Based on Jamie Grant’s article.
Many experts in digital marketing do not use all traffic channels, preferring those that are closer and more understandable to them. According to the author of the said guide, who cooperates with well-known brands, SEO specialists and marketers often make typical mistakes:
- apply the same principles when working with different channels;
- underestimate the opportunities for organic promotion;
- they do not know how to combine SEO with other marketing activities.
So, in this article, we will talk about the importance of SEO in the overall marketing strategy and ways to integrate it with other tools.
Role of SEO in overall promotion strategy
Convincing management to invest in quality SEO is not always easy. It is the lack of investment that often hinders the full realization of the potential of this channel. Let’s review four main reasons for the need to focus on SEO.
1. Free transitions to the site
SEO is often compared to a renovation that never ends. Optimization always requires considerable investment at the initial stage, and the result is not achieved immediately. However, over time, the costs are offset by free traffic. Reducing the SEO budget in the future will not lead to a complete absence of traffic. At the same time, PPC works as a water tap: you can run or turn off advertising at any time, thus regulating costs and traffic.
2. Relatively stable organic traffic
Having decided to do SEO, you should prepare for the long run. Converting traffic will not come to the site immediately, but a reasonable strategy allows you to eliminate the need for fixed costs. Thus, SEO resembles a waterfall rather than a tap.
Ensuring a stable flow of visitors to the site can be helpful in difficult times in case there is a need for budget cuts. Thanks to SEO, businesses will receive customers and a competitive advantage even without costs or with minimal advertising costs.
3. Meeting the needs of potential clients
Keywords accurately indicate the object of a search and allow to focus on users who need a particular product or service. If the store sells the football uniform at a discount, the "cheap football kits" keyword should be used to attract buyers from organic search. With the help of Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, you can see that 6.3 thousand people are looking for the corresponding product monthly by this keyword.
At the same time, in contextual advertising, Google may give results on keywords that it considers identical to the target but are not.
4. Engaging the audience at different stages of the sales funnel
SEO allows you to attract customers using keywords of the appropriate type. With Google, people are looking for:
- Answers to questions (informational search).
- Solutions to problems (informational or transactional search).
- Products or services (transactional search).
- A specific website (navigational search).
Web resource pages can be promoted with any keywords, creating different types of content according to the audience's needs. For example, for the online store that sells kayaks, to get into Google's SERP on requests "how to store a kayak" and "what size kayak do I need," need to post informational content on the website. Helpful articles do not encourage instant action, but the user will likely contact the seller when ready to order.
"Kayaks for sale" in the search box means that the person wants to buy the goods right now. In this case, his intention is the landing page on which one can quickly place an order.
However, the choice of content type only by keywords is wrong. After all, Google is not a real person, which means that your vision of the page can be significantly different from its perception by the system.
Therefore, we recommend you check Google's SERP to find the optimal page type for a specific target query. In Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, enter the keyword and navigate to the SERP overview. So you will see the pages that are shown on the specified keyword. By using this method, you can also get helpful information about backlinks and keyword parameters.
In addition, you can simply use Google to analyze the results.
SEO interaction with other methods
Digital marketing professionals often focus on one channel, leaving others out. In the professional environment, there is a constant debate about which tool is most effective: SEO, PPC, or other promotion types. The real secret of success is the use of several reliable channels. Indeed, even experienced marketers do not fully use the available opportunities. Consider the most effective combinations.
SEO and personal brand building/traditional advertising
Offline advertising and videos on radio and television can create a lot of search demand. After seeing or hearing the ad, people begin to Google the brand or product's name. In such a situation, SEO specialists can provide a high ranking in SERP of brand keywords and update and optimize the content on the site accordingly.
Another area where SEO can help classic marketers is using organic search results to determine market share. A “share of search” metric would be helpful.
At the EffWorks Global 2020 conference, organized by the British Institute of Advertising Specialists (IPA), expert Les Binet shared the experience of experiments to predict the company's market share in the next year. He believes that the metric can predict the short- and long-term effects of advertising.
To determine the business's market share, you need the number of keywords by which the audience searches your company on the Internet, divided by the search volume of all brands across the industry.
Analyzing 5 popular brands of American donuts with Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, it is possible to calculate that the market share of Dunkin Donuts is 69% (8.3 million out of 12 million).
Of course, there are many more donut companies in the US. The more complete the list of brands you take for analysis, the more accurate the results will be.
SEO and paid search
Both SEO and Google Ads professionals work with keywords. It is advantageous because it allows for the sharing of resources and saves time. Participants of one project can share the results of analytics, taking into account conversion figures, CTR, and other metrics.
Since paid search gives instant results, and SEO requires more time and effort to get the desired effect, both teams should agree on the overall strategy. For example, suppose optimizers have collected keywords that should send organic traffic to a site. In that case, PPC experts can launch ads and attract visitors using the same keys while Google indexes content.
When users visit the website via organic search, PPC specialists can use alternative keywords and phrases to attract additional traffic.
Should I use keywords that work well in SEO in contextual advertising? There is no single correct answer to this question. You get two results simultaneously by promoting the same keywords in SEO and PPC. Some consider this approach a good strategy because, in this way, you can increase the number of transitions to pages. On the other hand, this step leads to a decrease in organic traffic on specific keywords, and you will inevitably have to spend the budget on clicks at a time when visitors can be brought to the site for free.
I usually advise SEO and PPC specialists not to promote the exact keywords. No business can take first place in all relevant queries. I think, for PPC, it is better to use keywords that do not yet apply or do not give good results in SEO.
At the same time, some keywords crucial for business should be used in SEO and contextual advertising.
Successful PPC campaigns can influence SEO. Backlinks improve behavioral factors and ranking, and content visibility to the target audience ensures the migration to the site.
SEO and UX
If previously the goals of SEO and UX specialists in the work on one project were not always the same, now the teams can cooperate quite fruitfully.
Shadowy maneuvers with algorithms that once produced specific results were left behind. Today, Google likes quality and user-friendly resources. In 2021, a new ranking factor Core Web Vitals, appeared in search algorithms, which belongs to the Google Page Experience metric group and provides an assessment of:
- Largest Contentful Paint - main content loading parameters;
- First Input Delay - response speed on user’s first interaction with the website;
- Cumulative Layout Shift - the visual stability of the page elements.
As part of the user experience analysis, the search engine algorithm also checks the following:
- presence of SSL certificate (HTTPS) guaranteeing site security;
- absence of distracting interstitials (pop-ups).
Breadcrumbs are helpful for the website in terms of UX and SEO. They allow users and search engines to navigate the site structure easily. The link chain is noticeable on the page and is essential for internal linking and PageRank distribution.
SEO and PR
Confirmation of the significant influence of PR on search engine optimization is a special direction formed by SEO specialists - digital PR (DPR) or SEO PR. Like traditional PR, digital PR focuses on backlinking and brand promotion through online publications.
Link building is included in the list of essential SEO tools. The main task of DPR link building is the placement of content and links to authoritative resources.
Interaction of SEO specialists or DPR with traditional PR teams, particularly the exchange of media contacts, increases work efficiency in both directions.
However, if we discuss outreach, be prepared because PR specialists may be reluctant to contact you. Charlotte Crowther (DPR Manager at Kaizen) shared recommendations that will help establish effective communication with colleagues.
- Remind the common interests. Despite the different KPIs, you have one goal - to ensure better conditions for business development.
- Tell them more about your work processes. Openness and the provision of comprehensive information make it easier to understand each other because the principles of PR and DPR work are entirely different.
- Define the rules of communication from the beginning. It will help to avoid misunderstandings at each stage of the cooperation.
SEO and social media
Finding something in common between SEO and SMM professionals with the promotion is very difficult. They quite often intersect in their work. Promotion in popular social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and video services (YouTube and TikTok) is an effective way to attract the audience to the brand. The more users are interested in the content, the more likely it is to create relevant backlinks naturally. The same applies to promotion through any other channel.
Social media creates information buzz around new content and can become a traffic source to the site's pages. However, after a sharp spike, the excitement fades with the transitions. This phenomenon is natural since SMM works this way.
To avoid spikes and flatlines, SMM and SEO teams must work together. First, SMM specialists boost traffic to promote new content. Then comes the turn of SEO specialists, whose efforts aim to ensure the stability of transitions to pages.
Lack of success in promoting content through social networks does not affect SEO. Attempts to boost SEO content through social media also carry no risks, so do not be afraid to experiment.
So we've seen how SEO can collaborate with other promotion channels and how close the connection between different areas of digital marketing is.
Let's highlight the main points of SEO integration into the overall strategy of brand and company products promotion:
- Compare SEO objectives with strategic business goals;
- Use “share of search” metric to predict market share;
- Use PPC and social networks to receive traffic at the start of SEO promotion;
- Behavioral factors have a direct impact on search engine optimization, so SEO and UX teams must work closely together;
- Ensure that the traditional PR and DPR teams have reached common ground.
Remember that all possible channels should work on the development of your business. Such interaction will help to maximize the potential of each and achieve their objectives.