SEO (search engine optimization) has come a long way.
After experiencing the “wrath of Google” years ago, some marketers have exited the SEO game and opted instead to use paid traffic to generate their leads and prospects. However, when done correctly (and ethically), there is no match for the longevity, consistency and quality of the lead flow you’ll experience from SEO. Today, I want to offer you an insider’s view of how to do this well.
All of my businesses are built entirely on organic SEO, and if I were to stop doing everything today, they would continue to experience high-quality lead flow consistently for many months to come. This just isn’t the case with paid traffic. Of course, the best marketing systems utilize both organic and paid traffic.
In this article, I’ll give you my thoughts on a time-tested and proven strategy for creating your SEO regimen.
Principles & Basics
All marketing is built on the notion of “desire” — i.e., you want something (whether it’s clothes, food, information, better abs or something else), and some business comes along with marketing promises to fulfill that desire.
In his book, “Breakthrough Advertising,” the late (and great) Eugene Schwartz stated that marketing could not (and should not) create mass desire, but that “it can only take the hopes, dreams, fears and desires that already exist in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already existing desires onto a particular product.”
This is true. Great marketing, whether it be paid advertising or organic (SEO), is built on this principle. In the old days, the only way to tap into this mass-market desire was to show up in front of where the market happened to be (TV, newspaper or another medium).
This was (and is) both expensive and risky. If you pay large amounts of money to run an advertisement on TV, and you misdiagnose the desire of the market, you will not make any money.
Simply spending money on advertising doesn’t guarantee earning a return on that advertising.
Organic marketing, like SEO, provides you the opportunity to reverse this formula. Rather than needing to go out to where your market is located, you can attract your market, causing them to come to you.
This has changed everything: You can now put together marketing that fulfills the desires of your market very cheaply (or for free) without risking too much if you should misdiagnose or otherwise get it wrong.
SEO: The Self-Funded, Self-Regulating Lead Generator
Here’s a simple formula that will help you wrap your brain around SEO:
(B1 + B2 = DP), DP ≅ Your Organic Strategy = $$$
(Belief + Behavior = Decision Patterns), Decision Patterns ≅ Your Organic Strategy = Sales
The first “B” is belief. The second “B” is behavior. The belief and the behavior are always correlated; together, they make up the “Decision Patterns” of your prospects. (Tune into this interview with Artillery Marketing founder Douglas Burdett for more on determining buyer persona.) I’m going to get deeper into this in a bit.
When the “Decision Patterns” of your prospects are congruent with your organic strategy, your SEO kicks into hyperdrive, and you start seeing serious traction.
There are really four levels to your organic (SEO) strategy:
- High Level (search terms, PPC terms).
- Top of Funnel (indirect content).
- Blog Level (relevant blog topics and lead generation tools).
- Back-end (marketing automation and database marketing).
Today, we’re going to outline the first two levels. In Part 2 of this series, I tackle the last two levels.
Attractional SEO: Getting People To Come To You
The first level is “High Level.”
Instead of going out to set up shop in front of where the market is located, the internet allows you to build marketing assets that will “pull” your prospects towards your business. This starts with the Top Level of your SEO strategy: determining the terms specific to your offering and your market.
Many refer to these as “PPC Terms” because they are the terms your prospects are putting into Google when looking for a solution. (If you’re a little rusty on your PPC definitions, this article from PPC Hero provides a succinct glossary.)
We do this by outlining the belief and the likely behavior of your market. For instance, if you are an online marketing consultant who serves affluent businesses in Boston, you might come up with this list:
- Email marketing consultant Boston
- Digital marketing agency
- Experienced InfusionSoft consultant
- Landing page optimization expert
This is your master list, but it’s only the top level. Remember, there is a correlation between the things people are looking for and the behavior they perform. This means your search terms will be divided into different levels of quality, which we’ll get into later.
The second level is your “Top Of Funnel.”
The top of funnel is the area of indirect interest. For instance, using the same scenario as above, you might come up with this list of “Top Of Funnel” terms:
- How To Make Better Email Newsletters
- How To Create Profitable AutoResponder Series
- Compare InfusionSoft to Hubspot
- Case Study of Email Marketing for E-commerce Business
These are all going to attract people who are interested in your specific offering, and you can use these to create the “building blocks” of your SEO strategy. Webinars, white papers, free reports and other such “opt-in” devices can be created from these “Top Of Funnel” terms.
Next week, as we get into the second two levels, I’ll show you how to connect all of these levels together into a seamless regimen. Before then, here is your homework:
Create your list of “PPC Terms,” and, from there, your list of “Top Of Funnel” devices. Like a car on a long road trip, these two lists will act as your map and your guide when we start creating blog content and database marketing material to monetize your SEO system.
Check out Part 2 for more information on making SEO work and generating more traffic for your business:
- No-Hype SEO: A Realistic Formula For Making SEO Work For Your Business, Part 2