Growth Marketer Academy: Episode 8 – Organic Search for Lead Generation
Organic search is a huge part of SEO.
And SEO just so happens to be the holy grail of digital marketing.
And why wouldn’t it be? Done right, you can reap leads for months – years even – without paying for traffic.
Well, you DO pay for it. With the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears.
In this post, you’ll be learning the SIX Steps to Dominate the Search Engine Results Page.
Let’s review: why not start with SEO?
It takes a long time to build – shouldn’t you get started ASAP?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a long game
It takes time to build content, drive traffic to push page rank, etc
Don’t build pages or content around keyword “best guesses”
You could waste time and money building content and pages
around a keyword that doesn’t resonate with your target customer.
You’ve been running PPC ads for a while.
Long enough to generate CTR and conversion data for your keywords.
Make a list of the keywords that generate:
- And conversions
This is the list of keywords around which you want to generate content.
How does Organic Search (SEO) generate leads?
Goal = dominate as much real estate in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) for the keywords that your potential customers are likely searching.
If your site appears in
- the PPC results
- Local search result
- AND near the top of the organic search results
Your site and page will be clearly relevant to what they’re looking for.
On average, 71.33% of searches result in a page one organic click.
Page two and three get only 5.59% of the clicks.
On the first page alone, the first 5 results account for 67.60% of all the clicks
Results 6 to 10 account for only 3.73%.
Dominate the first 3 organic positions, get the lion share of all clicks for the keyword.
Read more about Google organic click-through rates here!
How do you dominate the SERPS?
1: Optimize for National Search Traffic
To appear in search results, your site it needs to be indexed and listed by search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Search Engines use a complex algorithm to categorize your website
Based on its content and the sites that link to yours.
Search engines “crawl” your site.
Looking for specific data sets
Keywords and content must be organized properly
Make it easy for crawlers to identify & index
Identify the most valuable keywords in your vertical.
- Use data and statistics from your PPC campaign
- Identify keywords with the highest volume of clicks and conversions.
Target search terms with a low cost-per-click and high conversion.
Lower cost per click = not as much competition
This allows your page to rank more quickly.
Optimize your website for these keywords
Keyword stuffing doesn’t work.
Google is smarter now and cares about user experience
Google factors in backlinks as much as keywords
That tells Google that other relevant sites find your page useful enough to link to it.
For more specific search terms:
You’ll need pages with highly relevant, keyworded content
So specific site pages appear in SERPS for your most valuable keywords.
2. Optimize for Local Search Traffic
Searchers in research phase use broad search queries.
As they get closer to the buying stage, they get more specific
Most people looking for a service provider look for someone local
A company looking to replace their signage
Likely start with broad research such as “neon sign vs. LED,”
Then perhaps “cost of LED storefront sign”
When ready to buy: “LED storefront sign”
Seeing national companies returned on the results page probably makes them wonder:
- “Will I have to hire a contractor to install it?”
- “What if it’s damaged in shipment or doesn’t work and I’m paying a contractor by the hour to install it?”
So they’ll add a location modifier
Maybe the Google suggested “near me” search modifier.
To optimize your site for local queries you need to target:
- National keywords
- User intent.
But what if you don’t have a local presence everywhere you offer your products or services?
3. Setup MicroSites for Each Location/Service Area
MicroSites are hyper-targeted to the areas they serve.
You probably have one site to which you direct all of your traffic.
Optimized for local search? No.
Identify markets in which you either:
a) do a lot of business, or
b) feel that you should be doing a lot of business but don’t
Add new pages to your site with targeted URLs
Once an area shows improved rankings, create even more local pages:
EXAMPLE: break Colorado out into its cities, suburbs and principalities.
Add local references for better targeting:
- refer to local landmarks, events or people of interest.
Now, start creating keyworded location specific pages.
The LED sign company should create a keyworded pages like:
- “LED Sign Installation in Denver”
- “Energy Efficient Retail Signage Colorado”
Goal: to show as often as possible in SERP
If someone searched “Best LED Sign Installer Denver,” you want them to see
- your national result,
- your local result,
- and your hyperlocal result.
With the top 3 organic spots and the top result in PPC, you’d have 4 of the 15-20 open spaces available on the search result page.
Imagine if you owned 25% of the page for every profitable keyword.
4. Create New Content for New Keywords
In most verticals, there are about 12-24 keywords that are the most valuable.
Your site will derive most of its traffic from those keywords.
Use your PPC data to identify the keywords that drive the most relevant traffic
Identify long tail keywords
- have lower volume than your main list,
- but may convert better or have lower competition.
Start by optimizing existing pages for the most valuable keywords.
Each page that you want to optimize for SEO should have a specific keyword that it’s targeting.
DON’T repeat the keyword over and over again.
Use your keyword matrix – episode 3
Create a list of
- and synonyms
for your targeted keyword
Use those instead of repeating the same keyword
Let’s say that you’re selling telephone systems.
One main keyword could be “VOIP-compatible phone system.”
Are any of existing pages on your site already strongly highlighting that keyword?
Improve these pages
Add more of the related and supporting terms from your keyword matrix.
For lead generation, this page would be information heavy.
No existing pages targeting your keyword?
Create new pages with original content
- The benefits of VOIP over standard server-based phone systems
- Cost comparison of VOIP to standard phone systems
- Risks and Rewards of Moving to VOIP
- The Equipment You Need when Moving to VOIP
Google favors comparison articles
Those that highlight more than one solution to a search query.
A comparison piece would be a strong contender.
Update page copy so that it includes:
- the keyword
- and related terms
as often as possible while remaining user-friendly.
You can use LSI keywords stands for Latent Semantic Indexing.
Here’s an LSI keywords example: Let’s say that you are writing an article about cars. You could be writing about any one (or more) of these 5 things:
- “Cars”—an animated Disney movie
- CARS—Canadian Association for Rally Sports
- CARs—Canadian Aviation Regulations
- The Cars—an American rock band
So how do search engine algorithms know which topic you are writing about?
They do so by leveraging LSI keywords. Basically, the Googlebot scans your page searching for closely related terms which can help it understand your content better.
Let’s go back to our LSI keywords example about cars.
Here are some LSI keywords that Google might have found on your pages if you were writing about one of the topics given above.
- Cars—vehicles (vehicle, used, new, buy, sell, dealers, repair, etc.)
- “Cars”—an animated Disney movie (film, movie, produced by, directed and co-written by, motion picture, Walt Disney, etc.)
- CARS—Canadian Association for Rally Sports (association, rally, sport, championship, Canadian, etc.)
- CARs—Canadian Aviation Regulations (aviation, regulations, administration, aerial, aerodromes, airports, etc.)
- The Cars—an American rock band (rock, band, music, guitar, drums, song, etc.)
Another option is to use a service like Market Muse they will search your competitors content, and give you a list of LSI keywords you should include in your content.
Review your on-page SEO to optimize for your keyword.
- Make sure your page title matches your keyword
- Your H1 tag should include your keyword, ideally at (or close to) the beginning of the headline
- Mention the keyword in your meta description.
- This influences your user experience and likely click-through (CTR)
- Include the keyword in your URL
- Use the keyword in the alt-tag of any images on the page
5. Use Link Building to Increase Page Rank
Keywords = #1 factor search engines use to categorize your site.
Where your site ranks on the results page is based on
- Your site’s popularity
- Your business location in relation to the searcher
- and how relevant your site is to the query.
You can make a perfectly keyworded page for “salt shakers,” but it doesn’t mean it will rank
Search relevance and popularity is calculated based on your site’s Page Rank.
Page Rank is calculated by how many other websites link to your site.
Your Page Rank is also influenced by:
- what content the other sites are linking to
- what information immediately surrounds the link they place on their page.
You optimized your page for “Salt Shakers”
but every page that links to your site says you offer “Knick Knacks”
Worse: no one links to your site
You won’t show in the search results.
Build high quality and relevant links to your site
- Pages with a higher authority provide a better boost
- Pages that link to you need to be relevant & in your niche
- Content surrounding the backlink needs to provide the right context
Link building doesn’t stop with your content pages.
Build links to each of the local MicroSites you’ve developed AND your main/national site.
Reach out to:
- Sponsorship opportunities
- Schools/colleges with areas on their site where they offer discounts to students or employment listings
- even competitors (ideally those that market to a different geographical area).
Aim to establish relationships for reciprocal links
Ensure that links are relevant & include content related to the link.
If you include links to a competitor that offers service in a different area:
- create a bio and list their services.
- Make sure they do the same when referring to and linking to your site.
6. Create Local Citations
Local citations are all over the internet.
- Directory services
- Review sites
- Mapping programs, etc.
Each service has different rules and criteria to get listed
It would take someone weeks to correctly list their business.
If the business has multiple locations, then it can take months.
If the business changes its address, phone number or operating hours, the process must be repeated.
Use a service!
- They’ll do the grunt work of getting your site listed on relevant local citation sites
- and update your information if it’s outdated
Whitespark is better.
Moz Local is cheaper.
BUT I don’t like the way they build citations.
Brightlocal is cheaper than Whitespark for citation building.
Make it happen!
So hopefully by this time you’ve got a good idea of the amount of time you’re going to be spending building out an SEO campaign.
It’s one of the most frequently cited yet most misunderstood facets of digital marketing.
A lot of stand-alone digital marketers will make it sound like they can get your site to rank first or second in the SERPs in a couple of weeks.
But unless you have NO competitors for your keywords, that’s frankly impossible.
A well-developed SEO campaign is definitely a gold mine. The holy grail of the industry. But it’s going to take time and dedication.
If you’re ready to get started, these six steps will get you well on your way!