If the foundation of your site is setup correctly and you develop valuable content, you’ll have great SEO rankings. Content marketing, SEO and social marketing work best when acting together. For example, in the graphic below, taken from a Content Marketing Institute webinar, BrightEdge illustrates the importance of an integrated marketing campaign.
Now, let’s take each of the convergence pieces separately.
SEO Delivers Valuable Customer Insights
If you setup Google Analytics and Google Search Console correctly, you can get some idea of the terms people search for that lead them to your site. To try this, simply navigate to Google Analytics and choose Acquisition > Campaigns > Organic Keywords. In this step, you should see phrases people used to find your site via organic search.
Keep in mind that your results will contain several listings where the search keyword is “not provided”. You’re getting this result because Google wants you to advertise on AdWords instead of giving away organic clicks. The majority of “not provided” searches come from people logged into a Google platform. For an example of what to look out for, see the graphic below.
To get around this “not provided” keyword data, you can throw the Google folks a bone by setting up a small Google AdWords pay-per-click campaign on the Search Network. You shouldn’t have to spend more than $1,000 to get a good list of the key phrases searchers are using to get to your site.
These key phrase lists are golden because not only do they give you a list to optimize for your website coding, but they also show you topics of prime interest. Since these are terms in which your buyers are genuinely interested, you can use them as the basis for new content pieces.
You can also reverse engineer your competitors’ sites using RankWatch’s SEO tools to see the SEO key phrases for which your direct competitors have optimized their sites. I find this exercise helpful not only for SEO but also for product road mapping and content ideation.
SEO Drives High Performing Content
Organic search results can give context to your content. For example, if a CMO lands on our marketing agency’s site after a search for “How do I set up a marketing budget?”, I know she’s thinking far more strategically than a colleague who searches for “trade show booth design for biotech”. For our business terms, we need specialized and personalized content and landing pages for diverse topics ranging from the tactical to the strategic level.
If I’m a searcher just looking to get a show booth created quickly, I’m not interested in marketing strategy services. In this case, you’re going to lose my attention if you serve me anything but what I’m actually looking for: great graphic and copy designers with show booth experience.
How Are SEO and Content Marketing Different?
SEO is 20% strategy and 80% tactics. Content marketing is the exact opposite: 80% strategy and 20% tactics. The best content marketing campaigns start with creativity and storytelling that will engage audiences. As technology develops, marketers are gaining a greater ability for researching, testing, planning and connecting with prospects online.
The strategic part of SEO is deciding which key phrases you want to rank highly for and if you want to target a certain geographic region, demographic or industry vertical. After that, you can move on to the tactical implementation of code on your website, followed by the production and syndication — on your site and external sites — of engaging content related to those key phrases.
Where Does Social Marketing Enter the Picture?
The world is becoming more social and more connected. Even B2B marketers are experiencing positive ROI on Facebook for lead generation as well as brand awareness. Most SEO experts believe social signals have a direct and indirect impact on organic search rankings. Direct effects are metrics such as Facebook likes, shares, follows or number of Tweets that mention your brand name. Indirect effects are things like higher quality visits to your site from social followers. These impacts often result in lower bounce rates, more time spent on website pages, and more.
The same great content you use to drive search rankings can be repurposed and used for social marketing. Many social viewers didn’t start their Facebook or LinkedIn session looking to buy your product or service. Therefore, you need to use shorter and more visual pieces with eye-catching graphics and headlines. From these initial ads or short posts, you can drive readers to associated pages on your site that contain deeper content pieces.
SEO + Social + Content Marketing Delivers a Better Customer Experience
Content that takes a reader at least part of the way towards solving her problem is most likely to turn into a lead because you’ve established a trust relationship with a prospect right from the start of the interaction with your brand.
Consider the following scenario. While browsing on Twitter, a prospect named Jeff sees an infographic showcasing statistics he and his boss were just talking about earlier in the day. With curiosity, he clicks on the graphic and lands on a page that gives context to the infographic statistics, references, and a link to an executive brief that elaborates on how to solve the main problem showcased in the stats. He downloads the document, highlights and annotates it, and shows it to his boss the next day.
The boss is impressed and asks where he found the great brief. He mentions your brand — boom! You’ve just made Jeff a hero at his company and associated your brand with a positive experience.
In this situation, he’s likely to continue by Googling phrases related to the issue. Due to your SEO efforts, your brand shows up again in the search rankings. Now Jeff thinks your company is a thought leader and he’s likely to click on your website to learn more. By the time he emails or picks up the phone to speak to one of your sales reps, he’s already had at least 3-4 positive experiences with your brand!
Why Measurement and Attribution Matter
The great part is that tracking engagement and conversions from specific pieces of content and campaigns is easier and more accessible than ever.
Marketing attribution has come a long way from the crude lines of Google Analytics code you used to insert on your web pages. Today’s marketing attribution applications, when properly implemented, can track both online and offline lead and conversion sources with ease and certainty.
The new attribution models get exciting when it comes to the attribution of traditional campaigns, such as phone orders and trade show events. Many marketing tool stack companies don’t address the fact that the majority of sales are still completed by phone, or even fax in some B2B industries.
One of the most useful features of today’s attribution tools is the ability to track multiple participants involved in a company decision. You can track their behaviors all the way from the initial contact to the final sale. In many verticals, there are more than ten individuals involved in the average purchasing decision. With that said, being able to see the interactions of every person at the company or location in one dashboard view is extremely useful, especially if your customers are large enterprises that make purchases through procurement departments or online tools, such as Ariba.
Bring Your “Marketing Sundae” Together for Delicious Results
Integrated SEO, social strategy and content marketing is one of the most potent combinations for lead generation, demand generation, brand awareness, and nurturing. Whether you are trying to recruit new customers or upsell more to existing clients, bringing these efforts together to work in conjunction will lead to powerful results.