Search Engine Optimization and Marketing Automation
You can’t spend any time studying online marketing without reading the term “search engine optimization.” Still, you might be a little fuzzy about what this term means, and you might be even more confused regarding how it relates to marketing automation. Let’s take a look at what search engine optimization (SEO) is and how marketing automation can help your SEO efforts.
What Is SEO?
SEO is a set of techniques that marketers use to grow visibility in the online world in order to improve organic search engine rankings. There are various components involved in a successful SEO campaign, including keyword research, link building, content marketing, on-page optimization, and social networking. A solid marketing strategy utilizes all of these components in order to create a powerful campaign that helps a website move up in the search engine rankings.
Most website owners use Google Analytics or other similar tools to track their results. These tools provide them with instant results. They see immediate cause and effect results for their SEO campaigns, but they don’t get long-term results with these analytics. That makes it impossible for them to understand their return on investment for their SEO campaigns.
That is where marketing automation saves the day.
Marketing Automation and SEO
Marketing automation tools provide tracking options that you can’t get with traditional analytics software. Instead of just giving you the cause and effect relationship between your SEO efforts and your traffic, marketing automation provides you with the value of the traffic.
For instance, if someone visits your site because of your SEO efforts, marketing automation software immediately starts tracking that person. The software can continue to track that visitor every time he or she comes to your site. It will record what they are interested in when they get to your website, what content they download, which videos they watch, and more. Not only does this allow you to hyper-target your marketing or nurture efforts based on the person’s actions, it also makes it much easier for you to determine if you’re making a profit with your SEO efforts
ROI is possibly your most important marketing statistic available. If you cannot track your ROI, you don’t know if you’re making or losing money. That is why marketing automation is so important in regards to your SEO campaign. Add marketing automation to your SEO efforts to see the other half of search engine marketing.
Although Google’s algorithm changed quite dramatically over the past few years, proper keyword research is necessary to creating great content. Although the days of keyword stuffing meta-tags on your webpages are over, keyword research is still quite important-it allows you to direct your content in a certain way as well as give search engines some clues about what your website has to offer.
We’ve discussed the importance of context before. Creating context in your writing helps Google determine what your pages are about and how close to the top of search engine rankings your site should be. Context is everything-but without the proper keywords in place, you still can’t build context. Your content needs to be easily followed, interesting to your audience and well curated-and to do this you’re going to need some signal words that give both your audience and search engines an idea of a centralized theme.
Keyword Research with Google
Until fairly recently, just about anyone could use Google’s keyword research tool in order to come up with a lengthy, relevant keyword list based on industry and page content. In the past few months, Google’s keyword tool has changed. The change now essentially forces you to look at keywords the same way Google’s Adwords program does. Keywords are now grouped together in tighter clusters with a more centralized theme.
This further signals Google’s commitment to creating context-based results for its users. Your content can’t just be about individual keywords, but must involve these themes. When you’re creating content for your audience, ask yourself this: is there more than one keyword that would explain the theme surrounding your content? If you could sum up 4 to 5 different keywords, for instance, to explain your blog content, what would those keywords be? Considering context when creating content is absolutely critical to ensuring better placement in search engines.
Translating Your Data to Adwords
If your company uses Google Adwords, you can also translate the information and statistics you get from your blog readers over to your ad groups. Do certain readers respond better to content you created using a certain cluster of keywords? What copy insights users to take action when they read your article or blog? If you can answer these questions – and you can using Lead Liaison’s digital marketing analytics – you can determine ad copy that may work better for you in your Google Adwords ad groups.
Lead Liaison’s writers create content using only the latest known technology in keyword research and contextual search science. Chat with us today about your site and let us come up with a strategy that will work for you!
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Marketing Automation Excuse: We Need an SEO Strategy First
The purpose of SEO is to generate quality leads from otherwise unidentified sources.
A good SEO strategy is going to deliver X number of visitors to your website. You paid for 100% of those visitors, yet industry statistics show that on average, only 2% of those visitors are likely to identify themselves. This is even more unnerving when you consider the increasing costs of SEO, and diminishing returns which market pressures are placing on the SEO industry.
With SEO & MA working in tandem, you are likely to be able to identify 10-100% of your SEO generated visitors depending on your technology and approach. Using SEO by itself is like buying a Boat & Fishing License (SEO), but not bring a net (Marketing Automation). Marketers that recommend SEO without MA are doing just that!
It gets more dramatic
While there are many solutions for visitor tracking and reporting, not all solutions are the same. In fact, some companies stop at generic analytics!
Here is the problem: Visitor reporting does not help you distinguish serious prospects from college kids researching your company for an upcoming paper.
A quality program will not only track but will score a prospective individual’s demonstrated actions/interests. SEO does not track quality. Quality Marketing Automation programs like Lead Liaison will!
There is a strong synergy created when companies use a quality SEO strategy in conjunction with a program like Lead Liaison’s Marketing Automation platform. Any progressive marketing strategy that involves SEO must also include Marketing Automation at the outset in order to justify the value of the potential value of an SEO investment.
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We’ve talked about how Google’s ever-increasing [not set] parameters affect search engine marketing – but how can you tailor your sales process to better discover how users find you? Most SEOs and other digital marketers are viewing [not set] as a dead end – but if you can communicate about search queries with clients directly, you can get some valuable search data.
The “How Did You Find Us?”
If you’ve ever filled out a business comment card, you’ve probably told a company how you found out about their products or services. Online, this question tends to be a little antiquated these days, as a quick look at Google Analytics or the Lead Liaison Dashboard show us where to pull user search queries.
Now that technology is changing on us, there’s no reason we can’t bring back those helpful comment cards in a more digital-friendly format. It’s completely acceptable to ask clients straight away how they found you, including what they typed into Google to get to your website.
Search Engine Marketing and Engagement
Some folks just aren’t going to tell you – whether they’re uncomfortable doing so or just don’t feel like it – and that’s okay. But some are, and this could result in a data goldmine for you that your competitors aren’t even going to consider.
You can include a “How did you find us” dropdown on your email newsletter signup, with an extra blank that asks your client to specify a keyword they typed in to get to your website. You could also send out an incentive-based reader poll with “how did you find us?” questions making up the bulk of the survey. You’d be surprised at what even long-time clients are able to remember about getting to your website.
Try coaching your sales team to ask this question regularly by including it as part of a responsive call script or intake form. If you make the question part of your sales and marketing process, it will be natural for members of your team to start asking. Most importantly, don’t forget to ask what clients typed in to find you. If you throw around words like “keyword”, “key term” or “search query” clients may have no idea what you’re talking about. The terminology is important!
When you have this data, start compiling it to account for some appearances of [not set]. You’re not fighting against the system here – you’re engaging with clients and doing your own homework to support your analytics data.
For more search engine marketing ideas that will help you understand your business stats, talk to a member of the Lead Liaison team today!
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The latest Google update change, Hummingbird, rocked the search engine world this week. What’s most interesting about this update is that most SEO experts didn’t even see it coming. The algorithm has actually been in effect for over a month, and is Google’s largest update in years.
Small businesses are particularly nervous about the change. The Panda and Penguin programs Google rolled out in the last few years significantly damaged rankings for many businesses, literally causing small businesses to go under in some cases. This is particularly true for those that were relying on organic rankings to provide search engine traffic. If your business relies on help from the search engines to get new customers, you don’t necessarily have to worry-you just have to make sure your site is set up to provide more contextual engagement with your potential client base.
Working With the Hummingbird Update
The latest Google update ensures that not just a few keywords will rank a site – all of the keywords in a search query are important for determining search engine position. For instance, before this update someone could type in Train fares in Nova Scotia. Sites with good keyword ranking for Nova Scotia or train fares might show up, rather then search engine results that actually match with the user is looking for.
With this latest update, Google puts an emphasis on the user’s actual intent. Now, the user typing in train fares in Nova Scotia is more likely to actually get train fares rather than just general information that’s irrelevant to the query.
You can get a better idea of how your particular site is affected by checking your URL’s analytics and other metrics.
How does this affect your small business?
If your site is already rich in information and you have fairly streamlined advertising campaigns and an SEO plan, you shouldn’t necessarily worry about the latest Google update. What you should worry about is continuing to make sure that your advertising campaigns are in line with your SEO, and that the content you’re putting on your site is relevant to your users.
Marketing automation can help you here because it can allow you to identify what users are coming to your site based on keyword searches, and how to look at information about how those searches changed over the past month. Real time search results will allow you to determine your best marketing path moving forward. Once you know your results, you can change your SEO strategy to address what users are looking for, and discover how you can better get them to your site.
Plus, with the ability to flag particular users who visit your site via IP tracking, you can give your users a customized experience that other tools just can’t. To get an idea of how those customized tools can better your business, set up a consultation with an expert at Lead Liaison today!
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I was reading this great article on What B2B SEO Professionals need to know about Marketing Automation and it got me thinking about how closely related search engine optimization (SEO) is to marketing automation. SEO is used to draw more leads to your website. Marketing automation software is used to capture, profile, nurture, and convert leads after they have landed on your site. On the other side of the coin, an effective marketing automation strategy will enhance your SEO efforts. An important aspect of marketing automation is developing personalized and informative lead nurturing content. Posting and promoting relevant content will help to boost your search engine ranking, which in turn will send even more qualified leads to your website.
Higher Ranking = More Traffic
It is estimated that over 15 billion people conduct product searches online each month and that 70% of the world starts their buying process by researching their options online. There has never been a larger audience gathered in one place; there has also never been so much competition in one place. A high search engine ranking is the only way to keep your company ahead of your competitors. Think about the last time you conducted an online search. Did you look at any websites on the second or third page of the results? Unless someone is doing extensive comparison shopping, they will only look at the first few websites on the list. It pays to be on the first page of the results.
SEO + Marketing Automation = Success
Companies need to focus on SEO before they employ marketing automation software. This will increase the number of leads the software is able to track. The software will then profile the leads and rank each one based on their likelihood for conversion. Leads that are showing signs of conversion will be immediately past onto the sales team. A marketing automation strategy should also involve nurturing any leads that are not ready to be passed onto sales. This could be done using customized email campaigns, newsletters, or helpful how-to articles. To continue the flow of new traffic, lead nurturing efforts must take SEO into consideration. Any content connected to your website is an opportunity to improve your search engine ranking using relevant and strategically placed keywords and meta-tags.
Comprehensive Marketing Strategy
In today’s competitive marketplace, businesses need to employ any and every marketing technique that will give them a competitive advantage online. Their marketing strategy should always include SEO, social media marketing, and a complete marketing automation strategy. All of these strategic components will complement each other and enhance one another’s campaign results. They can even double or triple a company’s existing sales when they are effectively combined. That is why SEO is so necessary to the success of your marketing automation strategy.
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Search engine optimization has been around for over 15 years. And marketing automation has been taking the B2B world by storm over the past few years. Although each provides distinct capabilities for digital marketing, when combined they make a potent combination.
SEO has evolved as Panda then Penguin have changed search marketing strategies. The evolution of SEO provides an opportunity to leverage the strengths of MA; namely, the ability to understand how well organic and paid campaigns have been and the development of other search marketing practices (such as back linking or social campaigns). The key is to use SEO and marketing automation together to optimize marketing effectiveness.
Marketing automation allows marketers to track lead behavior. Search patterns provide potential indications of buyers’ intentions. It seems like a natural fit to combine your SEO strategy with a marketing automation system. With the information available within an MA platform, SEO campaigns can be linked to a deeper view of Web activity and, ultimately, to conversions. SEO performance can be tracked from click to close. Search campaigns can be evaluated through MA analytics then modified based upon the insight platform users have into keywords and referral sources; campaigns can then be optimized to match traffic patterns. MA can help demonstrate ROI for both paid and organic campaigns.
When integrated with a CRM, such as Microsoft Dynamics, a marketing automation platform like our Lead Management Automation™ can point marketing managers to KPIs where the true dollar attribution is visible. Existing SEO analytics products fall short of that capability. By combining SEO and MA, marketers have a wider scope into buyer behavior. Page views and other content consumption data can provide direction for developing lead-centric content marketing initiatives and site architecture modifications. Not only can MA provide keyword performance metrics for search activities but also within email campaigns and landing pages. Link building is more effective when combining SEO and MA by using the trackable link function, which allows users to follow leads through search, social, and other pathways. The lead intelligence provided through this function can help shape link building strategies more effectively than standalone SEO reporting.
Finally, using MA with SEO allows businesses to budget with more agility, basing decisions on actual revenue generation capabilities of search marketing tactics. Using only SEO analytics requires managers to adjust budget based on traffic, not close rates.
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You’ve probably studied numerous search engine optimization tactics which assist your business in saving money normally spent on marketing efforts. The general consensus states you’ve probably read how inbound marketing tactics will grow your business by producing enticing content which organically ranks. Combining both SEO tactics and inbound marketing efforts into one sweet package, however, is an area we’ll implore your astute business sense in today, providing specific steps on how progressive SEO tactics which define inbound marketing can redefine your business presence online. Content is great, keywords are necessary and meta data definitely needs accuracy. We’ll stretch well beyond those ideologies today, however, and bring your link efforts to light by introducing better content strategies.
Solving The Keyword Puzzle
It may seem trivial to many businesses; however, when businesses begin their online explorations they need to clearly define keywords before opening their doors, yet you’d be surprised how inaccurately this is done. Many people use the Google Keyword Research Tool to find their highly relevant and widely searched keywords, hoping to vault immediately ahead of competition. Sure, it works to a point. What would be even better is employing keyword co-occurrence, otherwise called semantic connectivity. Since recent updates to algorithmic patterns mean content is under fire, choosing words which naturally have similar meaning or belong with each other will make your keyword selection seem less forceful. For example, let’s say you operate a music website; here is the old way and new way.
Older way to choose keywords: music, musical, a music, music a, music store
Newer way to choose keywords: audio, melodies, tunes, sounds, beats, songs
As you can see, we’re using synonyms of these keywords as our main website meta data. We’ll then write content which blends these terms into something which naturally looks like it belongs. Why is this relevant to inbound marketing? The more natural your content is written without forcing keywords, the greater relevance Google will find in your content which organically raises your position in search results.
Buddy Up With Blogs
Next phase of inbound SEO is how Google will adjudicate relationships you’ve formed with similar niche sites. To increase your site’s worth, the evolution of guest blogging has now become hotter than ever, and for perfect reasons. Instead of comment spamming to get relevant links, we’ll need to locate blogs related to your business and write for them with only one relevant deep site link in either your author bio or within content (depending on site rules). How do we find guest blogs? Here are some specific ways we can do this:
Use My Blog Guest to find blog or site owners looking for relevant content. Write the content to their specifications with specific reference to a blog post within your own blog. Sign your guest post with author biography dictating what your business or blog is about.
Search Google cold-turkey by using the following search query – blog: “submit guest post”. You could specify “powered by WordPress” or even throw a specific keyword in your search query. Alternatively, you could simply search for ‘top places to submit guest post’ and sift through thousands of blogs all day to find your niche. Not exactly effective time management, however, to take this route when better search strings are available to use.
Once you’ve found relevant blogs where your content can reside, and upon approval of your post, you can write another post on your site with the title of your recently approved guest post as a themed link. This gives you both juice and makes people want to follow your other stories.
Why is this relevant to inbound marketing? Simply put, Google wants your content to contain inbound and outbound links to content which is similar to your own instead of boring contextual links parked in your link section. The more you guest post and share your ideas with others, the more others will be drawn back to your content.
Making Internal Connections
Equally important to inbound marketing is tactically linking content together within your website to tell Google that everything you’re writing about or selling is relevant to each other, and keywords which you’ve chosen to target. This is great for not only getting better page ranks, but also perfect for targeting search traffic to generate customer traffic specifically targeted to your businesses. Making sure to link each keyword to specific keywords which belong together between content will greatly improve your inbound marketing efforts.
Ideas To Increase Content Readability
Since the greatest inbound marketing tactic which professional SEO companies will not tell you is organic rankings are golden, your efforts all begin with providing readable content your readers can relate to. These readers will naturally find you if your content doesn’t appear to be repetitious, and avoiding repetition means coming up with well-discovered content from your own expertise and not copied from other sources. Let’s look at several ways that naturally relevant content can create organic SEO opportunities which directly feed into the definition of inbound marketing.
Solve problems. You can write how-to’s, funny literature and content which seems to be heart-felt yet people have issues, and your business needs to address consumer woes and solve them. When writing your content, keep in mind prevalent worldwide issues. Address the issues, what problems these issues are causing, and how you plan on defeating these problematic areas. Constantly telling people how to do something will rob your business of customers as you’ll simply teach consumers how not to use your product or service.
Answer questions. If your website or blog receives lots of inquiries, perhaps spend your time writing content which collectively answers these questions. When people feel suppressed by your solvency, they’ll be more apt to purchase from you or at least follow your content closer.
Debrief customers. People always wonder how things work in boiler rooms, office meetings or in datacenters. Deliver a sense of demystification by describing what really goes on behind closed doors so people feel more ‘in the loop’ with you. Making people feel completely in control opens more doors, and brings better meaning to word of mouth advertising.
Provide visualizations. Google loves videos, great content and website interaction. You can easily combine the three to propel your inbound marketing efforts to the next stratosphere by making videos of your content, and even providing afterthoughts under the video. When people have visual verification you exist, the walls come down and more business will come your way.
The Main Inbound Marketing SEO Tactic Is Content
If you list every possible search engine optimization method known to man, many relate to outbound marketing. Link building, social sharing, PPC and other major forms of generating mass traffic are all relevant to shouting at customers instead of letting them find you. Content creation, both through guest blogging and self-published works, is the best and only effective mannerism which inbound marketing truly comes to form. Content may not be ‘king’ in the books of many SEO professionals, yet Google is proving through recent changes that more brownie points are given to websites which have useful, well-researched and deeply linked content as opposed to those who have millions of irrelevant links or multitudes of social media followings.
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We spotted some research done by Marketing Sherpa and HubSpot highlighting why blogging is a very effective inbound marketing tool. The research sparked the thought of sharing results of our own blogging efforts. At Lead Liaison, we’ve seen tremendous benefit in our blogging campaign. We launched our blogging strategy at the beginning of 2011. Our goal is “blog 104”, blogging twice per week every week of the year (52 weeks x 2 = 104 blogs). We’ve already seen a huge increase in organic SEO website visits because of our strategy. Our website traffic has increased by 243% since we started. Our approach is simple. We’d like to share five things we’ve done and hope this will help your blogging efforts:
5 Rules of Blogging to Increase Inbound Marketing:
1. Use a content management system (CMS) such as Word Press or Drupal for your blogging platform. Many tools are included out of the box to help you optimize every blog page for optimal traffic. For example, tools to link keywords to other pages (something viewed positive by the search engines), defining keywords and description, and more. Lead Liaison uses Word Press. 2. Use Google’s Keyword Tool and pick one keyword per blog page. Optimize your article around the keyword. 3. Blog frequently, keep a “blog 104” or “blog 52” rule in mind. 4. Keep blog posts short. Try to limit blog posts to four paragraphs or less. 5. You don’t always have to write new content. Use 3rd party articles and comment on them in your blog post.
Benefits of Blogging:
As mentioned, blogging has increased Lead Liaison’s traffic considerably. Marketing Sherpa and HubSpot shared a few highlights from their survey on why blogging is an effective inbound marketing tool: • Companies who blog get 55% more visitors on the site. • 55% of companies that blog have acquired a new client because of that. • Blogging is the most effective social marketing tactic. This is directly linked to the popularity of blogs as platforms for optimized organic searches, as well as the blog’s inherent ability to retain the attention of the public. • Most B2B marketing professionals search for key-words and create pertinent content, in line with the subject matter that surrounds them. One of the most popular content platforms is the blog. It’s a given that blogging isn’t easy, but B2B companies should do it (because it works). Blogging will increase website visits, help acquire new clients and boost your social media strategy. For a free consultation on how you can increase ROI of blogging contact Lead Liaison. How has blogging helped your company? Sources: 2011 Survey research by HubSpot (76% of respondents were B2B professionals) and Marketing Sherpa 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report To be alerted of future posts, please click on the RSS button.
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