In the previous two parts of this series, we’ve discussed nearly everything you need to get you started on the path to SEO success. Last time, we discussed competitor discovery, scaling keywords, and the start of building a content calendar. In this final chapter today, we’re going to cover:
7. Increasing Social Presence in Search
8. Gain Visibility in Universal Search
9. Measuring ROI from Your SEO Efforts
10. Adopting Technology to Scale your SEO
Step 7: Increase Social Presence in Search
Hand-in-hand with a strong content strategy goes a social media strategy. Social media can be used to drive traffic to the content you create and to engage with content consumers, and increasingly, social results are appearing in the search results. Make sure you have a presence on the ‘majors’ such as Twitter and Facebook, and although there remains some question as to the extent of user engagement on Google+, make sure you have presence there too, since Google is increasingly leveraging these social signals in ranking algorithms.
Step 8: Utilize Digital Assets for Visibility in Universal Search
Digital assets including pictures and videos are increasingly appearing in the search results. A recent study found eight out of ten high volume keywords now have digital assets in the search results. As you become increasingly sophisticated in your SEO practice, start developing digital assets for your most valuable keywords. Not only will you capture more real estate on the search engine results pages with a digital asset such as a video or image, but it provides a good way to connect with users.
Step 9: Measure ROI from your SEO Efforts
Now that you’ve scaled your keywords and hit a groove developing content, it’s important to be able to measure the impact your efforts are having on your online traffic and sales. In this step, it is time to make sure your website’s analytics package is set up to track conversions and get some training or spend time working with the software to the point that you are comfortable extracting insight about the content that is and is not working. Doing so will give you the benefit of allowing you to make adjustments to your content strategy to increase conversion rates and it will help you continue to justify budget to management. As you become more comfortable with analytics, you can become increasingly sophisticated and learn more advanced functionality-such as segmenting visitors-to derive more insight about who is coming to your website.
Step 10: Use Advanced SEO Technology
By now, you’re pushing content out regularly, you’re developing digital assets for the SERPs, and you have a presence on the social networks. Together with your newfound web analytics proficiency that gives you insight into your web traffic, it may be time to take a close look at advanced SEO technology that will give you similar insight into your search landscape. Technology options run the gamut from basic software tools all the way to full-featured enterprise SEO technology platforms with a dedicated account rep., but some of the benefits the technology will give you include:
- Automation: Technology can help automate previously manual activities such as reporting and on-page auditing. Time savings from manual activities can then be applied to high-impact activities such as link-building and content creation.
- Competitive Analysis/Discovery: In a previous step you began basic competitive discovery via manual methods, but as you have scaled your keywords, manual methods will not scale with you. Technology can automate competitive tracking and will automatically discover new competitors you were not previously aware of. Knowing about competitors can give you a competitive advantage and drive a strategic response that can grow traffic and revenue.
- Mine Big Data for Insight: Technology can be the key that unlocks volumes of natural search data—backlinks, search visibility data, competitive analysis, social network activity, digital assets— previously inaccessible via manual mechanisms. Aside from the insight from big data technology unlocks that can be used to grow traffic and revenue, the natural search insight that technology enables can also be leveraged for other areas of business such as informing product strategy, mining for consumer trends and understanding the on and offline competitive landscape.
Conclusion: Execute on this Plan for SEO Success
Natural search is among the most important inbound channels a marketer has at his or her disposal, but knowing where to start can be daunting. We hope you feel enabled to tap into this wellspring of traffic and sales by following this 10-step progressive plan. If you stick with it, your resolution for 2014 might just be how to best allocate the huge budget management is giving you to grow natural search traffic and revenue even bigger.
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