Category Archives: Strategy

The Good, the Bad and the Rankings: A Straight Shootin’ Discussion About Ethics in Digital Marketing

Ethics in Digital Marketing - Eminent SEOThe modern internet is very much akin to the Wild West. For every honorable, upstanding SEO expert, there are at least twice as many “outlaws.” In other words, there are unscrupulous practitioners that will stop at nothing to claim high search engine rankings and rustle up as many user views as possible.

Reflecting this rise of desperado digital marketing in the early 2010s, Sheriff Google started deploying deputies to clean up the streets. Since then, enforcers like Penguin and Panda have become incredibly sophisticated at sniffing out unethical digital marketing techniques and penalizing the offenders.

But what about these bad “dotcombres” is so offensive that the Sheriff Google feels it necessary to ding their search rankings? Some of the most common penalties assigned to websites that have violated Google’s webmaster guidelines are in response to:

  • Sparse, poorly written content
  • Numerous deceptive backlinks
  • Heavily spammed queries
  • Multiple doorway or interstitial pages

Organizations risk more than the ire of Sheriff Google (and subsequently penalized search rankings) when they opt to use questionable techniques. Unethical SEO and digital marketing tactics can also cost an organization thousands of potential customers or leads.

Whether an organization is managing its own online presence or handing those duties off to an SEO professional, it’s vital that decision makers understand the signs and cost of unethical digital marketing.

Defining Ethical SEO

SEO Practices Not OK Corral - Eminent SEOEthics can be difficult to define, especially in an ever-evolving environment like the Wild Web. However, most webmasters and users can agree that an upstanding website is transparent, helpful and honest. Advertisements, if any, should be straightforward rather than duplicitous. Content should be accurate, helpful and relevant.

That’s why organizations performing their own digital marketing should develop a list of ethical SEO best practices. Likewise, discussing the topic with potential digital marketing professionals should provide insights into that company’s position when it comes to ethical SEO.

The following are a few rules of thumb that outline the general principles of ethical digital marketing:

  • SEO professionals must always honor the webmaster guidelines of each search engine.
  • SEO professionals must commit to creating a positive, functional user experience.
  • SEO professionals must present user content accurately and without embellishment.
  • SEO professionals must always properly cite content generated by a separate party.
  • SEO professionals must communicate realistic expectations to their clients about search engine rankings.

Questionable vs. Ethical SEO Strategies

Wanted Bad Dotcombre Crimes Against SEO - Eminent SEOWhen it comes to Western movies, deciding who is ethical is a breeze. Good guys wear white hats. Villains wear black hats. Nobody else wears hats. Simple, right?

Thankfully, distinguishing between ethical and unethical SEO techniques isn’t very complicated either. As a rule, ethical (or “white hat”) SEO strategies will prioritize user experience, follow search engine guidelines and produce consistent, long-term results.

On the other side of the spectrum, unethical (or “black hat”) SEO strategies are only concerned with short-term gains. They tend to focus on taking advantage of search engine algorithms rather than serving the needs of potential visitors.

Examples of ethical SEO techniques include:

  • SEO site optimization
  • High-quality content production
  • Guest blogging
  • Internal linking

Conversely, examples of unethical SEO techniques include:

  • Stuffing keywords
  • Spammy blog post creation
  • Hidden text placement
  • Paying for links

The Consequences of Unethical SEO Techniques

Organizations that implement spam-heavy or manipulative SEO strategies risk heavy penalties from Google and other search engines if their unethical strategies are discovered. The subsequent search rankings loss could considerably damage a company’s long-term success in attracting new customers.

That’s why it is so important for SEO practitioners to hold themselves to extremely high ethical standards. The wrong move could cripple an entire marketing strategy. That being said, organizations in need of digital marketing services must search for a partner that can deliver on their promises.

What to Expect from Ethical SEO

New SEO experts are constantly riding into town. How do you tell a straight shooter from a dang varmint? A public commitment to ethical digital marketing is certainly a good place to start. Thankfully, there are multiple angles that organizations can explore to evaluate the ethics of a particular SEO practitioner.

Here are just a few things to look for when trying to figure out if an SEO company is committed to ethical practices:

  • Communicates realistic expectations – SEO optimization is a long-term strategy. In some cases, it can take weeks or months for a website to reach its desired search ranking. An ethical SEO practitioner will communicate a realistic time frame for the results the client has asked for. Organizations should remain wary of SEO professionals who promise overnight results.
  • Uses solely sustainable techniques – Search engine algorithms, especially those developed by Google, are constant changing. As a result, some techniques that may have worked well in the past are no longer effective, and may even lead to penalties if used. Ethical SEO practitioners keep a close eye on the industry and never knowingly recommend an outdated SEO strategy to clients.
  • Prioritizes user experience – Keyword stuffing is, or should be, a thing of the past. These days, search engine algorithms are far more concerned with the presence of accurate, high-quality content rather than keyword density. An ethical SEO practitioner will take the same approach as they recommend solutions for a client’s website.

Understanding Ethical SEO Will Help You Know Whom to Trust

Organizations that understand the importance of ethical SEO can make smarter decisions about whom to trust with their online presence. Doing so also protects their long-term digital marketing strategy from the hawk-like gaze of Sheriff Google.

As commerce becomes increasingly digitized, the importance of ethical SEO is only going to increase. Be sure to bookmark or subscribe to our blog for more helpful updates on SEO best practices and other relevant digital marketing topics.

Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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Why Your SEO Strategy Should be Focused on Website User Experience

user experience

Google has significantly updated their algorithms over the years to provide a better user experience to their search engine users. This caused shifts in SEO strategies because Google made it a priority to get devalue the sites that were ranking from spammy techniques. It’s safe to say that user experience is one of the most important aspects of your SEO strategy.

What Provides a Good User Experience?

There are many variables that go into what provides a positive experience for a user. Each variable needs to be considered when developing and monitoring any on-going strategy. Here are some of the primary areas to focus on:

Easy to Navigate Website

Websites that have confusing navigation for the user and search engines, won’t rank as high in the search results. The architecture of a website plays a huge role in how seamless and easy it is to navigate. The second a user or search engine bot has any confusion, they drop off. The navigation and URL structure should follow proper siloing techniques that make it easy to understand for users and search engines.

Relevancy

The most frustrating experience to a user is landing on a page that isn’t relevant to what they searched. To keep your content relevant, your pages should each be optimized with relevant keywords. When we say optimized, we mean that the content is answering a problem related to the search query. When the content is completely irrelevant to the search, users will most likely bounce off the page. Keep your keywords in the primary headings to prevent this.

Content That Delights Users

Content is another variable within the strategy that will help attract leads to your website. Types of content used to delight users may include: helpful blog posts, eBooks, social posts, case studies, newsletters, press, etc. You want to attract users with quality content, and delight them with more content that is relevant to their needs. Setting up workflows and email campaigns will help keep your content fresh and in front of your ideal audience on a regular basis. This also keeps your brand in front of your potential client without pitching them directly on a sale. When they are ready to buy, they will remember your brand because you’ve delighted them with quality content that was useful to them.

Landing Page Optimization

This directly relates to relevancy and content that delights users. When attracting leads with your content, you have a goal in mind with this content and how the user converts into a lead. This is where your landing page comes into play. Whether you’re sending a user to a landing page from your blog post or email, you want to make sure it is fully optimized with a clear call to action. Let’s say you wrote a blog post that had a call to action sending the user to a service page, you then want to make sure that service page of your website has a clear next step for the user such as the phone number. You also might want to add a contact form for them to request more information. Every page of the website needs to have a clear next step for the users, which is how you can turn them into a qualified lead.

Responsive Design

Google recently released an algorithm update known as the Google Mobile-Friendly update or Mobilegeddon (as some are calling it). This is going to devalue any websites that do not provide a positive mobile experience for users. To provide the best possible mobile experience, a response design is what is recommended. This is where the website will scale to fit all devices. If you still have to pinch and zoom to see the content and click the navigation on your mobile site, your website could suffer from this new update.

Fast Loading Time

Check the website speed test to see how your website is performing in terms of speed. When a website takes too long to load, it is losing potential leads and search engine bots depending on how long the site takes to serve up the important content. Websites should load quickly on all devices to provide a decent experience.

Google Focuses on User Experience, Not SEO

In order to achieve competitive rankings in Google, stop focusing on quantity and focus on quality. Providing a quality experience to your user should be your goal because your rankings are going to depend on it. Since Google’s primary focus is to provide its users with a good user experience, your website should mimic just that. Google controls your website rankings, why would you consider anything less than quality?

If you’re not thinking quality and still doing “old school” SEO, this might work temporarily, but ultimately will only leave your website vulnerable to a penalty in the future. The last thing you want is a Google penalty because it can take months or years for your website to gain any indexing back, which means NO keyword rankings period. Avoid these outdated techniques and focus on quality in order to prevent anything negative happening to your website rankings and traffic.

Your Website Will Become Your Top Lead Generating Source When Done Right

When your website is properly optimized for search engines and the user experience, it will produce qualified leads. Keep a close watch on the user behavior in analytics to see how users are engaging with your website. Specifically focus on bounce rates, average time on site, pages per session, and conversion rates. Constantly monitoring these metrics will help you identify which landing pages may not be providing the best experience for your user and where you may be losing leads. Also, pay attention to the landing pages that are turning your users into leads. What did you do differently with these pages? Make sure each landing page is fully optimized to reach your end goal.

Bottom Line

The most successful SEO campaigns we manage here at Eminent SEO are the ones that have high quality content to delight the users with, as well as a beautifully designed website that also provides users with a clear call to action. Today’s SEO shouldn’t be focused on the volume of traffic, but the volume of converting traffic. It is our job as organic search engine marketers to make sure each website and marketing campaign provides a positive user experience.

Need help converting your website into a lead generator? Give us a call today: 800.871.4130

Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

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How Seasonal Search Plays a Role in Your SEO and PPC Campaigns

This entry was posted in Strategy and tagged , on by .

seasonal search

When developing out your SEO and PPC campaigns, it’s important to keep seasons in mind. Every business has their peak times when consumers are in need of a specific product or service, more than usual, which is considered seasonal traffic. During these peak times it’s important to keep your search campaigns in mind because you will want to capture as much of that audience as possible.

As a business owner, you should know when your peak times are during the year. Make sure to share this information with your search marketing team because your budget may need to be adjusted during certain months to capture a larger amount of consumers searching for your product or service. Same goes for holidays, if your product or service relates directly to consumers on certain days of the year. Strategies need to be put in place.

Understanding the Seasonal Shifts of Search Traffic to Increase Conversions

By looking at the year over year search traffic in your Google Analytics, you’ll be able to tell what months are driving the highest amount of search traffic and conversions. With this data, you’ll be able to accurately predict about how many users should be hitting your site and set goals for your campaigns.

Now that you have an understanding of what sort of traffic to expect for the upcoming peak months, you will need to justify a strong increase for these campaigns. To do that, you will need to look at the year over year increase percentage. Each year, you may want to see a percentage increase in conversions, this number will allow you to see those increases. By looking at the organic search increase percentage, you’ll be able to easily see if your SEO campaign is being effective each year. If it is growing each year during your peak times, you know you’re investing your money into the right target keywords. If there isn’t much growth, your SEO strategy may need to be re-defined.total traffic

For PPC, it can be a little different because each year cost per clicks are going to change and budgets may change. To tell if your search campaigns are effective here, you still want to look at the conversion percentage increase year over year. Compare that data with the total cost each month. If you’re spending the same amount of money, and your conversions are steadily inclining, this is a good sign that the keywords you’re bidding on are driving sales for your business. If you’re spending more money and seeing less conversions, your keyword list may need to be re-defined with a new strategy.

Another way to look at seasonal shifts for search campaigns is by looking at the search trends for your target keywords. This will clearly spell out what you can expect in certain months based off of the average search volume increases and decreases for your keywords.

search trends

Why You Should Invest More Into Your Campaigns During Peak Seasons

Your Competitors Are Doing It, So You Should Too

The truth is, if your competitors are showing up for more of your target keywords in the search results, they’ve already started a push to drive seasonal traffic to their site. That means you need to get started too. After all, seasonal SEO is all about timing. If you don’t start at the right time, you may be too late to see any sort of return on investment since it takes search engines some time to index any of your content you’re promoting. That being said, it is best to begin promoting at least 3 months in advance for seasonal traffic to get the buzz going organically.

With PPC, give it 30 days to get the ads visible to where they will be driving converted clicks. Many may think that all you need to do is turn your ad on and it automatically appears in the top 3 of the search results. That can’t be any further from the truth. Even with these campaigns, you need to analyze the keywords that are driving conversions and narrow down the keyword list. That way, your budget is being mostly spent on keywords that are going to turn into qualified leads instead of wasted costs.

Higher Cost Per Clicks During Peak Times

This directly relates to your competition as well. If it is peak season for your business, it is the same for them. Which means they’re going to be aggressively bidding on keywords in their PPC campaigns to make sure their ads show in the top 3 search results over yours. A larger budget is necessary for your pay per click because of the competitive increased cost per clicks.

More Visibility on the Web

If your strategies are prepared with the right timing, budget, and approach; your business will have more visibility during seasonal shifts. Investing in more content on your website creates more indexing of your website in the search engines. Which means Google is coming back to your site a lot more because you’re giving the crawlers something new consistently. This helps build organic traffic and rankings which means a lot more visibility.

For PPC, with an increased budget, your ads will appear in the top 3 search results for your target keywords. This is where you want your ads to appear since that is where consumers are going to click first resulting in more qualified traffic to your site.

Closing Thoughts

Be prepared for seasonal shifts if you have a business in an industry that has peak highs and lows. If you are seeing a decrease in traffic month over month, don’t automatically assume your SEO and PPC campaigns aren’t being effective. Take the timing into consideration and do the research. If this is a trend that occurs each year, then you know that may be the time when your business starts to hit the low point. Consider reducing your PPC budgets during these low times and re-analyze your SEO strategy so that is prepared for the peak times.

Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

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Why Your Website Needs a Custom Marketing Strategy

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Custom Marketing Strategy by Eminent SEO

Because of what we do, our team gets a lot of requests for prepackaged website solutions. We understand that individuals and companies looking for website marketing are often unsure of exactly what they need and how much it should cost, which is why it might seem like the best approach is to review existing packages and their pricing. However, we feel differently. Our issue with pre-made packages is they are cookie cutter and don’t necessarily work for everyone.

Here Are 5 Reasons Why Your Website Needs A Custom Marketing Strategy

1. Your Industry, Products, Services, Company and Geographical Locations Are Unique

Each industry is represented differently on-line. For example, some industries have a stronger online presence than others, causing unique levels of difficultly per vertical. The same can be said for specific products and services. If you happen to offer a nationwide service, such as website design, for example, you are going to be competing with a lot more websites than say someone who offers a local service like AC repair to only a few nearby cities.

Because there are so many unique variables in the make-up of your company, a custom approach to marketing is the only thing that makes sense. You don’t want to be underdoing it OR overdoing it. You need a professional marketer to assess your needs based off of how you are and who your competitors are so they can make a realistic suggestion for your needs specifically.

2. Your Website History Is Unique

Your current website and its online history plays a huge role in determining what your marketing approach should be. A new website, for example, is going to have to work a lot harder to build a foundation for organic marketing than an older, more established site.

A professional marketer should evaluate your website history, including things like: age of the domain, number of existing indexed pages, number of existing backlinks, current domain authority, website crawlability, etc. This ensures all important and existing foundational website elements are being considered when determining what type of marketing approach you should take.

3. Your Marketing History Is Unique

Similar to your website history, assessing your marketing history is equally important. If your website is old but you’re new to online marketing, you have to approach organic marketing like you are a new site. On the other hand, if you are an older site with a long history with organic marketing, you can be a lot more aggressive in your approach.

Before we create a custom marketing proposal for a new prospect we always look at their organic marketing history. We specifically look at things like: what methods of marketing you deployed previously, what you are currently doing to market your site/brand, what types of backlinks your website has (as well as how many and the associated anchor text used), what social platforms are in place that can be leveraged, etc. If we find something is wrong or done poorly we know we need to address those issues before we begin marketing, otherwise your marketing dollars might be spent in vain.

4. Your Budget Is Unique

Let’s face it, not everyone has the budget to do everything they need or want to do for their business. If you come in with a smaller budget but we determine your website needs more than you can afford in order to be successful, we aren’t going to simply sell you a package in your price range. That only sets you AND us up for failure.

Instead, skilled marketers should be able to assess everything that needs to be done and then, if budget is limited, prioritize the “to-do” list. We work with our clients to create short term and long term strategies in the form of monthly phases that allow us to work on the priority list one month at a time without blowing the budget.

5. Your In-house Team Is Unique

A website needs a lot of work in addition to the marketing in order to ensure continued visibility and conversions. For example, Google won’t value and rank a site that has server issues, duplicate or outdated content, broken links, etc. On that same note, users won’t trust your site if when they visit, the content is poorly written, the design is out of date, the pages take too long to load, etc.

If you already have a team in-house that manages the technical elements, writes content, manages social media, etc. then your custom strategy can be built with that in mind. However, if we find that your team can’t handle the website work or you simply don’t have the bandwidth or know-how to complete the work, we can build these important management and maintenance services into your custom proposal.

The Nutshell:

You, your business, your website, your products and services, your budget and your team are unique! Shouldn’t your website marketing strategies ALSO be unique?

Let us help you develop a custom approach to your organic marketing campaigns. We will get to know you, your business and specific needs and then, after auditing your website and marketing history, we can provide you with a solid plan that will produce a real ROI.

Is there any other way?

Learn more about our Custom Marketing Strategies here… or just pick up the phone and call us to get started: 800.871.4130.

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing work in 2005. I'm a {very} busy mom of 4 and I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I love coffee, wine, food and other people who enjoy the adventure of seeking out the best places to eat and drink. In my free time (what's that?) you'll most likely find me studying philosophy and spirituality, cooking for my family or relaxing with a nice glass of wine, a funny movie and the people I love.

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Inbound Marketing: The Most Effective B2B Marketing Solution

In order to continuing growing your B2B business, you need quality leads. Many businesses may be thinking “Yeah, if only it were that easy.” We’re with you on that. It’s not fast and it’s not easy. It takes a team of professionals who are proficient in the different areas of inbound marketing to really see results.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

inbound marketing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inbound marketing, a coined phrase from HubSpot, is the process of attracting the right visitors, converting those visitors into qualified leads, nurturing those leads into customers, and retaining ongoing customers. In other words: Attract, Convert, Nurture, Delight.

Inbound marketing pulls customers into conversation via SEO, social media, blogging, and email marketing. Whereas the old techniques of marketing known as outbound marketing, interrupts customers into seeing your product or service. This comes in various forms including: TV ads, print materials, cold calling, pop up advertising, banner advertising, and more.

The Benefits of Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing for B2B Companies

I could go on about the benefits of inbound vs. outbound, but I’ll keep it straight to the point.

Benefit 1: Build Long-Term Relationships

business relationships

Your content is the face of your business with inbound marketing. It’s what attracts those potential customers to seeing your brand and website. Your content is also the piece that’s going to convert, nurture, and retain your customers. Content = communication.

Just because a potential buyer doesn’t immediately call to purchase your product or service, doesn’t mean they aren’t researching you. In most cases, businesses are going to research you before making initial contact. They will follow your social profiles, read your blogs, and hopefully sign up for your newsletter. To justify it, you need content to build these relationships and stay in front your prospects. They will think of your brand as a trusted resource if you’re pushing out quality stuff. That’s ultimately what builds business relationships today.

With the outbound marketing techniques, the goal isn’t to build relationships. The goal is to get the most visibility possible without keeping your ideal audience in mind. See how costs can add up quickly here? This leads us into the cost comparison.

Benefit 2: More Cost Effective

Per Hubspot, the average cost per lead is 61% lower with inbound marketing than outbound.

cost per lead

If you’ve ever done any form of advertising, you know how expensive it can be. But why spend all the money when you can create better results for less? That’s a question I’m sure a lot of marketers are asking their clients.

Benefit 3: Marketing Provides Value to the End Consumer

With B2B inbound marketing, the ideal way to getting those clients is by educating them. Showing them the value in your product or service through your content. This can be done with eBooks, white papers, webinars, and speaking conferences. The goal is to get your ideal client to understand your product or service and how it will directly benefit them as a consumer.

With outbound marketing, there isn’t much education done by marketers. The goal here is creating ads that will stand out over their competition. Creativity is the core strategy for ad visibility.

How to Use Inbound Marketing to Quantify Leads into Customers

Let’s break it down. When employing inbound marketing to generate B2B leads, you get a much higher return on your investment. And here’s what you need:

A Properly Optimized Website

This is the first and most IMPORTANT part to your inbound marketing strategy. Your website should be set up to where unique visitors can easily understand what their next steps are. When a visitor lands on a page from the search results, it needs to be relevant. It then needs to provide a call to action (CTA) leading the visitor down a path to ultimately meet their end goal. See our Landing Page Optimization Checklist to learn more.

Identify Your Target Audience

This is also known as developing your ideal buyer persona. Age, gender, geographic, industry, etc. Who is that person? When you’re developing your content strategy, it’s important to know who that is. That way you can tailor your content voice toward your buyer persona.

Solid Keyword Research and SEO Strategy

Keywords are the backbone of your content strategy. Ultimately the goal is to have more visibility in the search results to attract the RIGHT visitors, right? This is done with identifying keywords that are going to convert visitors into leads. Make sure your website and content marketing is making the most of these keywords.

Set Goals

set goals

In order to know if your inbound marketing strategy is successful, you need to set realistic goals. Goals that are attainable would include percentage increases like: conversion rate, visitor to lead, lead to customer, traffic increases, etc. Set milestones and expectations for your client and team.

Concrete Content Marketing and Social Media Strategy

With B2B marketing, you want to be known as the leader in your industry and raise awareness. To do so, you need a solid content marketing and social media strategy to get that content visible. Create editorial calendars that include eBook topics, blog topics, social topics, and focus keywords. This will help you stay on task with your content.

content marketing

Blog frequency should be at least once per week, ideally twice per week with valuable content. Topic ideas should stem from frequently asked questions, keywords, industry news, etc. Each blog should have a final CTA and this is where eBooks and other resources strongly come into play.

When you’re attracting visitors via blog posts, the best CTA for B2B, is another related resource. Ideally you want this resource to have a landing page where they fill out their information. Related sources like eBooks, white papers, webinar signups, newsletter signups, etc. can help keep those qualified visitors engaged on your site. This will lead to an increased volume of leads and increased visitor duration.

Social media is so important! Yes, even for B2B marketing. Specifically, LinkedIn which is a lead generating machine for B2B marketing. You want to be posting AT LEAST 20 times per month because it’ll increase the overall visibility of your company page by posting more frequently. If you don’t have a huge following, promote posts that are important such as your eBooks and blog posts. This can help increase engagement which also increases your content and profile visibility. Make sure you’re targeting your buyer persona when engaging and posting here.

Email Marketing and Marketing Automation

This is the final piece to the puzzle. Now that you’ve done the work to attract the right leads with your SEO, content marketing, and social media, you need to convert them and retain them. Email marketing and marketing automation play a huge role in this.

Here’s how it works. Someone fills out the form for an eBook on your website or blog. Upon request, you send an automated email with the link to the eBook and a friendly welcome. Now that you know what this lead is interested in (based off the content), you can gear your email marketing to be targeted to their needs. For instance, the lead downloads an eBook about “What a Website Needs to Be SEO Friendly”. You’re not going to email them about social media. You’re going to continue sending emails with case studies, webinars, other eBooks that are related to website design and SEO. This is what keeps them engaged and where marketing automation is so crucial because you’re staying in front of the potential buyer.

After a series of engagement has occurred, then it’s time to email them personally and ask to set up a call to go over their needs. If they accept, that’s a qualified lead that should now begin going through your sales process. Click here for tips on Effectively Selling SEO.

Why This is the Most Effective B2B Marketing Solution

In terms of B2B marketing, the ultimate goal is building relationships. Whether that’s with other companies or individuals with specialties, you need to know people to get the business. One of the best ways to get to know new people is by engaging with them on the internet. There’s only so many people you can meet in your city at a conference… With the internet, you can pinpoint your target demographic, connect with knowledgeable individuals, and educate them without pushing them to buy your product or service. Pulling them into conversation instead of bombarding them with cold calls and annoying ads is how you get people’s attention in today’s world.

Inbound marketing is effective for small and large businesses. It’s where technology, creativity, and knowledge come together. Those powers can go a long way and help effectively build your brand and quantify leads online.

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Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

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Stop Trying To Track Keyword Rankings. It’s Dumb.

Look, I get it. You are working on organic marketing and that means you are intentionally trying to get Google and the other big search engines to rank your site for what you believe are important keywords. So, why wouldn’t you want to track them?

Because it’s dumb.  Dont be a dumbass Don’t trust me?

Let me explain:

The Strategy is Flawed

There are literally 1000 or more ways an individual could go to Google and search for something similar.

For example:

Let’s say a number of people are all seeking out a great painter Arizona. Some might geo target, others might not. Some might search for a specific service, such as a stucco house painter, others may do a general search for painter. Some might seek out a painter by including an adjective to help qualify the search such as affordable or experienced, others may not.

Some specific examples of what a search query could look like:

  • Painter
  • House Painter
  • House Painter AZ
  • House Painter Arizona
  • House Painter in Mesa Arizona
  • House Painter in Mesa, AZ
  • House Painter in the Mesa Area
  • House Painter in East Mesa
  • Painter for Houses
  • Find a Painter
  • Find a House Painter
  • Stucco House Painter in Mesa
  • Stucco House Painter in Mesa AZ
  • Affordable House Painter
  • Affordable House Painter Mesa Arizona

And a million more variations.

You get my point.

Even if you use sophisticated tools, hire SEO experts and spend hours analyzing the backend data of your site, there is still NO WAY you are EVER going to know every single possible variation of each type of potential way a user could search for your business, your services, your products and your website.

Of course keyword research is still important and I absolutely recommend you have a solid strategy for integrating your important keywords into the meta data and content of your site, but my point is to say the strategy is flawed.

What strategy?

Picking keywords and only tracking them.

You can pick a handful of important keywords based off of their estimated monthly search volume, but so what? If you don’t rank for them does that mean that you aren’t getting traffic? No. If you don’t rank for them does that mean that your site isn’t doing well? No.

There are a thousand reasons why you might not be ranking for a specific keyword… A few:

  • Your page SEO isn’t properly optimized for that exact term specifically
  • Your SEO is good but your in-bound linking doesn’t support the term enough
  • Your content isn’t properly optimized for that term
  • Google likes other keywords better for that page
  • Your competition is doing a better job
  • Your site is new and hasn’t gained enough authority to rank for that term
  • Your site is old and never established enough authority to rank for that term

I could go on.

Oh, and one last thing. There is only so much you can do. Back in the day you could pick a keyword and add it to your website meta data, content and then build in-bound links using that term as the anchor text and BAM! Rankings! Guess what? That exact strategy will now potentially harm your site and could even result in penalties. No bueno.

Google Penguin

The Penguin is going to GET YOU!

Instead, your on-page SEO, content and organic marketing strategies have to be much more sophisticated and diverse. It looks unnatural to put a keyword phrase in each important key area of your site meta and content and then to also have a bunch of in-bound links pointing to that page using the same keyword as the anchor text. That strategy is outdated and IT WILL HURT YOU.

The Information is Not Accurate

We’ve had clients track rankings using a tool and then manually look for the same results only to find they are not the same. Well duh. I hate to break it to you but the information is intentionally inconsistent, Google knows your game and they are trying to deter you from playing it. Did you know that Google has even said tracking rankings is against their terms of service? And don’t think they don’t know. They know.

So, why and how is the information inaccurate?

There are several big reasons why… all of which I already wrote about in a previous post called “Why Tracking Your Organic Search Rankings Will Drive You Insane”… but I will recap here for you:

  • Your Locations Matters (where you search from changes your results)
  • Your Web Browsing History Matters (what you’ve already searched for impacts what Google serves you)
  • Your Personalized Results are Influenced by Social Signals (logged in users get personalized results – and many are heavily influenced by their social circles)
  • Technical Aspects Play a Huge Role (Google has a ton of data centers and all can display slightly different results at any given time)

To further that, if you are using a tool – paid or free – to track your rankings then you have to understand that the tool itself is also impacted by the above variables. They aren’t allowed to scrape Google every week, day or hour to find your rankings. They are potentially buying the data or pulling it from another resource even that may or may not even be Google. You could be looking at outdated information or data pulled from some 3rd party source.

It’s okay to use a tool to track a few keywords, especially if you are a marketer and you want some very specific insights to use in your campaign strategies – but to rely on the data as a key performance metric and to give it to your client as an indicator of how well their marketing campaigns are doing is INSANE!

Tracking Rankings will Drive You Insane The data is all over the place! All you are going to do is frustrate yourself AND your clients.

Which leads me to my next point…

Rankings Don’t Equal Traffic or Conversions

I mean, think about it. Even if you are number 1,2 or 3 for a specific keyword in Google that doesn’t guarantee ANYTHING! People might not click. People may click a paid ad above you instead. People might click but they don’t like your site or content and decide to keep looking… so, there is no guarantee a ranking will lead to a click that converts.

Also, so what if you rank for a keyword – what about the other 1000 variations of that term (as shown in my first point: The Strategy is Flawed )? I am much more excited to see increased organic search engine traffic then I would ever be over a keyword ranking. Organic traffic means you are ranking for terms that people are clicking on. THAT is real data. Rankings mean nothing. Traffic is everything…. Well, good traffic (but I’ll get to that in a second). Why would you track your rankings or report on rankings to a client when they are VERY possibly 1) not accurate (as shown above) 2) not likely to maintain their placement and 3) not directly correlating with any tangible traffic data?

Such an outdated measurement.

Let’s say I want to rank for terms related to my previous example (above) on “House Painting”. So, I go to a marketing firm and they say to me, “Oh, you should really target ‘house painting’ because that term clearly has the highest search volume in your space”. I would be like, great – let’s do it! Then, for the next several months that marketing firm would work on that term… but then I don’t see any rankings and I am frustrated and think they are doing a terrible job and who needs them anyways. But, if that marketing firm says, well, you know what? You may not be able to see rankings for that term, but guess what? We were looking at your Google Analytics and you have tripled your organic traffic in the last month!

I’d be like, WHAT? Okay!

What? Okay!

Why? Because traffic is what I hired a marketing firm for. Not ranking me for ONE (or a set of) specific keywords.

Besides, the REAL measure is how that traffic is leading to increased conversions. This is marketing people. Why does ANY business pay for marketing? Because they want to make more money. How do they do that? By making more sales. It’s pretty simple. No one cares (or should care) what their rankings are or how much traffic they get if their sales aren’t increasing.

I could write a whole new blog post on that so I’ll just leave it at this – organic online marketing is intended to help you get more traffic and conversions. If you are getting organic traffic you have rankings! If you are currently tracking specific keyword rankings and you don’t see solid results but you DO see increased organic traffic in your analytics, then guess what? You ARE ranking somewhere for something, you just aren’t tracking the millions of variations of the keywords Google could possibly serve you up for.

GET IT?

And I’m just going to say this one more time for kicks…

Who cares what you are ranking for as long as you are getting traffic and increased conversions?

There Are Better Metrics To Focus On

So, I basically just said it – but for those of you questioning what to track, measure and report on instead, here are a few of our favorite client KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) here at Eminent SEO.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, we DO NOT track or report on rankings. Ever.

What to Track INSTEAD of Keyword Rankings

KPI #1: Conversions

I don’t just mean visits here. If a visitor doesn’t take a desired action, then they aren’t worth your on-going marketing spend. I am talking about tracking actions – such as: a phone call, a purchase, a form submission, the download of an ebook or something else of that nature.

Of course to do this properly you have to have some amount of skill and might even need to have some paid tools (such as a call tracking tool), but we are talking about metrics here – if you need help implementing any of these suggestions, well, you’ll just have to call us!

KPI #2: Cost Per Conversion

Okay, great! Now you have conversions, but how much is that costing you? I’ve had clients come in with multiple lead source types (maybe they are running a PPC campaign, have a local campaign going, they are renting space on a large directory AND even doing TV ads) and they have no clue which ad source is actually bringing them their leads and conversions and in turn they really don’t know which marketing source is the most valuable to them. Why? Because they aren’t tracking them individually.

Each individual marketing campaign you are running (on and off-line alike) should be tied in to a separate number, landing page, website or conversion form if you are going to truly measure your efforts. From there, you should tie your ad spend into each individual ad source. Your online marketing firm should be able to track online actions, such a fill form or other web submission, however, if you are also taking calls this does take some extra effort on your part. If done properly you will know exactly where each lead/sale is coming from and determine a cost per lead/sale.

This is HUGE! Reread that if you have to. This is important people!

KPI #3: Visitor Behavior

Once you are certain you are properly measuring your conversions and cost per conversion you can start diving back into important the website metrics, such as visits, repeat visitors, number of page views and the average time on site.

Any good online marketing company is going to use these metrics to improve your conversion rates by addressing quality issues. For example, high bounce rates from a particular page indicate that even though you are getting traffic it’s not converting – so there is a problem on that page that needs to be addressed. On the other hand, as a marketing firm, if you see monthly improvements to these metrics you should be able to show your client that the website is capturing their audience and resulting in better leads and conversions….

Client Thumbs Up

Get a BIG Thumbs Up

And isn’t that a ZILLION times more important that some random keyword rankings?

THE Nutshell:

The Strategy is Flawed

You can’t possibly know every variation people might use to find you. And even if you could, your marketing company can’t just rank you for a specific term anymore anyways. That strategy is outdated and could actually hurt you!

The Information is Not Accurate

We now know (for a FACT) that there are dozens of ways rankings can be influenced and therefore not accurate. So, what are you really tracking anyways?

Rankings Don’t Equal Traffic or Conversions

If you think rankings (or the lack thereof) are proving anything, well, I hate to break it to you… but you are wrong. If you don’t see rankings but you have organic traffic and conversions, well then guess what? You DO have rankings.

There Are Better Metrics To Focus On

I could list 1000 key performance indicators that we feel are more important to a client on how their marketing dollars are actually increasing their bottom line… but I shared 3: conversions, cost per conversion and visitor behavior. If you are tracking rankings and not focused on these other 3 metrics, it’s time to get with the times.

Rankings are a thing of the past. Don’t be dumb.

Why are you so dumb

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing work in 2005. I'm a {very} busy mom of 4 and I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I love coffee, wine, food and other people who enjoy the adventure of seeking out the best places to eat and drink. In my free time (what's that?) you'll most likely find me studying philosophy and spirituality, cooking for my family or relaxing with a nice glass of wine, a funny movie and the people I love.

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