People can’t do business with you if they can’t find you. But when it comes to an effective SEO strategy many companies are still making costly mistakes. Here a few key errors that hurt your bottom line and how to avoid them.
1) You Don’t Understand Your Market
Healthy SEO is rooted in a deep understanding of the digital marketplace that surrounds your brand, and value proposition. Yet, many marketing teams “optimize” blind. Perhaps your firm gathers around a quarterly report and decides you need to grow your organic ranking. Your team members are intelligent, experienced, and readily supply theories of what “people are searching for”. You leave that meeting encouraged, and ready to grow your firm’s ranking. But because of a variety of cognitive biases that affect our decision making, your team missed a key component: market research. While this phrase previously demanded a six-figure consultant and a few months of lead time, there are tools that make this phase a delight, not a burden. Which tools you should use is up to you. But what’s not up for discussion is what insight you must have before beginning your SEO campaign. Below are the three questions your research should answer before investing in SEO:
1) How many people daily search for your services?
2) How competitive is your market?
3) How are you currently ranking against those competitors?
Getting accurate and unbiased market research will ensure your efforts don’t go wasted. If strategy doesn’t fuel your SEO efforts, gut feelings and loud executives will.
2) You Don’t Know Your Ideal Customer
Your business exists to solve specific problems for a specific group of people. This simple truth should fuel your SEO efforts. When your marketing team decides to invest in SEO, the first questions should be, “Who does our business strive to serve?” This question should be rooted in ongoing sales efforts, quarterly goals, and the mission statement of your company. It should not be a disputed fact or a flavor of the year. Who your business attempts to attract plays a pivotal role in your SEO efforts. Yet, many firms are a bit fuzzy when it comes to their target customer. Too many companies try to be all things to all people, resulting in a flimsy strategy that can’t market with confidence. Before you focus on how you rank, make sure your company can illustrate the ideal buyer in a sea of potential customers.
3) You’re Optimizing for Google But Not for Your Reader
While it’s crucial people can find your content, it’s not the only measure of success. Consider a new fast food joint that joins Dayton. Suppose they run a compelling advertising campaign, put up billboards all over I-70, and even spring for excellent branding videos that show happy customers. One Tuesday you’re in need of a quick lunch and remember their attractive billboards. You swing by and take your first bite. And then you quickly decide it will be your last bite. The quality was terrible and you can feel yourself getting sick. Unfortunately, the above narrative is how many marketers approach SEO analytics. They build incredible distribution channels and attract impressive crowds. But once the target customer begins digesting the content they quickly hop off the page, swearing never to return again. Always ask, “Once I get people here, will they be happy with what they find?”
Like any marketing initiative, your SEO strategy should be steeped in research, customer knowledge, and incredible copy. If you’re looking for more tips on creating a powerful brand that blends art and invention, consider following our blog for instant access to our insights.