Some marketing teams have long considered search engine optimization (SEO) as a nice side effect of a sound marketing campaign. Sometimes better SEO can happen from other efforts, but this isn’t an approach that works in the long run. Spending loads of cash on buying email lists, prolific press releases, and sponsoring webinars isn’t a financially savvy way of tackling SEO (or marketing for that matter).
According to a report from MarketingSherpa on lead generation benchmarks, trade shows, email, and webinars are the “most effective marketing tactics”, but these are all solutions that require a lot of money to be thrown at them. Plus, many people don’t realize that all of those links shared on press releases and conferences were actually SEO efforts. Press releases are best used judiciously and to drive traffic to your site. Inbound links that create authority and drive up the rankings of websites are a happy coincidence, but how long can a company rely on luck?
The Missing Link
Today’s SEO algorithms consider these types of links “placed” and not organic. They won’t get you authority ranking, and they might not even pass PageRank. In fact, some SEO gurus think that engineers are creating algorithm updates that will take “happy accident SEO” completely out of the running. While the kind of links naturally found in conference announcements and the like probably won’t turn into black hat tricks, they will likely get ignored by Google for SEO purposes—they won’t help you, but they won’t hurt you.
If your company hasn’t recognized SEO as crucial yet, that needs to change. A lot of marketing teams aren’t making the most of their efforts unless they directly generate data (such as emails or names). However, “good SEO” can be done without the costly necessity of creating full-color brochures for tradeshows or prospecting lists. Remember that marketing and sales funnels all start with brand awareness—and that’s often built online. In other words, it starts with SEO.
How the WWW Changed It All
Today, your buyers are probably querying Google to find what they need. This is how they figure out your reputation, strength, benefits, and features. In today’s market, buyers make the first move—not sellers. It’s all part of inbound marketing, and SEO is the most effective way to generate leads. Consider this: MarketingSherpa says over 57 percent of B2B businesses claim SEO has the biggest impact for lead generation, and inbound marketing creates 54 percent more leads than outbound marketing.
You can’t buy your way to the top spot of search engine results, which means you need to make SEO efforts to gain a marketing advantage. You do this by having an SEO plan, analytics, and putting tools in place. Put a priority on organic, optimized content with a website that’s SEO and user friendly. Poor SEO means poor visibility. Recognize that content marketing is a great bedmate for SEO—and remember that best practices of content marketing are always changing.
All Hail the Content!
Quality content naturally leads to quality SEO (and vice versa). Shoot for content that’s original, helpful, valuable, relevant, and which offers a fantastic user experience. It should be strategic and appeal to demographics who will share it. It’s a misnomer that professional SEO services are expensive—what’s expensive is dumping thousands of dollars into traditional marketing tactics that no longer work, don’t offer the best ROI, and don’t align with SEO efforts.
If you really want to up your marketing game, stop thinking of “marketing” as the be-all, end-all strategy. SEO needs to be considered a separate yet equal player in your strategy. It’s a focus in its own right, not a marketing residue.