Search Engine Optimization, SEO, is a necessary investment for companies to grow and maintain their organic search traffic. According to BrightEdge Research, the share of organic search is 53% across all industries and 76% of traffic in B2B. B2B companies also generate two times more revenue from organic search than any other channel. Beyond increasing traffic, SEO also helps brands build brand awareness, improve their relevancy, and minimize costs on paid advertising.
In this article, we’ll discuss why SEO is important, how growing organic traffic with SEO can help elevate your brand and customer experience, and what critical components to include in your SEO strategy.
If you prefer podcasts, check out our interview with Blue Acorn iCi’s SEO Specialist, Brian Coleman. He discusses how to prep your SEO for 2022, including changes to Google Core Web Vitals, aligning SEO with your overall marketing strategy, and the role of user intent. Listen below or on your favorite podcast app.
Why SEO is Important
Consumers often use search engines early in their buying process to research different products or services. When brands prioritize SEO, they can get in front of customers at this critical stage in the buying journey without a significant cost. An effective SEO strategy is one of the most cost efficient ways of gaining traffic to your website, allowing brands to spend less money on paid advertising.
Before you dive into your SEO strategy, focus on your branding and determine if your mission, messaging, and voice align with what keywords or phrases you want to rank highly for on search engines. Similar to UX optimization, SEO also needs to align with and drive your company’s KPIs.
Critical Components of an Effective SEO Strategy
Whether you have an existing site or you’re launching a new site, we’ve identified critical components of an effective SEO strategy that will help you optimize search rankings.
- Research keywords using an SEO platform or tool to identify what keywords you’re currently ranking for and what you want to be ranking for on search results.
- Identify your competitors and determine what keywords they rank for in search results.
- Create SEO-friendly URLs by including the brand name and important, relevant keywords.
- Optimize the site for mobile by compressing images, removing old or unnecessary code, and leveraging browser caching.
- Strategically place keywords in your content, but don’t keyword pack—Google’s algorithm rewards content that’s most helpful rather than content with the most keywords.
- Secure your website against cyber attacks to avoid penalties from Google or browser blacklisting.
- Build a sitemap and submit it to Google Search Console. Sitemaps allow Google to find and index your pages.
- Set up URL redirects if you are re-launching an existing site. URL redirects enable shoppers to find your pages on Google without a major impact on your SEO.
While not directly related to your SEO strategy, it’s crucial to find an ecommerce or customer experience platform that’s scalable and flexible. Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, and you need a platform that allows you to quickly make edits and add new pages without affecting site speed and performance.
Top SEO Tools to Manage Your SEO Strategy
Blue Acorn iCi uses several tools to optimize and manage our clients’ SEO strategies.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner – Provides suggestions on long-tail phrases and terms, measures the value of keywords, and tells you how searches change over time.
- Moz – Helps you understand what keywords your brand is being found for, what you’re not ranking for, and identifies keyword opportunities.
- Semrush – Identifies keyword opportunities and toxic backlinks that could negatively impact your ranking.
Download Blue Acorn iCi’s “Amplify the Customer Experience with Analytics” white paper to learn how you can use analytics to enhance the entire customer journey.
Tracking the Performance of Your SEO Strategy
Once you have implemented your SEO strategy, it’s important to keep track of your SEO performance to understand trends and identify new keywords. Some of the top metrics we track for our clients are:
- Organic traffic
- Organic revenue
- Click through rate
- Conversion rate
These metrics identify how many customers find your brand through Google or another search engine and ultimately make a purchase. Top landing pages is another key metric to measure. Ideally, your top landing pages will align with what you’re promoting.
Beyond SEO performance, search engine results provide insight into consumer trends and user intent. User intent tells you what an individual wants to find when they submit their search query. Trends in searches and user intent shed light on opportunities for UX optimization, content, and new products or services.
Google and other search engines no longer reward websites that focus more on “keyword stuffing.” When creating and optimizing pages, leverage user intent to create content or product pages that provide accurate, relevant answers. Keep in mind, SEO is a long-term strategy, and you may not see positive results for several weeks or months.
How SEO Impacts the Customer Journey
SEO not only positively impacts search rankings but can also enhance the end-to-end customer journey. How you architect your site with categorization and internal linking guides customers to the next step in the customer journey and improves page authority. The higher page authority a site has, the higher it will rank on search results.
As search engines enhance their AI capabilities, it will be critical for brands to consider how all digital marketing channels affect their SEO and vice versa. When analyzing search engine results and trending keywords, use these insights to drive paid advertising, email, content, and social media initiatives. Consistent, relevant messaging across channels will help drive customer loyalty and elevate your brand.
Blue Acorn iCi prioritizes SEO when helping brands optimize existing sites or launch new ones. If you’d like to work with an SEO specialist to increase organic traffic and spend less on paid advertising, contact us today.