Ensuring a website can be found, and found quickly, is a critical business strategy in an era when customers with little time and even shorter attention spans want to get the best answer fast. It’s no longer a secret that the first, second, and third positions in a search engine are the “desirable corner lot in a booming neighborhood” of the 21st century.
Whether you’re a rising SEO professional or studying to become one, specializing in search engine optimization helps companies address one of the quintessential challenges of global business today: driving more customers through the front door while spending less money. Inbound marketing – efforts including and beyond SEO that connect customers with the utility, entertainment or information they want – is here to stay.
Let’s dive into SEO’s role across all three primary segments of inbound marketing (attract, engage and delight), and why understanding SEO is mission critical to be successful across all three.
Attracting the right audience begins with knowing something about them. Any marketing team can create content, but unless those articles, infographics, videos or white papers are compelling to their target audience, the ROI on these marketing efforts will be low.
In this stage, SEO professionals know how to evaluate three key pieces of information: the competitive space, the personas of a company’s customers and key search metrics/tactics necessary to reach those prospective customers. It’s important to be able to understand the fundamentals of content structure, and the importance of partnerships to build credible links back to the website.
Put simply, digital professionals who learn search engine optimization help answer the most difficult question clients have when creating a website: “Where do I start?”
Now that the ‘Attract’ phase is producing data-driven SEO content, website traffic may be coming in. But that doesn’t mean the site is necessarily converting leads. The quality of the content, structure and user experience of the site all need to entice an audience to engage with key calls-to-action. Learning how and why search engines prioritize sites with simple navigation, structured data, mobile optimization and page speed (among other factors) can help differentiate the SEO professional or their clients in the marketplace, and multiply the site’s traffic to make it more competitive.
The ‘engage’ phase of inbound marketing includes efforts that go well beyond SEO. However, optimization has a “halo effect” on the other marketing tactics in this phase. For example, achieving a higher SERP can have a waterfall effect on inbound leads, email subscribers and other elements.
Those who can apply both SEO and analytics expertise can measure not just projected site traffic, but unique visitors, returning visitors, backlinks from partners or media and which content was the most and least engaging. Understanding how SEO efforts contribute to achieving desired site metrics and learning what’s needed to expand on that success will inform the larger marketing team’s inbound strategies going forward.
The last phase of inbound marketing is arguably the most rewarding for those who continue to learn search engine optimization, because it’s rooted in delivering return audiences to a company. This stage has been traditionally owned by social media marketers who use their own tools to analyze and build sentiment analysis of the interests of their audience.
However, those learning search engine optimization have their own tools to listen and create the content users are looking for. Tools like Google Trends can help define a keyword and an editorial strategy based on not only what users are saying (upper funnel), but also what they’re searching (middle and lower funnel). This helps companies signal to customers that they understand their behaviors, and are committed to delivering what they need to keep them informed, keep them entertained or provide what they need at the time they need it most.
A MS in Digital Marketing and Media from Yeshiva University
Search engine optimization is a key arrow in the quiver for companies looking to drive down the acquisition cost of leads. However, legacy corporations and newer companies in the early stages of investment often miss out on this skill set in favor of moving editorial and publishing quickly. Learning the fundamentals of SEO can be a life-changing skill both for students and for enterprises, adding strategic rigor and data necessary to to be in front of the right eyeballs.
Learn more about Yeshiva Katz’s Master’s in Digital Marketing and Media today.