Average investment: $750-$2000 / month
Using SEO as a digital marketing strategy, companies can increase their visibility in search results on Google and other search engines. With a better spot in search results, your business can earn more website traffic, leads, and sales. Since 93% of online experiences start with a search engine, SEO is a must.
What is SEO?
SEO is an online marketing strategy that improves your visibility or ranking in search results relevant to your business and target market. Increasing your ranking requires on-page SEO and off-page SEO. These two tactics focus on making your site friendlier and more authoritative to search engines and users.
What are the types of SEO?
When you use SEO as a digital marketing technique, you’ll use a few types of SEO, including:
Technical SEO is the practice of using coding languages to identify different parts of a page.
Regardless of the languages you use to create your site, you need to write the code well enough for search engines to read it.
You don't have to be a computer programmer to make simple changes to your site's code, though. In fact, if you spend some time doing your research, you can find places online to learn them for free.
But regardless of whether you learn the languages yourself, it's important to remember the three most important HTML "tags" of technical SEO:
- Title tag <title>: The name of your page and the blue text that shows up in Google search results.
- Headings <h1>: The names of individual sections of a page.
- Links <a href="">: Links to other pages on your site or pages off your site.
With these three tags, you'll at least have a start on your technical SEO.
Local SEO is the process of adding your business to online directories and targeting location-based keywords with content on your site. This helps you show up in multiple areas online with your brand name, address, phone number, and more.
When people look up your business name or industry online, local SEO increases the chances that they'll find your company before they find your competitors.
That helps you get more customers, earn more revenue, and grow your business.
Best of all, most local SEO outlets are entirely free.
The most popular local SEO outlet is Google My Business. It lets you add your company to Google Search and Maps results, which are two of the most popular online properties in the world.
How to use SEO as a digital marketing technique
When it comes to digital marketing techniques, SEO earns the most recommendations. With SEO, your business can drive long-term revenue to your company, without the upfront and continuous costs that come with strategies like social media advertising.
If you’re ready to use SEO for your online marketing campaign, use these tips:
- Build your SEO knowledge and learn the basics
An umbrella of strategies make up SEO, which is why it’s essential to master the basics of SEO.
Understand which ranking factors, like links and mobile-friendliness, matter the most to search engines. Then, learn how to optimize your website for these factors, like by investing in a mobile responsive site for mobile-friendliness or developing an outreach and content process for attracting backlinks.
Guides, like SEO From Start to Finish, can get you started with SEO.
As a part of your SEO strategy for online marketing, audit your website.
Use what you learned and apply it to your site. Check your current rankings in search results, for example, with a free tool like Google Search Console. Analyze your keyword targeting, as well as how you use keywords in your content, title tags, and meta descriptions.
If you want to audit your site fast, use a free SEO checker. You can even invest in professional SEO audit services if you want the help of seasoned SEOs. This option works well if you’ve practiced SEO before but can’t figure out why your company isn’t ranking well in search results.
Once you finish your audit, you can move on to optimizing your site.
Keyword research is the process of identifying valuable words and phrases that your customers use to find your business online.
It's the first step to almost every digital marketing strategy because it forms the foundation of each one.
To find keywords related to your business, you have a few research options at your disposal:
While it's not an official keyword research tool, Google has a built-in keyword research tool right in Google Search.
All you have to do is start typing a word related to your business — like "shoes" if you sell running shoes or "garage door repair" if you're a garage door company — and see what pops up.
The suggested keywords will be listed in order of popularity based on how many people search them.
Unfortunately, that means this keyword research strategy has a limited success ceiling. It won't be able to tell you everything you need to know to create your plan, but it will give you a good place to start.
Keywordtool.io is a great way to generate long lists of keyword ideas.
All you have to do is type in the root of your keyword — so again, something like "shoes" if you sell running shoes — and Keywordtool.io will generate a list of possible keywords for you to target.
Unfortunately, this tool doesn't tell you how frequently people search for those keywords. So you'll have to take your list and use it in another tool to get the full picture of keywords you should target.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools to accomplish this task.
SEMrush is a paid SEO tool.
Most companies can research keywords with the cheapest SEMrush package, though you can upgrade to get more of SEMrush's functionality.
With SEMrush, you can upload a spreadsheet of the keywords you find with tools like Keywordtool.io and get data, like how many people search for those keywords every month, current websites that rank for those keywords, and other information that can help you decide what keywords work best for your needs.
Ideally, you want to find long-tail keywords or phrases of four to five words. They may have low search volume, but they'll also typically have lower competition.
Better yet, they'll drive qualified traffic to your business because long search queries imply a searcher's intent to make a purchase.
The idea is to target these keywords with future strategies so you can pull a consistent audience to your website.
Once you've achieved your goals for rankings, website traffic, conversions, and other digital marketing metrics, you must maintain your site so you can keep growing in the future.
After all, digital marketing is continuously changing — and if you don't keep up, your competitors could leave you in the dust.
With that in mind, you (or a digital marketing agency) have to keep up with recent trends, updates to SEO, and other factors that impact your ability to compete in the digital marketplace.
Once you've laid the foundation of your SEO strategy, maintaining it is typically much easier. In fact, it'll be more time-consuming than difficult, as you'll have to update tags, add content, remove content, test calls-to-action (CTAs), and other factors.
But some maintenance jobs are tediously difficult and knowledge-intensive.
The best example of this is adapting to algorithm updates, like "Mobilegeddon" of 2015. This required website owners to incorporate responsive design into their websites, which we'll discuss in more detail later.
This wasn't a big problem for most companies with SEO partners.
But for some smaller businesses, it destroyed their ability to rank online.
These updates mean that every company needs to stay on top of their site and work to maintain their rankings online, even after they've achieved their goals.
How much does SEO cost?
How much you invest in SEO will depend on your needs, goals, and project scope.
The average SMB invests $750 to $2000 into SEO each month. In comparison, hourly consultants cost around $80 to $200 per hour. If you’re looking to do a one-time project for your website’s SEO, plan to spend anywhere from $5000 to $30,000.
Learn more about using SEO for digital marketing
Find out more about incorporating SEO into your digital marketing plan with these resources: