Why You Should Allocate A Sizeable Budget To SEO.
Category: Marketing | Date: May 23, 2016
My best TV series has to be shark tank, I totally love the sharks and I am always rooting for entrepreneurs who step into the tank with a lot of preparation. I obviously also take away so much from the TV series, regarding how to pitch the story of your startup to a team of investors (sharks). Anyone who is quite conversant with the TV series will know that the sharks usually ask several questions and most of them are quite similar from episode to episode, however the right answers to those questions are critical to gaining acceptance from the sharks.
One such question has been the question of how entrepreneurs acquire customers for their business and at what cost. I think this question has wider ramifications for businesses, irrespective of size or industry. The key question would always be how are you acquiring customers for your business and at what costs.
The best answer that I have heard to this question was from a young entrepreneur who told the sharks that his current customer acquisition costs were next to nothing, due to the fact that had acquired technical skills in SEO and currently devoted his time to building and executing a comprehensive SEO strategy for his business that results in Google page one rankings for his online business and therefore traffic to his website. In fact, he claimed 95% of all traffic to his online business came directly from his SEO activities.
Today brand and marketing managers are seeking online visibility for their products and seeking to gain customers at the lowest possible costs, however a lot of marketers still do not see SEO as a core online marketing activity.
Google definitely doesn’t help matters these days, because pre-panda, online marketers only needed to slap a few keywords to an article and create backlinks to it and they were assured of Google page one rankings. Today the average SEO client is a sophisticated buyer, especially in Nigeria, where SEO is not considered a particularly important component of an overall online marketing strategy.
The ability to understand how the Internet works and to better position your brand to take advantage of that working should be a no-brainer right? Not according to my interaction with many marketing managers, SEO isn’t anywhere near the top of their online marketing activities.
What many managers and business owners do not realize is that today, the marketing and sales funnel does not begin with the pitch. It does not even begin with identifying market-qualified prospects. It starts with brand awareness, and the best place to build awareness today is online. Every buyer and decision maker and all of their influencers across all your personas are online and use Google.
It Starts With A Strategy
Having a comprehensive SEO strategy is the first step for brands wishing to generate quality leads from the Internet. SEO isn’t a single activity, but a combination of several ongoing activities that are broadly classed under on-page and off page SEO.
Also marketers must realize that this strategy must take into consideration the fact that white hat SEO techniques takes time and some degree of patience before results start coming in, but the investments are usually worth their weight in gold when the phone lines start buzzing.
It’s About Optimizing Relevant Content
It is increasingly difficult to separate SEO from content marketing; in fact the mistakes a lot of marketers make is in putting each activity in a separate bucket without looking at it as part of a holistic online marketing strategy.
You cannot optimize search engines, only the engineers at Google can do that, what you can do is optimize the content on your site for relevance, which enables Googlebots to properly index your site for your keywords, thereby increasing your rankings. The biggest risk to marketers is in over flogging technicalities like keywords, keyword placements and density whilst forgetting to create noteworthy content that helps the readers.
I see many marketers say today they want to create articles for SEO, there should be nothing like creating articles for SEO purposes, you only create an article because it is meaningful and has value to your target audience, making that article optimized for SEO purposes should be a given for savvy marketers, but shouldn’t direct the creation of the article in the first place.
It’s All About The User
This is a mindset that is still yet to sink in with a lot of marketers, that the customer has been empowered to decide where they spend their money and that decision might not necessarily have your brand name on the list. This mindset is the reason why we still cannot comprehend the value in building quality content for our target audience and this is what restricts so many marketing efforts today.
Can your SEO survive another algorithm update? Cheap tricks and gimmicks will never survive it, but a focus on creating valuable resource for your target audience will always ensure that you survive multiple algorithm updates, the key factor is in creating value for your users, this is the foundation of a solid SEO strategy.
If your SEO is going to work, it is not going to be a one man team slaving away somewhere or merely a back desk in your marketing or IT departments, SEO should permeate all of your marketing activities as a holistic part of a comprehensive online marketing strategy that includes social, mobile, email and content and this requires significant budgetary allocations to drive this activity.
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