The Secret Sauce of SEO
What made online marketing a boon for businesses was the capacity to provide nearly real-time, focused search engine optimization (SEO) results. SEO can provide a wealth of information about user engagement, which - combined with this ability to acquire and analyze data quickly - can turn marketing and promotion on its ear.
How Can I Tell My SEO is Effective?
Analytics can tell you whether or not your site is receiving visitors, what those visitors do, and how your audience interacts with your website. These results are measurable: you have more or less traffic, your ranking is increasing or decreasing, and your content is trending or underachieving on social media.
Examining metrics like these can tell you the ‘health’ of your SEO and ultimately, your website’s ability to attract visitors.
What makes SEO such a valuable asset to your business is the fact that this data is trackable, measurable, and repeatable. If your metrics are consistently showing progress and positively increasing, and if you’re observing positive organic traffic, referrals, goals, an increase in engagement, and a low bounce rate; your SEO is a success and doing what it is supposed to do: drive traffic to your site.
One thing to consider is that the fundamental goal of SEO is to keep your business’ website relevant and visible, enabling it to draw traffic. This traffic is what provides opportunities. The more visitors you have to your site, the more chances you have to make a conversion.
However (and this is the point that many misunderstand), conversions are just a side effect of SEO, not the goal of it. If your goal is conversions, then you need to focus on developing a CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) strategy, which, while similar to SEO, is a different animal entirely.
Your CRO strategy would focus on conversions, while your SEO strategy focuses on traffic. This means that, instead of trying to gain the attention of Google’s bots like SEO does, CRO’s goal is to attract the attention of human users. The best way to do this is by having landing pages, calls to action, and deliverables; everything short, sweet, and designed to convert.
We’ll discuss CRO in more detail in a future blog, but until then, consider this: would you want to stay on a website that took 20 seconds to load each page?
Now, Back to SEO
If you do not see conversions after optimizing your website, the question shouldn’t be whether or not your SEO is working, but if your marketing is working. Conversion is just a fancy word for moving someone to the next stage in the marketing funnel. Like any traditional prospect, you need to work to coax them along.
You need to think about conversions, not as a passive activity that happens due to the magic of SEO, but as part of a successful marketing process. SEO is like any other marketing tool - if you want it to be effective, you have to work for it.
Are You Putting in the Work?
You can’t just “do” some SEO, read your data, and hope that customers will flock to your website. Selling services requires effort, as you are literally convincing someone to buy from you. This is particularly true in the Internet age, where there are literally thousands of competitors, all with access to the same tools and techniques that you have. What are you doing to stand out from this competition and prove your value to customers?
While SEO must be part of your online marketing strategy (you’ll have nobody to sell to if nobody shows up) and can help your company stand out, it can’t be your only marketing tactic.
SEO is the thing that feeds the search engines and keeps your website top of their “mind” and higher in the rankings, but it works behind the scenes. You still need to engage potential customers by using front-facing tactics. This is important because different people respond to marketing differently. The more diverse your marketing strategy is, the better your chance to connect with them will be.
Finally, unless potential customers are able to see your message, they won’t buy from you.
What Are You Doing to Promote Your Business?
The question is, besides SEO, what have you done as a business owner to promote your business?
- Visited your local Chamber of Commerce and built relationships with fellow business owners?
- Joined industry organizations or groups?
- Used other methods of marketing, advertising, and promotion such as; print media, email marketing, or traditional mail campaigns?
- Created custom content designed to show your expertise and authority?
- Promoted your content and insights on social media to drive traffic to your site, developing an audience and your authority?
- Offered your services pro bono as an expert to your community?
As you can see, active promotion of your business requires action and effort, which goes beyond just looking at SEO, even though SEO is essential for your marketing efforts.
Moreover, conversions or sales don’t just happen, they require work, patience, and engagement to show a potential customer why you’re worth their time. Reflecting the reality of selling is the “Rule of 7” - the long-held belief that a potential customer needs to see your marketing attempts at least seven times before they are willing to even consider committing to any action.
In today’s data-driven environment, it is natural to expect that using data collection tools and techniques is the roadmap to success. However, there are just some things that require an investment of not only time and money, but patience as well. There is no magic keyword that will get your phone ringing the day after you make your site live, especially without any other marketing to support it. No SEO is that successful.
So to answer the question: What is the secret sauce of online marketing success for a business?
The answer: As the business owner, you’re the best advocate for what makes your business unique and worthwhile. You need to step up and let your audience know why they should be your customers. We can help you unlock that potential by finding the one thing about you that makes your business unique.
In other words, the secret sauce is YOU. Now is the time to open the bottle and start pouring.