Search Marketing: Stepping Beyond SEO

You’ve finished optimizing your site and succeeded in increasing traffic. Sales are up and your overall brand exposure is looking good. Time to relax and just let the magic happen, right?

After SEO, it’s tempting to let your guard down and hope for the best. However, search marketing merely begins with optimization. Making the mistake of relying solely on SEO basics is like planting a seed. The plant will grow on its own, but to get the highest yield there’s still a lot of work to be done!

Setting up SEO gets the cycle moving, but keeping things rolling takes a more advanced approach. At a certain point, SEO growth begins to stagnate. When this happens, it’s time to take the next step forward in your content marketing campaigns (think of it like Miracle Grow for your website). Each business has different areas of improvement to consider. The three areas to choose from are: Retention, Expansion, and Refinement.

(Attention) Retention

Now that you have traffic coming in, it’s time to switch the focus from being noticed to keeping your visitors’ attention. Repeat traffic is more likely to convert to sales, so this area can be extremely profitable. A side bonus (or side focus): the authority built while increasing retention also has a positive effect on loyalty. It makes your brand magnetic. The more they trust your content, the more loyal visitors are to your brand, and more likely to become customers.

Retaining the interest of your audience means knowing more about what they want and need. Improving online customer service, connecting to social media and creating a compelling newsletter are a few examples to get visitors more involved. Generating quality content not only holds the attention of existing followers, but can also bring in new traffic as well.

Expand Your Horizons

If your retention is doing well, or there’s not enough to work within that area, it may be time to expand. Staying too narrow in niche or location isn’t great for the long run (although making sure your website is optimized for location is important). Some businesses prefer to have an exclusive specialty, but even in highly specific brands there is still room to spread. Set a goal to grow your business that keeps visitors excited to find out more.

Widen your reach by finding new keywords and different perspectives. The product or service should solve a problem, so find new ways to use the solution that you haven’t capitalized on yet. You can also expand content and marketing strategies to focus on every stage of the buyer funnel to increase sales. For further expansion, consider developing complementary products or marketing your brand internationally. Don’t forget to produce new content that reflects and supports this growth as well.

Refine Your Methods

Retention and expansion provide additional content for search pages, and more content means more traffic to your site. However, adding content also has a nasty habit of cluttering up the best laid SEO efforts after awhile, and needs a fine tuning now and then. Staying ahead of the curve means keeping up with search marketing on all fronts, including pages you’ve optimized in the past.

As trends and search algorithms change, past optimization can become less effective. Periodically reviewing keywords and testing variations helps you continue generating results. To know what works and what doesn’t, set up split testing and tracking on links and sales pages. As the game changes, stay up-to-date on SEO tactics and educate employees accordingly.

Keep It Up!

Dropping the ball can lead to a decline, so you want to remain focused on continuous improvement. The goal doesn’t have to be a ground-breaking increase in sales or traffic, either. The point is to keep moving forward to perpetually stay on top of the search marketing game.

Be realistic about your goals and plan for steady progress rather than miracles. Overloading your team can stifle momentum and creativity, hurting your company’s overall growth. Even small gains are good indicators you’re doing something right. So stick with it and keep moving on up!

If you’re ready to move past the basics of optimization, contact Level343. We’ll help you pinpoint areas that need improvement, so your efforts aren’t wasted.

Today's Author

International SEO consultant is my title…but who cares about those? What I love is creating strategies that include marketing, social, SEO, relevance, ruffling feathers and starting revolutions. What you read on this blog will hopefully inspire you to continue the conversation. When I’m not multitasking around Level343 I sneak away and go sailing. I’m crazy about pistachios, and of course Nutella.

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