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There are many factors that need to come together for a startup to succeed. A solid plan, focused mission statement, and experienced founding team are all essential. Even when the internal pieces are in place, you need one more thing to gain momentum quickly: external resources.

Venture capitalists (VCs for short) are a common way for fledgling businesses to fund the earliest stages of business formulation and growth. However, this kind of startup funding isn’t free, nor is it easy to access.

You need to court VCs the right way if you want them to fund you. One of the best ways to do that is through growth marketing. This is an effective, affordable form of marketing that can help you gain the eye of VCs no matter what startup stage you’re in. 

Here are a few tips and suggestions to help an entrepreneur secure venture capital funding.

Understand What a VC Is in the First Place

The term “venture capitalist” puts a certain degree of emphasis on the individual — and in a sense, that’s true. When you seek VC funding, you are interacting with venture investors. 

When you break it down, though, a venture capital investor provides more about the specific resources (including, but not limited to cash) rather than the individuals who provide them. That is what the term “venture capital” is referring to. 

For instance, Investopedia describes venture capital as “money, technical, or managerial expertise provided by investors to startup firms with long-term growth potential.” In other words, venture funding consists of a combination of three things:

Together, these are lumped into the concept of “venture capital funds.” Young companies seek this form of financing to establish themselves and become profitable.

If you’re looking for VC money, rest assured that you’re not the only company doing so. Every VC has to choose from a myriad of young brands, all with varying degrees of potential. Growth marketing can help you position your company to stand out from this crowd of suitors.

Positioning Yourself to Attract VCs Through Growth Marketing

You want a VC firm to see your startup as a healthy, growing business. In order to guide an investment decision, it's crucial to have a solid business model and business plan. However, funding will also depend on the stage of growth you’re experiencing and what kind of funding you’re requesting.

The Stages of VC Funding

VC financing is provided via several “rounds” over the course of a startup’s growth cycle. Seed round funding gets things started. Early stage funding (often referred to as series A funding, series B funding, and series C funding) involves large cash infusions and additional support to build on early growth. Late stage funding (series D, E, and F rounds) feeds a thriving young business, helping it dominate its market.

Consider what stage you’re in and if you come across in that way to investors. Small businesses looking for series D funding from a potential investor, for example, should be well-established and seeking to grow your product line and expand into new markets. 

Using Growth Marketing to Impress VCs

In most cases, you want a VC to see your company as one that is already active and building a reputation. Growth marketing is an ideal investment to achieve this in a synergistic fashion.

Growth marketing is cost-effective, a data-driven approach to marketing that focuses on the customer to facilitate sustainable long-term growth. It integrates three key growth marketing pillars.

Digital PR Builds Credibility

Digital PR fosters industry credibility by accumulating public mentions from third-party entities across yours and related industries. This helps build a sense of trust in VCs as they see other companies and individuals willing to reference and, at times, even endorse your brand.

Content Strategy Establishes Authority

Content strategy builds your authority by publishing high-quality online resources designed to help customers at various stages along the customer journey. This signals to fund managers that you know what you’re talking about and have the wisdom, knowledge, and experience to go the distance.

SEO Strategy Boosts Visibility

Search engine optimization goes hand-in-hand with content strategy. SEO helps increase your chances of receiving a VC investment by boosting visibility. This makes it easier for VCs to see your brand pop up on SERPs (search engine results pages).

Together, these three growth marketing tactics enable a young brand to quickly establish a pattern of upward marketing momentum. This makes them more impressive as VCs conduct research into their brand and consider making an investment.

Attracting VC Funding for Your Startup

Venture capital firms are a unique form of private equity for a business. They provide various forms of seed funding and other resources that can streamline a startup’s path to profitability.

From internal factors like a competent C-suite and clean balance sheet to external considerations like growth marketing, make sure you set the stage before looking into VC funding. That way, when you begin to make inquiries, you’ll stand out as a startup that knows its business and has plenty of potential for future profit.

Getting a business started can feel like climbing Mount Everest. The constant battle that comes with making a name for your business and fighting the competition, can be physically and mentally draining. But when you experience success, it feels like the thrill that comes with reaching the summit.

No matter how great your business’s journey has been, the truth is that every business experiences a point of plateau. Sales may have slowed to a standstill, maybe there’s a lack of employee engagement or innovation, or perhaps your competition has your audience’s attention. That’s normal. However, a lull doesn’t need to mean the end. The right tools can help get your business back on track.

Digital marketing has become an essential tool for businesses of all sizes to reach new customers and drive growth. There are a variety of digital marketing tactics that businesses need to succeed. In this article, we'll explore how digital marketing can help businesses grow and the tactics that can be used to achieve this goal.

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is a marketing approach that uses numerous digital tactics and channels to connect with customers where they spend most of their time — online. Think of it as the opposite of traditional print advertising. Reaching your audience through newspapers or billboards used to be the norm. You’re now reaching customers through emails, popping up on their social media pages, and answering their questions in Google search. If you can meet them where they are, you’re more likely to be top of mind and make sales.

What are Some Popular Digital Marketing Tactics?

There are multiple ways to connect with your audience online, but not all tactics work for every business. Before committing to a digital marketing campaign, it’s essential that you have a clear picture of how it supports your overarching goals. It’s also necessary to understand how each approach works. While there are a few more tactics available, we’ll explain some of the main approaches below:

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization, also called SEO, is the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engine results pages. Think about how often you go to the second or third page of Google results — rare, right? That’s why it’s so important to get on page one, and why so many people are strategically trying to rank in that number one spot.

Improving a website’s ranking is accomplished through a variety of techniques such as keyword research, meta tags, and link building. You want to make sure you’re answering the questions that people are actually asking to boost visibility, and you want to answer them correctly to gain credibility and authority. SEO is an essential tool for driving organic traffic to a website, reaching new customers, and driving business growth

Content Marketing

Content marketing emphasizes creating, producing, and sharing content meant to engage and attract a targeted online audience. This tactic and SEO go hand in hand. You can’t improve your ranking with search engines if you don’t have informative content on your website. While content marketing includes website content, like blog articles, it also covers social media posts, videos, online courses, and even events that invoke an interest in your brand’s products or services. 

This process of creating and distributing valuable content to attract and engage potential customers can be an effective tool for building trust, establishing authority, and ultimately driving growth. In fact, 72% of marketers claim that having a solid content strategy is a major key to their success, and they’ve increased their content marketing budget to continue seeing growth.

If you already prioritize content marketing and aren’t seeing the desired results, you may want to consider running a content analysis to see how you can optimize your material. While improving your content is always a plus, you also want to make sure you revise or delete anything that’s outdated or incorrect. It might be harming your ranking and your authority.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a type of digital advertising where businesses pay for each click on an advertisement. If you haven’t run this type of campaign as a marketer, you’ve definitely seen them as a consumer. Whether scrolling through Facebook or Google, PPC ads line the pages promoting specifically catered products and services.

PPC advertising can be a powerful tool for reaching new customers and driving growth. The visits generated from these ads often bring in more revenue than what the click costs, and the searcher is usually already committed to buying when they click. PPC ads can help grow a customer base because they are specifically targeted. Additionally, PPC advertising is often one of the quickest methods to grow your audience. While SEO is a marathon, PPC advertising is a sprint that offers a quick return on investment. 

Email Marketing

Email marketing allows businesses to promote products or services through email campaigns. It can be an effective tool for driving conversions, but what’s especially noteworthy with this approach is the cost benefit. Email is an owned media, which requires less initial spending than traditional advertising. Studies show for every dollar spent on email marketing, businesses see about $36 in return. That number even increases for retail and e-commerce companies.

This tactic is also beneficial because it allows you to send messages directly to consumers, and it can be personalized for returning customers. As personalization is becoming more important across industries, email marketing has proven especially beneficial. You can thank customers for their purchases, provide product recommendations, and provide rewards for special occasions or even referrals. 

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing, as its name suggests, uses social media platforms to promote products or services. It can be an effective tool for building brand awareness, engaging with customers, and driving growth. Statistica reports, “As of 2022, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 147 minutes per day, which is up from 145 minutes in the previous year.” And it’s a trend that has continued to increase over the past 10 years.

If marketers should learn anything from social media usage trends, it’s that they need to have a social media presence. And it’s important to choose the right platform for your product or service. If you’re selling a retirement planning service, your main audience isn’t going to be on TikTok. But if you’re selling beauty supplies, clothes, tech, or food, TikTok might be the ticket. Platform popularity varies based on demographics, so it’s crucial to understand your audience.

Influencer Marketing

While it’s important for your brand to have its own presence on social media, partnering with an influencer allows your business to leverage their connections to expand your audience. The media elite prioritize building relationships with certain demographics, so strategically partnering with them can increase awareness and even boost sales.

Studies have found that 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations when they’re looking to buy a product. Even when consumers aren’t shopping, influencers have an effect. In fact, the same research suggests 40% of consumers have purchased something just after seeing it on social media. Some studies suggest influencer recommendations are more effective than friend referrals. It shows how authoritative influencers have become, which is why this marketing tactic is becoming more mainstream.

Digital Marketing is an Essential Tool

From SEO to social media marketing, there are a variety of tactics that you can use to reach new customers and drive growth. It's important to remember that a single tactic may not necessarily drive growth on its own. You’ll need to use a combination of different tools and strategies to meet your goals. 

It’s also important to make sure you measure and analyze your digital marketing efforts. Make use of the available analytics tools and software to track the performance of your website, campaigns, and social media channels. This will help you understand what’s working and what isn’t. Then you can adjust your strategy accordingly. This will also give you valuable insights on your target audience, helping you develop more effective campaigns for the future.

At some point, every business experiences a period of stalled growth, and it’s likely that more businesses will experience a slow down in our uncertain economic times. A stall may be caused by any number of reasons. There may be an oversaturation of the market, a lack of innovation, or an inability to reach new customers. But it doesn’t have to be permanent!

There are several tactics that you can use to jump-start your organization’s growth and get things moving again. Below is a list of strategies you might want to consider.

1. Market Segmentation

Market segmentation is the process of dividing your customer base into specific groups based on shared characteristics. For example, the fast-food chain Subway segments its market by offering different menu items for different geographic regions. In the United States, most typical sandwiches include ingredients like ham or turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a condiment like mayo or mustard. In India, however, corn and pea salad is a popular topping, and in Japan, shrimp and broccoli is a typical sub option.

These ingredient modifications help the chain appeal to a broader audience and grow its business. If your business operates in different regions, you may be able to offer individualized products for each area. However, you should also consider how you can personalize the customer experience based on a range of other factors. 

These segments may be based on demographic, geographic, or behavioral traits. By segmenting your audience, you can target your marketing efforts more effectively, reach new customers, and increase conversions. Some studies suggest this tactic can increase revenue by as much as 760%.

2. Product Development

Innovation and product development are essential for driving growth in any business. Selling the same product for decades just isn’t going to work. As the world evolves, so do customers’ expectations. By regularly introducing new products or improving existing ones, you can stay ahead of your competition and attract new customers. It’s also worth noting that Improved performance also lets you increase your profit by charging higher prices for a superior product.

Apple is a company known for its focus on product development. In fact, their product development process has a valuation that exceeds $2 trillion. (That’s twelve zeroes!) This success is largely because every time a new product is launched — whether that’s the latest Iphone, airpods, or MacBook — their new features quickly become standard and even a status symbol.

Constantly introducing new products drives much of Apple's growth, and it could be an approach that helps refresh your business too. Take some time to think about how you can improve the products or services you offer. Making it “new and improved” can help you catch your customers’ attention. 

3. Content Marketing

Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable content to attract and engage potential customers. This can include blog posts, videos, infographics, and more. By providing useful information to potential customers, you can build trust and establish yourself as an authority in your industry.

Studies show businesses that use content marketing can see conversion rates increase by as much as six times. HubSpot is a great example of a company known for its inbound marketing and content marketing. They use a variety of content types to educate and engage their audience, which helps to drive growth in their software business.

If your business’s content could use a boost, think about how you can provide value to your audience. Ask yourself what they might want to know and what information would benefit them. For example, if you’re a digital marketing agency, it would make sense to provide your audience with content explaining how to jump start their business’s stalled growth. (Get it?!)

4. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is extremely popular today, especially since most of your audience is spending time on their phone. This marketing method utilizes social media platforms to promote your products or services, and it works because you’re meeting your audience where they are. By building a presence on social media, you can reach new customers, engage with existing ones, and drive conversions.

While we often hear more about social media blunders than successes, there are thousands of companies using social media effectively. Sony’s Playstation, with over 29 million Twitter followers, is just one example. They continuously post a mix of content, including new game trailers, gaming footage, and streaming events, to keep fans engaged.

Consequently, their company and products benefit from their popularity. If you need to update your social media approach, make sure you keep your audience in mind and use your brand’s voice. Being genuine will often help you earn trust and boost your following.

5. Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of your website in search engine results pages. Optimizing your website for search engines can have vast benefits. You can drive more traffic to your site, reach new customers, and ultimately drive growth for your business.

As a result of improving their SEO strategy, the telehealth platform Nurx saw search query clicks increase by 833% and organic traffic increased by 217%. By evaluating popular content and search terms, the company was able to optimize their current content and strategically create new blogs and on-site guides.

If your business isn’t already working on SEO optimization to improve awareness and ranking, start as soon as possible. But remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. SEO strategies take time, but they’re worth it in the long run.

6. Networking

Networking is the process of building relationships with other businesses and individuals in your industry. This could be in-person or online. However, attending conferences, I’ve personally found that in-person networking events are especially valuable because you’re able to build stronger, more meaningful business relationships.

You never know when you might be able to foster a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type of relationship, which can immensely benefit your business. By building a strong network, you can reach new customers, gain helpful insights, and boost business growth.

Networking is also a way for sales and marketing teams to benefit from in-person marketing and build a referral pipeline. In some situations, having strong relationships can even increase revenue. You never know when a friend of a friend can refer a client or promote your product.  Knowing the right people and fostering genuine connections is essential, so make sure you’re putting yourself out there — especially if you’re experiencing a lull! 

Remember Business Growth Takes Patience

Sustaining a business is challenging, and failure is normal. In fact, according to Investopedia, “20% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during their first 10. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.” 

Those who succeed figure out how to drive business growth. By implementing effective tactics, you can jump-start your business's growth and get things moving again before you contribute to another statistic.

The tactics above are just a starting point, and not all approaches will work for every business. However, starting someone is better than not trying at all. You should continuously experiment with new strategies to find what works best for you. Once you find a strategy that is driving business growth, keep going. Success comes from hard work, time, and patience. 

What’s the very first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Oh, deep breathing and yoga? Well, aren’t you just a ray of sunshine?

We were expecting you to say “look at my phone,” which is what most Americans do. We spend a lot of time online. In our fast-paced world, we’re always looking for the quickest way to get where we want to go.

For most people, the quickest way to get where they’re going online is a search engine. And, well, we wouldn’t be marketers if we didn’t find a way to influence those online experiences.

Thus, search engine optimization (SEO) marketing was born. Today, marketers use SEO strategy to achieve a variety of goals from increased organic traffic to higher conversion rates. And since 68% of online experiences begin with search it’s vital to have a strong strategy.

What is SEO marketing for beginners?

To newer marketers, SEO might seem like a labyrinth of tags, keywords and coding. But search engine marketing is less mysterious than you think, and it can help you achieve your business goals. If you’re just starting out, here are a few SEO marketing tips for beginners .

What is SEO in marketing?

SEO refers to improving your website’s rank and appearance on the search engine results page (SERP). The benefits of SEO reach far and wide.

From a marketing standpoint, SEO is a cost-effective way to bring more organic traffic to your website. Since the average working-age internet user now spends 6 hours and 37 minutes online each day, you can’t afford to skip SEO.

SEO’s meaning in business

SEO also has business benefits outside of marketing:

You can also use SEO to grow your business. An increase organic traffic to your site can result in more sales and increase your conversion rate by improving the customer experience.

How is SEO used in digital marketing?

These days, most marketers define digital marketing as… well, marketing. We live in a digital world, and your website is often your first impression to potential buyers. For this reason, it’s hard to overstate the importance of SEO in digital marketing .

Your marketing plan probably involves many channels, like advertising, social media, email marketing, and public relations. SEO is part of your content marketing strategy , which you must have if you’re creating content. After all, you can create the best content in the universe (big ups if you’ve done this), but if the right people don’t see it, it hasn’t accomplished anything for your business.

Organic search is the main source of traffic for many websites, so an investment in SEO is a gift to your brand that keeps giving. By spending resources up-front on creating optimized content, you can generate organic search traffic for months and years to come.

What are the 4 types of SEO?

Once you master the basics and start digging deeper into SEO, you’ll learn there are four types of SEO : on-page, off-page, technical, and local. The best SEO strategies integrate all four.


5 steps for a great SEO STRATEGY

On-page SEO

On-page SEO includes the activities you probably think of first when you hear “SEO.” Because search engine algorithms are more sophisticated than ever, today’s on-page SEO strategies start with truly valuable content. You can’t trick, automate, or keyword-stuff your way to the top of the SERP.

Instead, focus on understanding your audience and the keywords that are relevant to them. If they were looking for your content or product, what types of keywords would they use – informational, navigational, commercial, or transactional?

Once you’ve done your keyword research, create high-quality content focused on the relevant keywords you’ve identified. Your content should:

Off-page SEO

Alexander the Great, notorious narcissist, said, “Even when I am gone, I shall remain in people’s minds the star of their rights.” But it was only after his death that he earned his Great title. If he’d spent his life talking about how great he was rather than doing “great” things, no one would’ve remembered him despite his self-aggrandizing speeches.

Similarly (but way less dramatic), promoting your own content can only get you so far in the SEO game. Why? Credibility. Of course you think your content is great. What do others think? Search engines look for backlinks as a sign that other users have found your content helpful.

Off-page SEO involves making sure your content is linkable, and then building a strategy to get backlinks. Linkable content has been crafted with backlinks in mind. Some common hooks are data (the more surprising the better), quotes from industry leaders, and engaging media like podcasts and videos.

To get the most out of your linkable content, identify trustworthy, popular sites within your space and track down a contact. Ask them to link to your content. Include a summary and how it benefits their readers.

Technical SEO

For some marketers, the word “technical” might kick your heart rate up a notch. But don’t be intimidated by technical SEO. Just like the rest of your SEO strategy, it centers on user experience.

Your first step for technical optimization should be ensuring that you’re following web design best practices. Do a website audit with these questions in mind:

If you come up with underwhelming answers for any of these, you’ve found your starting point for improvement. And remember, as Churchill said, “Perfection is the enemy of progress.” Your site doesn’t have to be 100% optimized to be an effective business asset.

Make improvements as you go, starting with the simplest work and tackling more complex technical SEO later. Before you know it, the organic traffic will be flowing.

Local SEO

If you offer products or services to a particular geographic region, you don’t want to skip local SEO . Generally, any optimizations you do on-page or off-page will boost your local listing. But if local SEO is a priority for your business, there are a few areas you should focus on.

One of the big benefits of local SEO is lower marketing costs, since it helps you focus on targeted geographic areas instead of the antiquated “spray and pray” approach.

What are examples of SEO marketing?

If you’ve made it this far, SEO might make sense in theory… but what does it look like in practice? Let’s look at some examples of SEO marketing .

For these examples, we’ll consider an auto shop that also sells car accessories, Amazing Auto Accessories & More.

Step 1: On-page and technical SEO

Let’s say AAA&M wants to use on-page SEO to organically capture more traffic looking to buy windshield wipers. They publish a blog post focused on the keyword “new windshield wipers.” They include the keyword in the post’s title, slug, meta description, headers, and body.

SEO marketing on-page and technical seoimage

From a technical SEO perspective, AAA&M digs deeper. They:

Step 2: Off-page SEO

The post is optimized and gaining organic traction, but AAA&M isn’t done yet. They know to get the most out of the article, they need to deploy a backlink strategy for off-page SEO. They regularly share the post on their social channels with engaging calls to action and target external sites publishing content related to vehicle maintenance and ask for backlinks.

Example social post: Ever been caught in a rainstorm on the highway? Driving in a downpour can be tense… and you DON’T need the added stress of limited visibility. If it’s time for new windshield wipers, we’ve got you covered with this guide. Do you have a go-to wiper brand? Let us know in the comments!

Example backlink email: Hi [name], your piece “7 things you didn’t know your car needed for routine maintenance” is killer. (Have I ever replaced my brake pads??) Anyway, we just published a guide to buying new windshield wipers, and I think it would be a great addition to your article in the “replace your windshield wipers” section. What do you think?

Step 3: Local SEO

Of course, providing a thorough guide to buying new windshield wipers is great for AAA&M’s brand trust and authority. But we’d be lying if we said they don’t want to sell new wipers to every single person who Google's the keyword. Windshield wipers are a $4.7 billion industry, after all.

For that reason, they target the “new windshield wipers” keyword with their local SEO strategy by making sure it’s included in their Google Business description and product catalog.

How do I SEO my website to Google?

After digesting everything we’ve discussed, you might be wondering: How do I use all this info to optimize my website for Google and other search engines?

Here’s a tip for how to do SEO well: Start where you are. If you’re already creating content but have never considered keywords, do some keyword research. Google Trends is a great SEO tool. Check out the keywords your competitors are using.

If you’ve been optimizing your content to keywords for a while, but have no idea how your website performs technically – start there. Run your site through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and share your findings with your tech colleagues. Find out what high-impact, quick-win opportunities there are. Google search console is another SEO tool to learn more about your search performance. 

The most important thing is to start making progress. At the end of the day, SEO is about user experience. Anything you can do to better understand users’ expectations and improve your content’s ability to meet them is a win for SEO.

How much does SEO marketing cost?

The beauty of search engine optimization is that it brings in more organic search traffic – meaning you didn’t pay for the traffic with advertising. However, like everything good in life, SEO is not free.

Creating and executing a comprehensive and effective SEO strategy is a big undertaking. Enterprise companies often have a whole team of full-time marketers dedicated to SEO services. That’s how valuable it is.

The cost of excellent SEO is in the time it takes to create high-quality content and optimize your website. If you’re ready to take your strategy to the next level, there are SEO-specific tools available that can cost as much as $500 per month.

Launch your SEO marketing strategy today

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend $500 a month on software to put your SEO marketing plan into place today. There’s constant innovation in search engine optimization , and tomorrow you could discover a brand new tactic that’s perfect for your business.

But don’t get distracted by shiny, new tactics without mastering the basics first. Getting a handle on how the four types of SEO fit into your marketing strategy will put you miles above your competitor who’s ignoring SEO.

And when your potential buyers wake up in the morning and grab their phones, your content will be there waiting.


Invisibility is poison for a brand struggling to grow and earn market share. If your target audience doesn't see you at critical moments in their buyer's journey, it's like you don't even exist. Without online credibility, authority, and visibility earned through SEO strategy, it’s difficult to convert or close a deal. Everything you do in marketing is more complicated and exhausting.

SEO strategy remedies invisibility, and it's critical for brands investing in growth marketing.

What is an SEO strategy?

A search engine optimization strategy is the practice of improving your website’s ranking and appearance on the search engine results page. It’s all about aligning the content you create with your ideal customers.

An SEO strategy will help you clarify and act on the following information:

Search engine optimization techniques

SEO revolves around user experience. It’s about creating people-first content. But it still requires research, testing, technical optimizations, and content marketing expertise.

No matter what you may have heard, keywords still matter. You can’t create people-first content without knowing what people search for and how they use the info. Keyword research answers these questions.

On top of that, your website must deliver an amazing user experience that people remember and want to come back for. When your SEO strategies keep that focus, everyone wins.

What’s the role of SEO in marketing?

SEO strategy helps you meet the marketing goals that impact your company’s bottom line, like:

The benefits of SEO strategy start with more website traffic. In today’s digital world, no marketer will say no to more traffic.

But all traffic isn’t created equal. The source of your website traffic impacts its quality. And when higher quality traffic comes in, that quality cascades down your whole funnel to increase conversion rates and retention.

When you do SEO right, the organic traffic it brings in is higher quality than, say, advertising traffic. Why? Think of it this way. Every time someone clicks an ad, you're trying to build credibility from scratch. When was the last time you built a meaningful relationship with someone in a few minutes?

Advertising is also an expensive way to get traffic. And when you stop your campaign, the traffic stops flowing in. By contrast, using SEO as an evergreen marketing tactic is a gift that keeps giving long-term.

Here’s how to design an SEO marketing strategy.

SEO marketing strategy

Nearly 70% of online experiences begin with search. And as technologies like voice search become more ubiquitous, that will increase.

What’s more, 91% of websites get no search traffic because they’re not ranking for any relevant keywords. As a marketer, you must have a strategy to insert yourself into your audience’s online experiences. Because it’s not going to happen on its own.

That’s where your SEO plan comes in. Having a solid plan in place will improve three crucial areas for your brand:

These three together make you hyper-relevant in the eyes of your potential customers. They generate the benefits of SEO.

What are the types of SEO in digital marketing?

There are four categories of SEO strategy in digital marketing

1. Technical SEO

When launching a new SEO strategy or auditing previous efforts, we often start with technical optimization. That’s because a solid technical foundation is table stakes to play the SEO game.

Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin said, “Technical SEO is like the plumbing of a website… it’s crucial to ensuring everything runs smoothly and efficiently.” Creating content and building backlinks are essential strategies, but they’re only as strong as the tech they run on.

If your website has technical issues, it’s a big red flag to search engine algorithms. And that means the content you worked so hard on has a slim chance of ranking.

Here are the most important technical SEO aspects to include in your strategy.

Technical SEO is important because user experience is important. It’s one of Google’s top priorities when deciding which content to show searchers.

2. On-page SEO

Content is the backbone of on-page SEO. But by itself, great content isn’t enough to get you all the benefits of a comprehensive SEO strategy. You need a keyword-driven content strategy focused on quality.

Which, of course, starts with research.

The key to keyword research

There are many keyword research tools out there. Google’s free keyword planner is a great place to start. Competitor research is another way to contextualize your own content strategy. What kinds of keywords are in your competitors’ ad copy and SERP headlines?

keyword research example of google keyword plannerUse your keyword tool of choice to answer these three key questions:

  1. What looks achievable based on keyword difficulty? Often, the highest volume keyword or most relevant to your business isn't the best place to start. The competition for it may be through the roof. You won’t rank well for very difficult keywords if your website has a lower domain authority. Instead, start gaining traction with long-tail, niche keywords that have lower difficulty and lower volume. Then, leverage your newfound authority to pursue the tougher keywords.
  2. What has a decent search volume? With the above in mind, you don't want to target keywords that have no volume at all. No one would see it! You're looking for a sweet spot for your keyword strategy - achievable keyword difficulty with at least some volume.
  3. What aligns with your content strategy? Finally, look for keywords that align with the topics you want to be an authority on. You should never target a keyword if it doesn't relate to your brand. This would lead to the creation of irrelevant content that doesn't align with the search intent. And SEO strategy is all about aligning your goals with your target audience's goals to maximize your visibility and relevance.

Once you have enough info to select some target keywords, it’s time to get down to business and start creating high-quality content.

Pulling off high-quality, helpful content

What, exactly, is high-quality content? This isn’t a nebulous concept that marketers have to guess at and hope for the best. As the world’s largest search engine, Google has put out extensive information on what it considers when judging content quality.

In late 2022, Google’s “helpful content update” confirmed its intention to focus on people-first content. It’s becoming impossible to trick search engines with the black hat SEO techniques of yesteryear as the algorithms learn what’s truly helpful for users.

In the helpful content update, Google suggests creating content for people, not search engines. It also reminds marketers to rely on the E-E-A-T framework to ensure their content shows:

One effective content strategy is the pillar (or cornerstone) method. To start, create one substantial post for a keyword you'd really like to rank. Then create several related sub-topic posts. Link these other posts to your pillar.

This method maximizes your ROI because the supporting posts are faster and easier. But they increase the authority of the pillar they link to.

Of course, your content will be the most “helpful” if it shows up to the people who will benefit from it most: your ideal customers. And since you know exactly what keywords they’re using, you’re ready to optimize.

Be sure your focus keyword is naturally woven into these areas of your content:

3. Off-page SEO

Now the fun part: off-page. What is off-page SEO? In a nutshell, backlinks.

You can spend all day talking about how great your own content is. But there’s a reason why 82% of consumers trust reviews, and only 4% trust ads - credibility.

When ranking your content, search engines look for signs that other users have found it helpful. Lots of relevant links from high-authority websites are a big green flag.

To be clear: backlinks aren’t just a ranking factor. They’re critical. Inbound links show you're connected to a community. Your content has authority with the people who matter.

Links also show who you're associating with. Links from spammy, untrustworthy sites may hurt your ranking more than help. You want links from relevant web pages on mid- to high-authority websites.

How to get backlinks

Backlinks come from other websites you do not own.

Of course, Google wasn’t born yesterday. Backlinks you can easily build yourself (social media, Quora, ads) don’t carry the same weight as a link created by others because they appreciate your website. Still, they don’t hurt.

Backlinks can be tough to get, but the payoff is worth it. You can earn them through link-building strategies like:

The last one is a more invested strategy. But it's also the most effective. It's often employed by SEO agencies supporting many clients.

4. Local SEO

Any business operating locally can’t afford to skip local SEO. By targeting users searching for location-specific keywords, you can lower your marketing expenses and make sure your brand shows up in the right place at the right time.

How? For starters, claim your Google Business Profile and complete the information. This will ensure your business listing shows up by the map when users search for local keywords.

local seo google exampleIf there are particular keywords you know you want to rank for, be sure to include them in the services or description of your listing.

Focusing on these areas will also boost your rankings in local SEO results.

How do I create an SEO strategy?

To create an SEO strategy, start by identifying your goals and ideal customer profile. Then, invest some resources into researching your ideal customer. This investment is either your own time, money on SEO tools, or outsourcing the work to an agency.

Your research will provide context to help you determine which elements of your SEO strategy are the most important. From there, you can prioritize the four types of SEO we’ve discussed.

How do beginners do SEO?

For SEO beginners, all the strategies and tactics can be a bit overwhelming. The good news is that you don’t have to come up with your process from scratch. There are many checklists and frameworks out there for beginners.

Here are the basic steps to follow when you’re starting out.

  1. Set your goals
  2. Audit your site for technical issues
  3. Do keyword research
  4. Build a content strategy
  5. Develop a plan for backlinks
  6. Track progress and optimize

What is an example of SEO strategy?

Researching keywords and creating a content plan is a fundamental example of SEO strategy. Let’s say your gym offers exercise classes for night owls. Your approach might look something like this.

  1. Through keyword research, you learn that your ideal customer is searching for “is it okay to work out at night?”
  2. You develop a piece of content that answers this question. To optimize your content to the target keyword, you incorporate it in the post’s title, URL, meta description, headers, and body.What is an example of SEO strategy (2) - correct
  3. As you create your content, you focus on linkability. It’s not enough to simply answer the question - hundreds of pieces of content already answer it. Go the extra mile by citing original research, creating engaging assets like videos or infographics, and interviewing a credentialed expert.
  4. Once you publish your content, you reach out to publishers and influencers in the exercise space to build backlinks.
  5. Since your gym serves a specific geographic area, you claim your Google Business Profile and include keywords like “evening exercise class.” This will help the right audience find out about your offering.
  6. You plan to do a quarterly technical SEO audit to make sure there are no performance issues with your website.

What is the best SEO strategy in 2023?

The most effective SEO strategy in 2023 and beyond will focus on content quality. As search engines become more sophisticated and the digital world gets more flooded with content, the very best content will rise to the top.

The brands that win will be the ones that have an SEO strategy rooted in understanding their customer and content niche. Then, on that foundation, they’re willing to test new tactics and keep up with trends.

Tracking progress is critical to meeting goals with SEO. You'll have trouble influencing a metric if you can't measure it. And you certainly won't be able to test or optimize.

There are advanced tools available, but for starters, you need to make sure these free analytics tools are set up on your website.

Think about what KPIs you want to track. For SEO, track conversions, ranking, organic traffic, and new subscribers to your blog or email list.

SEO tools

Research is at the heart of a thoughtful SEO strategy. To some extent, you can do SEO research and optimizations on your own if you have the time to invest.

Eventually, you’ll need SEO tools to boost your efforts. There are free and paid tools available. The cost and functionality vary, but most fall into one of these categories: 

Many of the household names in SEO offer all-in-one solutions to help with all these phases of the process. Should you invest in one of these platforms? Perhaps, if you have the budget and the internal resources to use it.

Alternatively, you can put together an efficient plan by paying for specialized tools where you need them most. If you have a larger budget but no internal SEO professional, you might choose to hire an agency.

What are common SEO mistakes?

Nobody’s perfect. But when it comes to SEO strategy, mistakes can be costly. Here are some common SEO mistakes to avoid.

  1. Targeting the wrong keywords. Companies often target the keywords with the highest volume. Unfortunately, high-ranking results for these keywords can be almost impossible to topple. Instead, narrow down your target keywords to long-tail and zero volume keywords at first if you are starting from scratch. If you're already ranking for a decent amount, evaluate search volume and keyword difficulty to find the sweet spot for keywords to target.
  2. Not Matching content to keyword intent. Optimizing your content by inserting your target keyword in the right spots isn’t good enough for today’s sophisticated algorithms. Your content might get a user to click through, but if it doesn’t meet expectations once they get there, Google will know.
  3. Throwing resources at backlinks without focusing on content quality too. The most costly mistakes happen when you start investing in promotion tactics but don’t focus on quality onsite content to support it. Whether it’s buying low-quality backlinks or churning out content that’s just plain bad, this is a real waste of money. Focusing on quality first and foremost will make earning backlinks much smoother.

How SEO will change in 2023

The field of SEO moves fast. If you want your SEO strategy to keep performing and remain relevant, you must stay on top of changes and trends. Here are a few of our predictions for 2023 and beyond.

  1. Algorithms will get even better at identifying and prioritizing helpful content.
  2. Marketers will explore how to incorporate AI and automation into their content creation process while still putting people first.
  3. A strong technical foundation will continue to be crucial.

SEO strategy is the heart of growth marketing

An effective growth strategy includes visibility, authority, and credibility. Growth-minded businesses focus on reducing customer acquisition costs to maximize ROI. They do this by investing in sustainable, long-term branding strategies - like SEO.

An effective SEO strategy emphasizes manageable growth through fantastic customer experience.

It builds your brand on a firm foundation and creates a brand that attracts trust and loyalty through your authentic desire to help customers. It focuses on creating a welcoming and relevant user experience for your target audience.

Without these features, it’s just not SEO. And without SEO, your brand is invisible.

When building a website, there are many factors to consider and optimize. One of the most important is increasing domain authority (DA). When people head to a search engine like Google, they expect to find quality content that answers their questions. So, your website needs to be well-designed, and its information must be relevant and valuable to the user.

When optimizing your website to ensure it ranks well in search engine results, your domain authority can significantly impact it. Your domain authority can improve, resulting in more traffic and better search engine rankings. However, when done wrong, it can be challenging to recover from.

However, before diving into how to improve your domain authority, let's first understand what it is and just how important it is to the success of your website.

Key Takeaways

What Is Your Domain Authority?

Domain authority is a metric used by search engines to measure the quality of a website and its content. It's a measure of the trustworthiness of a website and how likely people are to use it for their search queries.

The concept of domain authority was first created by Moz, a company that provides SEO and analytics software for websites. This metric is one of the most widely used to rate a domain's rankability in search engines. Essentially, it's a score between 1-100, giving you insight into things such as:

For instance, the higher your domain authority score, the more likely people will find your website in search results because you've established yourself as a trustworthy website by meeting the many requirements of Moz and the big search engines.

Moz uses over 40 factors to determine a website's domain authority, including:

Domain Authority Report for Relevance

Domain Authority Report for Relevance Source: Moz.

Just How Important Is Your Websites Domain Authority?

Your website's domain authority is critical. It can directly affect the visibility of your website on search engines and the ability of visitors to find your content. Increasing domain authority scores is crucial for gaining organic traffic and more leads.

A good domain authority score can give you an advantage over your competitors and help you stay ahead in search engine rankings. Search engines often prioritize sites that meet requirements shared by those required to receive a higher authority score.

Finally, domain authority can help you build credibility and trust with potential customers, as having a higher domain authority score implies that your website is well-established and reliable.

Is domain authority a Google ranking factor?

Since having a high domain authority is often associated with high search engine rankings, it is natural to assume that domain authority is a Google ranking factor. However, that's not the case. Google explicitly states that domain authority is not a ranking factor.

John Mueller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, tweeted out the following information about domain authority:

Google does not use domain authority as a ranking factor.

Google does not use domain authority as a ranking factor. Source: John Mueller/Twitter.

So, if it is not a ranking factor, why is domain authority so crucial for those looking to rank higher in the SERPs?

The answer is simple: Google's ranking guidelines share several vital requirements for websites that wish to rank well and measure a site's overall domain authority.

For example, a trusted and reputable site providing only the most relevant information to its users often has a high DA. These are key factors that Google looks for when it ranks a website based on its E-A-T criteria.

Google E-A-T Update

Google E-A-T Update. Source: WordStream.

5 Tips for Increasing Your Website's Overall Domain Authority

Your website's domain authority is vital to its visibility and search ranking. The higher your website's domain authority, the more likely it will appear in search engine results. Here are five tips to help you improve your website's domain authority.

1. Improve on-page SEO.

On-page SEO involves optimizing the content on every page of your website for search engines so that it is as visible and relevant as possible. Such optimization includes using relevant keywords, optimizing images and videos, using meta tags, and more.

On-page SEO is essential to improving your website's domain authority since it helps search engines understand what the page is about and determine how valuable it is to users.

Optimizing your website pages for search engines can ensure that your website is as visible and relevant as possible, leading to higher search rankings and stronger domain authority.

2. Improve off-page SEO.

Off-page SEO optimizes your website beyond the webpage itself. It SEO includes link-building, social media promotion, and other forms of external marketing.

Off-page SEO helps to establish your website as an authority in its niche and improves its overall domain authority. Link building, in particular, is an integral part of off-page SEO since it helps to show search engines that other websites are linking to your website, which can lead to higher domain authority.

3. Improve technical SEO.

Technical SEO entails optimizing your website's code and structure so that search engines can easily crawl and index it. Optimizing your website's navigation and performance, ensuring that all the pages are correctly linked together, and ensuring that your website is secure is part of technical SEO.

Technical SEO is important when improving your website's domain authority since it helps search engine crawlers easily discover and understand your website.

Additionally, ensuring that your website is secure with an SSL certificate helps improve your website's trustworthiness, which is another key factor for determining domain authority.

4. Improve page speed.

Page speed is another important factor in domain authority, as it affects the user experience on your website. Users may become frustrated and leave if your website is slow to load, resulting in lower engagement and fewer conversions.

A slow-loading website can also hurt your search engine rankings, as Google prefers websites that load quickly. Improving your website's page speed can help you to improve your domain authority by providing a better user experience and boosting your search engine rankings.

5. Build a backlink strategy.

A backlink strategy is essential in improving your website's domain authority. The number and quality of your website's backlinks can significantly affect your domain authority score. As such, building authoritative backlinks from reliable and relevant sources is essential.

This strategy can include building relationships with influencers and industry experts, creating content that other websites will want to link to, and using social media platforms to promote your content.

Remaining Relevant with a High Domain Authority

Keeping your website's domain authority high is essential for maintaining a strong online presence and staying competitive.

It is important to consistently work on building and increasing domain authority by optimizing the areas discussed above. Doing so will help ensure that your website remains relevant and ranks well in search engine results.

With the right strategies, you can improve your website's domain authority and remain competitive in your industry.

Traditional marketing approaches have long been effective in building brand awareness and promoting various initiatives. For decades, it's provided a tried-and-true process that has generated sales and interest. Many retailers take an understandable posture toward marketing (and everything else) that goes something like, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

However, in today's hyper-connected marketplace, brands need to learn more about their customers to continue along a growth trajectory. They need to understand customer behaviors exhibited in the past and anticipate future needs. As attention spans shrink, retailers need to be empowered to respond quickly and forecast accurately.

In short, brands need more dynamic, ongoing opportunities to understand, engage, and connect with their existing customers. Enter growth marketing.

Defining Growth Marketing

Growth marketing is a burgeoning strategy focusing on long-term relationships with your existing and potential customers. It's a full-funnel approach that uses quantitative and qualitative data to gain deeper insights and make course corrections in marketing at every stage.

Growth marketing is a comprehensive approach designed to meet your marketing goals. It does not focus on one component, such as lead generation. Instead, it uses objective information to build customer loyalty and trust by providing content that delivers value.

Think of it this way; growth marketing enables brands to grow more than just the bottom line. In addition to more significant revenue, it also facilitates the growth of customer loyalty, overall satisfaction, responsiveness, and trustworthiness.

How is traditional marketing different from growth marketing?

Traditional marketing often focuses on acquiring a customer (revenue) but less on retention (brand loyalty). There is typically little marketing emphasis on what happens to a prospect once online marketing efforts convert them to paying customers.

Another critical component of mastering the growth marketing puzzle is experimentation.

Experimentation is all about testing, refining, and retesting messages until a brand fully understands what works in its niche. This embrace of experimentation takes an upfront commitment of time and resources if you hope to do it correctly.

Why growth marketing?

It's data-driven.

Sometimes marketing is all about what's funny, what looks good, or what people currently think is hot. That's all fine and well. However, growth marketing focuses less on buzz and more on empirical data. What is working? What isn't? Where can our efforts be improved?

Effective growth marketing includes utilizing A/B testing and conversion rate optimization (CRO) data. Growth marketing uses these tools to influence online efforts, focusing on a better overall user experience. In short, growth marketing frees experimentation by using data as its starting point instead of "best guesses" as to what might work.

Growth marketing is a full-funnel strategy focused on trust and loyalty.

Instead of generating leads solely at the top of the funnel, growth marketing focuses on helping customers at every stage.

Growth marketing provides value throughout the journey. Audiences work through content relevant to search intent. These messages provide value, education, and information at each stage of their buyer's journey. Content helps users determine what they need to solve real-world problems rather than leave them to guesswork.

One way to think of it is that you are providing relevant information that helps move a potential customer from uncertainty to confidence as they make their way toward the "Finalize Purchase" button. When that confidence is reinforced through accurate fulfillment, your brand has simultaneously grown its bottom line and customer loyalty.

It's hyper-strategic.

Growth marketing takes a deep dive into what's working and what isn't and aligns that with marketing goals.

By hyper-targeting what needs to change to achieve marketing goals, growth marketing can focus on conversions or top-of-the-funnel traffic, whatever you need most at the moment.

Growth marketing is "people-first."

Growth marketing focuses on people, a.k.a. the customer. Whether that's in SEO, where you are writing for the reader and targeting the keywords they find valuable, or in onsite content written to help answer questions and be a resource, solve your growth marketing puzzle by being helpful.

Strong brands can be confident that an educated audience is far more likely to purchase than those with unresolved questions or other misgivings.

Instilling a Growth Marketing Mindset

To establish a growth marketing mindset in your marketing department, you first need to embrace data as a driver for decision-making.

This process can be more challenging than you think, primarily if past business successes resulted from inspired hunches. There is still a place in the marketing realm for hunches, but with growth marketing, your inspiration springs from empirical sales data and website analytics rather than waiting for a muse to pay a visit.

That does not mean that creativity is not a factor. In fact, creativity is a critical component of effective growth marketing. Art and science are involved in building a growth marketing mindset as you seek to perfect a harmonious blend of SEO, onsite content, and traditional marketing practices. If anything, growth marketing done right requires more creativity, not less.

By focusing on your brand's products and services, being willing to experiment, using objective data as your agreed-upon starting point, and using past results to guide future strategies, you'll be solving your growth marketing puzzle before you know it. In fact, you may start wondering how you ever got along without utilizing a growth marketing strategy.

At Relevance, we help brands build credibility and authority in their industry. Using content strategic planning, custom SEO, and digital PR, we drive more customers and revenue for our clients. To learn more, contact us today about how we can help as your growth marketing agency.

Digital PR isn't something to overlook as you work to build your brand and grow sales. On the contrary, digital PR is a powerful tactic that helps build brand credibility, ensuring your company stands out in the niche reserved for your products and services.

Used properly, digital PR can help connect people online with your company and create genuine interest, respect, and recognition for your brand.

Let's dive into what that means and why using digital PR to build credibility is so important.

What is digital PR?

Digital PR is not about sales content or any promotional message. Yes, there's a venue suitable for breaking out "the hard sell," but this isn't it.

Instead, marketers design digital PR campaigns to build brand credibility for brands by providing authentic, valuable content to readers. Digital PR also places messages where target audiences are most likely to find and appreciate them. Rather than impose a heavy-handed commercial where it's more annoying than helpful, these messages are a natural extension of the discussion.

In short, digital PR connects traditional public relations with social media, content marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO).

Digital PR builds awareness of your brand.

One of the ways digital PR helps is by providing people with an opportunity to get to know you and your brand. Done right, this opportunity shows up in a low-pressure, low-stakes encounter. If a target customer (a person most likely to want and need your services) does not know your company exists, they cannot even consider that you might be able to solve their problem.

Today's consumer is savvy. Experts estimate that 81% of shoppers will spend time researching a product or service before purchasing it or buying from a company they do not know. With the help of digital PR, it is possible to highlight what makes your company stand out and why you're better than your competitors.

It can provide a boost to your SEO efforts.

You may not realize it, but digital PR also helps by building your visibility in search engines.

That means when people seek information about what you offer, they can easily find you. Search ease helps develop your ability to be seen by prospective buyers.

Remember that digital PR cannot solve problems with products or services. If your products cannot stand up to others, this deficiency will become evident in search results. It will become even more apparent in consumer reviews posted to widely-used eCommerce sites.

When you use digital PR properly online, it suddenly becomes possible to get noticed. You're then a part of industry discussions and articles. This can be an additional signal to Google when you're trying to rank for specific topics and themes online.

Dovetail content with other digital PR marketing efforts.

You've worked hard to build a company that provides quality products and services, consistently-excellent customer service, and great value for the dollar. However, you might be baffled by a lack of online visibility. Worse, you see that competitors with an objectively inferior track record score hit after hit on SERPs. Why does the SEO spotlight shine brightly there?

Scan through industry websites, magazines, and popular sites. In all likelihood, sites that rank high on SERPs appear in industry-specific social media accounts, informative articles, and the like. The job of any successful digital PR and marketing campaign is to garner the attention of these industry voices and obtain links back to your content.

However, the digital footprint you create for your company must be entirely consistent with the messaging you are developing in traditional PR channels.

If you have a solid product or service and consistently send the same messages in your traditional marketing channels as you do online, you will begin to gain domain authority. Simply stated, "domain authority" can roughly be translated to "These people know what they are talking about." It goes without saying that you should provide agenda-free, service-oriented content in the spirit of helping people find solutions to real-world problems.

Social Collateral

Once you start scoring backlinks, you can use those brand mentions as social collateral. Leverage them! Highlight the fact that a credible online site mentioned your business. This aspect of digital PR will help fill your social media accounts with solid content.

When people start digging into your specific market niche, you will appear on those social accounts. You can then promote that you're a credible brand.

Lead Nurture

You can nurture leads or tout your efforts to current customers by showcasing your mentions in your email marketing efforts. Email campaigns help build credibility with both audiences.

Perhaps your audience is on the fence regarding your product or service. At that moment, a shopper sees that a powerhouse such as Forbes mentioned your brand in a positive light. This connection immeasurably boosts your brand.

Build a positive platform for your brand.

At the core of successful branding is using digital PR methods to build an impression on prospective customers about your products or services. That way, when someone mentions your brand, your customers know who you are and what you offer.

Being consistent in your approach matters. Consumers need to hear the same type of message from you every time.

Creating a positive impression for your potential consumers isn't a simplistic process. Consider these key questions.

Because it is all happening online, digital PR can help improve the decision-making and opinions of your consumer base. Utilizing the best methods, it's possible to enhance your branding considerably. Even if your credibility isn't where you want it to be, digital PR can help improve it.

Become a leader in your industry.

One of the best ways to conduct a digital PR public relations campaign is to build your presence in that market. That means becoming a thought leader and speaking authoritatively about innovations in your field.

It may mean contributing to the stories that are breaking within your industry now. You could provide tips and strategies or discuss the future of the industry. The possibilities are endless.

This form of digital PR is quite powerful because it allows you, the business owner, CEO, or other leader, to become the face of the industry. That means you can stand out from other companies. When a person has a problem your services or products can fix, they recognize you as the person to trust. That's building strong credibility in the industry.

Your service solves their problem, and they will remember your business favorably. They will likely recommend your products to others.

How does digital PR fit into your marketing strategy?

Digital PR is one component of your efforts to build a robust business model and online presence. Beyond a doubt, it is a core part of your digital marketing strategy. It works alongside your other efforts to build a solid digital PR footprint.

Over time, your digital PR, any traditional PR you are implementing, and other tools you use to develop your customer experience work together. These tools deliver an outstanding outcome for your client. They learn from you. They benefit from you. That leads to their willingness to recommend your business to others and come back repeatedly.

In a world where consumers see brand credibility as very important, especially for online businesses, you cannot overlook putting time and effort into digital PR. In the era of the smartphone shopper, your business (regardless of size) can't afford to let this opportunity go unrealized.

Intrigued? Want to learn more? We're here to help. Find out how our team at Relevance can help your business achieve its digital PR goals and build brand credibility. Schedule a free consultation today.

As more and more people join the ranks of those currently using their smartphones to complete secure business transactions, it's become increasingly vital to get with the content marketing trend. So yes, it's critical that you create high-quality, reliable content specific to your niche. However, if you don't know how to optimize content for SEO, all the great content in the world is unlikely to boost your online visibility.

There is both an art and a science to creating helpful content while balancing that against remembering how to optimize content for SEO even as it is being produced. Today there are plenty of diagnostic tools to help you grasp the basics, such as Yoast SEO. But there's much more to it than just the effective use of tools.

For example, you might use Google Docs and Grammarly to put a spit shine on your writing, but you're going to need more than that. Being talented in one area of SEO is great, but to get a boost in search engine results pages (SERPs), you will need to be highly skilled in other areas. Someone highly adept in only one area is roughly analogous to someone who only knows how to change a flat tire thinking they are a certified car mechanic.

Great Content Fuels SEO-Powered Sales

Well-planned and executed content contributes powerfully to your overall SEO strategy. Learning how to optimize content for SEO makes your website content more readable and enjoyable to consume overall. It also helps readers and search engines understand what you've posted.

There are many simple ways to optimize content for SEO. Below are eight industry practices you can use to help you get started. Think of them as checkboxes that must be ticked, such as including onsite and offsite links, using the right keywords to help you optimize your onsite content, and ensuring you are addressing issues about which people care.

Before you start learning how to how to optimize content for SEO, it will help immensely to put together what experts refer to as a client creative brief. A client creative brief is nothing more than a rough outline of what you hope to achieve. Think of it as a blueprint containing project details, both short-term and long-term objectives, and what you need to get from here to there.

If you are not planning to outsource your SEO project to an agency, you should nonetheless put your ​​client creative brief together. Feel free to modify your brief as your project progresses, but don’t dive in without a roadmap. Getting lost and muddled in strengthening your domain authority and showing up prominently in search engines is too easy.

How to Optimize Content for SEO

1. Use heading tags.

If you are coding your written content by hand, you already know that H1, H2, H3, and H4 tags provide readers with a taxonomy of information. H1 is the coding equivalent that signals Header 1, H2 signals Header 2, and so on. These tags help provide a helpful taxonomy of data for the human eye and for the search engine "spiders" that repeatedly crawl your website, digesting your information.

Nowadays, though, no one needs to learn to code HTML to generate these codes.

WordPress, for example, does this automatically, behind the scenes. Writers leverage a user-friendly interface to raise and lower the status of their headings, subheads, bulleted lists, and more. Once the content has been published or updated, search engines use these automatically inserted tags to answer one straightforward question: "What is this piece about?"

If you publish content without providing these distinctions, it quickly becomes monotonous. Human readers and search engines alike see what you've written as one big, long, perhaps sleep-inducing blob of text. Human beings will quickly bounce as they can't scan your content. A huge part of learning how to optimize content for SEO is making effective use of hierarchical elements, especially heading tags.

2. Include internal links.

An internal link is a hyperlink inserted into your text that links to additional content on the same site. This link should be germane to the topic as you’ve rendered it in the text and images. An internal link communicates an expectation in the mind of a human reader, something along the lines of "there’s more to learn about that subject if I want it."

When you interlink the content on your site, it signals to search engines that you are an expert on specific topics. It creates a web of authority that strengthens the value of your domain. Links should tell readers you know a great deal about a particular niche. If you have great information about a certain topic, this fact will become immediately apparent to readers and search engines. Therefore, pick your links and keywords with the utmost care.

3. Add value with external links.

Avoid trying to be an expert in everything. No one can do this. Better by far to recognize where your expertise ends, and the expertise of another begins. When you hit that boundary in your online content, insert external links to high-authority, helpful content on external websites.

Keep in mind that your site's authority is at stake as you choose the external sites to which you plan to link. Let’s face it; you can probably find something on the internet to back up just about anything you write, no matter how ridiculous (or worse, untruthful). Consequently, it’s critical that you use domain authority tools such as Moz to make sure you are only linking out to high-quality, reliable information. Your reputation is on the line here!

One of the best uses of external linking is to help your readers access information to back up your statements with statistics, charts, and data. When you use external linking to educate and inform your readers, you send a signal to search engines that you are a reliable source. This helpfulness, too, will contribute to helping your site rise in popularity and SERPs.

4. Do your keyword research.

Perhaps the most labor-intensive task in constructing an effective content marketing campaign is not (as many might guess) producing the content itself. That’s a crucial piece of the puzzle, obviously. However, before generating the content, you want to be locked in on your target keywords. Making sure you’ve selected the right keywords will pay off handsomely when you begin the content development phase.

Experts recommend choosing longer-tail keywords that bypass the more obvious choices if you don’t quite have the authority you need for those more difficult keywords. If your onsite content is solid and optimized to a longer-tail keyword, you’re more likely to rise in SERPs specific to your service area and area of expertise. You will want to optimize as much of your content around those longer-tail keywords as possible. You will want to steer clear of what’s known as "keyword stuffing" and opt instead for related keywords only as necessary.

5. Work to match the search intent of your intended audience.

Have you ever experienced an internet "Gotcha!" moment? Did you click on a link expecting one type of content…only to land on a site that has nothing to do with your intended purpose? Chances are better than even that this misdirection was intentional, the result of manipulating keywords and SERPs to nefarious ends. No one likes misleading links. In all likelihood, you bounced from the site immediately. You should expect the same treatment if your chosen keyword in any way defeats user expectations.

Treat your internet audience with respect. Ensure the content you create matches the search intent for your selected keyword.

For example, an educational blog might be best for a keyword if the purpose is primarily informational. A well-built product or service page may be best if the user's intent is commercial. When you work to consistently meet (or exceed) the expectations of search intent, your users are far more likely to reward you with repeat visits.

6. Be sure to include an intuitive URL and meta description.

Believe it or not, many users still scan the entire URL displayed in the dialog box of their web browser of choice. Set up your site's hierarchy and posts to provide a logical "trail" for your users. This practice reinforces the web of authority around the topic or theme and (let’s face it) is much easier on the eye. Which of the two URLs makes the most sense to you? Perhaps more significantly, which URL are you more likely to copy and text to a friend or family member?

When you begin building links, remember that brevity is the soul of wit. Keep the slug for every page and post as short as possible yet meaningful to human readers. Four to five words are optimal. This will not always be possible for every site. However, it’s a good rule of thumb to implement it whenever and wherever possible.

Similarly, every piece of content you post should include a META description. These descriptions offer search engine spiders a concise overview of the subject matter of your content. Your online content will begin to show up in its niche when your URL, META, and keyword work in unison.

7. Use titles and descriptive ALT text for images.

Making your content available and accessible to the broadest possible audience makes good business sense…and it’s the right thing to do. In the U.S., for example, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990. Yet, even today, many websites implement ALT tags and descriptive language as an afterthought. Sadly, many still ignore these online content attributes altogether.

Search engines, however, have brought commerce to bear on this issue. Many sites to this day consistently lack ALT tags for images. Other portions of the site are inaccessible to adaptive computing equipment. Consequently, those sites are likely to get dinged for it. Today, search engines more or less serve to police the ADA by lowering site rankings and domain authority.

When including ALT tags, use your selected keyword where it makes sense. Again, don’t try to "stuff" keywords into your ALT tags and other hidden fields. Search engines long ago figured that one out. As stated above, attempts at deception will get you dinged. Plenty of online testing tools are available if you’re wondering how your site scores for adaptability. "Listening" to your website content through a screen reader can also prove an enlightening experience.

8. Write for the reader.

At this point, you might well be wondering if you should be writing content for Google or your intended audience. Well…can it be both? If you are doing your job well, your ranking on SERPs will go up if you keep an eye on your customers and search engines. However, if you must fall off the fence one way or the other, fall in favor of your readers.

Over time, as more users begin taking in and backlinking to your site, the usefulness of your content will become apparent, even if you don’t tailor absolutely everything to please the almighty algorithms.

As you write, produce photos, and develop your content, keep the reader foremost in your thinking. Imagine yourself in the position of someone trying to learn more, solve a problem, or find information. As your audience validates your usefulness through repeated clicks and more extended amounts of time spent on the site, your commitment to reader service can only contribute to greater domain authority and positioning on SERPs.

"Cabbie, how do I get to Carnegie Hall?" Practice, practice, practice!

That corny old joke has become a cliche and stuck around in the collective unconscious for a reason. It points to an enduring truth. You're unlikely to achieve perfection whenever you take your first shot at anything. Whether playing the violin or optimizing content around a longer-tail keyword, you will need to keep at it until it becomes second nature.

Don’t despair if your initial efforts at optimizing content to your niche are less than stellar. That’s completely normal. You need to keep spinning so many plates that it can initially feel overwhelming. Use the guidelines above, refer back to them often as you develop your content, and keep at it!

Even if you plan to staff up in-house, you may need to engage the services of a professional SEO agency on the front end. If you find that you do need help, consider reaching out to one of our sales associates for a no-cost consultation. At Relevance, we eat and sleep SEO, but then we are quick to admit that we’re a bit odd that way.

Whether we like it or not, search engine optimization is a constantly evolving technical skill. What worked yesterday may fall completely flat next week. Constant research and updates are the meat and potatoes of every SEO agency.

Search engine companies, for their part, continue to update their algorithms to provide a better user experience. Frequently, they will release an algorithm update into the wild without much in the way of advance notice.

To better understand how successful SEO tactics really work, it might help to check out the 2014 film "The Lego Movie." In that cinematic masterpiece, the protagonists Emmet and Wyldstyle elude their murderous pursuers by constructing a high-powered getaway vehicle out of random bits of Lego as they run at full speed down an alleyway. At the last possible second, the engines snap into place, and our heroes launch themselves to safety.

Putting together a successful SEO campaign and keeping it afloat is only slightly less harrowing. Any number of factors can influence the results showing up on search engine results pages (SERPs). Given the ever-shifting terrain of SEO and your need to focus attention elsewhere, hiring an agency can be a somewhat daunting, albeit necessary, task.

Ideally, you will partner with an agency that will grow organic traffic to your website. They'll work to improve your search rankings and help you generate more leads. Should you elect to go this route, there are several questions you can ask that will help you determine if potential agencies really know their stuff and can help you move ahead in your market niche. Listed below are nine to consider.

1. Can you guarantee specific results?

Be wary of anyone who answers "Yes." Why? Because it is almost impossible to promise a specific ranking status. If the company you are considering "guarantees" a certain number of visitors to your website, a percentage of increase in sales, or a specific ranking position, you might be hearing more hype and hustle than anything else.

Most agencies will tell you they're confident of the results they can produce based on past clients. However, anyone who promises a specific ranking or traffic level is not being entirely truthful. (Let's just say it that way.) Instead of being drawn in by extravagant promises, focus on doing business with companies that commit to following search engine protocols established to provide benchmarks for quality of work. Go with verifiable "best practices" rather than pie in the sky.

2. How long will it take to see results?

Committing to effective SEO practices represents just the first step on a journey. Again, if anyone you are considering promises overnight results, they are showing you that they haven't been working in the SEO niche very long.

First, your digital footprint must have a solid foundation and strategy. That foundation often takes the form of reliable, high-quality content on a well-maintained and mobile-optimized website. After that, you'll need that onsite content to support your link acquisition goals. Once you have a stable platform, you can begin securing link acquisitions.

Anyone who promises instant results isn't using sustainable techniques. Simply stated, they aren't being honest about the realistic possibilities or working with SEO.

However, that reality shouldn't prevent an experienced agency from giving you an estimated time frame for results. You should generally expect results from reliable providers within six to twelve months, depending on how demanding your goals are. Any number of factors can rise up to skew your hoped-for results. It all depends on the competition, your site's domain authority (DA), and how difficult it is to rank for your specific keyword.

Some niche businesses may see results within a few months. Others could take significant time to see any return. Keep in mind that many third-party factors lie outside anyone's ability to control. This is all part of the SEO process. Consequently, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

3. Have you ever worked with a similar company before?

One of the best ways to know if any SEO agency can handle your project is if they've already achieved similar results in the same niche as your company. If they have, they'll already know some of the strategies it takes to get results. They should be able to explain clearly how taking you on as a client wouldn't result in a conflict of interest.

However, if they haven't previously worked in your niche, that shouldn't immediately disqualify them, either. Many of the tools and tricks that work for one niche are transferable to another.

What you're trying to learn through this question is whether or not your company is a fit with their agency and vice-versa. One positive sign is the courageous sales rep who is transparent about never having worked in your niche.

4. How has SEO changed within the last few years?

Be careful if an SEO agency you're considering explains that SEO is more or less the same today as it was a few years ago. While it is true that the core fundamentals haven't changed much, many specific tactics have been updated to keep up with changes.

Recall that search engine companies frequently announce significant changes to how they index websites. As the online marketplace shifts attention from one highlighting metric to the next, these algorithm changes can't help but affect site rankings and SERPs.

If you want to walk in better prepared, spend at least a few minutes charting the various updates to the Google search algorithm over time. Take notice if the people you're talking to can't walk you through specific updates and demonstrate how they'll impact your business. You need an SEO agency that can speak both technical and business in understandable terms. If, on the other hand, you feel your head start to spin in technical jargon, that's not a good sign. Say something about it and gauge the response this request receives.

5. What metrics do you think are most important to measure?

Rankings, traffic, and backlink numbers are all essential to monitor constantly. However, leveraging effective SEO tactics means doing more than simply increasing rankings, decreasing bounce rates, or improving traffic levels. People spending more time on your website means very little if that loitering traffic never actually purchases anything. Rankings matter most when they're helping your business generate qualified leads.

What you've defined as your business needs should drive which yardsticks you use for measuring success. It's essential to look at various metrics based on specific goals you might have. For example, some metrics could include the ranking position for a keyword or how much traffic a site is getting for that keyword. Tracking these metrics will help you understand the progress being made and if an agency fully grasps what you mean by success.

Ultimately, you want an agency that can tie its SEO efforts back to your bottom line. You need an agency that can visualize the big picture and articulate that vision to you. An SEO agency's success metrics should be based on your personal business goals. Individualization of statistical reporting will be critical for your review sessions.

6. How do you choose the keywords to target?

Effective keyword research requires considerably more effort than most realize as they begin their initial foray into the world of SEO. The overall relevance of any selected keyword is crucial, of course. However, trying to understand the default headspace — a.k.a. "search intent" — of the person conducting an internet search is equally as important.

What's typically going on in the thinking of someone who might have at least some interest in your products or services? What terms are these people likely to type into search engines? That might sound like an impossible question to answer, but it isn't. Meaningful statistics can be harvested and brought to bear, providing a solid starting point.

Make sure any potential agency you're considering refers to search intent as their basis for crafting your SEO campaign. They should also be taking into consideration keyword difficulty, as well as search volume. Not all keyword targets are created equal, so a good agency knows the balance between what is achievable and worthwhile and what isn't.

Ask them to speak at some length about the specific tools and techniques they use to determine keyword intent. If the entire conversation revolves around the number of searches for a keyword they've targeted for your needs, they're more than likely operating on outdated SEO practices.

7. What's your link-building process?

Some SEO agencies will promise to build thousands of links on your behalf within a short period of time. However, the unpleasant reality is that those links may not be valuable if they originate from a bunch of low-quality, low-DA sites.

Your conversations should focus on building quality links over a large quantity of links. You want to ensure that the links you receive come from sites with some authority in their niche and that the content your links are in is relevant to the site where they are placed. If you're a health company and an agency secures you a link in a home renovation site in content that has no connection, it may not be relevant. While you can't stop anyone from linking to you as they wish, you'll get more positive backlinks when you publish consistently excellent online resources.

Online users are quick to click away when a link doesn't yield anticipated results. Modern link-building practices favor those who provide high-quality content relevant to the site on which it will be published. You probably won't move the needle if you're not getting that.

8. How should SEO be incorporated into our overall marketing strategy?

The most successful SEO initiatives are integrated into an overall marketing plan. SEO goes hand in hand with content marketing, public relations, and social media activities to create effective links. Your potential SEO agency should be open to collaborating with marketing, web development, and sales teams and your existing marketing initiatives.

The alarm bells should start to go off if the SEO agency you're talking to ignores or downplays what's worked well for your company in the past. The number of successful companies that need to "chuck it all and start over from scratch" are infinitesimally few. Instead, an SEO company that knows its stuff will take the base you've established and elevate it to new heights.

Properly understood, successful SEO is a blend of onsite content, link acquisitions, and even some aspects of digital PR. Strategic link acquisitions from external publications are also a vital piece of the SEO puzzle. Typically, well-regarded publications agree to link to your content using a specific keyword. Keep in mind that high-DA sites are only interested in linking to high-quality content as they realize that their linking practices affect their credibility.

External digital PR that mentions your brand helps signal search engines that you are recognized as an authority on a specific subject. Incorporating digital PR and boosting your domain authority will provide another shot in the arm to help you rank well.

9. What do you need from clients to be effective?

Reliable SEO agencies should have a long list of questions and needs. To conduct their work effectively, they'll need detailed information about your audience, industry, and goals. Pay attention to their eagerness to interview you just as much as you want to interview them. You can take that as a bad sign if you sense they're going through the motions.

SEO agencies need flexible and cooperative clients to make SEO-focused site changes. The clients who tend to see the most success are willing to let an agency guide onsite strategy and link acquisition strategies. Clients should be able to keep the high-level goal of ranking for a specific keyword as the focus of the relationship.

In a more traditional commercial transaction, you pay money to acquire a product or service. The extent of your commitment is cutting a check. Working with an SEO agency will require making payments, of course, but it's also better to think of the process as a relationship rather than a transaction. Both you and the agency have a vested interest in making sure you see results from the relationship.


Your goal is to make an informed decision when choosing an SEO agency. Hopefully, the questions above have laid the groundwork for that. It might initially feel intimidating to ask a lot of questions about different SEO options. However, asking the right questions at the outset will only set you up for success.

Agencies that know what they're doing will be open and honest about their processes. With a bit of homework on your part — and a willingness to walk away if you have misgivings — you're more likely to find an agency that delivers what you need by asking them these questions. Factor in some after-action time to evaluate their answers to determine the best fit for your niche. Knowing the techniques and policies an SEO agency employs before you dive in will serve you well as you seek to own the industry you operate in.

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