Effective Search Engine Optimization

By Rebekah E. Donaldson

If you’re on the front end of a technology or professional services company, my guess is you’re grappling with how and how much to invest in being visible online.

In the big picture, investing in effective search engine optimization (SEO) is important and powerful because our goal as marketers is to increase qualified leads for as few dollars as possible.

Take your rank to the bank

B2B marketers know that nearly 100% of executives are online with broadband, and nearly all use search engines extensively.

In fact, a recent B2B study by Enquirio reports a full 92% of respondents turn to online resources in the early stages of the buying cycle and 77% named Google as their first choice.*

So being seen by a decision-maker on the ‘front page’ of Google results is an important step toward attracting new business. 

As the congregation said in Monty Python's movie "The Meaning of Life," it's "absolutely huge... just so super...[and] fantastic."

Effective SEO – does your website content pass the test?

Being found is a long way from being asked for a bid and hired. Precisely because qualified leads are what we front-end folks need to drive, I think beyond search engine optimization practices when I want effective SEO.

I want the client’s website copywriting and content to impress both search engines and high-potential prospects.

If this sounds like gibberish, let me show you how, for example, I test a client’s website content:

Test 1: Does it impress top prospects?

Do the website copywriting and content resonate with top prospects by:

  • Communicating in terms that make sense to them? 
  • Providing the information they need? 
  • Giving them a reason to buy? 
  • Motivating them to act?

Effective search engine optimization employs these tactics and more to impress top prospects.

Test 2: Does it impress search engines?

Do the website content, organization, and technical features have the attributes that impress search engines, including:

  • Optimized HTML tags? 
  • Correct use and repetition of keywords? 
  • Friendly architecture and internal linking? 
  • Authoritative inbound links? 
  • Clear themes?

With effective search engine optimization, one set of content can impress both search engines and prospects.

To pull it off, we need to be strategic marketers armed with sound competitive analysis and uber-business writing skills adapted to following complex online content and conversion optimization rules.

(Even established Web and advertising firms are partnering with niche experts who've got these talents – making sure to choose someone who presents realistic expectations, demonstrates successes, and provides reputable referrals.)

Build it with the audience in mind, and they will come...and stay

To truly be effective we need to think beyond the click and deliver relevant content that:

  • Speaks to our prospect's needs
  • Helps them in their decision-making process
  • Motivates them to take action

There's no point in driving traffic if we attract the wrong folks or don't give the right folks a reason to engage.

With a keen understanding of our prospects, we can ensure their keywords are at the heart of our online marketing program – not an afterthought slapped onto already-written website content or pasted into meta-tag code.

(A keyword is a phrase we want to be identified with. It should be a term a potential customer would typically use when searching for products or services like yours.)

2-for-1?

If you thought all SEO services firms serve both audiences, you’re in the ballpark. A quality SEO consultancy can optimize your site to impress search engines. But, as far as I’ve seen, they do not bite off all that's required to ensure you meet Test #1.

Effective search engine optimization ensures all distributed content:

  • Reflects the language and searching behavior of the target audience
  • Builds trust and credibility
  • Offers multiple opportunities to engage
  • Is search engine friendly

Search engines are a channel. They help prospects find you. What happens next is up to you.

Effective SEO is more than outranking goliaths in search engine results - it's about giving prospects a reason to take the next step - so we can take our rank to the bank.

* Source: Enquirio Business to Business Survey 2007

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Learn more from this MarketingSherpa guide

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