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SEO 101: The role of SEO in an overall digital strategy

SEO is a fundamental aspect of any digital marketing strategy. When a user starts a search, it’s essentially the start of a ‘journey’. To effectively market your business on a digital platform, you must introduce SEO practices into your strategy.

SEO is constantly evolving, but it’s important to remember that utilising strategically chosen keywords and producing valuable content should be a constant in your online presence.

Incorporating SEO in your overall marketing plan will require a focus on synchronised messaging across all media, and by understanding why people search and the role that search plays, businesses will have the power to optimise the customer journey.

Read on to find out why people search in the first place and how to incorporate search into your digital strategy.

Why do people search?

Understanding why people search and how they search should form the basis of your digital strategy. People search to solve problems, to accomplish tasks and to ‘do’ something. The types of search are normally divided into four main areas:

  • Informational – E.g. the local weather, directions, where to eat, etc.
  • Comparative E.g. comparing products/services
  • Direct – E.g. searching directly for a particular product/service
  • Transactional – E.g. ready to buy

In order to best serve your customers, as a business you must understand what their problems are, what kind of solutions they’re looking for and what’s on their mind when they’re looking for answers online.

According to a recent study by Blue Nile, the average internet user searches for information 129 times each month. They also found roughly half of them use phrases (i.e. “How do I change a tyre”), while the other half use fragments (i.e. “How change tyre”).

How does search play a role in the customer journey?

There are five stages of the customer decision journey:

  1. Initiation
  2. Research
  3. Comparison
  4. Transaction
  5. Experience

Each journey is unique, highly personalised and will vary in length and importance. Marketers must reach the right person at the right time with the right message. A recent study by Forrester indicated that 71% of consumers begin their journey by using a search engine to discover new products and services (initiation) and 74% reported using a search engine for consideration and purchasing (research, comparison, transaction).

The modern customer journey involves various twists and turns and can no longer be represented by a simple funnel. These are represented via different channels, mediums and devices in which users can interact with.

Search must continue to evolve in order to meet the ongoing changes of users and their daily habits – we’re searching from a variety of devices and this will in turn determine the way in which we search.

These devices relate to each other and play an important part in a customer search experience. For example, a user could start a search on their mobile device, continue researching on a tablet or laptop and ultimately purchase from a desktop. These habits must be monitored in order to optimise search in your digital strategy.

The three main tenets of any marketing strategy or campaign

Search involves all three of these areas:

  1. Attract
  2. Engage
  3. Convert

Mostly, search focuses on the first phase: Attract. In today’s digital climate, businesses must actively attract customers via multiple channels and outlets. Businesses should aim to land in the top 30 of a search, to appear relevant to their audience and attract potential customers to their website (over other competitors).

Approximately 30% off all visitors click the first result in their search, 15% click the second and 10% click the third. Therefore, attracting more visitors to your website will be dependent on where your business is ranked in search.

Where does search come in?

With more than 13 billion searches each month, it’s important for businesses to harness SEO in their digital strategy to increase their ranking in search engines and retain that position. SEO is essentially a subset to digital marketing – they each accomplish the same function and possess the same skills, but SEO determines the overall success of a digital strategy.

Today’s SEO focuses on:

  • Understanding personas
  • Data-driven insights
  • Content strategy
  • Technical problem-solving

Need help creating your search strategy but don’t know where to start? Our team will determine the right approach to connect with your audience and ensure that your digital marketing is consistent. Look no further – chat to us today!