How do you use SEO to improve your business? The answer: Search engine optimization (SEO) marketing. Search engine optimization (SEO) marketing is the practice of prioritizing and executing a search engine optimization content marketing strategy to expand your brand's visibility, improve organic search rankings and click-through rates, and drive traffic to your website to increase or conversions.
Why is SEO Marketing Important?
The average website receives as much as 80% of traffic from search engines, so its important to search engine optimize (see our top five SEO tips for help)—so your customers can find you and your products and services. SEO marketing extends optimization by finding and capturing new authoritative content opportunities that can rank well in search engines to drive new traffic to your website and boost your domain authority.
What is SEO Marketing?
To learn more about why SEO marketing is important, let's first start with an example. Two companies sell the same product—for example yoga mats or mechanical engineering bachelor's degrees. Both companies create SEO optimized content pages following web writing best practices while using call-to-action buttons. Their products are of equal quality and they compete in the same markets.
One company performs SEO marketing by creating additional authoritative, detailed, optimized content on their website that helps their customers—webpages that answer questions or help with tasks:
- how to clean your yoga mat
- best yoga programs as you age
- how do I research and vet yoga instructors?
- how much to mechanical engineers make?
- what is mechanical engineering?
- what jobs to mechanical engineers get?
In our yoga mat example, maybe the user wasn't initially shopping for yoga mats—just a way to clean their current mat. They perform an online search, find your webpage, appreciate your well-detailed instructions, see that your company is reputable, and decide to buy a new yoga mat from you either now or in the near future.
In our mechanical engineering example, perhaps a parent is looking into what mechanical engineering is all about because their child mentioned majoring in mechanical engineering once they graduate from high school. The parent finds your website via an online search, is impressed by the throughout details you have provided, notices that your university is well-regarded for its mechanical engineering bachelor's degree, and pushes their student to apply to your school.
In these examples, SEO marketing is used to attract additional visitors to your website. Some of these visitors may turn into customers—now or in the future. When done right, creating additional well-ranking, authoritative pages will also boost your website's overall domain authority, which can also help your product and services pages to rank better in search engines.
Best Practices for SEO Marketing
Create an SEO marketing plan by making a list of content opportunities. A good content opportunity is one that your company can speak to with clarity, accuracy, and authority. Think: what content can I create to help my customers? You can also benchmark your competitors for ideas, to see what additional content they provide. Your content opportunities list should become a list of keyword phrases (like the examples provided above).
Analyzing Search Volume
Once you have a list of content opportunities in the form of keyword phrases, you need to prioritize them. Use a search volume estimation tool, like Moz or Ubersuggest, to see which topics are searched for the most. Many search volume tools also let you know how competitive the different keyword phrases are. Some even give you alternative phrases to consider. Depending on your standing in your industry and the skill level of your content writer, you may want to aim for medium volume searches, but with less competition. Make adjustments to your list as necessary based on your research.
Once you have developed your ranked content opportunity list, it is time to develop the content. Make sure to craft web-friendly content following best practices for SEO. Don't forget to optimize the URLs that you choose.
Successfully Launch New Content
Once your content is developed, you must follow these steps to ensure your new page(s) will successfully get picked up by search engines and gain traffic:
- Interlink the new content with relevant related content within your site
- If your site is not crawled frequently, submit your new URL(s) via a site map or search engine tool
- Share your new content on social media to spark an initial wave of traffic
Measures SEO Marketing Results
Google Search Console (GSC) is a great free tool that measures Google search engine data for your website. Moz is a great paid tool that can track several search engine metrics for your website. Use GSC, Moz, or other tools to track the volume of search traffic that your website currently receives along with the keyword phrases that are bringing in traffic. This lets you document the traffic your were receiving before you started your SEO marketing project and—eventually—how search engine traffic changes. If you are using a paid tool like Moz, you can also track the changes to your keyword phrase rankings and domain authority over time.
Depending on your technical expertise (or that of your web staff), you can use Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, UTM tracking, and other tools to track leads generated by your SEO marketing efforts. Some CRMs even allow you to pass UTM tracking into your customer database.
If you want to learn more about search engine optimization, we recommend the following resources:
- What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
- Best tips for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Technical Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Writing for the Web
- Selecting Great URLs
- Digital Marketing Terms and Definitions
- MTU Webmaster's Blog—specific post about SEO and Usability
- Moz—professional blog and SEO tools
- Google Search Console—a great reference for understanding your Google site stats