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Written by Ryan Shelley | Follow @ryan_shelley


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SEO is an art form. There is so much more that goes into the process than creating content and generating links. Good SEO always starts with strategy. Knowing what you want to achieve and the impact it's going to have on your business is crucial in developing a plan that gets you the results you desire.

I am currently reading "The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization." I was blessed to be given a copy from one of the authors and one of the most prolific SEO experts in our field Eric Enge. This book is not just a great refresher in some areas of SEO but has also helped push me to learn more about the "why" behind what we do. In this episode of the SMA Marketing Minute, we are going to look at 5 business factors that impact your SEO.  This episode was inspired by Chapter 3 from "The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization." I highly recommend you grab a copy for yourself if you are looking to get the most out of your search strategy. 

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Video Transcript

So if you took a pause for a moment and did a quick search online around SEO, or the quickest way to rank your site online, you'd find hundreds of millions of pieces of content around the topic of SEO. There are a lot of people that have a lot of different opinions on how it works, and today I'm not going to get into those opinions, I'm not going to get into the top five best practices for ranking your site. I want to get into the simple things. The things that are often times overlooked, but actually probably have the most weight when it comes to whether or not you have success in your search engine strategy, your search engine plan, and that's the business factors that impact your strategy. If you're doing SEO on one vertical, it's going to look very different than another. Yes, there are some things that are very similar across the board. Yes, search engine algorithms look for certain things that are important, like links and content, but there's a lot of other things that go into it as well. It's just not those two ranking signals. There are hundreds of different ranking signals, but really what you need to understand first is your industry and how your business model is really going to impact how you use SEO and how you're going to get found online. So let's get into those five business factors that are going to impact your SEO strategy.

Number one, your business model. How does your business generate revenue? Are you looking to sell products online? If you're an e-commerce site, you're going to have a very, very different approach to SEO as if you're a brick and mortar or local business, so understanding your revenue stream is actually going to help you understand how people are searching for you. You know, a person who is, as an e-commerce site and maybe you're selling bow ties, you're going to want to really rank for terms that buy bow ties online, but if you're a boutique in a downtown location, maybe you're not selling those products online, but you might say, you know, local boutique, or buying bow ties, or finding the right bow tie, so maybe it's going to be more of a content strategy, cause your revenue source isn't going to be online. Really have to come back to what's the purpose of your site, and how does that impact your business model, the way you structure your revenue generation. Once you understand that, then you can start to really build a strategy around that.

Again, e-commerce going to be very different than a local site, they're going to be different than a corporate site, and so on and so forth. So understanding what your revenue model is and what you're trying to target and who you're trying to target, and then deconstructing that and understanding the purpose of your website. Maybe you're trying to drive somebody like the local shopper to the brick and mortar location, whereas an e-commerce store wants to drive you to the store to make a transaction online.

This leads us right into our next business factor, and it's who's your audience. Understanding who you're targeting is going to be extremely important, because it's going to determine the type of content you have, the way you build your site. Are you going to have a shopping cart built in if you're targeting customers looking to buy online? Do you need to have local directions? Do you need to have your phone number if you're trying to drive somebody in store? Maybe you're just a content driven site and you want to do sign-up forms, so understanding who your audience is, is essential to building a campaign and a strategy that works. Again, you're going to have different strategies based on your business model, the way you generate revenue, and who your audience is, and how they interact with your site, with your businesses, and your competition online.

Competition. That's the next thing you've got to understand. Who are you going up against? Are there other people in your niche, in your industry that are also using online or digital marketing in a very effective way? Are they investing in SEO? Are they ranking well for really high, powerful terms? Maybe you need to look at some of the terms on the outside that they haven't done so much focusing in on. Understanding who your competition is, again, that's another business factor that's going to really determine how you approach your SEO strategy. Maybe your competition isn't doing such a good job on search, then you can gain a lot of momentum and really, really cut into their market share simply by investing in a search strategy that targets your customers right where they're at, answering the problems and the questions that they have online.

The next business factor we want to look at is branding, and how is your brand being represented online. Are you ranking for your branded terms? Are you ranking for your own business name? It's amazing how many companies and businesses don't. There's a lot of similar business names out there that aren't even in the same industry, and when somebody's who's looking for your brand online, you want to make sure that they can find you right away, because if they go online and they search your brand and they don't even see you there, ranking for your own name, they really start to question your credibility and your trustworthiness, so understanding who's ranking for those terms, who's ranking around your brand, and making sure that you are really dominating that space and really owning that space, because again, depending on who you're going against for those branded terms, your strategy's going to be a little bit different. We're always making sure that your company, that your brand is showing up for your own name, for your own search terms, and even things that are closely related to your brand can be very, very helpful to those people who maybe don't actually know everything about your business, but kind of know enough just to search for your brand name alone.

The last one is understanding how people who need the products and services that you provide search online. What types of questions are they asking? How do they interact with sites online? What are other types of sites that they're interested in, and that they really drive value from that they go to research products and services like yours? Understanding how your user base acts will really help you develop a content strategy that's going to really specifically target them. It's also going to help you know where you need to get your content in order to get in front of those customers, in front of those prospects, those people who are searching for products and services like yours.

SEO is so much more than just on-page tweaking, and strategy, and cleaning up, as well as link building. Yes, those are huge, and they play a really, really big role, but you also need to make sure that you understand the business factors that are associated with what you're trying to accomplish. They are going to play a huge role in the strategy and how you implement that strategy to see success long term. A lot of people just jump right into a contract with an SEO agency that promises them content and links, but they don't ever take the time to really do persona development, understand your business model, and build a plan that's really strategic and focused on you.

That's one thing that we always do here at Shelley Media Arts, we begin with strategy. Before we start building content, before we build links, before we touch anything on the site, we start to understand and get to know the businesses, and it's because of that we're able to see success long term. So, if you're business is looking to get started with a search strategy, make sure that you understand the business factors involved, and if you've got any questions about that and how you can implement SEO on your site, or maybe you just need some help building those strategies out, feel free to contact us. Send us a comment below. You can shoot us an e-mail at Ryan@SMAMarketing.net. That's my e-mail, and I will answer you directly and help get you started. We've also got a ton of resources on our site, so go ahead and check those out as well. Hope you guys enjoyed this episode. Until next time, happy marketing.

SEO Myths Debunked

Topics: SEO (Search Engine Optimization), SEO

Ryan Shelley

Written by Ryan Shelley

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works has also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing solutions.

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