5 things you really must know before you ever attempt SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is often seen as some kind of must-have mystery by many client-side marketers, who tend not to have the time or inclination to study, assess and fully engage with this critical tool in their market visibility, acquisition and development armoury.

And rather than engage with the finer points of SEO, and gain a true insight into prospect and buyer wants, needs and their use of language to find what they need, they prefer to pass SEO development to their digital agency, in the hope that magic will make it all work.

Here's five things you need to know:

01. Exactly what is SEO?

SEO is purely a technical term digital marketers use for making your website visible for the words or phrases people - your prospects or customers - will use when they are looking for your products or services on the internet. The closer your on-site SEO term is to the searcher's term, the higher your website will be in the ranking.

Therefore, while you will know your company's products and services inside out, this means you will think about them in an entirely different way from those who are looking for them and are going to be using them, and means your search language may be totally different from theirs, and there is the disconnect.

02. How does SEO fit with customer language?

What this means is that while you may use your own in-house corporate language to describe your products or services in your website's SEO, your prospective customers may be searching for you using a totally different search term.

Here's an example: your top-of-the-range sweet/candy product line is called 'Mint Imperial' so naturally you use this brand name throughout your website to guide as many people as possible to finding your range of sweet/candy products online.

03. It's your brand, not their search term

But what if these mint-craving searchers have never heard of your products and are not yet loyal customers but just want a mint-hit now? Then your carefully crafted brand is never going to be on their radar and they're never going to find you or help increase your sales volumes.

Why? Because rather than searching for something they've never heard of, these mint desperadoes are going to be using the terms they understand to get what they want; including terms such as 'mint sweets', 'mint sweeties', 'suckie mints' and 'mint candy'.

04. It's their search term, not your brand - or is it?

The point is that if you research, learn and know what mint-crazed searchers use as search terms you can build this into both your on-page SEO content and meta data to drive people who don't already know your brand directly to your website and your famed Mint Imperial.

Once you have done this you can start their sales journey and help them understand that your product - the fantastic Mint Imperial - is the only mint they will ever need.

05. Using SEO for continuous sales pipeline development

If this customer savvy SEO strategy is regularly updated to include new search terms as they arise and deliver terms that compete with and surpass competitor SEO, it will deliver a continuous stream of new mint-munchers to your website, sales pipeline/funnel and revenue stream.

What is key to SEO is two-fold: knowing exactly what search terms potential customers use when searching for products like yours, and precisely where to place key search phrases in your on-page content to gain the highest search visibility.

So, rather than a must-have mystery or weird, inexact science SEO can, in the right hands, deliver solid sales pipeline performance with long-term and effective return on marketing investment.