It seems like every day some new “strategy” or technology comes out claiming to the next best thing for business owners. It then becomes hard to determine what actually works for growing your business and what’s just snake oil.
If you’re feeling disillusioned by the countless methods and tools out there, then you might also wonder whether traditional marketing methods are old news. It’s common for business owners to question whether strategies like search engine optimization (SEO) or search engine marketing (SEM) still work in 2020.
The reality is that SEO still matters in 2020, though many of the practices and methods have changed. For example, Google’s 2019 BERT update lit a fire under SEO professionals to focus more on optimizing content based on search intent rather than keywords. Many businesses still need SEO, but they’ll need to adapt to the shifting landscape.
Customer/Client Aquisition For Locally Focused Businesses
SEO is still one of the best customer acquisition strategies for locally focused businesses. What better way to bring customers in the door (or to your website) than to outrank your local competitors?
With local SEO, you can reach prospective customers and clients by targeting users that are searching in your local area. Google tailors the search results to your geographic location, so, if optimized correctly, your website can dominate the local search results for your niche.
Optimize your locally focused business website with local keywords, fill out your Google My Business profile and other directory profiles, gather positive reviews from past clients or customers and conduct backlink outreach to increase your visibility in local search.
Optimizing For Search Intent Through Site Content
Google’s BERT algorithm update in late 2019 showed us that Google is getting much better at understanding (through natural language processing) the context of users’ searches and the intent behind them. This means that websites that publish content that matches what users are actually searching for may be given higher priority in searches. The key is focusing on the intention behind the search, not how often a specific keyword is used in your content.
Aim to create content that is optimized to answer users’ questions and provide as much value as possible. For example, if the keyword you’re trying to rank for is “B2B lead generation,” do a quick Google search of this term to see what pages are ranking in the search results. Are most of the results service pages (say, B2B lead generation services), or are they blog posts (“What is B2B Lead Generation?”). What’s currently ranking can give you a good idea of the type of content you should create. Then, craft content that best provides what the user intended to find. For a service page, that means breaking down the B2B lead generation services you offer, how to contact you, client results, etc. For a blog post, define what B2B lead generation is, how it works, how to get started and anything else a user might want to learn about this topic.
This update matters for bloggers and business owners who are dependant on organic traffic when it comes to generating ad revenue, leads and sales. You can maximize your traffic-generating potential by creating optimized content that best matches what your target audience is looking for and provides more value than the pages that are currently ranking.
Adopting A Multichannel Approach
We all know the saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” and this certainly applies to marketing. If you rely on a single traffic source to drive business to your website, you’re putting your business at risk if that channel ever were to dry up or disappear altogether.
Google organic search isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so savvy business owners would do well to use SEO alongside existing traffic channels. By taking a multichannel approach, you can continue generating results through your current campaigns while also opening up a consistent stream of new leads.
While SEO may not be a “set it and forget it” strategy, it does have the potential to drive traffic and leads on autopilot. You can easily outsource SEO and/or content creation so you attract organic traffic without taking time away from your primary marketing channels.
Brand Authority And Reach
According to a 2014 survey, 84% of the millennial respondents said they don’t like advertising (and many of them don’t trust it). It seems that many of this generation of buyers are becoming more resistant to traditional tactics like cold calling, email spam and even paid ads.
But with SEO, businesses can reach this demographic where they are already looking for brands — search engines. SEO works as a form of inbound marketing that attracts customers to you rather than interrupting their natural scrolling with pushy sales tactics.
Further, you can broaden your brand’s reach by targeting long-tail keywords that attract highly-targeted traffic. Ranking for question-based (“How do I … ?”) or comparative (“brand A versus brand B”) keywords can solidify your brand as an authority on a topic and position you against your competitors.
Plus, there is massive potential for you to rank for descriptive keywords that draw in a wider audience. For example, broad terms like “digital marketing methods” or “budget travel tips” may be highly competitive, but they also receive a higher number of searches per month. As you gain momentum (in terms of rankings and traffic) from targeting long-tail keywords, you can start going after broad terms with higher traffic-generating potential.
While some traditional marketing methods may be becoming obsolete, SEO is here to stay in 2020. Whether you invested in SEO early or are just getting started, it can still be a major driver of traffic and leads to your website.
SEO is particularly beneficial for locally focused businesses, those looking to reach more users with their content and businesses hoping to adopt a multichannel approach. By writing content that’s tailored to your audience and optimizing your website for high-traffic keywords, you can expand your reach and boost your brand’s authority online.