Blue Ferret Content Consulting

SEO Starts Earlier - and Lasts Longer - Than You Think

Every digital strategy needs SEO factored in at the start. If it's for a website, emails, ads, needs SEO. At the start of planning.

Why? Because SEO is a reflection of your reader. And without your reader, what good is any strategy? (Answer: None. No good. Doomed to fail.)

Yet most of the time, SEO is an afterthought. "Just throw in some keywords and call it good."

Then they come back later, bemoaning the lack of traffic, and blaming the SEO for 'their' efforts failing.

Sound familiar? If so, I'm sorry. Let's see if we can drill some SEO value into corporate heads together.


The Value of Good SEO (Note the 'Good' Part)

Some people like to think of SEO as just a tool in a toolbox. Others might see it as a helper, a buddy for cozying up to search engines. Neither of these is wrong per se…but I like thinking of SEO a little differently.

I think of it like a magnet. Little magnets placed throughout your digital presence, subtly drawing in the kind of prospects you want.


The Power of SEO 'Magnets' in the Web


And that's the ideal end result of good SEO: A group of constantly-working magnets running within the Web, pulling people's eyes to you.

Done right, SEO is omnipresent. Think of it.

With a little maintenance, those magnets continually do their job. Acting passively, while your websites & campaigns actively work for conversions & clients.

That's a big help for digital marketing, isn't it? It sure is…so how do you get there? By building SEO into everything, as early as you can.


To Make SEO Good, Start at the Beginning - The Strategic Planning Stage

Start planning your SEO at the strategic level. This goes for marketing strategy, content strategy, and every digital campaign you can think up.

At those early stages, SEO is about research. Critical audience research. Research about the readers you're targeting, and the keywords they'll use to find their solution.

That's a very simple description of an intense (but manageable) research process. You'll need to dig into it and spend some time. But it really is just about those two things. And once you have the answers, much of your SEO approach writes itself; it's just pairing your solution to the reader's needs.

Reader Profile + Keywords + Your Solution = Successful SEO

Do you want your solution to be their solution? Well, this is how.

Once started, SEO can grow across all the elements in your digital strategy. Website content. Apps. Emails. Ad copy. Even documentation and print items.


Long-Term Process, Long-Term Value to Branding & Engagement

Now that we understand where SEO should start up, let's clarify how long it needs to go. The answer is: All the way.

SEO is a long-term process - just like your strategy plans on long-term results. Do you abandon strategy the moment a campaign goes live? Of course not. You work its steps, using the campaign's results as a stepping stone to the next one.

Same is true for SEO. Once it's up & running, leverage it for future efforts. How? By measuring its results, and adjusting marketing efforts by them.

You can measure SEO in a number of ways - through analytics, conversions, comparative campaign results, etc. I'll stick with analytics for now.

Analytics tell you a number of great data points. Two of these are traffic sources & best conversion paths.

  1. Use the traffic sources to focus more on people there. Say you're lucky enough to get good traffic from Reddit. Go capitalize on that! Have team members engage (organically) on Reddit threads, so their users get to know you (and your product).

  2. Use the conversion paths to identify new content & campaigns needed. What if people convert on requesting product information, but buying falls off? Then the product information needs a more compelling offer, a reason to keep them engaged. Create one.

That's just two brief examples among potentially thousands. Your marketing flow (since it has SEO already built in) will give you other measurements.

Good long-term SEO keeps working in the background, all day, every day. Smart companies recognize this and keep feeding their SEO, giving it good content, harvesting its insights.


Multitasking Octopus in Office

"The Studious Octopus" - what a great image. Thought you'd like it too.


Not-so-smart companies sit back and expect SEO to perform miracles fast. "Get us to #1" - sound familiar?

While it can sometimes perform a miracle, that's not something to count on. And ignoring the reality of long-term SEO just makes short-term failure more likely.


Bad SEO Exists, and Can Hurt You - Unless You Preclude it With Good SEO

Let me wrap up with a small warning. I said 'good SEO' earlier. Does bad SEO exist? Yep, it sure does.

It comes in many negative reviews. Blog posts written by frustrated users. Search engines deciding to blacklist you (whether or not you deserve it).

What's the common thread among those? You don't control them. They can happen at any time, come from anywhere.

That means a big nasty SEO threat always exists. One you can't control…but you can prevent.

How? By focusing on good SEO. Making sure you're proactive in putting your product's best foot forward from day 1. Oh, and keep up the good customer service so you're not angering the customers you do attract.

The very same efforts - over time - not only stave off bad SEO, they help you find the happy long-term customers. Win-win.

The best time to work on SEO was back when you started your strategy. The second best time to work on SEO is right now.

#SEO #content operations #content strategy #digital marketing #search visibility #website management