For some, the term “SEO” conjures up images of late 90s techno-wizardry at best and some kind of shady shortcut that seeks to game the system at worst.
Does it still matter?
Does it work?
Should your business invest in SEO in 2023?
Great questions. The good news is that there are straightforward answers – and some that may challenge you to rethink aspects of your digital marketing strategy.
Let’s get a quick lay of the land first, then we’ll dive in.
First, what is SEO?
It’s helpful to define the term.
Here’s a simplified definition: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the ongoing process of optimizing digital content and experiences for search engines and users.
There are some intentional distinctions:
- Ongoing process – SEO is never a one-and-done activity. It’s a cyclical process of evaluating website performance, rankings, implementing technical best practices, and creating and updating content. It requires intentionality and maintenance to be successful. Done right, it’s incredibly powerful, cost-effective, and it can be a great, long-term investment in your business for generating awareness and website traffic. It’s ongoing because competitors remain active in the SEO arms race, and search changes all the time. Recently, Google made an update to prioritize higher-quality content in its search results – a win for users, but for businesses that rely on spammy, low-quality content (or generic AI generated content), a change like this can prove challenging.
- Search engines – A popular adage says you should always “write for humans.” That’s true, but a savvy SEO professional also knows there are still rules to follow if you want content and websites to perform well in search results. Did you know that when you search for something on Google, you’re not really seeing some kind of real-time view of all relevant results? You’re seeing Google’s indexed version of the internet. Google sends out digital crawlers to look for content, scan websites, and more, then they determine how that content will be indexed and delivered in search results. That means SEO professionals have to understand what Google is looking for in its determination of whether or not to rank your content higher or lower than a competitor’s. And it’s not some nefarious process. They’re looking for exactly what you want to be found for: high-quality content, a mobile-first experience, good page experience, speed, on-page optimization, and internal/external links. In short, they’re looking for quality and authority.
- Users – These are the real people you’re creating content and experiences for. They could be customers, prospects, vendors, contractors, and more. What SEO usually misses is the fact that content should be optimized for users, too. Why does this get missed? Because it takes market knowledge, research, instinct, experience, and sometimes an element of risk to create something that people will like, find useful, share with others, and follow into a deeper engagement with your business.
Resource: ⚡️29 Marketing Tips for Driving Revenue in a Recession
The benefits of SEO
Some argue SEO is strictly a top-of-funnel marketing activity designed to generate brand awareness and website traffic.
There’s actually some nuance here because of the inherent nature of search.
Think about it. Sometimes you search for something because you want direction. Sometimes you want an answer. Sometimes you need to define a problem. Sometimes you want to buy something right now. We use search in literally every stage of the buying journey.
But with that said, SEO’s primary functions are to make sure your website and content are relevant and visible in internet searches SO THAT people will visit your website and continue their journey by reading more, checking out your products and services, reading reviews, signing up for a demo…
It’s a perpetual traffic generator. It’s getting feet through the digital door. It starts the process of turning lookers into buyers. It builds authority and trust. It welcomes tire-kickers and comparison shoppers. Sometimes it’s the first marketing touch, and when combined with intelligent Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, it adds momentum to paid campaigns.
Implications and the role of content
It’s clear that SEO will continue to play a critical role in marketing – both for driving traffic and awareness, and for establishing your brand as an authority in your space.
So where does content fit in?
Content is absolutely critical to SEO. Whether you’re creating written content like blogs and articles or videos and podcast episodes, you’re going to need to feed your marketing machine with fresh content, repurposed content, relevant content, boundary-pushing content every now and then, content, content, content.
Why? Because every time you share relevant, engaging, search engine optimized content, you’re sending signals to Google that you take your brand seriously. You’ve invested in creating a great experience for users. You’re delivering value in the form of content and information. You’re a positive player. In turn, Google rewards that with exposure and search engine results page (SERP) rankings. Now you’re better positioned to connect with people who want your products and services. Traffic leads to engagement. Engagement leads to purchases and revenue.
But it’s hard to keep up.
Hard to generate new content.
Hard to know where to start, and keep the content engine running.
And this is where SEO content strategy comes into play. In general, the best place to start is to look further upstream to make sure your marketing strategies align with business goals. Then get specific about which SEO tactics you’ll use to drive the results you need.
A few thoughts to help you dial this in:
- Minimum Viable Content vs. Perfection – Where are you on this continuum? Sometimes the best thing you can do is just start where you are and establish a “proof of life” presence on the internet. Basic social profiles. Basic blog every month. Basic newsletter. Starting small is a great way to build discipline and momentum.
- Evolve your SEO approach – Maybe you have the basics in place. You’re seeing some decent gains, but you need more traffic. More free trial sign ups. More awareness. Now might be the perfect time to enlist an SEO professional to help you take your effort to the next level.
- Consider a marketing partner – Is there anyone on your team who can write? Dedicated copywriter? No writer at all? Do you have an SEO strategy? What do you need to outsource to be successful?
- Reporting – How will you know when your SEO efforts have been successful? What tools will you use to gauge success?
It looks like SEO is here to stay. And be glad for that because there is a lot of potential there… if you make investments now.
But getting an SEO strategy up and running can take a lot of time and energy.
Probably time and energy you don’t have – or time and energy you need to spend on other parts of your growing business.
We think it shouldn’t be so difficult for you to get more awareness, traffic, and engagement from SEO.
Let’s get this moving in the right direction. Schedule a free 30 minute consult today.
More awareness. Better leads. Stronger revenue.
Setup your free strategy session, start a project, or get help for your existing team. Reach out here and we’ll get back to you in 1 business day or less.