The principal purpose of any SEO strategy is to bring more visibility in search engines. But this alone is not what business owners seek. In the end, they decide to invest in SEO with the purpose of growing their business. So why not put together an SEO strategy that serves both purposes: increases the website’s visibility on a topic and generate more leads and more revenue for the business? This article will show you how to craft and measure the performance of a purpose-driven SEO strategy in five easy steps.
1. Have a Deep Understanding of Your Buyer Persona
As John Marshall once said: “Listening is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well.” Before you start crafting your SEO strategy, make sure you listen long and well to what your ideal customer wants and needs. Here are three of the most reliable listening sources. To learn more about your customers’ interests, you can:
- Get insights from existing customers.
- Get other team members involved. The sales team or the customer support team can provide you with valuable information about what customers want most.
- Research social media. Find out what questions consumers ask and what content they share.
After you have a collected insight about your audience’s background and needs, you should find yourself with a list of problems that your product and service can help solve. The next step is to start building valuable content around a topic that is both (a) related to one or more of the problems on which you want to focus, and (b) is territory that your competition has not already conquered. That’s your SEO opportunity. The next section will help you figure out how to pick that particular topic.
2. Picking The Right Topic
Let’s say your ideal customer is looking for ways to improve its productivity at work. The best way to figure out how they’re trying to solve that problem is to look for their search patterns. One tool I recently discovered is answerthepublic.com. This is a simple SEO / market research tool that highlights the questions people have about a topic. They display the data very visually so it’s really easy to pick the questions that are probably more suitable for your audience. You now have a list of questions that you can organize by topics. Validate their popularity in search engines by looking at the total number of searches per topic. If you’re planning on building a content-rich landing page, you also have to check how similar pages performed in social media. BuzzSumo’s latest feature, In-Depth Article Filter, is a handy tool that lets you find higher quality, long-form articles. Explore a few title ideas to see what would be more appealing to your audience. There’s a tool called Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer that allows you to evaluate the emotional impact of your title given the type and number of words you used. Remember why you’re doing this in the first place. From an SEO perspective, the topic is important, but visibility is just not enough. Frame the landing pages or the content you deliver to match your audience’s need and interest.
3. Explore Your Competition
Before you dive deep into implementing a strategy for that topic, make sure you’re content-aware. Google (or any other search engine, for that matter) is not going to rank low-quality content when it has better options. If you’re aiming high, you have to know what’s out there and if you can deliver something that will outperform them. A few indicators of how your competitors perform and how you can outrun them:
- What’s their current rank and visibility on the topic you chose?
- How content-rich are their pages?
- How’s their UX? Are they using images? Videos?
- How many inbound links do they have? Who links to them?
You can tell a lot about the quality of a website’s content by the average time spent on site. SimilarWeb is a great tool for checking that. That is something you’ll have to keep in mind: give your visitors something different, new from what the competition is offering. It will help you serve both purposes: increase in rankings and convert them to leads or customer.
4. Focus On Bring New Traffic And Converting It
At this point, you’ve already done most of your home work. You have your keyword research in place, your competition analysis and, basically, you’re on the right track to increasing the website’s visibility on that topic. But how will you convert the traffic into leads or customers? When used right, pop-up banners help convert the traffic you worked so hard on getting. Of course, I’m not talking about spammy-looking, hard-to-close window-inside-a-window ads. SummoMe recently published a summary of a readers they conducted on 2 billion pop-up banners. Their findings can serve as a how-to guide for anyone looking to implement this strategy. Neil Patel’s website is a great source of inspiration for how to use premium content to convert traffic into leads.
5. Promote And Measure Your Performance
SEO is an ongoing experiment. There’s no article or book out there that can show you the exact road to success. You have to try, measure and scale if the tactic worked. Tracking performance should be part of the daily routine of any SEO professional. In this particular case, there’s more to measure than just rankings or overall visibility in search engines. In order to prove the ROI of your SEO campaign, you might want to add a few more metrics, specifically related to the topic you worked on:
- social shares
- referral visits
- conversions and transactions
Creating something that’s appealing to both search engines and users is a lot harder than it seems, but it gets easier if you focus on the right results from the early beginning. But no plan is perfect and, especially in the SEO business, you always encounter challenges. The key take-aways here are:
- always have a bigger purpose in mind than just increasing visibility in search engines
- measure your performance frequently and iterate successful tactics