Gert was invited by James Schramko to his Superfastbusiness.com Podcast to talk about how SEO can be an important factor in generating sales leads for your business. But it's not enough to create a website and hope people find you, you need to put some work into getting it noticed by search engines like Google.
How to Leverage SEO for Your Lead Generation
Search engines get the best attention these days (we should know as an SEO agency, right?). It's search engines we ask for when we want to buy something or know more about a brand.
Attention = importance. Whoever gets the attention on Google will be among your top choices as a user. Many websites have been working on content creation and SEO for a while, but struggle to turn those visitors Google sends them into leads to possibly become buyers one day.
At SEOLeverage, we've been working hard over the years in refining our process to turn users at different stages of the buyer's cycle into a steady stream of leads leveraging existing content and specifically built articles and lead magnets.
Do you want more leads, but you’re at your wit’s end?
You’re not alone. According to a Hubspot report, 61% of marketers consider generating leads and traffic to be their biggest problem.
You probably heard that SEO could potentially generate qualified leads, but it might take up to 6-12 months for your SEO strategy and SEO campaign to work.
In terms of lead generation, you’re left to either:
- A: Ramp-up paid advertising and other marketing initiatives, and risk paying for more poor quality leads.
- B: Or, start investing in SEO and play the long game of aiming to rank first on a search engine results page.
But what if I tell you there’s another option? What if you can speed up the process of lead generation through SEO? Generate leads faster, now, who wouldn’t want that?
Before we dig deeper into SEO lead generation techniques that can get you quality leads or new leads faster, let us first understand what SEO and lead generation is.
First, what is SEO?
Simply put, Search Engine Optimization or better known as SEO, involves a thorough process of changing different parts of your website. This is done to improve search engine rankings and visibility, for instance, on Google and Bing.
Having a well-optimized website helps search engines identify your site as a relevant answer to a user’s query every time someone searches for something related to your line of business. This may include improving your website’s speed and performance, creating a high-quality blog post with relevant keywords, or link building, among other things.
The absolute goal of SEO is to increase your website’s ranking in search engine results pages, bring in qualified people (leads), and keep them engaged with good content.
What is a lead in digital marketing?
You can find a lot of definitions of a lead. To me, a lead is someone who raises their hand.
People want to know more about you, your brand, your product, or your service.
They're selecting you among hundreds of thousands of possibilities and give you their name, e-mail address, or phone number - or more - just to further engage with you.
If you think about it, that's really empowering.
But, how does one become a lead in the first place?
Most of our clients get anywhere between 100 and 5000 leads per month. While many of these are from people who filled in web forms or booked an appointment, the majority of leads start with a simple opt-in.
This is the easiest way for you as a website owner to get leads:
Offer something of greater value than a user's e-mail address.
As a user, you're not giving your e-mail away to anybody. After all, you know too well what spam is (and what it was before Gmail and spam filters). Your site really has to create content that's in line with the next thing I'm going to want as a search user after coming to your page.
I had a client once who had trouble getting people landing on an article to actually opt-in for their lead magnet. The funny thing was, I was actually their ideal client, so I knew exactly what I would want after reading their article.
Within a few days, they created a lead magnet just based on my recommendations and suddenly had another article on their site driving 50 leads right the first month.
You hear marketers preach about empathy maps all the time - but hardly anybody takes the time to dive deep into a prospect's mind.
Leveraging SEO for Lead Generation
To kickstart your SEO lead generation strategy, I’ve outlined these SEO best practices and things you must avoid to increase your organic web traffic and generate more quality leads.
The “Ideal” Lead
Always start by defining who is your target or prospective customers. Whether you’re conducting an outbound lead generation exercise with cold calls or launching a PPC lead generation campaign on Google Ads, you need to know who exactly your target audience is.
Define and create a customer persona so that you can come up with more specific and relevant content that gives answers to target questions, problems, desires, frustrations, motivations, and even as simple as their favorite food. This will ensure that your business will appear on top of search engine results as often as possible to your ideal lead with the right content.
Remember the last time you were asked for an e-mail address in exchange for an ebook, checklist, or a swipe file download?
Your Landing Pages Suck
Someone needs to land on one of your sites before opting in for a PDF download or whatever lead magnet. You're seeing we're reverse-engineering the lead generation process, as it is much easier to comprehend this way - at least that's what I'm thinking.
If you're not getting leads, your landing pages (the pages where people land when they do a Google search) might not be in line with their expectations. In this case, it's normal people don't take action, no matter what smart marketing initiatives you might have been elaborating to get them there.
If you target potential customers, you need to know what they expect - and find a very good way to deliver.
Sometimes, it's enough to have some SEO content on your site, and in industries with little competition, you might still get some opt-ins. But then again, there are people (among our clients, not looking any further) who're converting up to 50% of organic traffic into leads. If you're happy with 5%, you might still want to re-think what could be improved and continue refining web pages.
Search for something your client would search - among the organic search results, click on your page, and try to really embody a prospect:
- Do you like what you're seeing (even before reading the headline)?
- Are you going to read the entire text, or rather skim it?
- Do you immediately find what you are looking for specifically, or is there at least a handy navigation?
- What makes the user experience a bit uneasy?
- What would be your next step? The next thing you want to take action? Is this the lead magnet?
SEO Optimization for Leads
In SEO, many people are focusing their SEO efforts by optimizing a page's meta description, fixing broken links, reducing image sizes - but search engine optimization is much more.
Search engines want to make your site's search visitors happy. So they'll pay close attention to how happy people are when they send them to your site:
- Do they stay on your site?
- Do they come back and click on a different search result?
- Is your target audience really delighted with the way you present content?
- Are your website visitors engaging with your site long enough?
When working on SEO for lead generation, things need to be looked at from a different perspective.
After all, the lead is one of the earliest steps in the sales funnel, right after someone discovers your brand. So you want to be refining your web pages and turn them into machines generating leads day and night, 24 hours.
Ten years ago, my lead generation agency in Spain already discovered one thing:
SEO marketing means getting into the head of your prospects to know:
- what they want to know
- what they want to know more about
- presenting it to them in a way that's absolutely compelling and intriguing.
Only if you manage to exceed their expectations with your content, you'll be getting more leads every day, and your SEO Lead generation strategy will finally work out.
Create an Ongoing Content Strategy
You might have heard the news - Google really doesn't care whether you publish once every week or twice a year.
They do care about you caring about your content, making sure it's up to date, and that you create a content cluster to stress your page's topical relevance.
To do that, a content strategy needs to be prepared that doesn't only account for the BOF (bottom of the funnel) search queries but also starts right at the top - when people begin their research and find out about your brand.
When performing keyword research, you want to make sure you go through all stages - from awareness to decision-making and beyond. The sales funnel doesn't stop with a client making a purchase.
Getting a lead isn't enough - your content strategy shouldn't stop with an opt-in. You also need to think about the nurturing sequence. That is, a series of emails you send to a lead, which will help them get to know, like, and trust you (more) and make a decision when the time is right.
Tools like Active Campaign allow you to create automation in all kinds of ways. They help you to make sure that whoever opts in for a download today will get their lead magnet delivered, along with a sequence of targeted e-mails. Those e-mails will allow them to progress on their journey and strengthen their relationship with your brand.
SEO + Lead Generation = More Qualified Leads
Seo and lead generation should always go hand in hand. Doing SEO without taking into account lead generations is like you’re ignoring customers that walk through the door.
You invest effort, time, and money in SEO to optimize your website. The traffic will start rolling in, and eventually, you’ll begin ranking for business-related keywords. Then, all of a sudden, you grow from 100 to 1000 visitors each month.
Are you just going to ignore that there are 1000 new users and potential customers coming to your site every month? This is why SEO should be paired with lead generation because the more items your site shows on search engine results pages, the more customers can interact with your business.
Armed with the right SEO strategy, it is possible to turn your website into an effective lead generation tool that works 24/7, bringing in a steady stream of leads.