In recent years, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has gained a lot of traction as a necessary part of any well-functioning marketing strategy. According to industry experts, SEO expenditure last year accounted for 10.5% of marketing budgets (social media, for comparison, accounted for a close 11.3% of marketing spend). As organic search turs out to be an increasingly important channel for marketers, how might marketing teams get even more from their SEO efforts?
SEO data and insights are necessary for organic search efforts, of course, but they can also help inform brands’ larger marketing strategies. Here, we will walk you through how to use your SEO insights to support additional marketing channels and more fully integrate website health and search within your larger marketing strategy.
First things first
What are the key elements of a successful marketing strategy?
A successful marketing strategy is built from a solid understanding of your target audience, the products and services you offer, and the competition in your industry. An effective strategy will set realistic goals and timelines and make use of the right tools and tech stack to achieve those goals.
Key elements of a marketing strategy include:
- Market Research – This is the first step in creating a strong marketing strategy, as it helps you understand your market and its needs.
- Brand Positioning – You must know who your brand represents, what you stand for, and how you differ from your competitors.
- Target Audience – You need to know who will be most interested in your product or service so you can present your offering in a way that speaks to their goals and pain points specifically.
- Marketing Mix – The marketing mix is made up of the “4 Ps” – product, price, place (distribution channels), and promotion. Each of these elements can affect how well your product or service sells on the market.
- Measurement – Marketing is both an art and a science. You will want to test the hypotheses of your marketing strategy by measuring your progress and performance over time. This will help inform the changes you make on a regular basis and help your team identify what is working and what is not.
So, how can SEO insights bring added value to each of the marketing activities above and help other marketers on your team create a more informed and cohesive marketing strategy? Below, we will explore each of these strategic activities and how your SEO data could be used to bolster your larger efforts.
How can SEO data and insights add value to your broader marketing strategy?
To create a great online experience and drive traffic and revenue from search, SEO requires coordination and collaboration from different departments and teams across your organization.
The teams and individuals that help contribute to your SEO efforts may include SEO specialists, marketing strategists, content producers, public relations professionals, sales teams, product managers, UX teams, DevOps, paid search teams, and potentially more, depending on whether you are part of an enterprise company or an SME.
The insights gained through your SEO work can help your broader marketing teams with their own projects and strategies. Let us bring it all together, starting with –
SEO insights for market research
- Search trend data can help marketers understand what people are looking for in relation to their product or service – and may give you inspiration for new offerings and value propositions.
- Tracking your most-visited and highest-converting pages can help marketers know which messages are resonating.
The search insights gathered by your SEO team can help marketers better understand the broader market landscape for their specific vertical. The queries users enter into search engines can give marketers a picture of what their customers are looking for, in addition to valuable information about seasonality and trending topics.
Search trends are key to understanding what people are looking for over time and when the interest in a particular topic, product, or service is likely to peak throughout the year.
Search volumes for particular keyword phrases, and groups of keywords (or clusters), can help provide more granular information about what people are interested in and how many people are interested in a given topic.
Both of the above SEO data points can be useful for marketing planning and prioritization. For example, if you are trying to determine what paid ads to run throughout the year, examining search volume and seasonality for topics in your industry can provide guidance for growth marketers, content marketers, event organizers, and publicists planning their marketing calendars for the year.
Understanding search intent is particularly important, as it allows you to create marketing and educational content that resonates with your core audiences and helps them solve their problems.
After the introduction of BERT, MUM, and more recently, the “helpful content update”, to the Google algorithms, it is clear that Google is focused on helping its algorithms ‘understand’ website content more like humans do, with a focus on natural language, entities, concepts, and context.
If the content you develop is designed to provide users with meaningful information and context that matches their search intent, there is a good chance it will rank well and be favored by the latest search algorithms too. If you are selling a product or service, this means creating content that shows how your product or service can help people solve their problems, as opposed to just listing features or benefits.
SEO insights for brand positioning
- By looking at competitors’ website content, marketing teams can gauge the types of audiences their competitors are targeting. For example, if a competitor’s website is targeting one specific industry, what does their organic traffic look like? Is this audience relevant to your own marketing efforts, and should you boost your efforts in targeting these customers as well?
- Looking at the keywords (intent, volume, CPC) driving the most traffic is also another way businesses can gain a better understanding of the vernacular certain customer profiles or personas are using. A challenge sometimes is finding the high-intent, commercial keywords that are more likely to drive traffic that converts.
Brand positioning is all about understanding who you are as a company, what your competitors are doing, and why your product and services are valuable to your target audiences.
The competitive research you undertake in your SEO work can also feed into your larger positioning efforts. Understanding what keywords your competitors are targeting can tell you something about their own positioning efforts. For example, based on the top-performing pages of their website and keyword optimization efforts, what kind of customers does it appear they are targeting? Are you also targeting these customers – or should you be?
Your SEO research may also help uncover new competitors your broader marketing team is not yet aware of. By monitoring search results for your own keywords, you may come across emerging brands that are worth watching in the future if you want to maintain a competitive edge in more than just the search results.
Then you need to find out which additional keywords they are targeting and how they are using them on their website. This will give you an idea of what type of content these competitors produce, as well as how they are using it to drive traffic. Once you have a strong understanding of your competitors’ strategies, you can better ensure your own positioning is designed to make your brand stand out from the crowd.
The key here is to look at your competitors’ websites with a holistic approach. Try to understand what they may be doing that is being favored by search algorithms and users alike. Is it the quality of their content? Does their tone of voice or editorial style play a role in communicating their message? Are they focused on communicating their expertise instead of pushing more sales-focused content? And is that leading to increased brand awareness and website traffic?
SEO insights to inform your target audience research & customer personas
- Search trends can help marketing teams identify the questions your customers are likely to have about your product, so you can create content to address these concerns (and drive more traffic).
- If competitors are actively engaging in link building and PR (and if they are doing it well), SEO research can help find the relevant websites where they are securing mentions and backlinks. You can then find out the potential audiences these websites attract and determine if they may be a good fit for your own marketing efforts.
There should be an obvious overlap between your target audience and the people using search engines to find answers, products, or services related to your business.
The information you have about your target audience (customer profiles, buyer personas, etc.) can benefit tremendously from the information you can uncover from SEO tools and Google itself.
One of the first things you can do to improve your customer persona profiles with SEO data is to spend time looking at the websites being surfaced in the SERPs for specific keywords. You can spot the different types of companies that appear for your head terms (commercial keywords). This could get you closer to determining who your core audience is and help you identify opportunities for audience expansion.
While doing this, you should keep a close eye on how the copy is worded on these sites and try to gauge who your competitors are targeting. Some companies may have pages that exactly explain who they target (i.e. “Who we help”, “Client case studies”) which is where you may be able to find precisely the clients they work with.
Looking at what questions people ask is another great way to learn more about your audience and the things they care about. Your strategy will hit the target if you can identify these pain points and create a website experience that meets users’ intent.
Another way to assess new opportunities relating to your target audience is by analyzing competitors’ backlinks. If a competitor is actively engaging in PR, brand building, and link acquisition (and if they are doing it right), it is likely they are building links from websites that get visited by their target audience.
SEO insights & overall marketing measurement
- Being able to track what is happening in the SERPs is essential, but some of the most useful information comes from data on how users interact with your website once they have landed on it.
- The experts recommend tracking as much as possible. So, if a question from another team ever comes up, the data is there to share with them. Some people may argue that you track too much, but when you have access to a lot of data, finding the right answers becomes easier.
Measuring SEO performance and the success (or failures) that come with it, can bring in invaluable information that can be shared with different teams. This data can then be used to determine which strategies are working, where the website needs improvement, and what areas should be focused on in the future.
There are many different SEO metrics that can be tracked and measured, including traffic, rankings, conversions, and more. The end goal is always to increase revenue while optimizing costs – but it is also important to consider how each metric relates to one another. If you’re running a business, you want to be generating revenue with a healthy ROI.
The bottom line
SEO can be a powerful asset to any business. The insights your SEO team can provide you with can make sure that when people look for your products or services online, they find you and choose you over competitors.
Although CRO is not the main aspect of SEO, your team can benefit from understanding what may contribute to changes in conversion rates, which can have a direct impact on sales revenue. Seeking insights from organic search means your business will have another string in your marketing bow.
Dwarika Web Solutions is a leading SEO company that can help you outshine your competition. Feel free to contact us at +1 (855) 561-4557 to speak with a professional!