So adding in the dimensions of difficulty and effectiveness really can change things up. It also raises some important practical questions: do you go for ease or do you go for effectiveness? Let’s say you opt for effectiveness. After looking at this research data, you’re jazzed because now you know which SEO tactics are the most fruitful, the most productive. You’ve got resources, both time and money, that you can put on these, so difficulty does not have to a roadblock for you. But what happens if that’s not the case for you? Perhaps you’re a smaller organization, and resources are tight. When you look at the data on this chart, what does it tell you to do? Do you take the easier path, so you’re at least doing something and making some impact? Maybe you bust through the tactics on the far right of the horizontal axis – those that take less time, money and effort - so you can do more of them? Or do you put everything you have into one or two of the most effective? We could on and on with questions and scenarios. But the bottomline is this.
Most often, the answer is “Do the best possible thing for your audience that a search engine can understand.” Google is an algorithm that tries to measure what human beings like or value. Since Google is attempting to think like a human, don’t get caught up being the human trying to think like a robot that’s trying to think like a human. Do great marketing and if I doesn’t rank today, it will soon, and it will stay ranked as long as humans like it.
Content: Talk about your competency. When you’re making an SEO tactics decision, spend resources communicating to a search engine what you do. Example: “since 1967, our company has been committed to quality products and great service” versus “our company sells email marketing software ad retargeting strategies that allow you to reach out to new and current customers with exceptional delivery rates and ROI.”
Links: references on a resume. Make tactical decisions based on a balance of link quality and longevity. Quantities of links are not as powerful today as they were in years past.
Links from your business partners lend their credibility as a reference Google counts as credibility for your brand.
Architecture: A search engine can only read what you serve it, but its resources are limited. Spend resources only on SEO tactics that produce the kinds of digital signals that can be absorbed by search engine spiders
Social: the frontier of search. Web 2.0 matters to search engines because it’s a better indication of what’s popular to the general public. Most SEO can incorporate social, so make strategic decisions about SEO that can leverage social signals as well:
Strategy : Right side of the box, get your house in order first to sustain your tactical decisions
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Speakers • Kaci Bower, Senior Research Analyst, MarketingSherpa @KaciBower http://www.linkedin.com/in/kacibower Kaci.Bower@MECLABS.com • Jen Doyle, Senior Research Manager, MarketingSherpa @JenLDoyle http://www.linkedin.com/in/jenldoyle Jen.Doyle@MECLABS.com • Jesse Laffen, Manager of Consulting, Slingshot SEO @jlaffen #sherpawebinar
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MECLABS - A science lab with a consultancy MECLABS Sciences Group Primary Research Applied Research Conversion Leads Technology Training Strategy Agency Group Group Group Group Group Group • 1,300+ major experiments • 1,000+ case studies • 100+ major research studies • 10,000 sales-paths tested • 500,000 “decision-makers” surveyed • 100+ summit/trainings/webinars/clinics #sherpawebinar
MarketingSherpa is a research and publishingorganization serving the marketing community• MarketingSherpa’s annual research cycle provides knowledge for continuous marketing improvement #sherpawebinar
Today, we’re going to discuss: 1| Top challenges and objectives for search marketers 2| Most important lead sources 3| Using data and processes to inform SEO tactical decisions 4| ABC 5| ABC #sherpawebinar
Research Background1,530 Search marketers weresurveyed on: • Challenges and goals for search programs • Lead sources growing in importance • Popularity, effectiveness and difficulty per SEO tactic #sherpawebinar
Marketers depend on SEO.And SEO depends on marketers.
Marketers depend on SEO Traffic Leads Rankings ListingsSEO depends on marketersCustomer research and insight Relevant content Optimized content #sherpawebinar
Too many SEO choices can create confusion #sherpawebinar
How do you decide which SEO tactics hold the most promise for you?#sherpawebinar
Try a simple equation. Data SEO Tactics Process #sherpawebinar
Benefits of looking at data first• Harnesses the wisdom of crowds• Challenges biases and preferences• Heightens quantitative analysis• Draws out past successes and challenges to inform present practices and future decisions #sherpawebinar
Benefits of a process • Protects you from jumping straight into action without developing a plan of attack • Arms you with a competitive advantage • Uses data as a context for making and prioritizing decisions #sherpawebinar
Organizations with a methodical SEO process 21% • No process • No guidelines Trial Phase The disciplined application of a consistent and methodical process for 48% • Informal process planning, executing and • Few guidelines Transition Phase • Sporadically performed measuring SEO programs still eludes many organizations. 29% • Formal process • Thorough guidelines Strategic Phase • Routinely performed #sherpawebinar
Hear the difference? Specificity.Please describe the process your organization uses to plan your SEO strategy. We have a spreadsheet for Watching trends and our website with all of the specific pages listed. We have tweaking as seems Right now it is hit and fields for meta necessary. Doing some tags, keywords, and an overall miss, nothing formal. testing. page description. We also list how we want the images tagged with alt text. We sat down and prioritized our keywords, and we now are working to increase our traffic-- Trial Phase marketer -- Transition Phase marketer about four keywords at a time. -- Strategic Phase marketer #sherpawebinar
Case Study: Background Experiment ID: Makana Solutions Location: MarketingSherpa Case Study Library Test Protocol Number: #CS31765Research Notes: Problem: Makana provides subscription-based software that helps organizations perform sales compensation planning. But few prospects knew the SaaS solution was available and weren’t actively searching for it. Goal: Become a top destination for advice about sales compensation planning. Approach: Execute 5 steps to revamp website and improve SEO effectiveness. #sherpawebinar
Step 1: Content creationAim:• Help prospects answer questions about their sales compensation planning challengesMethods:• Created and offered content based on best practices for sales compensation planning Sample sales compensation plans Educational webinars #sherpawebinar
Step 2: Keyword researchAim:• Optimize website around high-value search termsMethods:• Researched broad and longer-tail key terms that reflected targeted searches or specific industry verticals• Identified a list of 600 keywords• Optimized specific web pages around two or three relevant terms per page. #sherpawebinar
Step 3: Link buildingAim:• Boost inbound links to improve search rankingsMethods:• Identified sites with a high Google PageRank from which they could get a link Online directories Information sites about sales compensation planning News sites to target for their press release distribution list #sherpawebinar
Step 4: Follow-up on web leadsAim:• Convert trial members to subscribersMethods:• Required visitors to register to receive educational material• Marketed the free software trial to these leads• Kept trial account live until sales rep made contact with the prospects #sherpawebinar
Step 5: Continual monitoringAim:• Highlight the best performing tactics in order to repeat them Methods: • Monitored keyword, inbound links, and outbound campaign results "Repeatability is the key. As a young company, we have to keep growing our traffic and leads." Alan Gehring Marketing Director Makana Solutions #sherpawebinar
Results First page ranking for key industry search terms Key performance metrics Change after 3 months of adopting strategy Website traffic + 200% Lead generation rate + 200% Lead conversion rate + 100% Paid search as % of total traffic - 60% ! "We’re very happy with our success, but I’ll be honest and say we haven’t even touched the potential. The potential is tremendous to be even more successful with the realm of content we can develop for various verticals. The possibilities just go on and on.“ – Alan Gehring, Marketing Director, Makana Solutions #sherpawebinar
Want to make better tactical SEO decisions? Incorporate data into your process.
Key TakeawaysWhen choosing your SEOtactics, distinguish between –• What is a good use of your money from what is the best use• What is a good use of your time from what is the best use• What is a good use of your energy from what is the best use #sherpawebinar
Communicate What You Do “Since 1967, our company has been committed to “Our company sells email quality products and great marketing software ad retargeting service.” strategies that allow you to reach out to new and current customers with exceptional delivery rates and ROI.” #sherpawebinar
Summary• Traffic and leads are the biggest challenges and goals for search marketers• Leads from SEO are the most important• A systematic process for planning, executing and evaluating SEO programs is lacking in many organizations• To maximize your investment of time, money and effort going into your SEO tactics, use both data and a process. #sherpawebinar