SEO is a foundational component of digital marketing. An SEO strategy and the know-how to implement SEO is necessary to ensure a website ranks high on search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing.
In the digital age, where all customers perform online research when they are looking for a solution, product or service, SEO is a critical marketing activity for most businesses, especially local businesses, who need to be discovered online.
Before you start an SEO campaign, it is vital that you first craft the right SEO strategy. The strategy is the framework that will guide your choices and implementation tactics to achieve your online marketing goals.
Each business will have a different SEO strategy as the strategy crafted depends on several factors such as the:
- Nature of the business
- Overall marketing objectives
- Target audience
- Customer buying behaviour
- Purpose of ranking a website
- Competitiveness of the industry
- Customer acquisition methods
Nature of the Business
Some businesses may have a low-priced product and require high traffic to hit revenue targets. While other businesses that have high-ticket products only need a small number of qualified website visitors each month.
While all businesses should have a website to have an online presence in the digital economy, not all businesses require the website to conduct their business, communicate with customers or generate revenue. For such businesses, a website may just be an online business card for convenience.
Your SEO strategy heavily depends on the nature of your business and how important ranking in Google is.
Overall Marketing Objectives
SEO is just one part of your overall marketing mix. The greater marketing objective will guide your SEO strategy. SEO goals can be benchmarked with overall marketing deliverables. If the overall marketing objective is to create brand awareness for a new product without a focus on sales conversion, the SEO strategy should support that goal. If the overall marketing objective is to qualify a highly targeted audience to educate them on a product offering, the SEO tactics will be slightly different.
Your resources such as trained manpower and marketing budget allocation will affect the implementation of your SEO tactics. If there are limitations on the SEO tactics you can employ, the strategy must be adjusted accordingly.
In a perfect world, you will want to craft a strategy that will not be hindered by resource limitations. But, in reality, you must craft a strategy that is practical and yet still achieve measurable results. SEO requires skill, time and can be expensive, but a well-planned SEO strategy can help you achieve better long-term returns while working with the resources you have.
Different people will respond to different types, formats and lengths of content. An important part of SEO strategy is to design the right content for your target audience so that it attracts them to your site and compels them to want to return to consume more content. This is more relevant, and profitable, for a local business that wants returning customers.
The variables that determine your target audience can include demographics, geographical location, gender, profession, social status, marital status and interests.
Customer Buying Behaviour
Related to your target audience is their buying behaviour. The customer buying behaviour is tied in closely to the nature of the business, the product or service that is being bought and the typical sales cycle. Your website and content must be tailored to the buying behaviour of your customer.
For example, if you are a B2B business that sells software solutions, one strategy is to create long-form content that teaches users what to look out for in a software solution or to create a comparison article comparing all the features and benefits between different solution providers. The goal of the content is to inform, build brand authority and help the prospect in their buying decision.
This is different from a B2C eCommerce store that is selling lower-priced items. In such a business, a website may be better off communicating benefits, promotions or offers that will compel a user to make an immediate purchase.
Purpose of Ranking a Site
Tied in with the target audience and customer buying behaviour is the purpose of implementing SEO. Is your goal to drive traffic for brand awareness or is the objective to attract a specific audience to make an inquiry or purchase. Your SEO goal will determine what sort of strategy you should implement.
Competitiveness of the Industry
The SEO competition you have in your industry can greatly affect your strategy. If your competitors are not digital savvy, you might have low competition for your target keywords, and it may be easier to rank on page one of Google as a result. However, if you are in a fiercely competitive industry where every competitor is engaging in SEO at a high level, your strategy will have to be very different.
Customer Acquisition Methods
Your primary customer acquisition methods can impact your SEO strategy because it depends how much of your sales or revenue can be brought in through organic traffic.
For some businesses, due to the nature of the industry, their customer acquisition may be through the nurturing of relationships by sales consultants. Their customers will almost never be acquired through organic search. The strategy for such as a business will be very different from a business that can generate significant revenue from users searching for a product or service online.
Your expectation of results and the time you have allocated for SEO planning, implementation and optimisation will need to be considered when crafting your SEO strategy. Realistically, SEO takes time, and campaigns usually take between three to six months to complete.
SEO should not be treated as a “set and forget” tactic and should be considered an investment in your business’ on-going marketing and branding efforts. SEO is a long-term marketing activity that will bring results over time as the quantity and quality of your content increases and your website traffic goes up.
Ideally, your timeline must be planned in both the short and long term, and benefits should be maintained over the long term by implementing SEO best practices.
Crafting the Local SEO Strategy
By assessing the above factors that are relevant to your local business, you will be able to craft a local SEO strategy that makes sense for your marketing needs.
A good starting point is to list all the factors above and give a rating or comment next to each factor. Assess the level of challenges provided by each factor. One possible approach is to craft a strategy that offers the path of least resistance.
Any SEO strategy will require an optimised website as well as content creation. The strategy will guide you in the type of content you should be creating, at what frequency and on what topics. For example, for a local business, there is a particular audience, hence the content will be written for the local customers to attract them more. Writing for a broader audience, in this case, will not be a very productive approach.
So the content strategy for a local business will begin with the search intent; what keywords are relevant to your local customers. Mention the location where the business is present, so the customers do not miss any chance to reach out to your website.
The level of SEO implementation you will require will depend on the online competition in your industry and the nature of your business.
If you require help in crafting the right SEO strategy for your local business, contact Grow Digital for a free consultation.