SEO Alone Not Enough • Burt Systems Uganda

SEO Alone Not Enough

SEO Alone Not enough to generate traffic

Focusing on SEO Alone Isn’t Enough

Are you not seeing results from your well newly search engine optimised website? Are you losing trust in SEO? Is your small business online marketing strategy getting you nowhere near your goal? The problem is that you’re solely relying on SEO to drive traffic to your small business website.

While you may dance to that resounding SEO song that marketers keep singing all over the internet, SEO alone won’t bring you website traffic, it’s not enough on its own to generate the amount of leads a small business needs in order to keep growing.

Google’s algorithm is continually changing, which means that your SEO strategy is constantly evolving with it. Luckily, Google’s webmaster guidelines clearly spell out what they’re looking for:

  • Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
  • Don’t deceive your users.
  • Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.
  • Think about what makes your website unique, valuable, or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.

Note the first bullet point and its emphasis on people. Although your site should be incredibly enticing to search engines, technical SEO efforts can only go so far. Keywords can get you on the front page of Google and drive a ton of traffic after investing huge amounts of time, money and effort to get your Search Engine Optimization right, but if these visitors are not turning into leads, you’re ultimately wasting your time and money.

Building the SEO case.

Web users perform trillions of searches every month. Most of them happen on Google. In fact, Google owns nearly 80% of the search market as of July 2017.  So, how do you get your content to stand out when 80 million blog posts are published every month on WordPress alone?

According to Moz, SEOs should be focusing on four things:

  • Mobile First Indexing
  • Natural Language
  • Local Search
  • Video

KO Marketing Lists a total of 30 SEO best practices for B2B brands, including creating optimized landing pages, personalized content, security, and link acquisition.

You may be interested in: Generating Website Traffic Easily

In 2016 during a Google Q&A session, Google’s Audrey Lipattsev revealed that links, content, and RankBrain are the top three ranking factors Google considers for organic search.

This is important information, but it still doesn’t tell us what aspects of those factors matter.

We’re left to figure out the details on our own.

With so many “best practices” and hundreds of ranking factors to consider, it can get overwhelming to figure out what really matters when all you want to do is rank well.

The reason you shouldn’t focus on SEO alone is simple — No single strategy is going to help every business rank #1 on Google. More than 200 factors are used by Google to determine your search ranking, meaning there is no magic bullet.

Non SEO Digital Strategies to Compliment SEO

Instead of chasing every new update from Google (about three updates a day!), you are much more likely to succeed using these simple not SEO strategies:

  1. High Value Content
  2. Social Shares & Social Media Advertising
  3. PPC or Pay Per Click Advertising
  4. Local Search Listing
  5. Follow The Data

Let’s look into what each of these strategies entails but first, you may want to bookmark this post for reading later: What is online marketing?

1. High Value Content

Companies want people who know what they’re doing. However, relevant alt text isn’t what convinces someone to stay on your site; quality content does.

The “quality content” debate isn’t anything new to most marketers, but the latest SearchMetrics Report on ranking factors offers a new approach by coining the term “holistic content.” According to the report, holistic content incorporates relevant keywords that are similar to your target keywords in order to answer search intent more completely.

In other words, additional keywords are used to provide more comprehensive content, and if “you write a very good, readable text with lots of high-quality content,” not only will you generate more shares but your site will “rank equally well with search engines for many different keywords at the same time.”

Quality requires you to look beyond an extensive keyword list, though. An easy way to ensure your on-site content is up to Google’s high standards is by actually looking for what would signal low-quality content.

Below are red flags that are in your control and easily managed:

  • Broken links: Crawl your site and make sure there aren’t any “404 errors.”
  • Inaccurate information: Any sources you link to should be credible, whether they are internal or external links.
  • Grammar and spelling errors: Spell check should be the last thing you use before you click “publish.”
  • Page load speed: Having a fast-loading site can help you rank higher.
  • Comprehensiveness: Your content should answer all questions related to a specific topic.

Quality content also plays a big role in your ability to generate backlinks – an authoritative backlink profile is a key ingredient Google looks at when determining rankings. Sites will link to your content so long as it provides value, and below are three ways to ensure it does:

  • Your content offers something unique and original: You’re likely sitting on a ton of internal data that no one else has access to — share it!
  • There are actionable tips throughout: Usually someone lands on your content because it provides answers to a particular problem. Make sure they leave with insights they can use once they’re done reading.
  • It can stand alone as an evergreen resource: This is the holy grail for content — think laterally so that you answer every question possible, but also make sure it’s presented in a way that’s easy to digest.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that your content should provide answers to real questions. This is what gets others to link to your content — and the more backlinks you have, the more value Google will add.

2. Social Shares & Social Media Advertising

People go online to share ideas, maintain relationships, and build new audiences. These are inherent social characteristics, which is why an effective SEO strategy places a lot of value on social media.Click To Tweet

SEO alone can’t get your content in front of a large audience, but the increase in traffic that comes from highly shareable content is something Google will reward.

So what are some ways social media and SEO interact?

Social Media Profiles Typically Rank High on Branded Queries

Although social share counts don’t have a direct impact on your site’s ranking (according to Google), social profiles are typically some of the top results when people search for brand names. Social channels make the experience of getting to know your brand more fun and engaging, but they also let Google know you’re the real deal.

Did you know that social networks are search engines too?

Facebook gets 2 billion searches per day. That means that a lot of people are using sites other than Google to get answers.

Brands should expand their concept of SEO to extend beyond traditional search engines.

Remember – social channels actually can serve as the initial source of information about your brand.

Amplify your content with social media advertising after the initial launch

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all have paid amplification options that can help you reach larger audiences, and considering more than 75% of B2C marketers are using paid social, it’s definitely a tactic worth investing in on your best content since these platforms tend to be a bit of an echo chamber.

Both SEO and social both help to build your brand identity to naturally attract visitors.

However, what social does that SEO can’t do is get your content in front of a much larger audience organically — which indirectly generates more backlinks and referral traffic that will help you rank higher.

Get more information here: Understanding Social Media Traffic

3. Paid search advertising

If you market your business on Facebook at all, you know it’s become more difficult to get attention on the social site with organic posts. In order to get more customers through social media, you generally need to pay for advertising, too. It’s the same concept with paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Search engine optimization of your website will boost your site in organic search engine results — but adding PPC advertising to the mix increases the odds that your target customers will see your business website. (According to some estimates, companies make $2 for every $1 they spend on pay-per-click advertising with Google AdWords.)

Paid search relies on keywords, just like search engine optimization does, and you will need to test different offers, headlines, and advertising formats to see which ones work best. You can also get help from digital marketing experts to guide your PPC campaign and help your ads come out on top.

4. Local search listings

Did you know that more than 59% of all online searches start on Google? And that's not even counting Google image searches, which account for another 26% of online searches. Clearly, standing out on Google makes a huge difference in attracting new leads and customers.Click To Tweet

That’s why it’s so important to make sure your business is listed in Google’s local search directory and shows up in Google Maps when users search for what you sell. If your business is local, seeing that you’re just a few blocks away could be enough to make a customer come knocking on your business’s door instead of your competition’s.

SEO Is Essential, but on it’s own not so effective

Google’s algorithms are constantly changing. These changes are out of your control, which is why an effective marketing strategy shouldn’t focus solely on SEO.

You need to think of SEO as a companion to your social and content strategies.

Your ultimate goal should be to answer your audience’s most pressing questions through valuable content — and in return, they’ll reward you with more traffic.

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Burt Baguma
Burt Baguma
The writer is a Ghost Writer, Blogger, Web Developer and Online Marketing consultant. A Senior Manager at Burt Systems Uganda. Baguma has been writing for the digital world for over a decade and has worked with hundreds of small business owners across different cultures around the world.

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