Search Engine Optimization
Choose an SEO agency who is committed to holistically integrating SEO best practices across all marketing channels.
Don’t Let Your SEO Stand Alone
Many organizations, and even SEO agencies, treat SEO like an isolated part of their digital marketing. Yes, the mechanics are important, like the page title and meta description. Yes, your keywords need to show up in your content. But that’s not all there is to an SEO strategy that actually brings results.
If you do these things right, it will help, but you’ll be missing out on the opportunity that SEO offers you to stand out in the market, differentiating yourself from the competition and winning new, long-lasting customer relationships.
How do you get these results?
By integrating SEO into every part of your marketing, thereby creating a ‘perfect storm’ whereby your paid advertising efforts feed your organic results which, in turn, add authority to your paid activities. But accomplishing this begins with positioning.
Positioning is the key to successful SEO
Positioning relies on an understanding of consumer psychology. The brain works to simplify all the inputs we receive throughout the day by creating associations – shortcuts, you might say.
Think about how this works in the grocery store aisle. Your brain decides that you feel like having potato chips. The first thing that comes to mind is probably Lays. But what if you want chips that are bursting with flavor? Then you might gravitate towards Doritos. Or maybe there’s a little voice in your head that reminds you that you’re trying to eat healthy, so you reach for a bag of Kettle chips instead.
Automatically, at a subconscious level, your brain sorted through your wants and categorized the possible solutions that could address those wants. But how did it know how to do this? Because, at some point in the past (and across a range of exposures), your brain learned to associate each of those brand names with a certain sub-category of potato chip. This is positioning in action.
In each case, a brand ‘owns’ an attribute in the mind of the consumer – Doritos = flavor-filled; Kettle = healthier option.
It’s all about differentiation – how does your brand stand out from the competition in the mind of the consumer? What one idea or attribute does it own, that no other competitor can take from it?
So where does SEO come in?
An effective SEO strategy always begins with the keyword research that determines what words and phrases you would like a web page to rank for in the search engines. Many organizations and SEO agencies correctly begin by focusing on user intent – matching keywords with what searchers are actually trying to accomplish, which is ultimately the goal of every search engine anyway. This way content appeals to both website visitors and search engines.
But, without a focus on strategic differentiation (positioning), the keywords chosen are similar to what competitors are ranking for. Which can lead to your content sounding like everyone else. Which means, even if you manage to rank on the first page on Google, you don’t stand out from everyone else ranking on Google’s first page. Translation: your web page gets skipped, or visitors don’t convert to leads.
SEO that sets you apart
At Innis Maggiore, we take a different approach to SEO. Once we’ve identified your positioning in the market, we look for keywords (or, more appropriately, ‘keyphrases’ – longer, more specific phrases that have lower search volume but reflect greater purchase intent by the consumer) that have to do with what sets you apart.
Instead of focusing on search volume, we look at relevance: how does that factor that sets you apart from your competitors relate to what consumers are looking for? Once we’ve found a series of keyphrases that make sense given your positioning, we take a holistic approach to integrating these keyphrases across all of your marketing.
Keyphrases are planted in all outbound communications, from press and news releases to advertisements, then keyed back to content produced on your website. As consumers experience your brand across multiple touchpoints, including both public relations and paid advertising, they encounter those keyphrases, then begin searching for them.
This is the key – we tell your audience what to search for, then when they do, they find your website at the top of the search results. We’re not relying on search volume that is already there then trying to ‘steal’ it from your competitors by sounding just like them – instead, we’re creating a new world based on what sets you apart, then inviting prospects into it.
Over time, as each prospect encounters more touchpoints with your brand, you are increasingly positioned as the best option to uniquely meet their needs. And SEO becomes part of a positive upward cycle that reinforces this over and over again.
And ultimately, that should be what you’re after in an SEO agency.
This is how Innis Maggiore tackles SEO:
Positioning strategy orchestrated with a well-defined SEO strategy creates interactions that drive highly qualified visits and web rankings.
Once your initial bucket of differentiated keyphrases is assembled and the page inventory is established, Innis Maggiore maps each keyphrase to a specific page of either a new website build, or to the relevant — and usually in-need-of-modification — existing content.
The nuance of the sell in SEO starts with the page title and the meta description. For Google (which owns approximately two-thirds of the search market), the page title and the meta description are what appear in the search results. And while mechanical technique can place you on the first page of the search results Google serves up, there is still competition on that page that requires your content to break through the clutter to gain the user’s attention, confidence and click-thru. So, the first step in writing well for search is writing a page title and meta description that “hook” a searcher to click and visit your page versus the other potential 19 competitors on the SERP. We write these as we would write ad copy, because in the end, there is a need to convince a search engine visitor to click your result versus the competitive results also showing on the SERP.
Real success depends not only on attracting the right prospects but engaging them once they click on your search engine listing. So many firms miss the point that even if they get the click, there is a need for stickiness once a prospect arrives on your site. EACH page is a landing page and must be sculpted to lead prospects to the action your business goals dictate. We develop conversion funnels with our clients so they can “see” what we want visitors to do when they reach the site and do so in the fewest number of clicks possible. On average, a visitor to any website will give you two pages to convince them to buy from you versus someone else.
Innis Maggiore’s Search Engine Optimization in Action
Beyond the positioning, keyphrase research and creation and deployment of SEO content, your SEO agency needs to be able to track results and determine which terms are best meeting your objectives. The following case studies showcase the benefits of testing assumptions like this.
FranSource International – in tracking the actual conversions (in this case, a web form completed and submitted to the CEO) from an AdWords campaign, the following two keyphrases were contrasted: “start a franchise” and “create a franchise.” By all appearances, these keyphrases vary minimally and it would seem that the user profile of each would be identical. However, with the proper analytics in place, it was noted that “start a franchise” provided much more traffic than the other keyphrase, but no conversions. The second keyphrase (“create a franchise”) brought much less traffic but had over a 50% conversion rate. The difference? “Start a franchise” were individuals looking to buy into an existing franchise (like Subway) – not a prospect of FranSource. The second, “create a franchise,” were entrepreneurs looking to franchise their business model – the spot-on prospect of FranSource. FranSource is not in the business of selling franchises. They are in the business of setting them up (legal and operational consultation). So what did we do? Turn off the “start a franchise” keyphrase because it cost 90% of the click-thrus and yielded no conversions. This is the subtlety of online analytics and so vividly illustrates the reason that QUALITY must be considered over quantity.
Progressive Foam – this case study is even more remarkable. This client invented a new building product. The product is foam backing laminated to traditional hollow vinyl siding. The conundrum? What was more valuable to the potential buyer – the durability/rigidity or the insulation of the product? By setting up separate keyphrase campaigns to validate this, it was obvious – within 3 days – that insulation was by far the desire of the prospect. The new product was introduced as a new category in the marketplace known as “insulated vinyl siding.” The company grew 200% within 3 years and enjoys almost a 100% market share in this space.
Build SEO Into Your Marketing Strategy Holistically
Avoid the temptation to treat SEO as just a technical exercise aimed at getting ‘free’ traffic. For SEO that helps you stand out from the competition and positively integrates with all of the rest of your marketing, contact us today.