Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 8/24/16 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.
This is the fifth blog in a series of articles covering inbound marketing for motivational speakers and authors.
Catch the series here:
You’ve got a Facebook business page for your speaking business.
You’re working your LinkedIn profile.
You’ve built a website and started blogging.
You’re halfway towards a solid inbound marketing strategy.
But those nagging thoughts about SEO marketing are lingering.
Do I need SEO?
What is SEO marketing?
Do I really need another marketing tactic?
Let’s answer the questions, once and for all, and find out how SEO marketing fits into an inbound strategy.
Pro Tip: SEO and inbound go hand-in-hand. SEO is actually part of inbound marketing, so you need both. Think of SEO as the fuel that gets the race car going, and inbound is your Ferrari.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves tweaking your website in a way that makes it more attractive to search engines, driving traffic to your site.
SEO is a strategy used by businesses (and that includes a professional speaking biz) to grow your website’s visibility.
Using “search engine optimization” (SEO), you can tweak search engine results and generate lots of targeted traffic.
Basically, SEO helps draw people to your website and supports all of your other marketing activities (social media, blogging, etc.).
This is the “fuel” you need to spark the fire – sell products and book better speaking gigs.
There are two general parts to the question, "What is SEO?":
On-page SEO takes place when you’re building a website.
MOZ does a great job of highlighting the on-page factors that make up good SEO.
With the right elements on your website’s pages, your website is fueled up and ready to go!
Pro Tip: Notice how on-page SEO now balances the user’s AND the search engine bot’s needs.
Determining what an online searcher was trying to find when they typed their inquiry into a search engine.
Do you have a firm grasp on what your audience is searching for?
If you want to succeed, you need to know.
Best practices for SEO are constantly developing and shifting to better suit the needs of users.
Google is constantly looking for ways to hone in on user intent.
The shift in focus means marketers should also start to pay more attention to user intent instead of keywords.
SEO that works keeps the spotlight on the needs of the user and what they’re searching for.
In the past, SEO was focused squarely on linking and using keywords – and that’s it. SEO left readers in the dust to deal with awkward sentences and poorly written content. Now, good SEO has to deliver for both audiences.
But that doesn’t mean SEO stops.
This is where SEO shifts and falls under the inbound marketing umbrella.
You’ll need to create ongoing content with a focus on user intent to gain momentum.
Now that your speaking racecar has fuel, we need to tweak the vehicle. Look under the engine.
Prime the pump.
Once visitors are on the website, your SEO strategy will shift into a different gear.
Often referred to as “off-page SEO,” we call it “ongoing SEO.” Because it needs to be a consistent part of your SEO strategy.
These activities can include:
These ongoing SEO efforts are where you’ll find gold.
Below is an example of how you can use ongoing SEO in your content creation. We use a tool called SEMRush to find keywords we can target.
For this example, we’re going to target an audience that’s searching for ideas for “building a successful business.”
SEMRush lets users focus on key factors.
In this case, we’re going to search for keywords that are below a .60 in difficulty. That just means that they’ll be easier to rank in searches than a keyword that’s above .60, because big-name businesses, magazines or other influencers hold these spots.
We’re going to go after related keywords that people are also searching for that we think we can rank in.
So, we drill down into the related keywords, searching for little nuggets, like this one:
Notice that the keyword “business branding” has a .58 competition score, with 390 monthly searches, compared to the other keywords that pull 10, 20 or 50 monthly searches.
Here are a few more good ones for our list.
Once we’ve found the keywords we want to target, we’ll write blogs about “building a successful business” through concepts like “business branding,” “how to run a successful business” and “how to make a company” – all from our keywords!
If we played our cards right, this blog post will boost our site’s ranking, pull in targeted traffic and drive leads over time.
If you ranked in the top 5 search results for those keywords and 20% of people clicked on your blog post, you could be driving hundreds (or thousands) of additional monthly visitors from that single post!
Once you finish building your website or giving it an overhaul, SEO is not done.
You need to continue powering your efforts with ongoing SEO.
It will provide the fuel your race car needs to move around the track – and quickly.
It helps your speaking business attract customers, keeps them coming back and turns them into buying customers.
Or, build your brand awareness so you book higher-paid speaking gigs on a bigger stage.
You no longer have to wonder, "What is SEO marketing?"
You’ve got a handle on what it is, how it works and why it can’t exist in isolation from inbound marketing.
And neither can inbound marketing work without SEO.
Let’s put the right fuel into your “speaking” Maserati, and make sure the race car is ready to go.
And your motivational speaking business will fly around the track, outpacing all the other speakers who are still wondering if they’re doing the right kind of marketing, and asking, “What is SEO again?"