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The epic rise of SEO: How, why & where to invest

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become a force to be reckoned with through mind, matter, and money. Here are my tools to conquer it.

SEO Is the Core of Brand Development, Awareness & Engagement

The clear majority of web traffic is facilitated by the heavy hitters of search engines: your Googles, Bings, and Yahoos. Thus, to not create your content with that in mind is to immediately omit your website from highly valuable traffic.

After all, 93 percent of online experiences begin with a search engine. Yes, 93 percent!

Take the term “keyword,” and understand its dual meaning. Sure, it is a term that is frequently searched, but also think of it as a key component to your brand development — how it engages your audience and how this term represents your brand.

SEO used to be solely tech-oriented, primarily driven by IT people. Now, it supports really all digital marketing and will continue to for the foreseeable future. Therefore, it should be regarded as a core component of any digital marketing program.

SEO Creates & Expands Your Market Position

Because of the immense and still-growing popularity of search engines, proper use not only engages your audience but will leave your company ascending the market rankings due to the exponential growth in visibility.

The same applies for a thought leader: a company or individual that shows initiative, and subsequently differentiation, in a specific field.

To drive SEO interest around your personal brand, you will need to start making a list of keyword phrases that support your competitive position, strengths, skills, and location. Your keywords, when defined and analyzed for search importance and competitiveness, can be used to boost your LinkedIn profile awareness and potential Google search results.

SEO in the U.S. vs. Global Outsourcing

It’s no secret the rationale behind most foreign outsourcing — cost. The budgetary and futuristic circumstances will differ brand to brand, but undoubtedly there are obstacles in global micromanagement.

One is simply the differences in actual language, and as such, rewriting is a must, no matter the country! There are abundant differences between American English and that of Britain, for example.

Also, be sure to implement local content. Making your content more relevant to your specific target audience increases local link building opportunities.

The Reality of Top Notch SEO

Like the old saying goes, you get out you what put in. You need to take the time and develop a sound strategy based upon that which is unique about your brand and content (an SEO audit is a great first step).

You’d do well to collaborate with a proven SEO consultant to expand your customer base. Have someone, if not a team, constantly monitoring the content and traffic (you can stay in-house with this so long as the vetting is adequate). Good SEO maintenance should never really stop, as search engines are constantly changing and modifying their algorithms.

The SEO Timeline & Forecast

SEO is more complex than ever. As noted here, many of the SEO tactics that were effective in 2004 can easily hurt your SEO today. And, sadly, plenty of companies are using outdated SEO tactics.

At least 50 percent of my current clients came to me after they were penalized by Google. Why? Because they were working with SEO practitioners who are still relying on the risky tactics of yesterday.

Just like a premium company attempts to prognosticate social, political, or financial change, SEO also must be treated and monitored from a forward-thinking perspective. You’d do right by your brand to have your SEO team keep their fingers on the pulse of that which is currently relevant, and that which will be.

SEO Costs & Resources

Revisiting the mantra of getting out what you put in, quality SEO ain’t cheap. Viable expenses include consultation, technical development, user experience professionals, outreach, and management (real online PR).

SMBs should be fully prepared to spend $2,000 to $5,000 monthly, while enterprise-level companies should view $5,000 as an absolute minimum. Digital Current has a fantastic breakdown of the hierarchy of SEO costs and services.

The Necessity of Paid Search

In my SEO experience, I encourage our clients that have either newer sites, penalized sites, or sites that are underperforming to leverage paid search marketing (which we manage). Paid search, or PPC, is typically the most effective in any campaign-driven program or product/model-based campaign.

Envision something specific (Apple MacBook Air, 17-inch white) or specific marketing efforts around a service which ties into a specific landing page that has been designed for conversion or action (one example I’d have in my PPC program would be a thought leadership development training for senior level executives).

Seasoned SEO veterans can utilize the deep data metrics provided in PPC reports to best understand user behavior and competitive market share as well as keyword activity so they can best shape your SEO strategies and programs. They learn from PPC and vice versa, in that if they are working with you, with your active SEO program you want the pros to design and for which to run paid media campaigns, they learn from your SEO reports and progress.

The Marriage of SEO Strategy & Social Media Marketing

There is a synergy between SEO and social media campaigning, and it’s growing by the day, which can result in a goldmine of generated leads. The nature of social media and social media marketing is viral, as content is engaged with and shared. So, by its nature, lead generation develops when a brand understands how to deliver ongoing, frequent content of interest to its influencers and potential buyers.

There is also an ongoing evolution, wherein people are simply using their social media channels to find whatever it is they are in search of, as opposed to Google. Using Twitter as an example of this, this article delves into how social media is becoming its own SEO.

Essential Takeaways

The value of SEO is no longer unclear or up for debate. With e-commerce showing absolutely no signs of slowing down, SEO is as important as it is complex, which is why proper resources and attention must be allocated toward it.

Know the power of SEO, know your personal strengths and weaknesses with it, know its costs, and then you may know it as your friend.

by Jasmine Sandler
source: SEJ