If I could define in one sentence it will be: SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a long-term strategy which consists by using different technics to increase website’s share of voice on search engines such as: Google, Yahoo, Bing and others; SEO's goal is to drive more organic traffic to your website.
The 4 pillars of SEO
If we could summarize SEO by using one equation it will be:
SEO=(Technology x Content x Authority x User Experience)
- Technology : performance of your website. Does it follow SEO guidelines?
- Content: do you have the content that people are looking for? How is it organized?
- Authority: what is your website awareness?
- User Experience: how users interact with your website?
These 4 fundamentals pillars will the basis our strategy.
SEO in the marketing mix
You probably all know the famous marketing mix created by McCarthy in the 60's. I think this is the best way to explain why SEO is still not really appreciated by marketers, it doesn't sit under Promotion. Indeed, SEO is sitting under Place.
Remember your website is like a store...
...and SEO's are there to help you find the best place to build the store. Exactly like a real estate will fight to find the best spot to settle your business.
I'm pretty sure that you will prefer to have your store on the left rather than on the right, am I right? So remember, whether it's in real life or online, the only thing that matter is PLACE, PLACE, PLACE.
What are the benefits of doing SEO?
Whether you are a business owner, a CEO or in charge of marketing, the only thing that matters is the ROI.
SEO drives revenue
- Improve visibility by increasing rankings
- Get highly qualified leads
- Drive traffic online and instore
- Improve user experience
- Increase conversion rate
- Drive people instore
SEO increases profits
SEO has an impact on every channel as the purpose of it is to improve user experience and drive qualified leads.
- Better quality score in SEM (lower CPA)
- Remarketing more efficient
How search engines work?
Search engines crawl the web to find pages, then algorithms give a score to each page and decide how much your website is relevant to a specific topic that users are looking for and if it's matching user intent, then Search engines attribute a rank to the website and make the page appear in the SERPs.
It's all about ranking
In SEO we are often talking about rankings or share of voice. Keep in mind that higher you rank the more share of voice you are getting, and to make it easier, the more money you are making.
Keep in mind that 70% of the clicks go through the 5 first organic results, 25% go to Adwords and only 1% go to the second page.
How to do SEO?
SEO's job is to make sure a website is crawlable, follow Google guidelines and the most important create the right content to match user needs and intents.
SEO is not a science, but it's not black magic neither
SEO tactics are separated across 2 main groups, Onsite and Offsite. We even have our own periodic table, is it not awesome?
- Onsite SEO is about everything sitting on a website, whether it's content, technology or even architecture. The purpose of onsite SEO is to improve users experience.
- Offsite SEO is about driving authority to a website by leveraging social medias, backlinks, and mentions.
Step 1: The audit, Onsite and Offsite
Like every marketing discipline it's really important to understand the environment by doing some research around your company before to create a strategy. The audit is an essential part of an SEO process and will help you to find everything you have to know about your website. You will find below all the question you need to answer to be sure you don't forget anything important.
General, competitive environment and performance questions
- What is your offer?
- Where is your audience? (Location)
- How your website is performing in term of organic traffic? (Google Analytics)
- What are the keywords you need to target? (Keyword research)
- Who are your organic competitors?
- How your competitors are doing in SEO?
- How your website is ranking on the targeted keywords?
- What are your organic share of voice for each topic/product?
- How search engines are seeing your website? (Google Search Console...)
- How healthy is your website? (Technical SEO)
- What kind of content do you currently have?
- How your content is organised? (Internal Architecture/ Semantic)
- How user interact with your website? (User experience)
- What is your website authority? (Citation Flow, backlinks...)
- Who is talking about you? (mentions and backlinks)
- Are you using all the relevant social networks ?
- Do you have a listing on Google My Business?
- Do you have a listing on the website relevant to your business? (Angel.co / Yelp...)
Step 2: Write a SEO strategy
After you have made a great audit it's time to write recommendations about the things you think which can be improved. Keep in mind that the documents that you are producing are 50% of your work value so you need to give more details as possible. For me, a good strategy document is understandable by everyone and have clear guidelines.
Depending on the size of the project it's better to create a strategy document for each topic.
Step 3: Implementation/ Project Management
From my experience the implementation is where most of the companies are struggling. 2 scenarii here, the easiest one is that you can implement the recommendations yourself, the second one is that you need to manage the project and this is where lot of other skills are recquired. It's time to engage the battle with the different department you need to involve. Don't forget, if they called an SEO expert, it mean that they don't necessary have the vocabulary, try to give clear and detailled small piece of work every time, it works for me.
Step 4: Reporting
All along your SEO campaign and at the end of it you must provide data to your clients. Once your campaign is done, it's time to see the result of all the efforts that you put into your project. If your client is a big company, there is always room to improve whatever if it's onsite or offsite SEO.
Step 5: Start the process again
You can always improve something in SEO. If you are done with technical SEO, you can have a content marketing strategy, or improve your IA to go after new keywords.