SEO marketing is incredible — and more powerful than ever (despite the groans of ”SEO is dead!” that you hear, literally everywhere).
Today, 60% of ALL traffic on the internet comes from Google.
(Add in traffic from other search engines, and you’ll find about 70% of all traffic, ever, starts with a simple search.)
Combine that with a simple fact: with the right keywords, topics, quality content, and some elbow grease, you can draw in search traffic from all over the world. All the people that might never have found you otherwise.
By creating content around keywords they’re searching, including phrases and topics that matter deeply to them, you essentially become a magnet for buyers (with Google’s help).
You pull leads into your orbit without advertising, without selling – without much effort at all beyond the initial strategizing, planning, and creating.
That, my friends, is a good, basic definition for today’s term.
SEO marketing definition: noun. A series of actions, strategies, and best practices that help your website content rank higher in search results.
And, before you ask: Yes, it matters big-time.
When you rank higher in search, more people will find your content, read your content, and act on that content.
With numbers like “70% of all traffic originates from a search,” needless to say, capturing search traffic is a HUGE deal. If you have an online presence, this type of marketing is essential to master for better visibility and more leads coming in.
Need more reasons to invest in SEO marketing? We’ll explore some convincing ones coming up, plus a checklist with marketing tools and techniques to help you ensure success from start to finish.
Your SEO Marketing Guide: What’s Ahead in Our Guide to Powerful, Google-Friendly Marketing
5-Step Checklist for Successful SEO Marketing
1. Create Quality Content (With a Case Study: How the Write Blog Nets Over 24K Keyword Rankings)
2. Get Your Website Design & Site Tech Fundamentals Right
3. Follow Google’s SEO Standards for Quality (E.A.T.)
4. Be Smart About Keyword Usage
5. Use SEO Plugins and Tools to Help You Get It Done (Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress, Keyword Research Tools: SEMrush and KWFinder)
3 Things SEO Marketing Should NOT Look Like
1. Cheating for Rankings
2. Keyword Stuffing
3. Thin, Shallow, Low-Quality ContentHave you already invested in SEO marketing and creating site content optimized to rank in Google? In this Write Blog, @JuliaEMcCoy shares killer reasons why Google reigns supreme for traffic sourcing, PLUS a bonus checklist on the… Click To Tweet
3 More Reasons Why SEO Marketing Is Such a Big Deal
SEO marketing tools and techniques are good for your bottom line.
Ridiculously good. For starters:
1. Rank #1 in Google Organically, Perform 30% Better
Besides the fact that Google holds 76.03% of the total search engine market share as of June 2019, there are other reasons to aim for #1 in Google search results.
Mainly, ranking #1 in Google is a surefire way to outperform results #2-10 and earn the best ROI. It’s how you ace SEO marketing.
According to data from Advanced Web Ranking, the organic click-through rate for position #1 is 30.97% on desktops.
Compare that to the CTR for position #2: it gets slashed in half to just 15.29%.
The lower you go, the more steeply CTR drops. Position #5 gets a 4.11% CTR. Positions #9 and 10 get just over 1%.
That said, even the lowest positions on search engine results pages (SERPs) get a higher average CTR than display AND search ads, including pay per click marketing. This chart with Wordstream data shows what I mean:
The average Google Ads CTR is 3.17% on the search network and 0.46% on the display network.
Compare those numbers to the average CTR for position #7 and higher in organic Google search results, which is over 2%. In fact, as long as you rank in the top 5 positions, you’ll score an average CTR of at least 4%.
PPC marketing seems pretty lame by comparison, especially when you can double or triple your CTR by focusing on organic search results, instead.
2. Leads from SEO Marketing Are More Powerful
Let’s add more fuel to our SEO marketing fire with this little statistic: Leads coming in from SEO are far more likely to convert.
According to a Marketing Sherpa study on conversion rates for organic traffic, the average traffic-to-leads conversion rate across all industries is 16%.
That number is really, really impressive, considering the average conversion rate for Google Ads across all industries is 3.75% for search ads and 0.77% for display ads, via the Wordstream data mentioned above.
3. Search Traffic >>> Traffic from Social Media
Another good reason to dive into SEO marketing: Search drives more traffic to websites than social media (via a Shareaholic study).
Meanwhile, according to ConversionXL, clicks from social aren’t very high, either. Facebook has an average CTR of 0.72%. LinkedIn draws a dismal 0.06%. Twitter gives you the best shot at clicks with a 2% average CTR.
When it comes down to numbers, search is the better bet for pulling in traffic.
Why is #seomarketing a big deal? 3 awesome reasons: ranking #1 in Google makes your site perform 30% better, powerful leads, and more traffic from search than social media. Click To Tweet
Your Go-To Checklist for Successful SEO Marketing
You get it: SEO marketing is powerful, effective, and SO worth it.
It’s time to implement. Here’s a checklist to start with, including 5 basic steps to achieve successful SEO search marketing:
1. Create Quality Content
Quality content is everything to SEO marketing results. In fact, I would say it’s THE #1 factor.
How do I know? It’s what I’ve seen with our content at Express Writers.
Case study time.
Case Study: How Our Content Quality Nets Over 24K Keyword Rankings
I never pay a cent for ads, I never do outreach, and I never pursue backlinks. Despite that, our content at EW has seen mega-growth over its lifetime.
(Check out my most recent case study for all the little details.)
For this blog, I pulled some fresh stats: As of mid-July 2019, we are currently ranking for 24,800 keywords in Google:
And, Alexa ranks us #100,548 out of billions of websites worldwide, and at #43,373 out of 876.8 million active websites in America – craziness!
Our content quality is the major determiner, here. It’s why we have reached these heights and achieved this level of success. (Most of our consistent clients at EW see the same kind of growth, too.)
Combine content quality with consistency and volume, not to mention relevancy to our core readers, and you have a winning formula for SEO marketing.
Wondering why our graph jumped so much in growth?
January of 2016 from July of 2019 has seen a ton of growth.
In this Write Blog on how to build a content strategy framework, I detail exactly what we did to go from a measly 140 keyword rankings back in early 2016, to 3,900 keywords indexed in Google in the next 12-18 months.
- Get (build, implement, maintain) a content strategy! Need a content strategy training course?
- It’s all about mapping your topic ideas to growth. See my topic idea framework for more on that.
2. Get Your Website Design & Site Tech Fundamentals Right
Unfortunately, even if your content is of the highest quality, if your website design sucks, none of it will matter.
This is SEO marketing 101: For Google to rank your website content, the search engine crawler has to be able to find your pages, understand them, and index them.
Checking all of these boxes is more complicated than including your target keywords in the right spots or making sure your content is accurate and exceptional. While those are good practices, the more techy stuff needs to be in place, first, on the ground floor:
- The HTML code underlying your site needs to be standardized. Why? Web crawlers read the code like a language to understand what your page is about and how it’s structured. This is called site architecture.
- As search engines crawl your site, they use the links present to understand connections between pages, move from page to page, and understand your site’s page hierarchy. (The reader browses your site in the same way.)
- Most websites have sitemaps that provide an overview of all their page links and page hierarchy. These maps make it easy for search engines to crawl and understand your entire site. Here’s a diagram of how a sitemap works from HubSpot:
In a nutshell, good web design practices are necessary for good SEO. The structure of your HTML code, pages, links, and navigation will all impact how search engines crawl and rank your site. Get it right, or suffer the consequences.
3. Follow Google’s SEO Standards for Quality
If your website design and site architecture are already great, you should worry about your content quality next for effective SEO marketing.
But what IS high-quality content? What does it look like?
Don’t worry: Google has answered this question in full. Enter their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. These were written for search quality raters (humans who help hone Google’s algorithm and the accuracy of search results), but are equally useful for marketing. The ideas they present about quality content are golden.
This guide explains the kinds of pages that fit Google’s definition of “high-quality,” as well as which specific factors influence high- and low-quality ratings. These factors more than likely are similar to Google’s standards for ranking web content.
One of the main factors Google uses to determine whether a page is high-quality is the acronym E.A.T. – Expertise. Authoritativeness. Trustworthiness.
- Expertise – Is the content creator an expert on the topic or industry? What are their background and reputation?
- Authoritativeness – Is the content creator an authority on the subject? Does the content display proof of that authority (accuracy, citations to trusted sources, links to other authorities)? Is the website on which the content appears an authoritative source?
- Trustworthiness – Are both the content creator and the content itself trustworthy? I.e. Would you feel safe implementing the information, tips, or advice from the content in your own life?
Need a high-quality blog example for search marketing inspiration?
I constantly point to Smartblogger as an example of stellar, high-quality, amazing content.
In particular, this post, How to Become a Freelance Writer, checks every box.
✔ It’s long-form (over 3,000 words!)
✔ It includes engaging writing targeted for the intended audience.
✔ Facts and data back up claims.
Even an expert blogger like Jon Morrow includes stats and figures in his content to add an extra shot of authority.
✔ Images and screenshots illustrate points.
✔ Steps are clearly outlined, and each tip is detailed.
The double-whammy of clear steps and illustrative images make this blog jump from really good to incredible.
✔ The topic and focus keyword line up seamlessly, AND they connect to the reader’s search intent.
To sum up: This is an awesome blog and a great example of high-quality content in action. Read it, study it, and learn from it.
4. Be Smart About Keyword Usage
We’ve arrived at the piece of business marketing everybody knows about: keywords.
Keywords have the potential to be pretty magical for your SEO marketing strategy, but only if you know how to find and use the RIGHT keywords in the most intelligent ways. This is one of the key principles of marketing online.
Smart keyword usage includes:
- Choosing keywords that connect to your topic AND the search intent of your audience (in other words, relevant to your buyer!)
- Sprinkling in synonymous or related keywords along with your main or focus keyword
- Placing your focus keyword correctly inside the content
- Avoiding the wrong keywords (too broad, strangely worded, or too competitive)
- Here’s an example of a broad keyword that would be a poor choice for a small brand to target in their content, because the competition is fierce:
Targeting the right keywords is a tricky business. To do it right, learn all you can about keyword research and keyword strategy. Do the grunt work to find your best possible keywords, and use those keywords strategically inside your content.
5. Use SEO Plugins and Tools to Help You Get It Done
In SEO marketing, the right tools and SEO plugins for WordPress will get you everywhere. These are the ones I recommend over and over again to make implementing your search marketing strategy much more efficient and simple.
Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress
Among the free SEO plugins out there, Yoast is high on the list of must-haves. Installing it is an easy way to ensure all of your blog posts are optimized.
This all in one SEO plugin also analyzes your content and gives you suggestions for improvement automatically:
WordPress and Yoast go together like bread and butter. Don’t leave home (or your WordPress SEO) without this handy tool.
Keyword Research Tools: SEMrush and KWFinder
For search marketing, keyword research tools are indispensable – I repeat: indispensable!
Without them, you won’t be able to research keyword metrics like search volume, difficulty score, or competition. In other words, you’ll be flying blind.
My favorites, of course, are SEMrush (incredibly accurate data, in-depth charts and graphs, position tracking and monitoring) and KWFinder (easy-to-use, readable interface, a perfect quick research tool).
Hot tip: To get the most accurate keyword data, don’t rely on just one tool. Use multiple tools, including paid tools, to get a clearer picture of potential keywords you can rank for. No single tool is 100% accurate!Here's @JuliaEMcCoy's quick go-to checklist for successful #seomarketing: ⭐create quality content, ️ get your website design right, follow Google's SEO standards for quality, ✔️ use keywords correctly, and use SEO plugins and tools. Click To Tweet
What SEO Marketing Should NOT Look Like
Now that you know the basic do’s of SEO marketing, it’s time to dive into some don’ts.
What shouldn’t you do to climb the Google SERPs? Why does it matter? (What’s some of the worst, most horrible SEO advice I’ve ever heard?)
Let’s dive in.
1. Cheating for Rankings
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Cheaters never prosper.” Well, it’s true for SEO marketing, too.
Plenty of people believe they can game the system to improve their SEO rankings without doing any real work on their content or website.
The thing is, while cheating may work initially, it never lasts indefinitely because Google is constantly evolving and improving. One small algorithm update can bring cheating tactics to a halt.
Here are some common SEO tactics that amount to nothing, because they attempt to game the system rather than work with it:
- Buying backlinks – Many companies attempt to improve their backlink profile by buying links. Backlinks work like votes for your website, so buying fake ones is akin to rigging an election. Not good.
- Clickbait – “We want more clicks on our content, even though it’s mediocre. Let’s make this headline so ridiculous, enticing, or sensational that no one will resist!” That, right there, is clickbait in a nutshell – when the content doesn’t deliver on the promise in the headline.
- Manipulating metrics – Another tactic some website owners use is manipulating their site metrics (bounce rate, dwell time, etc.) through unsavory means to look better in the eyes of Google’s algorithm.
- Duplicate content – Most site owners commit this sin accidentally, but some create duplicate content on purpose to inflate their rankings. To do it, they publish multiple pieces of content on extremely similar topics, or they simply copy-and-paste a content piece, tweak some of the wording, and publish. NEVER a good idea.
2. Keyword Stuffing
Believe it or not, some people STILL think keyword stuffing is the way to go to rank. (Yikes.)
On this blog from Dan Taylor featuring terrible advice SEOers have heard during their careers, one SEO Director recounted how a client repeated his brand name keyword 1,000 times on a page. He thought using white text on a white background would fool Google – all because a guy “who knew SEO stuff” had told him to do it.
(I’m betting if the pseudo-SEO-guru had told this guy to jump off a bridge, he would have done that, too.)
Today, everyone knows this tactic equals SERP death (…right?). Keyword stuffing is a signal to Google to DE-rank you, not the other way around.
3. Thin, Shallow, Low-Quality Content
If you want SEO marketing to work for you, you have to create content that satisfies your ideal reader. That means thin, shallow, poor-quality, unsatisfying content will sink your ship.
Thankfully, just-plain-bad content has a bunch of giveaways:
- Low-quality content is usually (not always) short.
- It does not fully address the topic it covers.
- It doesn’t answer reader questions fully or satisfactorily.
- Low-quality content is rooted in opinion, not fact.
- It’s full of errors and inaccuracies.
- It’s not written by an expert on the subject.
- It’s not written by a native English speaker.
- Most of all, low-quality content doesn’t benefit the reader in any way.
Usually, poor content is cheap content. If you pay a penny per word, you will probably get content of this caliber in return.
Can you say “not worth it?”
Just say no. Invest in your content at every stage to produce blogs, articles, ebooks, and more that contain actual worth for your readers – because content that doesn’t satisfy your audience is worth nothing.In SEO marketing, you should NOT cheat for rankings, stuff your keywords, and create thin, shallow, low-quality content! Read more about @JuliaEMcCoy's #seomarketingguide Click To Tweet
SEO Marketing Matters: Today’s Takeaways
Without SEO marketing, where would online brands and businesses find themselves?
The potential for brand reach and visibility would be cut down to next-to-nothing. Potential buyers from around the world wouldn’t find solutions to their problems, information for their quandaries, or products and solutions tailored for their every whim.
Most importantly, without SEO, buyers wouldn’t be able to take their buying journeys into their own hands.
SEO marketing connects businesses with buyers in a way that’s natural, seamless, helpful, and relationship-building. It’s the present and future of marketing, and it’s powerful in a way we’ve never seen before.
So, my next question for you is obvious: Have you jumped on board yet?
The time is now.