December 2, 2014

5 Tips for Aligning Your Marketing and SEO Strategies


Hostway Team

Leveraging best practices like the use of keywords and links can help companies better align their marketing and search engine optimization strategies. Customers find their preferred vendors and service providers through a range of avenues, including brand-focused marketing and organic online searches. While some businesses treat these efforts as two separate entities, brand marketing and search engine optimization become much more impactful when they are aligned.

Web presence solutions provider Conductor found that paid searches result in 6 percent of consumer traffic, whereas 47 percent comes from organic searches. Through a combination of these efforts, both sides can be optimized. Ray Comstock of BusinessOnline, who specializes in aligning SEO and marketing, noted that when these aspects are treated separately, businesses are missing out on considerable opportunities.

"Our goal for any campaign is to better align as many marketing channels as possible with SEO best practices in order to better leverage all of these marketing activities from an organic search perspective," Comstock wrote in a post for Search Engine Watch.

Here are a few best practices for coordinating marketing and SEO strategies:

1) The use of regular and long-tail keywords
Using similar keywords and key phrases within both SEO and marketing content presents a unified message across platforms and better aligns these efforts. When choosing these words and phrases, decision-makers should consider what their target audience submits to search engines and what points will lead them to the brand. While singular keywords are important, Synecore contributor Kevin Page recommended focusing on long-tail phrases, as these constitute as much as 70 percent of all search terms. Page also advised utilizing these items strategically, and not stuffing keywords and phrases where they don't organically fit or belong.

"You should determine your long-tail keywords in the same way as you choose your regular keywords and include them within the text of your content, ALT text, meta descriptions [and] subheads," Page wrote. "Best of all, develop content around long-tail keywords that aligns with your products or services. This sets up your company to become a solution to your prospects' problems."

2) Leverage internal links
Organizations can take their keywords and phrases a step further by utilizing internal links to the company's top landing pages.

"Internal links are hyperlinks that send users to another page on your website or blog to ensure visitors stay longer on your site, while exposing them to more relevant and interesting content your company has created," Page noted.

Links can be included wherever keywords and long-tail phrases are used, including within digital marketing campaigns, blog posts, news releases and other business-focused content. As with keywords, internal links should not be overused. Too many key phrases and links can appear spammy and over-promotional.

3) Social media SEO and marketing
Comstock also advised leveraging social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and a company blog for both SEO and marketing purposes. This platform can help "extend messaging, promote content, and engage our target audience" through thought leadership that includes a focused, keyword-centered theme. To take this to the next step, a brand can utilize its social media page to support and encourage readership of its digital content. For instance, if an enterprise leader writes a particularly thoughtful and engaging blog post that includes strategic keywords, the business can promote and link to the post on its Facebook page. This will lead existing and potential customers through the business's different channels, from its social media page to its blog and eventually to its landing pages.

4) Internal training and communication
In order to underscore these efforts, Comstock recommended including this focus within the firm's internal communications to ensure everyone is on the same page. Furthermore, specific training on SEO and marketing can help build a unified team and empower all employees to contribute to the strategy. Comstock suggested training key staff members in keyword research and usage, web page and public relations optimization, social media and search engine optimization best practices, as well as internal linking strategies.

"By demystifying SEO across various groups within the company, we are able to align all of the groups against the goals and priorities of the SEO campaign," Comstock wrote.

5) Maintain a focus on end-user needs
Within this approach, company leaders should ensure that there is always a prime focus on providing for end-user needs, recommended Search Engine Land contributor Jim Yu. By using these demands to frame and govern both marketing and SEO strategies, the organization can be sure it is creating and offering content that matters to its customers.

"Optimizing content for search … has a massive impact on the value of your content while, at the same time, increasing productivity and efficiency of the SEO and content teams," Yu wrote. "This is in addition to the most important wins: greater outcomes for your business and a better experience for your visitors."

With these strategies in mind, your company can present a coherent message. Your SEO and marketing will sing in harmony.

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