'88% of IT buyers use search as the starting point in their decision-making journey' according to research by IDG.
A savvy marketer will recognise the opportunity in this statistic. An effective partner marketing strategy uses SEO to ensure your website appears in relevant customer queries.
Whether you are new to SEO or need to sharpen your skills, our 5-minute guide will help you transform your search engine visibility and drive organic leads.
What is SEO?
SEO (search engine optimisation) is a type of search engine marketing. The aim of SEO is to get your webpage to the top of a search engine results page (SERP) for a keyword or phrase your customers are searching for. The higher up in the search results a website appears, the more likely it is to drive organic traffic.
Good SEO produces highly qualified leads. By optimising content, marketers can increase their website's traffic and authority.
How do I make it work for my marketing?
Although SEO requires a continuous marketing effort, it isn't an insurmountable task. Like most digital marketing strategies, SEO is a logical practice. Although search engines use sophisticated algorithms, with an analytical approach you can grasp the basics of SEO quickly. A good first step is to understand how SEO relates to content marketing.
While new, keyword-optimised content provides an SEO boost, there's no need to delete existing content. Optimising current blog posts and webpages still counts and is good for your rankings. It's a win-win.
Here are our three tips to transform your search engine visibility and drive SEO leads:
1. Be relevant to your searchers
More than ever search engines are focused on providing searchers with the right information for their needs. To make your website customer-centric, think about these things when auditing your content:
Who are your buyers? What do they want when they search for you? Create buyer personas to target them effectively.
Where they are on their buyer journey? With search engines offering buyers far greater control, your content needs to meet them on their journey.
Keywords and concepts. Each piece of content should be based around the key phrase and concept your customer is searching for. This forms part of the website 'metadata' search engine robots read to deliver your content to the right people.
Narrow down your niche. For better results, produce content around specific long-tail keywords. These are searched for less frequently but generate more qualified leads closer to making a purchase decision.
Many partners use Google AdWords or similar PPC [LINK to 5m guide to effective PPC on LinkedIn] (Pay Per Click) services to purchase expensive, highly-competitive advertising space on keyword searches such as 'Azure' and 'Cloud technology'. Instead, boost your ROI by choosing more specific keywords like 'Azure migration for financial services'.
2. Optimise smarter, not harder
Although SEO is about your customers and not the robots, you still need to do some tech-wrangling to ensure your content is found. There are hundreds of valuable ranking opportunities, so getting the help of a digital marketing expert is worthwhile. There are also some great online tools such as Google Analytics and Google Trends which will help you determine which keywords and topics to target.
It's important to ensure you have conducted thorough keyword research and identified the terms most relevant for your business. Your selected keywords should have a worthwhile monthly search volume and low competition from other websites.
To satisfy the search engines, ensure these basics are covered:
Title tag: insert a unique title tag on each page of 70 characters or less. This tells search engines what the page's content is about.
Meta-description: include a meta-description. It's the short piece of text you see under a link on SERPs. There is some debate about whether search engines actually use this, so write it with your audience in mind first.
Internal links: linking from one page of your website to another is not only good for user flow and time on site, it also helps search engines learn more about your content's focus.
Header tags: using header tags helps the reader easily digest your content and tells the search engine what the primary topic is in each section. This enables search algorithms to determine relevancy when ranking results.
ALT tags: when uploading an image, include keywords in your ALT tag and image name. Optimised images will appear for your selected keywords in an image search.
Asides from these basics, don't overdo it with random acts of keyword-stuffing or try to play whack-a-mole with search engine algorithms. This mindset will likely get you ranked down. SEO is changing; it's now about your website's organic popularity, authority and trustworthiness.
How do you do this the smart way? Consistently produce quality content for your buyer personas that's relevant and shareable. Use a tool such as Maya to benchmark your current digital performance.
3. Shout out loud on social media
Social authority is an important factor in search results ranking. As such, the more people 'talking' about you online, the more relevant you are to search engines
Shared content is only ever going to boost your rankings further. Not only should you be encouraging shares as part of your strategy, but also posting every piece of content you produce to relevant social channels. This, in turn, helps your social pages rank in search engines and boosts your SEO.
Modern marketing: fueling your search engine traffic
Modern marketing allows you to use technology to analyse and understand what you're audience is searching for.
Implementing a thorough SEO strategy will enable you to boost the visibility of your products and services and help you answer your customers most burning questions. In this way, SEO becomes a driver of predictable, recurring revenue.