With marketing teams having so many responsibilities – from branding to campaigns, events to PR – it’s easy to understand why Search Engine Optimisation is regularly forgotten about or even completely ignored.
However, getting your brand in front of your potential customers is more vital now than ever before, with so many of us now relying more on search in both our home and work lives.
Maybe it’s technological intimidation, a lack of understanding or simply not having enough time in the day, but businesses need a strong SEO strategy to perform to their potential. Especially considering that the Channel is where businesses turn to for technical expertise in these kinds of areas, SEO should not be ignored.
What is SEO and why is it important?
In a nutshell, SEO is how well your website, social media profile or other online identity ranks, when searched and no business wants to be on the second page of a Google search.
A Google search study found 71% of searchers select a link on the first page, with second or third page links only clicked through 6% of the time!
Other than being the belle of Google’s ball, there are even more benefits of strong SEO. Marketing resources can be used more efficiently, as you don’t have to market as intensely to get your brand recognised, or spend so much for pay-per-click advertising.
Plus, it’s great for your brand credibility, especially for technology and telecoms companies. With so many vendors and resellers all talking about the same types of technology, anything you can do to help your business stand out from the competition is well worth investing in.
How long does good SEO take and what is required?
It may seem as simple as finding someone who knows what they’re talking about and giving them the tools to correct the issues, but there’s far more to the process.
With SEO being this ephemeral skill that’s easily explained away or blamed on Google’s secret search algorithms, there’s a lot of people convincingly talking about SEO without the results to back them up. Therefore, finding someone with a provable track record of SEO success and awareness of the various ranking factors can be an uphill struggle.
If you aren’t in a position to hire an SEO or Digital Marketing Manager, you may be tempted to add every on-trend meta tag to all of your existing pages and blogs. However, many of those generic keywords that seem to appear on every page like ‘seamless’ or ‘collaboration’ are simply white whales that aren’t worth chasing.
Instead, focus on long-tail keywords that are, in effect, subtopics of the terms you want to rank for, but would be an insurmountable feat to attain.
It’s also important to know your ‘battlefield’. Just as you consider your buyer personas and competition when designing new products or content marketing strategy, it’s vital to consider what (and how) your target audience searches and how you can capitalise on that.
For example, the rise of virtual assistants is changing the way Google ranks results, with full-sentence searches becoming more common. Meaning the scope and variety of searches on a particular topic is increasing, giving you more routes to high search engine rankings – if you know what they are searching for.
If you’re stuck for ways to grade yourself against your competitors; SEMrush, Ahrefs and Screaming Frog can all give you a good idea of where you stand against your rivals and the popularity of specific search phrases.
HubSpot also has a really robust SEO product within its platform, especially if you already use HubSpot for your marketing. Because all your data is in one place, it’s ideal for inbound marketing campaigns and you can use your existing data to create more in-depth buyer personas, allowing you to design more engaging, more successful campaigns.
What results can you expect from good SEO?
Let’s be honest, getting to the top of Google’s page 1 search results should always be the ultimate aim. Being the first name on the list is not only great for your sales, but it’s also incredibly good for credibility and brand recognition. And with strong SEO, you don’t have to spend disproportionate amounts on advertising your way to the top!
The sooner you start working on your SEO efforts, and the better you become at optimising your site, the more prospects will be driven to your website and your calls will increase. You’ll also find that your callers will be more confident in what they want and quicker to purchase. This is because they are more likely to have read your blogs and know that you’re the person they want to deal with.
This is a really important factor, especially in the midst of the pandemic, when shortening sales cycles is a considerable focus for many businesses in the Channel.
From a financial point of view, you’ll find a far better return on investment across your operation, from running your website to saving money on more cost-effective marketing campaigns through spending less on PPC and paid social.
So, how long does SEO take to kick in?
Are you going to see a change overnight because of better SEO? Honestly, no.
Sadly, this is a long game rather than a short win. But a strong SEO programme is necessary if you want to want your business to perform to its full potential. You may not see a change right way, but over weeks and months, you’ll notice more inbound calls and higher sales, lower marketing costs and better brand recognition.
And this is even more important in the Channel, where we are seen to be technical experts. While SEO isn’t exactly a ‘product’ that the Channel influences or sells, resellers who position themselves as experienced and knowledgeable, must be able to prove their technical know-how.
Realistically, business owners are not going to show off to a prospect and say ‘look at how good our SEO results are’. Instead, it’s better considered as an extra arrow in the quiver of your business’ credibility. Especially if you’re at the top of Google’s results, and not somewhere down the bottom of the first page, or even page 2!
If you need some support in pushing your page higher up Google’s results, why not get in touch? Or, book a time to speak to our team and we’ll help you get there faster than if you were on your own.