SEO – or, Search Engine Optimization – is an important marketing strategy that forms the bulk of “Digital Marketing”. SEO is also a part of Search Engine Marketing (SEM) alongside Pay-Per-Click (PPC) also known as Google Ads. Google organic traffic is free and generates a vast amount of business, way higher than sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook properties.
SEO vs Traditional Marketing
SEO is a form, and the main form, of inbound marketing – the user can research, read, browse and self educate on their own time, whereever, whenever and as often as they want. There is no control over what people search for – which gives a lot of power to the searcher. To get people to read your message and only your message is called “Advertising” and is an outbound marketing form.
Inbound marketing vs Traditional Marketing
SEO and Inbound Marketing work so well because you are targeting the ideal customer at the right time: when they have a need. The user self-identifies when they have already:
- Identified their problem
- Identified how to solve it
- Identified potential solutions
- Are ready or are preparing to budget for this solution
- Have a pressing need to talk to a solution provider to solve their problem
Unlike any other marketing format (except PPC), Organic Search Marketing (aka SEO Marketing) brings customers to you versus you going to market and pitching to everyone including those who don’t have a problem, already have a solution or aren’t the right decision maker or fit.
Traditional Marketing Strategy vs Inbound Marketing
Traditionally, marketing has required advertising to permeate and interrupt the target audience. Given that most people only need to research each product, service, and solution a few times, Advertising is exorbitantly wasteful because you’re marketing to people who don’t need you, have already bought into a different vendor (too late), don’t need you now (too early) or don’t know enough about you (lacking a broad enough strategy).
Inbound marketing fixes these. It brings only the people who need you right now – whether they’ve heard of your brand or not. So you’re not wasting time and money (and your prospect’s time) in keeping them aware of a solution they don’t need (currently).
“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
John Wanamaker (1838-1922)
SEO Marketing Strategies
The primary goal of an SEO marketing strategy is often expressed as a need and plan to be visible in Google for keywords that associate the user and your products or services, but there are some other key parts that are often misunderstood or not fully developed. Knowing what to rank for isn’t just a part of Keyword Research but a strategy in and of itself. What differentiates a $ billion dollar SEO strategy from a typical one, is the depth AND Breadth.
SEO Keyword Strategic Failures
Some of the most common failures include:
- Blocking the mention of certain words – especially where they are related to budget/cost – such as value, premier, cheap, affordable, expensive
- Ignoring broad match words – important for PPC but can undermine and destroy an SEO strategy
- Not knowing how to target adjacent keyword markets
- Investing too much in too little content before a strategy is proven
- Not updating and tweaking the strategy as you go
- Looking at too narrow a keyword set
- Prioritizing at too many keywords – while we see the need for a broad match, having a primary focus on too many keywords initially can stall an SEO program
SEO Strategy, Execution, and measurement: The SEO Marketing Program
Each Marketing program should start with keyword research, selection, and approval. The SEO Marketing program should then lay out its schedule and calendar, and measure against the keywords in the target program using a Search Engine Rank Position report provided by an SEO Tool vendor like SEMRush or Ahrefs.
The SERP Tool ultimately provides a high-level gauge of how the SEO Marketing program is performing and is a key component of SEO Marketing Metrics.