5 SEO Tactics to Get the Right Leads in the Door

Stop me if you’ve heard this before – “I’m getting a lot of traffic from SEO but it’s not the right traffic.”

It’s fairly common and honestly, it’s not all that surprising. After all, the traffic you get from organic search can be much less targeted than the traffic you get from paid campaigns. And, for many of our clients, whose buying cycles can reach up to 18 months, high volume keywords tend to drive top of the funnel traffic, which take time to convert.

Of course, I could create an entire book on why a multi-channel keyword strategy is necessary but that’s not what this blog post is about. Instead, we want to look at how we can make sure we are driving the right people and in turn, the right leads through our SEO program.

Just like anything else in marketing, the answer isn’t simple but with the five SEO tactics I’ve outlined below, you will be well on your way.

1. Don’t Be Afraid of the Longtail

Any good SEO program starts with keywords. After all, to ensure we are talking about our products or services the right way, we need to understand how our customers are talking about our products or services.

I’m not going to get into the nuances of keyword research, as there are plenty of articles out there, but what I do want to discuss is a problem we face when choosing target keywords – selecting terms based on search volume.

Take for the example the phrase marketing automation. If you are a marketing automation platform and see that marketing automation gets upwards of 7,000 searches per month, you probably want to have some visibility for this term. Right?

Sure. However, when we look at the search results, we can see these results aren’t for someone who’s ready to buy. These search results are for someone who is looking to learn what marketing automation is.

marketing automation serps

Instead, we want to look at longer tail terms that target users further down the funnel.

marketing-automation-longtail

These long tail keywords may not get as many searches but they are more relevant and likely less competitive.

Takeaway:

Search volume is generally a poor metric to focus on. While it can help us understand the landscape, it can also lead to improper targeting and unqualified traffic. Focus on long tail terms that take buyers along the journey and better match intent.

2. Utilize Your Paid Data

As much as we talk about integrated digital marketing programs, true integration is quite difficult. There are different departments, often times there are different goals, and getting everyone communicating with one another and on the same page can take an act of Congress.

We are all busy. But it isn’t impossible and when done right, can turn in amazing results.

Take for example Client A. Client A runs both PPC and SEO through KoMarketing. We hold meetings as one team, we do planning as one team, and most importantly, we take data from each side and use it to inform overall program decisions.

A great example of this integration is paid keyword data. Our client’s reporting tool shows us not only which keywords brought in traffic, but also how much they cost, how many leads each one drove, how many sales were generated, and the ROI of each phrase.

With this report, the PPC team is able to adjust its keyword set and bidding strategy and the SEO team is able to use real-time keyword data to inform the organic strategy. In fact, just the other day in analyzing this report, we found two terms the SEO team wasn’t targeting and were able to create and adjust our content to capture those searches.

Takeaway:

If you are running both paid and organic campaigns, take the time to look through search query reports and any other keyword-level reporting data you have available.

3. Know Your Search Results

If you ask me what I love about search, I’ll likely respond with something along the lines of “I’m always learning” or “It keeps me on my toes”. And while those things are true, what they both capture is search is an ever-changing landscape.

Search results can shift in a literal instant, an algorithm update can take out an entire website, and common sense doesn’t always reign supreme.

google horse legs

About a year ago, I wrote a post on Search Engine Journal titled, 3 Warning Signs You’re Optimizing for the Wrong Keywords. In it, I discussed things like bounce rate, time on site, and click-through-rate. I also noted the following:

Your content must have a goal and if your goal is to be found in search results, then how you write that content and choose keywords must be in line with what the search results are showing.

As search marketers, we have to understand the search results, the query intent, and the type of content our audience actually wants. Once we know that, we can ensure we are creating the right content to reach them.

Takeaway:

To reach the right audience, you not only need to ensure you are targeting the right queries but you also need to understand the search results themselves. Be on the lookout for things like local results, answer boxes, video carousels, etc, which can help guide your content strategy.

4. Write for the Funnel

If you are only writing for the top of the funnel, how are you going to reach the people who are ready to buy? It’s a simple question but one that can easily be overlooked. How do I know? Because I’ve been guilty of this.

I’ve told this story at conferences a few times and I’m sure I’ll tell it again but a few years ago I was working on a client program and realized that while we were crushing it with our top of the funnel and mid-funnel strategy, we had almost nothing for the end of the funnel or existing customers. What a miss!

What resulted was a re-thinking of our keyword strategy, content strategy, and the overall site experience. We had to figure out where our gaps were, evaluate competitors, and of course evaluate the search results.

The program shift immediately resulted in more leads, more sales, and a happier client.

Takeaway:

From mapping your keywords to the buyer journey to analyzing gaps in your content strategy, take the time to map your SEO strategy to the funnel. It’ll ensure you have the right materials in place to lead your customers to a sale.

5. Optimize for the Next Step

“What is our blog actually doing for us?” That is a question no content marketer wants to hear. Especially after pouring hours and hours into research and writing. But if I’m being honest, it’s a fair question.

Blogs are great for SEO. They allow you to create fresh, targeted content that satisfies both search results and buyers. They allow you to have a voice, develop thought leadership within an organization, and help your audience. The problem with blogs is people often forget to ask themselves, “what’s next?”.

For example, if your blog post is targeting a top of funnel term, you are likely answering a question or concern. Take a page out of Google’s People Also Ask section and consider what else that person might want. What do I mean by that? If you have ever clicked on a PAA box, you’ll immediately notice it expands to include related questions.

While you don’t need your blog to endlessly expand, what you can do is lead your visitors to the next step. Consider adding related posts to the bottom, taking them to similar types of content. Perhaps there’s a whitepaper or guide related to the topic you can send them to. Add a banner that takes them there.

The key is making sure you are driving them in the right direction. Don’t force your top of the funnel users to request a demo. They aren’t ready. On the same front, don’t force your existing customers to your 101 content.

Takeaway:

Understand where your content is in the funnel and make it easy for your visitors to take the next step. Banners, pop-ups, related posts, cross-links…these things may seem small but they can make a huge difference and help you answer questions like “what is my blog doing?”.

In the End… 

There’s no way to only capture the “right” visitors. You are always going to get people who are just looking for information or people who are looking for a similar product but perhaps at a different price point. At the end of the day, all we can do is take steps to ensure we are targeting the right audience in the right place and giving them the information they need. And it starts with the five tactics I outlined above. Get going!

“The team @ KoMarketing Associates clearly understands how to effectively utilize all methodologies of search engine marketing and builds powerful programs to achieve outstanding results. The team they have constructed is not only professional but fantastic to work with.”

— Chad Beasley, Vice President at Delivery Agent

Get the latest b2b digital marketing information: