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Stepping Stones for SEO

SEO GazelleOur ThoughtsStepping Stones for SEO

Marketing and seo consultants often forget to stick to the core of what makes your seo campaign successful. Below we will outline just a few aspects of what makes many of our seo campaigns flourish.

Remember: The Factors of SEO are Just Stepping Stones to a Successful Campaign!

Step One is to create an online environment for your company where SEO techniques can thrive. This mostly means establishing a professional website, as well as making sure that support mechanisms are in place to complement and leverage online activities. We’re talking here about things like social media sites and blogs, content marketing and so on.

With everything in place – including the all-important support of SEO professionals – it’s time to formulate a strategy for success. It’s important that this includes a timeline. On the one hand, it’s important to realize that SEO is not a ‘quick fix,’ that it can take many months of hard work to achieve the desired result. On the other hand, SEO should never be allowed to drift.’ While a daily focus on progress is too intense, and a quarterly approach too lax, a monthly assessment and mini-report may highlight where any changes are needed.

The methodologies for achieving and improving high page positions on Google are well-documented and fall outside the scope of this article. It’s safe to say, however, that achieving Page One search engine rankings for a range of chosen keywords is what investing in SEO is all about.

On the face of it, higher SERPs rankings (Search Engine Results Pages) are only a means to an end. A higher position on Google equals a higher share of the clicks from searchers wanting to match keywords with a rewarding search experience in the shape of web pages with relevant, informative content.

If one looks a little closer at what can only be described as ‘the new marketing process,’ higher page rankings create additional benefits – more stepping stones towards achieving improved sales success.

The 3 ‘Vs’ of Effective SEO

A Page One presence on Google delivers what could be summed up as the ’3 Vs’:

Visibility: Being visible i.e. ranked highly on Page One, can lead to ‘Competitor Demolition.’ Good SEO can blow your competitors out of the water for many months. Given that things don’t change very quickly on Google’s results pages, this can mean a sustained period of profitable, competitive advantage.

Virtual Awareness: A high-ranking presence across major keywords for a brand or company creates the buzz of ‘subliminal branding!’ All online activities associated with, and linked to, high page rankings – e.g. social media and online content of all types – generates ‘leverage of association.’ (This can also include offline activity.)

Vague Third Party Endorsement:
 The ‘perception of excellence’ created by high page ranking on Google generates a feeling (however misplaced) that here is a successful company or brand. This is comparable to the third party endorsement created by the human element in PR. ‘Endorsement by SEO’ (albeit by robots) has a similar ‘halo’ effect.

Advertising, Visibility and SEO Stepping Stones

Organic SEO can be compared to advertising in the way it reaches out to its target audience. For advertising to be effective, it must involve targeting specific audiences and matching various sales messages across various media including national press, TV and radio, B2B trade or professional press and so on.

Obviously, SEO uses keywords to deliver the search results that appeal to interested sectors. The comparisons end when it comes to the socio-economic aspects of the advertising audience, but web pages are more about informing than persuading. The onus therefore rests with the searcher when it comes to deciding whether to engage with a specific website. It’s worth remembering also that this is just the ‘Attention’ phase in the sales cycle.

The visibility associated with having a ‘respectable’ organic ranking is only another stepping stone along the way to achieving sales success in ‘the new marketing process.’ Given that closing a sale involves overcoming a host of objections and replacing them with desirable outcomes, it’s interesting to note the limitations of SEO in this respect (which further underlines its ‘stepping stone’ status):

Landing Page Factors: First impressions created by things like design, copywriting and ease of navigation.

Delivering a ‘Call To Action’: Is the page content relevant to the search result, and is it persuasive enough to result in the desired ‘call to action’?

Making a Sale: Once contact is made with the company behind the web page, what is the ‘likeability factor’? Does the interpersonal chemistry work? How convincing or appropriate are marketing factors such as pricing, value, service, product quality and so on?

It’s clear from all this that even though the SEO has performed its initial and essential function of achieving a high page position for a client, many other marketing obstacles remain in the way of making a sale. There are of course many other ways of attracting prospects – direct mail, advertising, telemarketing and PR to name just a few.

There’s no doubting, however, that the shift towards online marketing (and the budgets that go with it) has been remarkable. The role of SEO in all this is crucial to a company’s online visibility and success. That said, business is ultimately about transactions between people – and not machines.

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