In the midst of the ongoing pandemic, internet use continues to climb. More people are shopping, streaming content, and handling business-to-business operations online. But according to HubSpot findings, 75% of users never go past the first page of search results when looking for what they need. Essentially, if you’re not in the top 10 results, you may as well be invisible on Google. This is why it’s crucial that organizations have a strong SEO strategy in place, so that all eyes—and clicks—are on them.
Join Pete Kever, Founder & President of K6 Digital Marketing, Inc., and Courtney Kehl, Principal at Expert Marketing Advisors, on Thursday, July 22 at 10am PT / 1pm ET for a live discussion on future-proof SEO strategies that drive web traffic and lead generation.
Hello, everyone. We are so glad to be. Joining K 6 and Pete here. We’re in our building a future-proof SEO strategy. And thanks so much for joining us. I’d like to introduce Pete from K6 Media. And I’ll let you go ahead and introduce yourself.
Sure. Hi Pete Kever, president of K6 digital marketing.
My company is actually 22 years old. I co founded it back in the late nineties and have been working in search for about that long, about 24 years now. So I’ve done thousands of campaigns over the years, worked with lots of organizations around the world and looking forward to sharing what I know today.
A little bit.
Yeah, thank you for joining us. And let’s go ahead and dive right in to the, to our topic here, as we have worked with Pete over the years and just seeing tremendous amount of progress as folks go from their stealth just to go to market and scale on, through to acquisition. We work specifically with B2B tech companies.
So with that said, I’m just going to fast forward here to what business buyers, what to do as they go ahead and get their folks through to talking to sales and to get them through that buyer journey. So let’s talk about that Pete what the, what’s the challenges here?
Well, yeah, to start off with here, this is something that’s been known for a while, and it’s been a trend that’s continuing the past 20 years as the web has sort of taken root in, in business.
It’s pretty well known that your, your buyers do not want to talk to sales until they’re ready to do so. And they, they want to do all of their research long before they talk to someone. So according to gardener, even when they do talk to a salesperson, they’re only spending a fraction of their time actually doing that.
The rest of the time they’re on they’re online. They’re, they’re using web search. They’re using the website. They’re using social media. They’re not talking to sales. And so what this means is you have a very on lateral movement through problem identification to when they select a supplier. And so you can see how kind of a spaghetti, and this is where you go from one decision making process to the next.
And if you glance through this, you’ll see the words web search is in there quite often, along with visits to a supplier’s website, downloads of content, all of the gray wording in there is digital touch points, where they’re making decisions and working on their problems to arrive at a solution.
Yeah, I definitely found this slide, particularly enlightening as folks come through to find their various needs are met.
They are doing significant amount of research before they even make it to our buyers or to our companies. Let’s dive into how search is certainly the number one digital channel whether that be across social or across Google. Where should we.
Yeah. So 90% of all online experiences start with a search of some kind.
And we all know that people really aren’t going past page one, there they’re clicking the top three positions in Google more than two thirds of the time. And so if you’re not a part of the discussion, if you’re not branded at the top of Google, you’re not in that mix of that decision making process, that where search is really, really.
And search is often the first touch point. We call that top of funnel. It’s usually where people first learn about you. And so if you’re not at the top of page one, the bottom line is you’re really not in the discussion at all.
Okay. So let’s put a plan together and we’re all about having a plan, putting putting some pen to paper, putting a foundation in place and then making it repeatable. So that’s a big part of success having the right playbook and some best practices. So how do we go about that?
And, and, and this, this plan needs to be, as we said, at the beginning, needs to be future proof. And so where are you really need to start? Is your data and a digital marketing strategy and particular search is driven by data. We don’t make decisions based on what we think necessarily, or even what we want necessarily, but what the data is telling us.
And we’ve run into this situation a number of times in the past. A new client is ready to go with their search program, but they don’t actually really know what’s happening with their website today. They don’t know where their customers are coming from. They don’t have a clean handle on how well the site is converting.
They really don’t know what keywords people are typing to find their site and how well the sites performing around those keywords. So to start with you need clean and accurate data, and you need to make sure all of your different systems are integrated and talking to each other before you really launch.
And just briefly on keywords we need to make sure that your keywords are actually the words that are going to make you money, even to make sure that the, that your target audience is using these keywords and, and using them often enough to make pursuing them worthwhile. And ideally you would like to have keywords that are relatively low in competition, or at least understanding.
How competitive the keywords are. So you can properly plan around how long it’s going to take to reach the top of the search engine results. So at the end of the day, you could pursue a search program for four months or a years. And if it’s the wrong keywords, you’re basically have, have done all of that work in vain.
So a future-proof SEO plan, that’s a future-proof search plan in general. Needs to focus on the right words that you, our customers are using.
Yeah, I think that’s really well said. I mean, a big part of what we see you do, and the success comes from that initial audit and really kind of pulling back that curtain, looking at you know, the competitors in this space, what are they doing?
How can you, how can we align with taking them out? So to say where are they? Where are they showing up? And most importantly, you know, not making any assumptions about where your visitors are looking. So more of an outside in point of view to, to your point, you know, the customers aren’t necessarily searching what you think they’re searching, but where are they actually searching so that you’re not spending money in the wrong places.
So with that said, when you’re building that solid foundation, what does that look.
Well, it starts with a foundation of how, how easily Google can crawl your site, find your pages, and then make sense out of your content. So you see this simple little pyramid here, a foundation of technical SEO typically means.
Search engines, particularly Google can easily and quickly grab all of your texts and all of your images off your pages and index them, put them in their database so they can easily find them later. And then make sense logistically out of where your content is and your site. From there now that you have a site that can be found, you start working on the content that goes on the pages.
It’s very simply as text images. Offers video and other assets that are easily found and picked up by the search engines. And then on the very top there, we have offsite promotion, which it typically takes the form of social media today, because that is where people talk about brands. That’s where people talk about issues with one another and that’s where they share content.
And I’ll get into that a little bit later.
So without that foundation of, of Google and being able to find what you’re saying you, you don’t have much hope of ever ranking. And this includes mobile and nowadays we have systems and platforms. I do a really nice job of making your site mobile friendly, but you still need to be on top of that and aware that some nuances of mobile devices can throw off your users and when your users have a hard time interacting with your content.
Google actually can pick up on that and they may flag some of your content when Google wants is they want to give your, your potential customers, the best content on the web, that is their goal. And so to serve their customers, they want to give your best. They want to give the best content on the web.
So working together. With the Google algorithm and with content that your users want to consume is the best path to success. So make sure at the end of the day that your content is organized in a manner that makes sense to your audience. If it makes sense to your audience, then it will make sense to Google.
Don’t just put content and, you know, stuff at any old place. Don’t don’t allow your content to start creeping into bloated menus and menu structures with too many clicks to reach each piece of content, keep it organized keep it lean, but keep it rich.
Yeah, I think that’s a really good point.
If we all think back to different sites that we’ve been to and, and ones where you’re kind of stumbling about trying to find things we, we can think of, I can specifically think of one client where. We were in their site every single day and we’d have moments where we, you know, they they’ve tried to make it so design forward and very cool.
But we, we struggled trying to find where certain webinars or podcasts or, you know, white papers where without a doubt, they were not showing up on page one. So the experience was, was lost not just for Google, but for, for ourselves. And even though we were working with them every. So without, without always think about the logical points there’s a logical points where you want live.
Okay. And, and constantly watch that your, your data, your analytics look at look at how long your visitors are staying on your pages. Look at how many pages they’re looking at. Look at your bounce rates. What Google terms engagement is one of their factors that they look at in terms of writing. And that’s very difficult to cheat.
I mean, if your visitors are engaged, they’re engaged, you can’t really fake that. And Google knows that and they’re using that. As part of the algorithm, once again, it’s their job to find the best content about a specific subject and give it to as many people as possible.
Right. Which brings us to the content piece.
Yeah. Right. And so obviously, I mean, SEO is all about content. Again, SEO is not a magic trick. It’s not black magic. I, I hear that, that phrase a lot. And that’s, that’s a little bit of the fault of the industry, an industry that has typically been a little bit secretive about what they’re doing. But really there’s just no secret.
You’re, you’re kind of. Is what drives everything because it’s what your visitors are there to consume. And so obviously it needs to contain your keywords. And again, this is something we run into all the time. Almost every new client we work with is, is looking to rank for specific keywords. And they have zero content on the website that even mentions that keyword even once.
And so it’s time to start bulking up there. But more than just putting the words in the pages, your content needs to actually provide value and, and it needs to be unique and unique part is a very interesting part of the. Algorithm that they don’t want repeatable repeated pages and the same keywords in the same page, as they’ve already found thousands of other times on the web, they’re looking for something new and different and unique, and it needs to be something your, your visitors more.
We also recommend based on, on the buyer journey these days, that you really, really give away as much as possible. And I know some of the pushback on this, and I understand that there’s competitive pressure. And you want to know who is, is looking at certain very important pieces of content, but the more free you are with giving things away, the more you’re helping that buyer.
And establishing trust. You need to establish trust with the visitor and the faster you established trust and the stronger that is, the more likely they are to reach out to you. And I try to tell customers, you know, if they want to get in touch with you, they know how to do that. They will find you and they will get in touch with you.
And they’ll be ready to talk.
Which brings us to really the bulk of this conversation around future-proofing your your SEO plan and putting that all together from soup to nuts.
Yes. And so once you have the right data and once you have the right keywords and you have a content plan and structure that’s robust and really speaks to the customer, Then I, you know, I’m, I’m here to tell you that there’s no real secrets to this.
It’s not really a magic pad. It’s, it’s very much like going to the gym or getting in shape. This is very simple, very simple to explain how to do it, but it’s difficult to actually do it consistently and keep plugging away at it for the long-term. But long-term, it’s got some of the biggest return on investment that you’ll ever see in anything.
So we’re, we’re working to get your web content and your web presence into better physical shape. So, first of all, I’m going to go through a bunch of do’s and don’ts here for the remainder of the presentation. And hopefully these are some practical on the ground sort of strategies and tactics that you can take away from this conversation.
And, and do something with so first of all, don’t, don’t fall into the trap of ignoring your website. There’s a lot of work that goes into building a website. Content is difficult to create and manage, and so many are attempted to just put the site up and they’re finally done with it. Let’s just not even talk about that website for awhile.
You can’t set it and forget it. You have to constantly monitor. Google’s looking for freshness and originality. Your customers are also looking for freshness. So keep track of it, put it, put it, put together a content plan. That includes a regular cadence and a, and I’ll get to some other things on that in a moment because it’s not just about making changes for the sake of it, but it’s about making changes that are thoughtful.
Don’t build endless keyword blog content. We often run into situations where a client has hundreds and hundreds of blog articles that are really only leading to this kind of. Website and, and a lack of focus that search engines can’t make sense of. So don’t just stuff keywords in the blogs and put them live for the sake of it.
Create green personalized content that focuses on your customer’s needs. Keep, keep in touch with them. Talk to them, ask them questions. As you normally would talk to your sales staff and understand the questions and problems that customers are asking. And then create content out of those problems where you resolve those problems.
You know I’m on the marketing side of things every day. And you know, court will agree with this. I mean, there shouldn’t be a wall between sales and marketing. There really should be a constant communication between the two because the salespeople are the people that are right there on, on the other side of the desk with the client and listening to their problems.
So that’s where your content focus should lie. I’m gonna jump into link building here because this is a new, a relatively new portion of the Google algorithm. And it’s very important. Google Google used to put around 70 to 75% of its ranking algorithm on links and they would pretty much take whatever link you threw at it and give you, give you credit for it.
And it’s probably been 10 years since they’ve really done that. They’ve now evened out the playing field and given equal weight to five or six different pieces of the algorithm and links have now dropped in overall strength as part of the algorithm. They’re still important, but the difference today is when, when someone finds good content on the web, they don’t go and put it on their website and share it as a link with their audience.
Rather, they’re going to social media and sharing it through social. And so a strong, consistent social media presence keeps your name out there. Keep your content out there, your thought leadership. And build your brand and build your followers. And that will lead to natural links that Google likes to see.
And again, this is another one of those daily ongoing, disciplined activities that your marketing team needs to be involved in or work with a marketing company like ours. I can build it for you. But it has to be done. And it’s, it’s the, the two together, social and SEO are really, really a powerhouse.
Yeah, I do think this one is a big, big takeaway, especially in this last year, tying your social media strategy together with your SEO strategy is certainly one that folks should pay attention to. We recommend sharing your SEO keywords with your social media manager your support team there.
And it’s not for the faint of heart, but you know, we, we want to make sure that the content is being syndicated. Equally.
Absolutely. Along the way, and again, this goes back to the data and your content approach. But be careful not to get caught up in. Focusing on what people call best practices.
And there are some best practices, but don’t get towed. So involved in that, that you lose sight of what, what the data is telling you and what your audience is telling you. And certainly don’t engage in Naval gazing or drinking the Kool-Aid test things repeat what’s working. Don’t make assumptions, you know, try a different landing page that maybe best practices.
Didn’t tell you to try. See if it works. You, you be surprised what works sometimes, and once you find something that works, repeat it. So a very important to let your customer tell you what direction to go in.
And then here’s the one that we, we see that happens quite often when on the typical marketing day-to-day year by year with agencies coming and going and employees coming and going and entire teams. Companies being acquired and spun off is that a lot of the very valuable data and, and lessons learned in digital marketing kind of get lost because there wasn’t really any documentation.
There was no process in place that’s repeatable that really, really grabbed all that necessary and valuable information and wrote it down for the next group that may come along. This saves a lot of time. First of all, you don’t retread the ground that you’ve already found is not working. It there’s, again, there’s no way to hand it off to another set of folks that may come along to take over what you were doing.
So get an organized, disciplined reporting cadence in your marketing department, and that allows the future stakeholders of your marketing plan and your se. To, to build on what you have learned. That’s probably one of the single best ways to have a future proof SEO plan. And then finally going back to the first points we made an early on in the, in the presentation again it’s a complex buying cycle that your visitors are on.
They don’t, they don’t do what we want them to do all the time. They don’t take a linear path. Search to clicking your website and then saying, oh my goodness, I have to buy this today from this person right now. That’s just not how it works. So don’t expect that all alone, your website or your social media presence or anything in search is going to do everything for you.
It’s not going to all by itself. Change. The trajectory of your business, but it, but they are all really important pieces of this complex buying cycle and, and remembering search as the top way. People find information and adding it to a holistic marketing methodology is the best, the best way for long-term sustainability and all that.
Yeah, without a doubt. I mean, it’s something that makes sure everybody’s aware of its programs as a whole part of the, the bigger picture. You know, everything from events to you know, the inbound and outbound strategy and of course searches you know, with that inbound and then, you know, taking all the content and making it part of your outbound.
And, you know, just to recap, there is no silver, right? I, you got to make sure we keep at it like yoga, you know, you just gotta make it a part of your muscle memory. It is not for the faint of heart. You gotta, you know, when your bandwidth is stretched real thin, you still gotta make sure you’re doing the work each month.
Each quarter have a plan. You review that data and build upon it. Very important to personalize that content, you know, there’s tools to help with that. And then just always always, always think from the outside and think from the customer point of view. Those are my takeaways. There was a lot of goodness here.
I am definitely not the expert. I leave that all to, to Pete alongside
we’re all learning every day too. Cause you know, this is a constantly changing environment, so who knows what’s coming up next by this time next year, we might be talking about a completely different device or completely different.
That people are, are using defined, you know, find suppliers for what they are looking for.
Awesome. Thank you so much. I’m going to flash our mugshots just to say hi and bye. One more time. I hope folks were able to enjoy this talk and reach out if you need anything at all. We’re happy to share our playbooks and always willing to talk shop
Thanks everyone. And we’ll talk soon. Talk soon. Alrighty.
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