How to Market SEO to Humans

With every holiday season comes the inevitable parties and get-togethers. As with any social gathering, you might find yourself among unfamiliar company being asked about your job.

If you work in SEO (define), what do you say? How do you explain SEO to the layman?

Fortunately, SEO is not unlike other marketing tools. Technical aspects aside, SEO is a marketing discipline at heart, relying on the same principles as traditional marketing practices. While the medium may be unfamiliar, the process can be broken down easily for the unacquainted.

SEO Research and Human Trafficking

Call them traffic, conversions, or whatever you like. Your online audience is made of real people. While SEOs typically define audiences by their search inputs, think of these keywords (define) as your audience’s everyday vocabulary.

Do they want hoagies or grinders? Free checking or “no fee” checking?

We compile a list of effective phrases for Web copy from audience vernacular. The keyword list enables your site to speak harmoniously with the audience.

To create this list, SEOs examine what works for competitors, as well as what’s hot in search engines. This research helps pinpoint the target audience.

The process is equivalent to how Nielsen ratings are interpreted for demographic targeting, and audience research can be refined further through focus groups. Online, we have user experience and advanced optimization teams for similar refinements.

The New SEO Media Mix

Traditional marketers may view their media mix as print, TV, radio, and outdoor. Based on budget and scope, they create the best mix to deliver their message. The SEO mix behaves comparably.

Within online marketing, SEO has its own media mix. This consists of organic channels ranging from on-site to social media to inbound links. Don’t let the jargon confuse you. They’re just different pathways for audiences to find your message online.

As in traditional, each channel must be weighed carefully, factoring in relevancy, timing, and budget constraints. The full mix must execute on a unified message, reaching the audience from all angles — just like a traditional marketing mix.

Budging a Little on SEO Budget

When considering SEO, new clients often wonder, “What percentage of new sales can I expect from increased search results?” ROI (define) is a major consideration and often a major hurdle for SEO agencies.

Predicting new optimization revenue is not an exact science, and therein lies the problem. Search engines expand the playing field so that even sites like Wikipedia can be competitors.

Instead of a handful of competitors in your industry, you now have hundreds of thousands in your search results. This is a key difference between search and traditional.

When budgeting SEO, approach the medium with a goal in mind. If you need instant conversions, try paid search. If you want to improved long-term conversions, then budget for an SEO redesign.

Unlike traditional media, the effects of SEO continue to generate ROI long after the initial engagement ends.

Blended Search: Beyond Traditional Channels

When setting up a television campaign, you need to decide which channels to target. Is a Super Bowl spot the right way to go? Or should you rely on cable niches?

The same thinking goes into SEO. Do we focus on local, image, or vertical search? Is YouTube right for buzz building?

Channel options must be considered carefully to maximize effective coverage of any marketing campaign.

Going Live, Virtually Speaking

Now it’s time to take the campaign public. Here’s where traditional marketing and SEO align.

To launch a print ad, client and agency work closely to flesh out details — everything from choosing models to planning magazine placement. In SEO, the agency develops on-site and off-site tactics for the client to implement. Same idea, different tactics.

The client must remain hands-on throughout the process to ensure the campaign flows smoothly. In many cases, the client implements, as they alone may control backend access.

Even SEOs Can Speak English

While casual SEO chat seems tricky, you might charm a few technophobes by speaking their language. Search is still a marketing medium, just like radio or print. Our terminology reflects the same information whether you say inbound links or references, keyword, or psychographics.

Knowing how to pitch SEO in plain English is also important for agencies looking to capture new clientele. Showing how SEO aligns with traditional practices may be more effective than walking a client through meta tags (define) and 301 redirects.

Speaking in human may save your holiday party too, as people tend to listen when you’re not talking in HTML. The only thing that should be glazed over this holiday is a nice honey baked ham.

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