Whenever I get a lot of questions on a particular topic, I know it’s time to write an article on that topic. Lately, the questions have all revolved around SEO, which is the practice of optimizing the content of your website so search engines will find you based on certain keywords. Most of the questions are something along the lines of “How do I improve my Google rank?” or “Can I trust that my SEO company is actually doing anything?” There are two issues at play with SEO that I need to address before I answer the first question. To the second question, stop paying someone for SEO.
The two issues at play when we discuss SEO are really so largely inescapable that they make SEO nearly pointless. Problem number 1 is that you have to optimize a new landing page & content for each set of key phrases you want to capture. For some companies, that’s easy. You only sell one thing and need to optimize for one key phrase. For other companies, like mine, the list is longer. We would have to optimize for anywhere from 4 to 8 key phrases. That means 8 landing pages and 8 different groups of content topics that Google wants me to write 500 plus words a week about. Not to mention that attaching that content to each of those landing pages becomes a bit of a sitemap nightmare.
The second issue should be glaringly obvious to anyone who has ever paid for SEO. Not everyone in your industry can be in the top 6 Google spots (which are the only ones that matter). If everyone in my field is completely optimized for, let’s say, web design, that’s only 6 companies out of millions that will get the spot. That’s a ridiculous level of competition for the spot, which means a ridiculous level of work, and likely not enough client conversions to justify it. That means we’re talking about a horrible return on your time investment. If you’re like most small companies, you’re on a skeleton crew. That means you can’t afford to waste time that doesn’t pay out well.
Instead of SEO, there’s something else you need to try. Content Optimization is a lighter-workload, higher-research, more-effective method of being found on Google and, more importantly, a more effective method of converting those site visitors to clients. It’s the process of creating content that your clients want to see, then delivering it to them in a way that will turn them in to a site visitor. From there, you need your site to be optimized for converting a visitor to a lead. Here are the key steps to great content optimization.
Stop paying someone for SEO
- Figure out who your market is. If you haven’t got that part handled, nothing you do will work. You won’t be able to put together a customer profile for your demographic. Without that, you not only have no idea what content to create, you also have no idea if your product will sell.
- Research your market’s data. Hopefully you’ve defined a very specific target market, because now it’s time to find out what matters to them. Get a hold of their psychograpic data (read more here – at the bottom) to discover their likes, interests, and what they’re already consuming. Thanks to the publicly available information shared through social media, you can discover everything you need to know in order to craft the content your market wants to read. Sign up with a good company that gathers this data for you (we use one called FullContact) and know what your target wants to read.
- Focus your content. You have the data you need for crafting relevant content. Now it’s time to sift through it and find your market’s interests that are relevant to your company. If you sell luxury cars and find out that your market is interested in opera, you can use that. However, you have to use it smart. Write articles like “Top 10 Operettas to Ease Rush Hour.” It’s probably not a good idea to write “Top 10 Operettas to Ease You To Sleep.” Remember, you want to appeal to driving those luxury cars, not being out of them.
- Have a solid content distribution system. Don’t just write your blog, make sure it’s getting out to potential readers. Social media and email are great ways to make sure your content gets in front of potential readers. If you’re not using as many social media platforms as you and your team can handle, you’re losing distribution streams. You can’t rely solely on your blog existing, you have to push it to the market where they spend their time. That means you have to become an expert at creating the kind of micro-content (Facebook posts, emails, YouTube videos, etc) that gets your potential clients to click the link. Bringing the content to them assures that it gets seen.
- Add a lead capture system. That’s how you take those visitors and turn them in to sales later. Trade something, from a free ebook to coupons, as an exchange for their first name, last name, and email address. That’s the information you need to market effectively to them. Then, using your email marketing strategy, send them the right content to build trust and strengthen a relationship before you ask for the sale. Sure, it takes longer, but it’s going to help cement a future purchase in place.
By creating great content, and optimizing it for your clients, you’re building the sort of evidence that your site is relevant to the topics you talk about, which is ideally the products or services you offer. That’s what’s going to build your SEO far better than the traditional keyword route, and the return on your investment will be far larger than the traditional method as well.