With its focus about a decade ago as a marketing discipline, SEO has generally had a tactical focus. The specific tactics used to gain links, mentions, rankings, traffic and other KPIs are amazingly interesting subjects in their own right.
But SEO is much more than tactics, hacks and tools. Nowadays, in businesses, SEO is considered as a strategic business driver and has gained that role.
Let’s itemize five ways that SEO has strategic impact.
Lowering Digital Media Cost: In many cases, PPC campaign can cost up to $10 per click. A Favorable organic position created through SEO campaign can free these costs, freeing up digital ad dollars to deploy against segments that would otherwise be un-affordable. This is an important, material and strategic impact of SEO that’s often discounted.
Market Share Defense: Organic listing not only increases the traffic and revenue of your website, it also takes revenue from your competitor’s website. In B2B where customer lifetime value is high, investing in high-quality content optimized for search should be a strategic goal. Any time you miss an acquisition opportunity from a customer, chances are that the opportunity is converted by one of the competitors. SEO is hence a strategic asset- with both offensive and defensive value; in the battle for market share.
Branding Impact: SEO and PR are not the same thing; but they share the same goal to improve the brand equity and greater general visibility, which is why most PR companies have SEO as a side offering; while SEO companies have added PR as a offering. Increasing awareness is a high-level strategic marketing goal. Nowadays an Online Reputation Management (ORM) has SEO as a tangible component. SEO is not the only piece of the influence puzzle, but it represents a key component of any influence-building campaign.
More Efficient Media Campaigns: Searchers are often forced to start querying sessions because of exposure to some other marketing touch point. A Search query can therefore be used as a barometer of other media’s effectiveness. Search behavior can also reveal patterns in one have targeted audience that provides unique, unexpected and strategic marketing insights.
New Product/ Service Development: Search (both paid and organic) is a real-time, massively scaled focus group in which one can perform an accurate predictive analysis of what customers are looking for—and, in some cases, invent products for which there’s search demand. There’s a huge potential upside in this kind of “virtual focus group” research, which in some cases has the potential to be more valuable to the organization than old-style qualitative consumer research studies.
How Strategic is SEO in Your Organization?
Even if your SEO team leader report to a person up in the organization structure, rarely does organization structure tell you the main story. The more higher the reporting the more likely it will be heard, but like I said before that is hardly the truth.
The truth lies with if new SEO Concepts and insights are brought during the conceptualization of the project or at the implementation stage. The earlier these concepts are introduced in the team, the lesser the chances of web projects need to to change or re-engineered post-launch. SEO is not a condiment to be sprinkled on a dish, but something which is baked from the get-go.
In an article posted by Search Engine Land, who recommends a systematic, multi-step approach for kick-starting strategic SEO in the organization, including:
- Enterprise-wide training on the importance of SEO, with specific training on a departmental basis.
- Institution of integrated processes with cross-functional workflows
- Consistent meetings that ensure that search visibility is always top of mind in any marketing decisions made.
For most on the upper rung of corporate SEO is a geeky term which has marginal or ignorable results. SEO knowledge is often combined to impenetrable marketing silos.
Even during meetings it is seen that most SEO perceptive is in the conceptual stage and the result the contributions of SEO teams are systematically undervalued, specific recommendations are often ignored and opportunities are lost.
Marketers should demand that their agencies and SEO consultants include training and SEO best practices integrated into the organization’s workflows as part of their service. The better agencies are already recommending it, and many others will do it if asked, even though it sometimes means more SEO is done in-house.