As a business owner or marketing professional, you know how important digital marketing is to grow your business.
Whether it’s social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, or the bare minimum of having a visitor-worthy website, if you have any brand awareness or successfully drive sales via the internet, you’re leveraging a digital channel to some degree.
But, in addition to the obvious digital marketing channels – those through which you pay for the ability to promote your business – are you also optimizing your website for search engines?
Many marketing departments completely skip over SEO or give it minimal effort. What they don’t realize is that search engine optimization is their secret weapon and the missing piece to a successful digital marketing strategy.
Why do you need search engine optimization?
Traffic to your website is good no matter where it comes from. Targeted traffic is better. Free targeted traffic? That’s how you maximize your return on investment.
How do you get free targeted traffic? By optimizing your website for Google (and other search engines) and creating quality content.
Google wants to provide relevant results (web pages) to search queries. The most relevant of which are on the first page of the search results. When Google succeeds in providing relevant results, the searcher is more likely to use Google in the future.
But not just relevant websites – websites with stellar user experience, load quickly and are visually appealing. How you accomplish this for your website is search engine optimization. It increases the chances that when someone is searching the internet for what you offer, your website will be what they see.
In other words, free targeted traffic.
SEO as a piece of the digital marketing pie
SEO has its drawbacks. Most notably is the fact that it can take months to see any changes in where your website ranks after optimizing your site. For really competitive markets, it can take longer.
It’s a never-ending process. Optimization is something you will always do especially considering that you’re beholden to Google’s randomly updated algorithm.
For these reasons and others, search engine optimization works better when it’s a part of your larger digital marketing strategy.
Here is how well SEO plays with other aspects of digital marketing:
SEO and PPC Advertising
Ideally, your SEO strategy begins before your PPC (pay-per-click) strategy. This is because when building your website, you incorporate elements of good technical SEO – site speed, URL structure, mobile responsiveness, redirects and more.
Even with an optimized website, you’re unlikely to drive traffic anytime soon via your SEO strategy. In comes your PPC strategy to drive immediate traffic while your website slowly climbs the search results rankings.
Sure, immediate traffic sounds great but with PPC advertising, you pay for it. And it’s really easy to throw money. A properly managed paid search campaign will ignore negative keywords, target the right keywords, have great copy, an effective call to action and other things that are a great topic for another blog post.
So, paid search gives your search engine optimization strategy time to mature and be successful.
SEO and Content Marketing
Search engine optimization and content marketing are two peas in a digital marketing pod.
In order for quality content to rank, the aforementioned technical SEO on the website needs to be sound. You can have phenomenal content but if your website isn’t built properly, Google won’t send you traffic.
If your website is technically sound, then you only need to add consistent and fresh content that speaks directly to your target market. Don’t stop writing and watch your online presence improve.
However, it’s not a one-way street. Your content needs great SEO to rank but an optimized website needs the new, loveable content to rank in organic search – this includes posts and pages.
There’s more. A component of search engine optimization includes off-page SEO – link building. Off-page SEO is essentially building your brand’s authority in other places across the internet. It is one of the most important factors that determine your ranking.
How do you do link building? Well, Google would like you create quality content that other websites just have to send you backlinks.
SEO and Social Media Marketing
It’s important to point out something that’s not really news but still surprising to some people – social signals don’t affect your search engine ranking. Meaning, you can have umpteen followers and an untold number of likes and shares and it has no effect on your position on the search engine results page.
Or does it?
It doesn’t. At least, not directly. But doesn’t it seem reasonable that if you have spectacular, regularly updated social media profiles with shareable content people are going to want to see what your website looks like?
And because you read this article and have become convinced that you need to incorporate SEO into your digital marketing strategy, those people find an easy-to-use website, with clear navigation, optimized for both visitors and search engines.
Now you have traffic, albeit not organic traffic, going to your website. But because your website has similar shareworthy content, people start to see a trend across your digital properties and boom – you’re building trust and authority.
In other words, you’re getting leads. With a little nurturing, leads become customers.
Maximizing your online presence is key to reaching potential customers as well as keeping existing customers engaged and coming back for more. If you’re serious about increasing your brand’s exposure on the internet, search engine optimization is your secret weapon and it works best with the other forms of digital marketing.
So how do you add SEO to your existing digital marketing plan? To help you get started, check out 101 SEO Tips for Beginners. Just implementing a few of these tips will give your website a boost in the search engine rankings.