This is a guest post from SEO Expert Amy Falcione with Big Picture Marketing.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: SEO is not a strategy. It’s a tactic, or really, a series of tactics, that are part of your marketing plan.
Organic SEO vs. Paid SEO
Organic SEO—which is different from paid SEO (Google ads)—involves finding the best keywords for your business, putting those keywords in the right places on your site, writing high quality and relevant content related to your products or services, getting backlinks to your website, and ensuring all your online platforms are working together.
SEO won’t solve all your marketing problems
Many business owners say to me, “Once my SEO is in place, I’ll sit back and watch all my customers roll in.” In theory, that might happen, especially if your keywords have a high search volume per month and your on-page SEO is working. But SEO doesn’t usually generate more traffic on its own. It has to be part of a bigger strategy.
What if your potential customers aren’t yet searching for your top keywords? Maybe your product or service is so new, your customers don’t know it exists.
Or what if your top keywords are incredibly competitive (think “real estate in New York City”) and it’s going to take many months (or in the NYC case, years) to generate enough content to show up on Google’s Page 1?
You need to treat SEO as a part of your whole marketing plan.
Several factors will complement your SEO
Think of SEO like a path in the woods. It’s a beautiful hiking route, with all kinds of engaging sites and beautiful surroundings, but if no one finds the trailhead, they won’t get to experience the hike.
In order to get people to the trailhead, they need signs, friends or colleagues to tell them about the trail, social media posts about the hike, advertisements about how great the trail is, interviews with the people who built and maintain the path, and so on.
The same is true for your website: you want several ways to direct new customers to your site, and great content so they stay on your site.
Example of how SEO fits into your marketing
Take for example, Montana family law attorney Angie Cavallini of Cavallini Law, who wanted to optimize her website for Google search, but also understood she’d need to use additional tactics as part of her marketing strategy.
Divorce is a service that people always need, and there are relatively high searches per month for the phrase “Montana divorce attorney.” Angie hired me to improve her SEO (I’m pleased to say she’s moving up in the rankings) but she didn’t stop there. I also helped her optimize her Facebook Page and run one month of Facebook ads to bring in more customers and increase awareness about her business. Once potential customers learned about her compassionate approach and different process options, they searched for her name, found her website, and gave her a call.
Think about your own search behavior: do you immediately make a purchase based on your search results? Or do you do additional research into the product or service, like asking friends or family for recommendations, scrolling through a company’s social media accounts, or reading reviews?
Because your customers use a variety of methods to research different brands, you want to utilize as many of those same methods as possible to market your products and services.
Create a marketing strategy that works best for your business
Maybe you decide that in addition to optimizing your website, you want to run social media ads, create an email newsletter, or buy some traditional print advertisements. There’s no one size fits all for every business.
Deciding which marketing tactics to add to your strategy is important and should be based on your capacity, your business goals, and your audience. Reach out to Katie with Wild Path Consulting to create a successful marketing plan before you get lost in the ocean of methods.
Include SEO as a tactic in your bigger marketing plan
Of course you want to optimize your website so the potential customers can find you when they search for keywords relevant to your business. You simply want to be careful that you’re not putting all of your hopes for increased business onto your SEO and instead, allowing it to compliment your other marketing efforts.
Amy Falcione owns and runs Big Picture Marketing, an SEO and marketing agency in Bozeman, Montana where she helps local businesses create, implement, and execute their visual content and SEO. She also launched Get Found, SEO courses for small businesses. In her free time, Amy loves drinking tea, walking her dog Roscoe, and exploring Montana’s trails.