Why should a business care about SEO (search engine optimization)? SEO has many business benefits. I gave this presentation to a group of business owners and entrepreneurs, showing them how SEO can grow their businesses.
For this webinar, I partnered with Jon LoDuca of The Wisdom Link, an Intellectual Capital Development Firm.
Below are the video, slides, and notes. At the end of this post is your challenge!
This video contains a 30-minute conversation with Jon LoDuca, which includes many questions and answers that aren't included in the slides and text in this post. Check it out!
Goal of SEO
- Get more of the right kind of traffic (more on that later). The wrong kind of traffic doesn't help your business.
- Using search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.)
- Invest in your 24/7 marketer/salesperson: your website. Your website should be more than a brochure! It should augment your sales and marketing efforts.
Right Kind of Traffic
- Potential buyers. Even better, ideal potential buyers. Think about not just who buys from you, but which buyers you love (maybe they're the most profitable, or the least stressful, etc.).
- People actively searching for your products/services. You want people who are convinced they have a problem that needs solving.
- Define buyer personas and their problems/pains. To properly complete the steps above, you need to understand the demographics and psychographics of your buyer, including their problems/pains which you can solve.
- Start with business goals, and work backwards
- Business websites exist to sell, directly or indirectly
- Sales result from leads, which result from traffic
Why Do You Care?
- 92% of searchers choose a business on page 1. Position 1 gets 33% of traffic. source
- 75% of traffic goes to top 5 positions. source
- 48.3% of consumers said search was an effective way for a company to attract their business. Search is 1.8x more likely than traditional advertising to have a positive impact on purchasing decisions. source
- Mobile has increased search volume, especially local. source
- 80-90% of customers check online reviews prior to making a purchase. source
- 54% of marketing and sales pros said SEO is most effective tactic (2nd place). source
- 44% of marketers rated SEO as highly or very effective (2nd place). source
- 54% of B2B marketers rated SEO as effective (3rd place). source
- Links (quality & quantity)
- Social media references & engagement
- Local citations (listings with your business name, address, phone number)
- Keywords & topics
- Content (substance of text, images, videos, etc.)
- Content types (text, images, videos, podcasts, etc.)
- Algorithm tactics (how search engine's algorithm judges your site)
- Crawlability (how easy it is for search engine to crawl your site)
- Technology (how search engine judges your site's code, hosting, etc.)
- Items within your website
- Technical aspects (speed, security, code cleanliness, etc.)
- Items outside your website
- Inbound links (links from other sites and web properties)
- Social media
- PR/brand awareness. Just like a brick & mortar store, people need to know you exist so they'll come and shop.
- Online yellow pages
- Narrows results down to local area. A Google search for "financial advisor" will give a mix of general info on financial advisors and specific financial advisors local to you. Google assumes you may be looking for a financial advisor, not just info on the profession. A search for "financial advisor holland mi" will give primarily specific financial advisors local to you, and less (if any) general info. From this search, Google can more strongly assume you're looking for a financial advisor.
SEO vs. PPC
- SEO is like a well; PPC (pay-per-click advertising) is like city water.
- To dig a well requires a lot of up front effort before you get water. Then the water comes in slowly, and increases with time. You need to put in effort to maintain the well, but other than that, you're getting basically free water. SEO requires a lot of up front work before you generate significant traffic. But, once it does, you can benefit from the momentum for years, as long as you maintain your SEO.
- City water is instantly available once you're connected to it. Just turn on the faucet. But, you pay for all the water you use. When you stop paying, you stop getting water. PPC can generate traffic very quickly, but only does so while you pay.
- Work well together; not either/or. You don't need to choose SEO or PPC. It often works well to jump-start traffic with PPC, while ramping up SEO. As your SEO matures, you can taper off PPC if you choose.
Traffic and Conversion
- SEO just sends traffic. Site must convert to generate leads. A conversion is when someone takes a step towards a sale.
- Some of the best CTAs (calls to action) or offers are solutions to your buyer persona's problems/pains.
- Even when site generates a lead, it takes your salespeople to turn that into a sale.
- SEO causes you to make your site and overall web presence better for your prospects and customers. When you improve your site's content, functionality, user experience, etc. for search engines, your visitors benefit.
- Social optimization. When you post a link to social media, many social platforms pull the same info as search engines: image, title, description. Optimize your content for search engines, and you'll benefit on social.
Reading this post and nodding your head isn't going to improve your business. It's time to put SEO to work for your business. Here's your challenge!
- Define top 3 business goals (examples: increase revenue to X, increase team size to Y)
- Think of 3 ways SEO could help achieve them (examples: increase traffic, reach a certain audience, attract job candidates)
- Create strategy and start implementing, with internal team or outside help (a company that offers SEO services)
SEO Questions Answered in Video
Jon and I talked about the following questions. Watch the video above to hear the answers!
- What's included in technical SEO?
- How do you choose keywords?
- How do you find keywords with the right balance of search volume and competition?
- How do you know that people are actually searching for the keywords you choose?
- How does the psychology of your customer persona (ideal buyer) affect the keywords you choose?
- Once you have keywords, what do you do with them?
- Should you use the same keywords throughout your site? How much variety should there be?
- What's better: a specific, precise site with little content, or a broader, less-precise site with a lot of content? How much does blogging help SEO?
- Does Google give different weights/scores to links coming in from different websites?
- What's better: a higher volume of links to your site, or a higher quality of links?
- How can you get links from other sites?
- How can you choose an SEO company? What criteria should you consider?