As an SEO firm, of course we’re going to tell you that SEO is a necessary part of the online marketing mix. But we’ll also be the first to tell you that SEO works best when it’s not a standalone strategy. For starters, it takes time to build and maintain a search engine results presence that generates results. As search engine traffic builds to a website over time, it’s necessary to invest in other online marketing tactics that will drive traffic in the interim. Here you have some good examples:
PPC (pay per click)
You’re not going to get any traffic (or very little traffic) from the search engines if you’re only relying on organic listings that are buried beyond page 2. With a PPC campaign, you can be on the first page for a multitude of targeted terms within a day. However, the terms can cost anywhere from pennies to many dollars per click; also, for a PPC campaign to be done correctly, it’s usually best to hire a firm that can manage it full time. This can mean that PPC campaigns can get very expensive, very quickly – especially when done correctly. Investing in PPC search advertising is a “pay to play” way to appear more prominently. It’s not cheap and requires the skill of a PPC professional to create a customized strategy, but while you’re waiting for your organic listing to improve, it’s the only way to be seen in the search engines.
INDUSTRY WEBSITE ADVERTISING
Placing banner ads on industry website is still an effective form of online marketing. The key is to be as strategic as possible. You only want to pay for ads that are guaranteed to be seen by your target audience. Even more specifically, when they are researching information that is related directly to the products/services you provide. Of course, you want traffic from these ads, but don’t discount the importance of visibility and branding. Keep in mind that these paid placements (and links) need to be nofollowed, telling the search spiders not to consider them for SEO trust purposes.
Running a re-targeting campaign using a network like AdRoll, people who have visited your website will see your banner ads as they browse other websites. It essentially serves as a reminder and can get them to click back and hopefully convert in the future. You can choose to target users that went to a specific part of your site, or open it up to your whole site, but either way you are guaranteeing that you only spend ad dollars on people who have previously visited your site. Normal display media buys tend to target users in the first stages of the buying funnel. With those ad buys you are tasked with introducing yourself, establishing trust, branding effectively, etc. all while going after an action.
SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING
Creating quality content and sharing it in social media is important for SEO because it’s a way to get eyes on the content, build a brand, and ideally results in natural links over time. Unfortunately, the organic reach of social media posts isn’t great. To increase reach among target audience members in social media (followers and non-followers) it’s advisable to invest in highly targeted post boosting/sponsoring. Present your brand uniquely and consistently, using the same voice to update your users on a daily basis. Post useful articles, helpful tips, open inquiries, and general discussion items, then follow up with your users by engaging with them in conversation directly. Conversations and direct customer engagements are the key to building and retaining a sizable, interactive following, since they encourage current followers to return and help build your authority for new, potential followers.
They might seem outdated just because they’ve been around forever, but email newsletters can still be effective. You can use your email marketing campaign to specifically encourage other users to link to your latest posts, or specific pages of your site. For example, let’s say you’ve recently published a whitepaper with a truckload of important statistics you’ve gained from conducting original research. Getting this information in the hands of other users will make them more likely to link to it in the future. They key is to send emails only to opt-in subscribers and of course, send them content that’s worth opening the email for.
While none of these online marketing tactics improve SEO efforts directly, they are important when it comes to brand building and driving website traffic. In the end, SEO is all about improving the usability and user experience of your website. Any change that makes your visitors happier is likely to make search engines happier. So SEO is really about making people happy and that should make us all happy.