Caroline Graham and Joe Parker are the Digital Marketing Specialist and Digital Marketing Manager, respectively, for Stanley Security, a division of Stanley Black & Decker. They are experts in SEO, but what that really means is that they are evangelists, spreading the word across their organization about the importance of the unique insights into customer experience, behavior, and intent they glean from organic data.
Conductor: Tell us about your unique approach to SEO and the role it plays in your organization.
Joe Parker: When I think about SEO in general and Conductor, I go back to what I’ve been saying for a long time, and that’s in terms of how we act on the data. The data comes from the customer, and the data contains a story that the customer is telling us. Conductor helps us to organize what we’re seeing. It helps us analyze the data and hear what our customers are saying. It empowers us to make decisions based on actual data that earns the attention of the people we want to be talking to.
Conductor: How do you apply organic search insights to your marketing strategy?
Joe Parker: The best way we’ve figured out how to use Conductor is not just to research keywords but key behaviors. When we are competing with much larger companies with more money, we have to figure out how to flank those competitors. Everyone is trying to rank for security keywords. So rather than go at the big competitors straight on, we look to organic data to explore what we can do to go around them. One of the opportunities we’ve uncovered is by questioning how we traditionally frame the decision to purchase security.
We usually look at security as a grudge purchase. Maybe a business owner has been robbed and they’re saying to themselves, “Well, I should probably buy this now.” But we want to reframe the conversation and reconsider those assumptions; instead, let’s ask how our security solution can add to or create ROI?
What are some things that the Stanley Security option can do for you? It offers convenience: a business owner doesn’t have to wake up at night and drive into their workplace to turn off an alarm that’s been tripped by a raccoon or something. They can take care of that on a phone.
That’s a small example, but we can use organic data to focus on the customer need as a whole. We ask how does our company generate ROI for a specific persona? When we approach our keyword research, we are looking for an angle nobody else is taking advantage of. The Conductor platform helps us identify those opportunities.
Conductor: How do you assert and prove the value of SEO across your organization?
Caroline Graham: A key part of proving the value of SEO is showing that search is a vehicle for understanding consumer behavior. When we’re able to find top-of-funnel, bottom funnel, mid-funnel search queries and directly correlate that to conversions it’s a great way to make the case. So when we present to our team we’ll talk about how a page is ranking really well for these specific keywords, then segue to how we’ve been able to garner conversions from a specific keyword that we’re using on a search page.
Conductor: What about presenting results beyond the marketing team?
Joe Parker: When it comes to describing SEO to a larger audience, I think it’s helpful to look at search data from the perspective of storytelling. In order to tell a good story and really relate to a user, you have to understand their search behavior and understand what their searches tell us about where they are in the sales funnel.
Conductor: How has SEO changed? What does the future look like?
Joe Parker: Historically SEO has been seen as a separate silo, as a tactic, as something people employ to try and game something, right? We think of it as a technical activity: trying to get search engines to scrape a specific page or crawl a site, using specific keywords or key phrases to get the site to rank well because those are the ones the search engine thinks that people will use. But things are changing: SEO has to be integrated into everything that we do online.
SEO is how we learn what the pain points are for our clients, and how we figure out how to help them solve for those challenges. Now when we think of those keywords or key phrases, they are associated with the questions users are actually searching for and the solutions they are trying to find, not just whatever the search engine deems important.
Because now we have observed that what the search engine sees as important and what people actually search for have merged. That’s what SEO is now, a window into customer behavior and intent. There used to be a separate SEO department or a separate SEO person. Now the SEO person has to be involved with the content, with the UX, with the hierarchy on the website. It all matters, and we’ve realized that here at Stanley and are actually acting on it.
Conductor: We couldn’t have asked for a better SEO fairy tale.
Joe Parker: The magic exists.
Caroline Graham: It’s real.