By now most companies have likely locked in their marketing strategy and agency partner for 2020. However, surveys reveal that 30 percent of organizations will wait until December to commit to an agency and their approach to SEO.
SEO is especially tricky, as it is the most difficult marketing strategy to execute at a masterful level. Finding the best SEO agency with a growth-driven approach is especially challenging for organizations to identify, and contract with in a timely manner.
One common problem brands make is that they think SEO is a one-size-fits-all strategy. However, based on your sales cycle, product price points, and how your customers engage with content related to your products, SEO services will differ greatly.
This article is intended to help CEOs, CMOs and marketing managers learn how SEO should be executed based on their sales cycle and other related points of relative consideration.
What Is The Main Point of SEO Going into 2020?
Before we delve into the main point of this article, let’s first get a clear understanding of how SEO has changed, and what it’s main focus should be going into 2020.
Over the past few years Google’s algorithm has experienced hundreds of updates, both minor and core. Google’s primary objective is to pair the best content, with a user’s query, thus improving the user experience. This means content must rank well, and resonate with target buyer audiences.
Unfortunately, over the past few years most organizations focused solely on rankings; they would write bland content stuffed with keywords in an attempt to gain some real estate on page one of Google. But ultimately, how will any company see year-over-year growth if they rank to the moon for every major keyword, but the content fails to convert readers into buyers?
That said, the best SEO strategy for 2020 will require content that both ranks well, and that makes a direct connection with readers while converting them into a sale, and sometimes there are a few steps that need to happen before the sale can occur when your sales cycle is longer.
The Best SEO Strategy Should Be Part of a Multi-Channel Approach
Before your agency builds the best SEO strategy, it is first important to understand how target customers engage with content related to your products. Gaining this data requires a significant amount of time, manpower, and various tech tools that cost thousands of dollars.
The most cost-effective way to not only gather this data but also execute the strategy is to partner with a growth marketing agency that offers SEO, inbound and paid media. But let’s get back to the main point: why SEO needs to be part of a multi-channel approach for products with longer sales cycles.
Nobody makes a split purchasing decision on a big ticket item, and traditional SEO is designed to rank content that motivates buyers to convert on the spot. If you are selling sports equipment or apparel, this could work very well.
However, if you are selling custom technology solutions for enterprise use, swimming pools, or yachts, nobody is going to drop that kind of money on the spot just because they like what they read. Instead, they will put in the research in which they explore other options in the awareness stage, then once they have a firm understanding of what the best solution is to their needs they will research competitors and various products.
In other words, SEO needs to work within a content strategy that doesn’t just rank, but nurtures readers until they feel confident to make an educated purchasing decision.
So, How Does Content for SEO Nurture Readers into Sales Going into 2020?
In 2019 the time consumers invested into researching luxury products soared compared to previous years, and 2020 is expected to see yet another spike. More buyers in 2020 will trust sales people less, and instead rely on their own research.
This means brands need to help their customers in the research process with content that reflects both the target buyer persona, at all stages of the buyer’s journey, and create a workflow for each campaign while making ranking considerations. And what are those ranking considerations? Implement needs-based longtail keyword variations of your main keywords within a context that presents solutions for buyer pain points.
Here is an example of some SEO-friendly content used in a workflow designed to convert readers into buyers, and the logic behind the strategy:
Let’s say that a company designing custom swimming pools is looking for a marketing solution going into 2020. Their goal is to hit their end-of-year revenue target while increasing sales by at least 35% compared to the previous year. They decide to invest in a growth marketing agency that specialises in SEO and inbound marketing.
The main buyer persona are men and women aged 28 to 45 that make $150K+, and have children. Data reveals their main need is to find an outlet for creating a fun activity the family can do together. Besides buying a pool, options include joining a family travel club, get scuba certified and buy all the gear, or buy ATVs or jet skis.
The SEO strategy will run alongside an inbound one to rank content that helps buyers learn more about their options while using keywords that reflect their needs all within content that contextually talks about the products using the main SEO keywords.
So, if a family is contemplating options, content can be written that argues why investing in a pool is the best solution and could cover things such as year-long use, adding resale value to a home, and attracting friends and family while showing that the other options are either seasonal or temporary.
When the content is able to rank for target buyers, they can enter a workflow of blogs, white papers and buyer guides that nurture them on to the next stage in their buyer’s journey before they request a quote and book an appointment. In addition, marketing automation can send custom emails to each buyer persona using SEO and engagement data to dial in the email content optimization, cadence, and timing.
Ultimately, the best SEO strategy for brands with longer sales cycles will help maximize their growth by leveraging an organic search strategy with a carefully aligned inbound approach that hones in on specific buyers with highly personalized pieces of content cemented together with SEO value.