How important is SEO, really?
A survey conducted by Search Engine Journal found that 49% of marketers say organic search has the best ROI of any marketing channels - and when it comes to leads and sales conversions, 70% of marketers view their SEO efforts to be more effective than PPC.
However, when teams are stretched, or under pressure to deliver short-term results ASAP, SEO strategies risk falling by the wayside.
So, in our latest workshop – ‘Investing in SEO – Building a Strategy that Works for your Business’, we asked organic search experts James Maxfield, Technical SEO Manager at Dark Horse, Georgie Rayner, Head of Search Strategy at Crafted, and Sam Bettis, Customer Engagement Director of krow group to share their guidance on:
- Why SEO strategy should matter to you right now
- How to 'repurpose' data from your SEO work to support other areas of your marketing strategy
- How to use the quick wins with SEO to drive further investment
- What metrics to focus on to avoid overwhelm and demonstrate ROI
READ OUR KEY LEARNINGS FROM THE SESSION BELOW, OR WATCH THE FULL WORKSHOP HERE
WHY DOES YOUR SEO STRATEGY MATTER RIGHT NOW?
From algorithm updates to new platforms taking up 'search space', the difficulty in pinning down the latest best practice for SEO (let alone implementing it) can make it tempting to avoid investing in your organic search strategy altogether.
As Georgie says, "there's a level of credibility with organic search, a level of trust with it. When we see an ad, however Google tries to disguise it, whether it's sponsored content or an ad, etc., people naturally are driven to the organic options. The proportion of clicks is always going to be higher - and that gives you longevity with your results."
We asked James, Sam, and Georgie to share what the main challenges - and opportunities - are for marketers looking at their SEO strategy right now, and why it matters more than ever.
Key Learnings: 4 Ways to Make the Most of your SEO Strategy
#1 - Leverage your SEO strategy to Support Wider Work
As Sam and Georgie share, maximising return on your SEO strategy shouldn't be limited to the direct results you're seeing from organic search.
In Sam's experience, "With any research methodology, we like to blend different data sources - what people say out loud. what people say, and how people behave.
You see your customers talking about how much they love coffee, and you see them answering that 'sustainability' is the most important thing. How do you build an effective customer journey when your analytics show that they're searching for 'cheapest coffee'?"
There are plenty of other areas that can benefit from the work you put into SEO:
- Paid creative & messaging
- Content strategy
- Brand positioning
#2 - Start Small with Work to Boost your Organic Traffic - But Do It Consistently!
SEO doesn't always need to take a lifetime. According to databox, you can increase your website traffic by 75% in 6 months by updating old blog posts. However, it's crucial to identify the 'quick wins' for your strategy.
As Georgie shares, it's important to split your planning to allow for proof of concept.
"It's about undertaking a strategy that is looking, in the first instance, at where the opportunities are. How else can you harness what you're doing in that work?"
Sam shares the importance of making this more than just a one-time project.
"All of this stuff should go in your digital brand playbook, because then you're not seeing it as SEO for sort of SEO's sake, you're doing it because it's part of your brand playbook. You're putting yourselves into a really good habit by doing this."
#3 - Run Technical SEO Health Checks Regularly to Avoid Missing out
James says, “if you've got big mobile issues, I would fix that as a priority. Nowadays, most of your users are coming on your site from mobile and Google crawls on mobile first, therefore getting that right is important.
Once you've got a technically healthy website, i.e. there’s not a tonne of broken links, it's fast and easy to use, and it's usable on mobile, then you can look at the wider opportunities.”
# 4 - Frame your Goals and Resource in a way That Makes Sense for your Business
“Revenue is ultimately why you're looking at digital marketing in the first place, therefore the more goals that you create, that don't affect revenue, the less impact you're going to have on your bottom line with that strategy,” says James.
He adds that, “your SEO tactics should be a categorised on what they aim to achieve. Then using the SMART framework ask yourself - is the goal of each tactic Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound?”
In addition, Georgie highlights the importance of “understanding your objectives and using the data you have available, to determine what will be most successful to your business in terms of what channels and features to prioritise.
In terms of the kind of metrics to measure, it should be business specific. For example, as a charity you’ll look at increasing awareness and engagement on your website, but an eCommerce site is going to focus on sales and revenue."
Investing in SEO – Where and When to Invest in External Support
Investing in external support to bolster crucial areas of your SEO could be the answer to accomplishing your broader marketing goals and actually driving ROI for organic work - but where do you start?
Georgie says, "working together with a PR agency or having external PR support can help your brand achieve increased visibility online, not only in terms of organic ranking but also your overall brand awareness, which can be really impactful’. She also add that having development and technical support should be the foundation to your SEO strategy."
James states that, “every area of your SEO matters - whether that is content, digital, PR or technical. So, when it comes to external support you should ask yourself – where do your strengths lie and what area needs most attention?”
If you're investing in SEO Strategy this year, make sure you're getting the most from your time. GO! offer cost-free agency recommendations, pitch management, and more - get in touch to get started.