The answer is both. Sorry, I didn’t bury the lead!
Two races are occurring simultaneously in the digital marketplace. The first is a series of sprints as you adjust to your audience’s ever-evolving behaviors. These sprints are short bursts of data and insight that require quick pivots in focus or tweaks in strategy. The other race is a marathon as you use technology, systems, and other tools available to you as a digital entity to increase long-term effectiveness. A successful digital strategy should help you keep pace within both races so you can realize long-term success. In this instance, we’ll be talking about a digital strategy focused on delivering SEO-based results.
We find ourselves living and doing business in a digital age. In this new age of the digital marketplace, any brand, any company not running these two Search Engine Optimization races, will quickly be left in their competitor’s dust. Are you ready to lace-up some new kicks, stretch and flex some new muscles, and hit the ground running?
Elements of the SEO Race
Run With Your Feet – the physical nitty-gritty of SEO ranking
Every runner has a starting point, and I don’t mean the starting line. I am talking about an honest skill assessment. The first time you run a mile is never your best time, but in the beginning, that’s the time to beat moving forward. In the SEO strategy, Forensic Discovery is your starting point, your baseline stats. Any good digital strategy starts with an honest and thorough discovery session. After such a session, both parties should know:
- Current Ranking Where do you sit today on the search engine results page (SERP)? What are you doing to maintain that place? What are you doing to increase rank? What SERP features play the most prominent role in your industry? At Enilon, we will help you with this by creating an Organic Positions Report to determine what SERP features are or are not linking to your domain and create a prioritized list to help move you forward.
- Competitors – Where do you rank in comparison with your rivals? Are there any trends that indicate stagnation? New growth/initiatives? What can be done to bypass the competition?
- History of the project – Was this tried before, unsuccessfully? Is this project 2.0 with new KPIs? Is this brand new and driven by senior management?
- Ideal Goals/Alignment – This is where it might be good to address assumed KPIs and perhaps suggest better ones (sales over page views, for example). Sure everyone wants Position One when it comes to organic ranking, but you should both talk about ideals here as well. Strategy.
- Blueprinting – You should walk away from this session with some high-level ideas around possible solutions. Nothing concrete yet as all of this will need to be synthesized with all teams concerned, but if one or two road maps to the stated goal are not immediately clear, you should schedule more discovery time.
Run With Your Brain – the mental strategy to run a smart SEO race
If the goal is to speak to “a large audience of one,” a dynamic digital SEO strategy will require a savvy understanding of your target audience. You will need to be able to break them out by archetypes, segments, personas, and their respective journeys. This can also be a great feedback tool to reassess your data values. You may find that your audience will react to just a simple keyword pass. You may find that they really aren’t digging your current content offerings at all. Thus you will need to discuss new content types and consider alternative strategies. In some cases, we can gather historical data on search results for some sites as far back as 2012, providing both domain and keyword analytics. This opens up a treasure trove of customer information, buying habits, and response patterns.
This valuable consumer data is an asset class that can reveal both positive and problematic information — result-oriented leaders will want to build on the positive while at the same time, simultaneously address solutions-oriented responses to the problems. Audience analysis is the fan feedback that keeps you on the right track and helps to propel you forward in the SEO race.
Another aspect of audience analytics is A/B ad testing. Sometimes a runner chooses the right pair of shoes but needs to add cushioned soles or arch support. Other times it might be time to try a new shoe altogether. This is the R & D of digital marketing to zero in on the absolute best communication strategies to reach your target audience.
Post discovery, an actionable digital SEO strategy will present clearly defined goals – not just the overall ask/destination but also all of those roadside markers along the journey that tell everyone we’re on the right path. Everywhere you look, signals are letting you know your progress and your boundaries. Whether it’s road signs and mile markers, painted stripes on a field or court, or embedded yard markers on the fairways, flags on the green, and the rough letting you know boundaries, we all need direction and boundaries to achieve our goals. It may also yield additional insights that might suggest looking at different solutions altogether (i.e., maybe you need to mix it up content-wise, explore alternative channels, target new long tail keywords, realize that you have two audiences, or more, etc).
Specifically regarding SEO, Enilon will provide you with analytics and data that will result in NEW ideas. Informed ideas fuel attainable goals and help develop best practices. Just some of the ideas Enilon will generate as your digital marketing partner are:
- Strategy concepts
- Backlink ideas
- Technical SEO targets
- User experience objectives
- Actionable keyword research
- Targeted SERP Features
- Semantic schemes
- Content ideas
Remember the old day before maps on our phones with real-time construction updates, crash reports, and coffee ads along the route? Remember getting to your hotel and printing out the directions to your meeting the next morning from MapQuest? You provide plenty of time, consider for traffic and a quick stop for a coffee and kolache, only to be hurled headlong into an unknown construction project with detours and a barrage of orange and black arrows. You adapted, you experienced the unexpected, and you made the necessary adjustments!
Adaptation is a key aspect of running the digital marketing gauntlet and using your brainpower in step with all your physical (and digital) resources. Digital marketing and the aforementioned ever-evolving audience and technology spaces invite, in fact, demand that you plan for adaptation. In the marketing space, “Expect the unexpected” isn’t such a Wilde thing to say.
An all-encompassing digital SEO strategy will not be locked down and restrictive. If either party (agency or client) sees a new trend, a new opportunity (new content types – ala webinars, podcasts, YouTube), a new channel (turns out your audience has several Reddit groups, or are active on LinkedIn, or that your efforts on Facebook are wasted), or acquire a new resource (you, the client, have a social media intern for the next six months!) – your strategy should account for that and offer ways to adapt.
Run With Your Heart – the Winner’s Edge to build towards future successes rather than rest on past success
Hey, you did it! You attained the stated SEO goals ahead of schedule and under budget. Now what? Well, you do what every successful explorer, climber, athlete, or artist does: you plan the Next Big Adventure. Building on the momentum of recent wins is key to a successful digital strategy. Begin by talking about how to leverage your new insights (what did you learn) and how to reinvest your newfound resources (capital, talent, reach, etc.) into new initiatives (new territory – digital or geographical, new audiences, new products, conquesting, etc.)
Ready to Run to Win?
There is no feeling like a win! For some, that is setting a new personal best. For others, it’s breaking the tape at the finish line! So whether you were on top to begin or you’re ready to do the work to get there, Enilon has the coaching skills, the knowledge, and experience to help you reach goals and set records. Get ready to taste the sweet, sweet insights gained from an all-encompassing Digital Marketing & Search Engine Optimization Blueprint.
Contact Enilon today to set up a call, and let’s discuss all your Digital Strategy needs! No matter whether you are in the back, middle, or front of the pack, you can always put more distance between you and your competitors. We are here to serve as both coach and trainer, or you can see us a member of a relay team passing the baton between partners, each doing their part in the race to cross the finish line.