Improve Your Lead Generation with SEO

Vee Tardrew | 4 February 2014

\When asked, “Where do you typically start your research for a future business purchase?” 72% of the 400 B2B buyers surveyed by Pardot answered that Google search was their starting point. A further 6% choose Yahoo and 3% head to Bing. That brings the total of buying cycles starting in search engines to 81%. Another report, conducted by ROIMedia, showed that SEO, on average, delivers 80% of leads generated at only 15% of the budget.

HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing gives us even more reason to sit up and pay attention to the power of search engine optimisation for winning customers. Their study revealed that:

  • SEO is the top channel for sales conversions, with 15% of marketers reporting it produces above average conversion rates
  • 25% of marketers find SEO produces a below average cost per lead

So in summary, SEO efforts deliver the majority of high-quality leads at a fraction of the cost of other channels and can convert as customers at an above average rate.

Clearly SEO is a great, cost-effective channel to tap into for higher quality lead generation. Here’s the catch, though. SEO efforts are rarely achieved in short periods of time. Achieving search engine rankings that are going to translate into traffic takes time and ongoing effort.

We know for sure that there is a growing influence of social media on search engine rankings and for that reason we don’t consider SEO a standalone offering. It needs to be seen as an automatic, integrated ‘process’ in all content marketing – whether that is on your website, blog or social media. That said there are a few pointers how we can use SEO to gain ranking results and traffic.

SEO Tactics for Better Rankings, Traffic, Lead Generation and Sales

Optimise Website Pages for Search Engines

A few on-page SEO tricks will ensure that search engine spiders are able to determine the topic of your page and which keywords your page should appear in rankings for.

The most important ones include:

  • Page title – include your keywords in your page title as this is the bit that will appear as your heading in search engine results with search terms highlighted in bold
  • URL structure – keep your URLs user-friendly and keyword rich by eliminating any funny characters or database driven results that don’t add any relevance to the page content
  • Meta description – while not strictly an element that search engine spiders take into consideration, including keywords and a strong call to action can result in increased click through rates from listings
  • Headings – search engines see heading tags as more important than body text so be sure to include keywords in your H1, H2 and H3 tags
  • Alt tag on images – search engine spiders can’t decipher images so it’s a good idea to include an alternative text tag to describe your image (and good for keyword placement too) as well as keeping your naming convention for images keyword driven

Add Social Sharing Buttons to Content

I’ve already touched on the convergence of social and search. We are increasingly seeing proof that content  shared out more regularly on social platforms will achieve higher search engine rankings. Encourage social sharing by including social sharing buttons on all your content – website pages, landing pages and blog posts. And of course, promote your content to your own networks too! 

Get Blogging (Often)

Search engines like to know that a site is being updated frequently. The easiest way to achieve this is to include a blog. Strategic and active blogging can help:

  • Increase crawling frequency – search engines will crawl your site more often if they are aware that there are regular updates
  • Increase number of indexed pages – which essentially means more opportunity to rank in results pages and generate traffic from search
  • Attract backlinks – provided your content is compelling and you’re proactively sharing out your posts, you can acquire ‘natural’ links back to your content

The Inbound Marketing Benchmarks report shows that publishing 15 or more blog posts per month results in 5 times more traffic, which naturally means more opportunity for lead conversion and sales.

Build Internal Links

Within your blog posts there is opportunity to link to other blog posts of similar or supporting content or website pages. This helps both search spiders and users navigate deeper through your website. Search engines like to see that users are spending time on your site as it means that the content is relevant and enticing enough to keep them there.

Use strategic keyword-rich anchor text to link to other content that can add to the user experience. While internal linking alone will certainly not give you a page 1 ranking overnight, it contributes to your overall SEO strategy.

Link Up Authorship

There are two camps of thought on whether linking authorship has any impact on Google rankings. I’ve read the arguments from both sides. As always there are numerous factors at play in any given study or experiment and outcomes can easily be tweaked for the researcher’s purpose, I haven't fully been satisfied by either side. My personal stance is that whether or not Google+ authorship directly impacts search engine rankings or not, considering its a product of Google and used to gather your personal details and searching behaviour in order to deliver more personalised search engine results, it’s a very good idea to include it. 

A long-term commitment to search engine optimisation can definitely impact on your overall rankings, traffic, leads and sales when integrated with your overall marketing activities. 

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