- When the economy and business take a hit, marketing is the first to suffer budget cuts
- If you are asking, “should I give up my SEO?”, this article is all you need
- Best-selling author and serial entrepreneur, Kris Jones shows you five ways SEO can help you achieve revenue
Of all the ways to start driving real growth and expanding a business, SEO might not be the first method people generally consider. After all, SEO doesn’t directly make you online sales, right? Isn’t it just all about Google and showing up in position one? Is it just about vanity?
This kind of view is shortsighted and doesn’t appear to take the whole story into account.
We live now in a time when online markets have gotten so competitive that some people are still asking if SEO is dead.
What’s the translation of that question? “Do I even stand a chance on Google anymore with all these competitors crowding up the SERPs? Should I give up my SEO?”
The answer, of course, is no. SEO isn’t dead, and you shouldn’t give up on it.
SEO is your way forward to scaling your revenue and market share. You just need to work harder at it than ever before if you want to play the Google game and get audiences to find and buy from you.
So, SEO really can drive your business growth, and I’m going to show you five ways that you can use it to achieve that end.
1. Stick with SEO long-term
I’m going to start with an item that some people might have expected to see at the end: if you want to drive your business growth beyond just the next six months or year, you have to stick with your SEO strategy long-term.
Everything that I’m going to talk about in this post–every item, from website architecture to keyword usage and on-page page optimization, to creating great content, to building backlinks–is something that will work for you, but only if it’s given enough time to breathe.
I understand that when times are tough, marketing can often be the first cost that businesses want to cut. After all, while it would be nice to be able to market yourself, is marketing really necessary to the business if you’re losing money in so many other places?
In the case of SEO (and marketing in general), the answer is a resounding “yes.”
SEO keeps your business’s online visibility evident no matter what the market looks like. And if you’ve been in business long enough, you know that–surprise!–markets recover, consumers start spending again, and businesses once again become profitable.
If you stop your SEO during a downturn with the idea that you’re going to be saving money, think of the harm you’ll actually be doing to your business when no one can find you through an online search anymore, and that includes after your market has turned around again.
See, SEO is a long game, it’s for those with stamina, those with a vision that their business will survive for many years to come.
Sure, downturns will negatively affect your bottom line, but only temporarily. Do you know what will really hurt, though? When your bottom line disappears completely, and your former place on Google gets swallowed up by all the others vying for your same audiences.
That’s what happens when you haphazardly cut your SEO after six months or a year.
When you stay with it, though, when you ride out all the storms and still make room for your SEO budget, you can really start to win.
You’ll benefit from seeing how your pages and other content are trending over time. You’ll see how you created a post around certain keywords but how that post is now ranking for other keywords and should be reoptimized. You’ll be able to continue building your backlink profile over time rather than letting it die after just a few months. And you’ll see how keyword trends change over time and allow you to target different phrases on your most important pages.
So, you see, long-term SEO is the way to go if you want to be precise and up-to-date in your digital marketing approach.
2. Use SEO to organize your website
If you want to make it easier for your business to scale its revenue and maximize its market share, you’ll need to put some serious work into your on-page SEO. This has to start with a clean website structure arranged in a logical hierarchy.
How your website’s architecture is set up depends on what kind of business you are, but let’s assume we’re talking about a fairly large ecommerce website here.
Ecommerce websites usually make good examples of good and bad website hierarchies because of the volume of pages they typically have.
Now, ideally, a website will be structured according to logic, or what will make its pages the easiest to find for users.
In the case of ecommerce websites, good main navigation would show all the main pages at the top and then have each one open into a menu when you hover over it. The menus are where everything else would be neatly broken down.
Shop Now > Categories > Products
Users could hover over “Shop Now” to see all the product categories. This structure helps because it starts more generally as shoppers are still thinking about what they want.
Once they click on a category, they will be taken to a category page that will show all the products in that category. From there, they can find the product they need or filter the results to browse until they find something.
That’s it, nice and easy.
This is the kind of structure that will allow your website visitors to convert once they reach you. Remember that confused visitors don’t make purchases, so it will pay to put some serious time and effort into simplifying your website structure if you haven’t done so already.
Clean navigation will help not only people to get around your site but also Google’s search crawlers. When Google can understand your site in the same logical way as people, it may rank it higher than a competitor with messy website architecture.
3. Target the right audiences with the right keywords
Now that your website architecture is set up right, the next step in positioning your website to scale revenues for you is to use the right keywords to target the right audiences in the right places.
Here the concept of keyword intent is key. There are businesses out there that get this all wrong, so it’s worth mentioning here.
By the way, I can understand anyone out there who is looking for the connection between keywords and driving revenues, but these are the SEO details that allow people to find you on Google, and there’s no way to make money from users who can’t find you.
We’ll stay with the ecommerce example from earlier. When you go to optimize your category and product pages with keywords, you’ll want to have intent in mind.
Keyword intent is something you should be thinking about at all phases of your keyword research.
The four main types of keyword intent are –
- Informational – “I want to learn about something” – “how to start a website”
- Commercial – “I want to investigate things to buy” – “best athletic items for 2022”
- Transactional – “I’m ready to buy something right now” – “bulk printer paper buy now”
There are personas attached to each type of keyword intent. Think of it as a classic sales funnel. Users enter it with a few needs but have to do some research before buying anything. As they move down the funnel, they become more focused on taking action.
The ones who complete the funnel are the ones who end up buying something or filling out a form, basically just taking whatever action matters to you.
How does this factor into the keywords you target on your website’s pages?
Think of a category page on your ecommerce site. No one is buying anything from a category page. It may not even be possible to do so.
So, your keyword targets for those pages should be more commercial than transactional. Users who arrive on your category pages are thinking about buying, but not yet.
Maybe your keyword target for a category page of printer paper is simply “office printer paper” or “best office printer paper.”
Then, you’ll want to get more specific on the product pages, which is where people will be doing the buying. If you find search volume around them, you want to optimize for terms such as “buy hammermill printer paper now” or “hp printer paper 500 sheets.”
See how the product page keywords got more long-tail and specific? That’s called going after intent, and it’s the way to optimize each part of your website.
That way, the right users will find everything they need from you, no matter where they are on their buyers’ journey.
4. Create (genuinely) amazingly useful content for every buyer persona
Okay, so you want to continue employing SEO to accelerate your growth and increase your market share. Then you will also need to jump head-first into the content marketing game.
To an extent, this idea piggybacks on the keyword intent concept from earlier. Except that here, we’re looking at intent from the content perspective.
Once you have optimized and more or less perfected your website from a user-experience perspective, you might wonder what else you could actively be doing to bring in traffic to your website.
Content is your game at that point.
Content is what drives traffic to websites, and it’s always been that way.
From one perspective, that’s just common sense. What else would we do on the Internet if there were no content?
Taken another way, though, how exactly do you devise a content marketing plan for a website? What do you write about? How does content bring in the traffic and sales you need to bump up your market share?
Think back to keyword intent from above, specifically the informational intent.
People typically don’t navigate to a category page, product page, or other service page with purely informational intent. Traffic to those pages is more ready to do something than learn about something.
Informational keywords apply more to blog posts that elaborate on topics about your business or wider industry.
Since blog posts are often informational, that means you’ll be targeting top-of-funnel traffic that’s just learning about what you do and isn’t ready to buy yet.
But since you’re focusing on scaling revenue and market share right now, you can’t lose sight of the fact that top-funnel traffic has the potential to turn into real customers for you. Blog posts are there to nurture the leads down the funnel.
So, if content seems like a slow or pointless game to you, I assure you it isn’t. It’s one of the main ways you’re going to make it to the top.
5. Build those backlinks
Finally, if you’re looking to use SEO to drive your revenues and business growth, you’ll want to pay lots of attention to your backlink profile.
As you probably know, links mean so much in SEO. The connections among pages and domains fuel how Google understands content on the internet. They are what build authority for websites.
Why? Because Google knows that if people want to link to content from their own websites, the content must be trustworthy and worth ranking highly for people.
Higher authority usually means higher rankings, and higher rankings mean more customers that you want will see you.
But, you can’t depend on the Internet just to find your content and link to it. You have to do the outreach yourself to get your name and content out there.
When you create good content, get in touch with others in your industry to see if their audiences might find it useful. Ask the webmasters if they would like to link to it for their readers.
Or, you could use an SEO tool to find broken external links on other sites and offer up your content as a replacement for those links.
Whatever method you take, though, just be sure that you’re getting backlinks from relevant sources. It won’t matter if you get 10,000 backlinks from completely irrelevant sites. One backlink from a relevant site will count more for you.
The increased authority and rankings you get from your backlinking campaign should help you over time to sustain your showing up for the most relevant searches in your industry.
Bringing it together
All of these pieces are what you need to bring together and put in place to make the best use of SEO for scaling your revenue and growing your market share.
To the uninitiated, it can definitely seem like the tasks I mention here are not directly related to making sales and growing a business. But they are the moves that lay the groundwork for that growth.
Keeping that long vision is how you really put SEO to work for your business.
Kris Jones is the founder and former CEO of digital marketing and affiliate network Pepperjam, which he sold to eBay Enterprises in 2009. Most recently Kris founded SEO services and software company LSEO.com and has previously invested in numerous successful technology companies. Kris is an experienced public speaker and is the author of one of the best-selling SEO books of all time called, ‘Search-Engine Optimization – Your Visual Blueprint to Effective Internet Marketing’, which has sold nearly 100,000 copies.
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