem counter-intuitive. Surely, a big reason to invest time into SEO is so you can stop paying for ads. Well, not exactly. Truth is, they work better together.
We’ve already mentioned how paid ads can help boost brand recognition, but there’s more you can do to boost your ROI from both. Your main focus here should be with cross-analysis of data.
Specifically, paid search can be a great way to text out keywords and measure what content is performing best. Testing keywords with SEO can be laborious and time expensive. You have to create new content, then regularly update it and track its progress.
Paid ads however can start providing you data from the first week. Once you know what performs well with paid search, you can start angling your SEO content to these keywords too.
SEO and Targeting
Once again, SEO and targeting feed into each other quite nicely. The more time and effort you invest in SEO, the more data you will accrue on your target audience. The better you know your target audience, the more you can optimize your content for them specifically.
To make the most of your SEO efforts here, dig deep into Google Analytics. SEO tools, like SEMrush’s Market Explorer Tool, can offer a wealth of insights into your website visitors, customers, and conversion rates.
From this tool alone, you can glean:
- User behavior
- Geo distribution
- User flow
- Lifetime value
- And much more!
This influx of data can be hard to get to grips with, but the more you do, the more potential you’ll see for putting it to use in your market targeting strategy.
SEO is essential in today’s digital world. Today, it should form an essential part of your marketing strategy. A strong SEO strategy incorporates engaging content that converts leads, a network of backlinks that increase your visibility, and technical elements that improve the user experience.
But SEO is constantly evolving. While our guide should give you enough of a boost to start your SEO journey, remember to constantly optimize old content, stay on top of trends and changes, and continue to learn.