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How to Stack the ROI Deck with Content, SEO and Marketing Automation

OK, so you’ve implemented marketing automation.

Nice job! You’re probably using it in a pretty standard way: emails, landing pages and lead nurturing programs and other channels.

But when was the last time you thought about how SEO can work with marketing automation? Probably never. For many marketers, automation is normally seen as pushing leads through the funnel, while SEO is seen as attracting those leads.

This is wrong. Here’s why:

Your marketing automation system can provide valuable information for your SEO strategies and vice versa. A close look your metrics can identify lead sources and tell you where your leads are finding and evaluating you. By capturing search behavior data, you acquire a wealth of knowledge on your leads’ interests and intentions, which helps taylor both your keywords and automated content with more relevance and precision. Similarly, a look at the results of previous content campaigns should give you an idea of what keywords work with which buyer personas.

To dig a little deeper, a good marketing automation instance should offer reports that allow you to connect keywords to closed deals. From there, marketers should maximize their SEO strategy and content development.

For instance, if a certain keyword is performing above all others in attracting traffic and initiating purchases, not only should the site’s SEO be tweaked accordingly, that phrase should be utilized in other content such as ads, email campaigns, newsletters and more.

To tie every aspect of successful content marketing together, use these strategies to help marketing automation, content and SEO work together for maximum ROI.

Develop engaging content. If your content is dull or clumsy, all the SEO in the world won’t matter, because readers won’t be motivated to stay or revisit your site. Instead of viewing content as a required platform to house the SEO, see it as an opportunity to create an appealing and relevant site your target market will enjoy. Use your data to define your audience, then create high-value content your targets will find interesting and helpful.

Use keywords strategically. Instead of stuffing each page full of keywords, pick one or two phrases or words for each. If it’s critical to use a variety of keywords, create a separate page for each and optimize accordingly by using them in the page titles, headers and page text. The trick is to make sure they read naturally and not like an SEO platform. In blog posts, eBooks and white papers, the optimal density is 0.5% to 1.5%, which works out to about one usage per every two to three paragraphs.

Produce new content on a regular basis. Search engine spiders reward sites that frequently change and update their content. In practice, this means four blog posts containing each keyword once are preferable to one post that uses the keyword four times. Creating ongoing content that uses your keywords is the best way to improve your search engine rankings; a steady supply of fresh content also is more likely to inspire backlinks to your site from credible web sites, which further boosts your popularity with search engines.

Use specific keyword phrases. Generic phrases and words will get drowned out amidst the digital competition. But specific and longer phrases can perform well in targeted search engine results. Instead of using an umbrella phrase such as “web developer” that could apply to literally millions of search results, try “Monroe County web developer.” If you think about it, it makes sense: people who search for specific phrases over vague or generic phrases usually know what they want and are more likely to act on their research.

Use dynamic landing pages. Dynamic landing pages are where SEO and marketing automation work perfectly together. Just as you optimize your sites with traffic-generating keywords, dynamic landing pages allow you to create pages that change in response to whatever ad or search phrase led the reader there. While offering tailored and relevant content can boost conversion rates, dynamic pages also offer the ability to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Speak your prospect’s language. Too many marketers think in their own industry’s jargon and come up with keywords that make sense to within their industry, but leave their prospects cold. Tools like Google Suggest can tell you exactly what words and phrases your customers use to search. But it’s also helpful to ask the same questions marketers have always asked: What are the audience demographics? What challenges do they face? What do they respond to? Adopting your customer’s perspective and vocabulary is key to selecting the right keywords.

Go off the beaten path. One obvious obstacle many businesses face is that they and their competitors are using the same keywords. One solution for this is to find a popular search term that is just disconnected enough from your business that your competitors probably won’t be using it, yet is still of interest to your visitors. Structuring a web page or sidebar section around it means you can “own” that keyword and tap into its popularity without sharing it with your competitors.

The evolution of content marketing

Content marketing is here to stay and so is the timeless cycle of sales and marketing. Yet the strategies for attracting, nurturing and converting leads will doubtlessly evolve along with emerging technologies and new tools. Algorithms will change, indexing standards will alter, and marketing automation capabilities may expand to target leads and customers with more power and precision than ever before.

This means that SEO and marketing automation strategies will need to evolve right along with all of it. Marketers will need to stay informed, and adjust their practices accordingly. For now, the most intelligent approach to integrating SEO, marketing automation and content marketing should involve three steps: continually producing fresh content, conducting ongoing keyword research, and analyzing the results of both SEO and marketing automation strategies to drive better performance in both.

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