Search Engine (SEO) Marketing

When it comes to mapping out the services LeadGen Compass provides, search engine optimization, search engine (SEO) marketing, or SEO, creates some internal friction. On one side are the veterans that have watched spammy companies and SEO gurus make extraordinary promises about getting you to “#1 on Google!” and say they never want to be associated with the term, SEO. On the other side are newer employees that don’t know of another way to describe the work we do, which is optimizing your website for the search engines. Eventually we settle on a term like search engine visibility, which keeps the peace but no one outside of the organization knows what we’re talking about. In a way, the entire discussion is a microcosm of what we help clients do with SEO.

Too much knowledge

There is no one that knows more about the work you do than the people inside your company. To attract new customers, you need to get the word out and one way to do that is to be found on search engines. It’s estimated that Google alone between 55-65,000 search queries each second right now. It only makes sense that your prospects will be using Google at some point in their decision process, so your job is to be among the top results that Google shows when someone searches, right?

The problem is you know too much about your own products and services to be a good judge of what your prospects are searching for and what stage they are in when they use the search engines. Let me give you one anecdote. We worked with a clothing company that sold beachwear, specifically Hawaiian type shirts. They weren’t technically Hawaiian shirts, more a brightly colored camp shirt, just so you have an image in mind of what their main product was. The main term anyone could imagine a potential customer of these shirts searching for was, naturally, Hawaiian Shirts. A lot of work went into optimizing for anything around that term and after enough results came in, we had no real results. To boost traffic, we started purchasing ads on these search terms because they needed traffic and sales. After a few months of running ads, we had enough traffic to analyze what people were searching for immediately before they purchased their shirts, their last-click before purchase. The results showed the number one term was tropical shirt/tropical shirts. About one in three clicks was a purchase. Hawaiian shirts was well down the list. It provided the most traffic but the fewest sales. The weird thing was Hawaiian shirt, singular, was the absolute worst performing term. Hundreds of clicks, not one sale.

How does this happen?

What was happening? Years later we started to realize that the issue was  internal. The company knew too much and stopped thinking like a new customer would. This led to a lot of customer surveys, discussions and brainstorming. In that process we learned even more. My point in telling you all of this is that search engine optimization is an effective tactic, but unless you’re using live customer information and real customer insights, you’re just guessing. The reason most SEO falls short of expectations is because even if you’re #1 in your market for the term you think everyone uses, it may not be the term that your customers use. Or, in the case of Hawaiian Shirts, it may be there are so many other companies that better fit that search term because they sell traditional Hawaiian Shirts are going to win the day.

LeadGen Compass has been in the search engine optimization business for decades with our parent companies. We will bring our hard earned lessons to your company’s lead generation challenges, and do so in a way that you can trust. If we can help, give us a call today.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques

We have four quick hints for you if you’re tasked with doing this work on your own.

  1. Tracking. You can’t manage what you can’t measure, so make sure your measurement systems are in place. Collect as much information as you can to start, but only focus on managing one or two pieces. We look for trends in traffic (what brought them to your site), behavior (what they do on your site), and goals reached (how many actions did they take that you wanted them to take). Everything starts with measurement.
  2. Hook up all the Google tools. These include Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Ads. Get them all to communicate with each other. We know that Google continues to reduce the amount of information they share with marketers, but it’s still the #1 search engine and the information about the language your prospects use is invaluable.
  3. Don’t guess at keywords. To get away from guessing you’re going to have to invest in some terms to get traffic. If your measurement systems are set up correctly, it’s worth the dollars spent to test and discover new search terms. Stop guessing and start looking for places where you can see actual search syntax. Most of our clients consider this approach to be a game changer.
  4. Design content to match where your customers are in their decision process. If they are learning about possible solutions to their problems, one of which is your solution, help them determine where you’re a fit and where you aren’t. Knowing your customer’s decision process is a critical step in attracting more leads from the search engines. Be helpful.

As we say in the office, it’s a process, not an event. Everyone would like to have a single switch to flip in order to generate leads. It helps us to remember it’s a process and if we stick to the process, good things will happen. If you need help with your process, contact LeadGen Compass today.