Understanding how the practices of SEO merge with your inbound marketing strategy is one of the most important considerations you’ll need to think about. SEO refers to how your content is discovered by your customers. It will directly impact where your inbound traffic comes. Since 59% of marketing influencers state that inbound marketing produces more high quality leads for sales (according to HubSpot research), you should definitely consider combining it with SEO.
However, many entrepreneurs and marketers admit that they don’t know how SEO fits into their broader marketing strategy. They say they understand that SEO is crucial for visibility of their business or clients but are not so sure how to combine it with their inbound marketing strategy. As a result, their SEO efforts are somewhat disconnected from their overall marketing. Some companies—and this is a worst-case scenario—even have two separate teams working on marketing and SEO without communication or alignment of what’s best for the company.
When businesses consider using an inbound marketing strategy, it’s easy to see how SEO fits in there and what their next steps might be. While the terms SEO and inbound marketing are not interchangeable, SEO is a major element of inbound marketing. The two should be used together as a way to reach marketing goals—attracting, engaging, and converting satisfied customers.
If no one is reading your content, you’ll have no traffic, no leads, and ultimately, no revenue. However, by taking the time to understand the connection between these two areas of online marketing, we can learn how to optimize the link, maximizing your chances for success.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a combination of various aspects of digital marketing used to achieve a single, common goal. With inbound marketing, there is a high value placed on creating and sharing useful, personalized content that can attract customers.
These different aspects of digital marketing like social media, SEO, SEM, and PPC are frequently used separately. They are being measured by different metrics and run by different teams.
Inbound marketing is what keeps all of those together and makes them work in unison instead of running them separately.
So we’re all on the same page, it’s worth thinking about all the places and sources that your inbound traffic is coming from. Included in this umbrella term, you’ll find;
- Your content marketing practices (Blogs, articles, posts, copywriting)
- Search engine ads (paid on desktop and mobile)
- Social media platform content (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest)
- Customer service interactions (Forums, community pages)
- Email marketing content
- External marketing (PR, outreach, guest posts)
The list could go on and on, but this one covers the basics of what the majority of businesses will use to increase their volume of inbound traffic.
Inbound marketing encompasses the full customer journey from top to bottom of the sales funnel and acts like a sort of magnet drawing people to your site and creating an amazing user experience.
As a small business, you may have a small team of people or external agencies working on the bullet points. In larger companies, you may have an individual or small team working on dedicated points.
So, Where Does SEO Come into This?
SEO is a tool to allow your website to be discovered by search engines. It can help increase the traffic to your website by ranking higher in search results. In the past, brands could use spammy and unethical tricks to cheat on search engine bots but now it’s much more complicated than that. The bar is raised and it keeps getting higher with each update.
So many companies view SEO as a burden, a process where marketers should create outstanding and highly effective pieces of content before stuffing them with keywords and optimised images before posting them out for the world to see.
However, the most successful businesses and marketing agencies will change their mindset and perspective from this and will start seeing SEO as a tool that works for them. As much as 57% of influencers state that on-page content development is the most useful tactic to gather leads. This is one of the most important shifts any business can make.
SEO is a critical element of any inbound marketing strategy and it’s a necessity for success. It’s one of the strongest tactics that a brand could use to get more traffic. Basically, imagine you have a great website and an amazing inbound marketing strategy but no SEO included. The users wouldn’t be able to find you or get to your content. On the other hand, with good SEO which places you in high ranking spots, the users can find your website and then your inbound marketing can take over with content, lead forms and so on.
SEO and marketing are so tightly intertwined that there is virtually no way that you could do one without the other. Google also prioritizes users more than anything else so tricks and hacks are really not possible.
As a company, consider how long you spend optimizing your content for SEO, especially when you have so many forms of inbound marketing content to cover. Do you spend a little time? Do you spend a lot of time? Do you spend any time at all?
You may be thinking, “It’s okay, we have a couple of SEO-experienced people in our teams, and we’ve told them to cover the SEO practices, so we’re all good, right?” While this is good and does supply benefits, it’s not ideal when considering a company’s success rates.
Changing your perspective on SEO
“Currently, so many businesses will view SEO as a single-content based process. You write an article or social media post, optimize it for SEO, upload it, watch the results come in. However, with so many forms of inbound marketing, it’s time to start looking outside the box at the bigger picture.” explains Matt Gathercole, an SEO writer for State of writing and Big Assignments.
It’s time to start viewing SEO as a key, integral part of your content production process that works across the board in your content marketing strategy, not just on individual pieces of content.
Enhancing the SEO process
While you may conduct keyword research for individual pieces of content, or a series of content, imagine if you conducted keyword research for your entire marketing strategy. Of course, you’ll still need to research individual pieces, but having a core set of keywords that drives your strategy forward can be a great way of targeting a direct audience.
The more accurate you can be with your demographic targeting, the more likely you are to get better results. Let’s say you run an online clothing business for outdoor-type people. Instead of just creating content on clothing and survival-styled scenarios, what about creating a series of content on clothing for when it rains, and clothing when it’s hot, and clothing when it snows?
Better still, what if you created optimized content for people in Europe, and another series for people in the US, and another set for people in Canada? What if you then optimized this content as you wrote it for each demographic, from young adults to seniors, both genders, and then even by hobbies such as hiking and fishing?
A good blog is one of the first things any respectable business should first have on their website. People will not be looking for your business specifically but they will be searching for useful information that could improve their lives. If your blog can provide that, you’re all set. But this is where SEO comes in. You’ve got to make your posts discoverable on Google. Good SEO in combination with excellent inbound marketing could drive conversions long-term.
This is all entirely possible. Remember that Facebook has, on average, over 98 personal data points per person that could cover their interests and personal information. It’s also important to boost follower counts as much as possible to increase your SERP position.
“Breaking down your marketing strategy in such a detailed way, and then being able to keep your SEO practices in mind throughout the entire process is one, if not the only, way you’re going to succeed in the modern online markets”, shares Nick Taylor, a content manager for Academized and Australian help.
But how exactly do you use SEO for inbound marketing?
Google no longer considers keyword density a major factor in selecting the top search results for users. Instead, they’re prioritizing customer search intent. They take into account everything they know about the user. This can include products they used, content they consumed previously, topics that interest them, and so on. They provide search results tailored to that specific user.
Assuming you are what the user is looking for, you have to do more than just be there. The consumer is asking questions; we’re always trying to Google something. Your business should be there to answer.
Learn More about SEO and Online Marketing
The modern business world is all about being customer-centric. Put your customers first, otherwise you will not succeed. If you fail to be customer-centric, you won’t be at the top of the SERPs, and you’ll have no inbound traffic; it’s that simple.
By really digging deep into what your customers want to read and bearing SEO in mind across all the types of content you create, you can create a complex yet effective network of marketing content that draws your readers in.
Mastering the craft of SEO is crucial to the success of your inbound marketing strategy, so be sure that you’re organized, prepared and you have a strong team with a variety of skills that’s ready to work together to take your success rates to the next level.
This guest post was written by Ellie Coverdale, a marketing writer at UK Writings and Boom Essays. She shares tips and tricks on digital and social media marketing with her readers. She’s interested in how businesses can boost conversions and create exciting new websites that will appeal to their audience. She teaches writing skills for Essay roo in her free time.