Investing Wisely in Search by Looking Beyond COVID-19
Enterprise-level SEO growth can move slowly, but the long-term ROI is far greater than that of other paid marketing channels. For the foreseeable future, immediate ROAS will be harder to come by than in 2019. But we know an eventual return to normalcy will come — now is a fantastic time to invest in SEO and content marketing that will pay big dividends.
Proper SEO Takes Time
Most businesses maintain systems to optimize all on-site content, and many even keep a blog for SEO and thought-leadership content. But much of this occurs on a shoestring and with what little spare time can be wrangled internally.
Taking SEO to the next level means going back to the fundamentals of creating fantastic, on-topic, keyword-driven content, and then leveraging that content to generate buzz and inbound links. This sort of effort takes time and resources that are in high demand. When the market is strong, it’s not surprising businesses will pour most of the marketing budget into channels that return an immediate 3X or 4X versus investing in a channel that pays higher dividends in six or twelve or eighteen months.
Right now the market is unpredictable, and the best we can ask for in paid placement is strong efficiency to be sensible with ad dollars while the road ahead is obscured. But businesses playing the long game should focus on content now for sustainable growth on the other side of coronavirus.
Plan Wisely and Build Content Systems
The best way to think about content is to think about your brand story. Where do you already have credibility? What subject-matter experts can you tap to support this effort? What are the angles where content intersects with your business-driver categories?
…businesses playing the long game should focus on content now for sustainable growth…
Whatever direction you choose, you’ll want to also consider at the genesis of any piece of content — how can I use this to support important keyword rankings? Take all of this information and plan a meticulous content calendar accounting for writing, editing, imagery, publication, and promotion. Assign stakeholders from all departments and agency partners. Keeping deliverables on schedule is the key to growth.
Work with your SEO team or partner to ensure all content is well leveraged to support keyword goals.
The Evergreen Resource Center
While blog content is quite valuable for SEO, all businesses should consider a resource center. Where a blog post is for a timely piece of industry news or commentary, a resource center is for evergreen content that will be as pertinent in six months as it is today. This article you’re reading belongs in a blog. An article about content-marketing fundamentals would go in a resource center (examples 1, 2, 3).
A body of work will take time to produce, which goes back to the original point — many businesses struggle to dedicate time and resources to a project like this when times are good because there are so many opportunities for immediate return. But take advantage of this relative down time to put internal teams to work. Consider a 10X piece of content to go even further with work that will generate buzz and inbound links to make a big impact on organic search (example).
Promote Your Work to Build Engagement
It’s important to remember and to plan from the outset that you must promote your work to your own audience to get the engagement cycle started. This is where many businesses miss opportunities for growth. You’ve now put time and subject-matter expertise into this work, so sharing it via email and social should be an easy choice. Siloed content with no engagement or prominent links will not impress Google, and it’ll make as much noise as a tree falling in the woods. But promoted content will show Google instant engagement signals, social sharing, inbound links, and mentions pertaining to content that’s all related to your target keywords. Strong signals for SEO ranking improvement.
Timing and Benefits
While this investment in time and promotion will take time to bear fruit, the benefits are plentiful. The high-level list includes:
- Improved SEO rankings for business-driving keywords
- Improved site engagement (also better for SEO)
- Position 0 rankings for informational keywords
- Lots and lots of top-of-funnel traffic — introduce your brand to new visitors
- Better email engagement, open rates, and deliverability
- A more interesting social-media story than you’ve been telling
- Inbound links, citations, and social-media mentions
- Improved overall engagement signals for your overall site analytics — content produces better bounce rates, dwell times, and pages per visit, which will impress Google
Embrace This Down Time
It’s important to remember, there will be a recovery from this current environment. We have to be optimistic about the future. Waiting to invest in SEO growth is like waiting until you’re hungry to plant a vegetable garden. Investing in content and in your brand now will pay dividends when it matters the most.
Eight Oh Two Marketing is a boutique, search-marketing agency for enterprise. As the Founder, Ken Reig has been on the front lines of search from the turn of the century. A firm believer in cross-channel discipline and attribution, Ken’s always looking for efficiency savings as well as growth opportunities for all facets of search. Click here to learn more about Eight Oh Two, our methodology and our team.
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