If your brand doesn’t have a strong SEO campaign that’s rooted in content marketing yet, you could be doing your company a serious disservice. And we’re not saying that just because we’re biased, it's true.
As we’ll explain below, an increasing amount of credible evidence suggests that the Internet plays a key role in influencing customers’ behavior—indeed, consumers rely heavily on information gleaned from search engines in order to make purchasing decisions. But how do you get seen when there are so many options to choose from.
What is an SEO campaign?
SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, involves crafting a digital presence that will be highly ranked in a search engine’s unpaid results (also known as “organic” results because they happen naturally).
Traditionally, an SEO campaign would center around your website. Your website could rank highly on a search engine like Google if you utilized strategies such as tailoring your content to match specific keywords, or by attracting backlinks (a.k.a. inbound links) to your content. By improving your website’s presence, you may increase the number of leads generated through your website.
Although websites remain the leading method of generating content to attract SEO gains, search engines are also starting to take your social media presence into account. Consequently, the most up-to-date SEO campaigns today capitalize on both websites and social media accounts in order to establish a strong digital presence.
Why do SEO campaigns matter?
In today’s digital age, people have access to more information than ever before. As such, people are able to reach out to diverse groups of consumers and experts (beyond their immediate social circles) to use that information to assess the products or services they are thinking of buying.
The statistics prove that the Internet is changing consumer behavior: 9 out of 10 of consumers now use a search engine to find information on goods and services before purchasing. Quite clearly then, the companies whose pages are ranked higher in a Google search will attract more leads.
But it’s not enough to simply rank highly. You want to be ranked on the first page of the search results—at the very least! Over 94% of users will click on a first page search result; compare that with the paltry 6% who will move to the second page. Moreover, the very first result garners a full one-third of all clicks.
With that said, if you’re hoping to generate organic leads, it’s crucial that your brand has a strong SEO campaign in place. So… what can you do in order to rank as highly as possible in search results? We’re glad you asked…
How does good content affect your SEO campaign?
Let’s say you were in the market to buy a new smart phone.
You’ve been eyeing the latest model from a company called Banana, but you’re hesitant because of the high price, and because you’ve never used their phones before. So you reach out to your friend who currently uses a Banana phone.
“Eh, it’s okay,” your friend says. “The screen shatters very easily. I only dropped it once, but that was one too many times. And the warranty doesn’t cover damage like that.”
Later, you’re hanging out with a number of your other friends, and you mention that you have been thinking about getting a new phone. Somebody from the opposite table overhears this conversation.
“Sorry to interrupt, but I just got this new phone from the Strawberry company!” the person says excitedly. “I really love it. Check out this incredibly cool camera that takes well-lit photos even in darkened places. And you wouldn’t expect this from a touchscreen phone, but this phone is just made to be sturdy, you know?”
“Yeah, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this model,” one of your friends pipes up. “Strawberry is definitely a company to watch.”
Which phone would you buy?
Think of a great SEO campaign as an extended, online version of this exchange. People are simply more likely to buy a product if they’ve received a recommendation. And don’t think that only friends’ referrals count. Sure, 9 out of 10 of people will believe a recommendation from a friend, but a respectable 7 out of 10 people will believe a fellow consumer’s opinion. By comparison, 75% of people do not trust advertisements as truth.
This means that your customers are likely to trust a stranger instead of an advertisement!
Why should you create content for your SEO campaign?
But that doesn’t mean that your SEO campaign is wholly out of your control—left in the hands of third-party reviewers. Quite the opposite. Of course, customer reviews matter; 62% of consumers care about them, after all. But equally significantly, half of all consumers also rely on the company’s website to evaluate the product they are considering buying.
Word-of-mouth matters, which means that stories matter. It’s important that positive stories about your brand and your product are being told. And that means that stand-out content about your company reigns when it comes to attracting new leads and customers.
The importance of strong content particularly manifests through how Google, arguably the leading search engine today, is looking to change its search ranking algorithm in order to favor factual validity over inbound links. Presently, the number of external pages that link to the given page is a significant factor in Google page ranks. But Google has found that large numbers of citations do not always correlate with reliability or accuracy.
As such, Google is now looking to reward webpages that make factual statements, that come from trustworthy sources, and which demonstrate topic relevance.
With these changes on the horizon, populating your website with engaging and responsible content should become a bigger priority than ever.
How can social media complement your SEO campaign?
Your website is certainly key, but don’t forget the importance of social media in the process! Social media provides a highly interactive and convenient platform for getting your story out there very quickly. Indeed, people are more than happy to share content if they connect to its message—if the whopping 27 million pieces of content that get shared via social every day is any indication!
Moreover, people will consult social media in order to learn more about a brand they’re interested in. In fact, consumers now expect that brands will be active on at least 3 to 4 social channels. With good reason, too: though customers do not enjoy seeing sales pitches while on social media, they do use social media in order to evaluate if a brand’s story is a good match for what they are looking for. Consequently, customers are 71% more likely to make a purchase through a social media referral. By contrast, customers are only 7% likely to make a purchase without a referral.
As the Internet has oversaturated the information market, so customers now expect to have access to all possible information before making further commitments. Looking ahead, the most successful brands need effective SEO campaigns in order to ensure that they leave a good first impression on their potential customers.