Turning SEO Into Business

By Whitney Blessington | April 14th, 2013

SEO

One of the biggest challenges to offering digital marketing services as a strategic web design and communications company is changing the mindset of prospective and current clients as it relates to SEO. Like R.E.M. sang about “the world” in 1987, Basically, everyone just needs to acknowledge “the end of SEO (as we know it).” This means it’s important to stop asking the question – “can you get our business to page one of Google for keywords “x, y and z?”

And, yes, believe it or not, I still get asked this all the time. I think marketing directors, CEOs and small business owners still ask that question because of pressure. They see their competition on page one of Google, and they hear whispers around them and see advertisements prompting them to take action. The fact of the matter is that not all companies ranking on page one of Google are doing well, and many of them are still not sure why they’re even there.

This is scary. What’s even scarier sometimes is when you visit their website and it’s blatantly obvious that they can’t possibly be converting traffic into business.

It’s not easy to make the case to the prospective client that they’re barking up the wrong tree, and it’s not easy to say “sorry, we don’t promise to get your business to page one of Google within three months.” In reality, we could, but we wouldn’t really be helping your business. We’d be lining our pockets.

So, if not the “page one of Google question,” then what should you be asking?

Easy – ask us what you can do to drive qualified traffic to your website, and convert that traffic into legitimate sales leads for your company. I’ll tell you right now what I’d tell you if we had that conversation:

  1. Identify your organization’s differentiators. What makes your organization better than your competitors; or why do you exist and your competition doesn’t.
  2. Identify your target audiences; and build a content strategy. What the heck is a content strategy? One option is to sayhowdy and talk more, but another option is to simply take the knowledge base that allows you to do what you do, and write about it. Seriously. Think about why you have a job. You’re good at what you do and you’re knowledgeable about what services and products your company provides. You can talk the talk. So do it on the web. Rich media is great, but even if you can’t podcast, do videos or find compelling imagery to support your brand, just write about it.
  3. You don’t have to blog. You should, but you don’t have to. You can put together a “resources” section on your site and build inbound marketing campaigns where visitors opt-in to receive your content. This can manifest itself in the form of a monthly or quarterly whitepaper, video, powerpoint or PDF’d Keynote presentation, or even a list of industry related links to articles you like, with a little added commentary to put things in perspective for your audience. In order to get the content, the user simply has to give you their name and email.
  4. Once this resource section has been created, start to optimize your page for specific keywords related to the content that users would download. Send links to interested parties, and consider creating a few customized Google Paid Search campaigns to generate some traffic and leads. Be sure to set up goals and funnels in Google Analytics so you can measure your results.
  5. Track your progress and listen to your audience. Ask for feedback via social media, read and respond to it.

 

All of this will be better than simply trying to rank on Google page one. As you build truly compelling content on a consistent basis, and fine tune your deliverables based on what your audience is telling you they want to read about, your content will improve, your readership will grow, and your ability to generate qualified leads will increase.

And if you feel like this all sounds like too much work, consider the amount of money, time, energy and employee hours it would take your business if you employed a company that really did get you to page one of Google in 30 days. You’d likely get a letter a few months later explaining you’d been moved to page 10 for the foreseeable future due to employing unethical practices, and have to dig yourself out of that ditch without really knowing what got you there.

The other main question I get asked all the time is – “should I just learn how to do all of this myself, or actually pay someone to do it for me?” It may sound backwards, but it’s actually way better to learn to do it yourself. We can help coach you, but there are also a ton of awesome resources out there, like SEOMoz. Cabedge will build the web tools to help your company become a lean, mean marketing machine, and we will also coach you on how to use and measure those tools. We can also do it for you, but you’ll be more successful if you know what you’re doing and fully buy in to a long-term SEO strategy.

Some examples of what the concept of a nice inbound opt-in strategy (like I wrote about above) can look like are below. If you want your business to grow, you’ll focus on the “do what’s right for your business” approach. When you do that, the “oh, by the way” will be the fact that your Google SERP ranking will rise to Google page one. Trust me.

Organic Search Nashville 1

Organic Search Nashville 2

Paid search Nashville 3

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