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Liza Perstneva

Injecting SEO into Your Organization's DNA #semrushchat

Liza Perstneva
Injecting SEO into Your Organization's DNA #semrushchat

Organizational DNA is a metaphor based on the biological term DNA. It is usually defined as an organization’s “personality.”

Many pieces bind a company together and develop its culture, strategies, structure, procedures and overall performance. Each of those pieces plays an important role and is responsible for a particular part of an organization’s workflow. But sometimes it’s really difficult to find the right place for SEO and implement it appropriately, especially for those businesses that are new to the incredibly challenging SEO world.

If you want to discover ways to inject SEO into your organization’s DNA, check out this recap of our latest SEMrush Chat. In this post you will find many tips from our chat participants and our special guest Lukasz Zelezny, Head of Organic Acquisition at uSwitch, international speaker, author and consultant for search marketing, social media and content.

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There has been a lot of talk about the death of SEO, and the fact that companies no longer need to apply it to their marketing strategies. But the thing is that search engine optimization isn’t dead, but it’s constantly changing.

In our chat, our guests explained why it should remain core to your digital marketing strategy.

As Bill Slawski explains, people usually turn to search engines in order to find answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.

Also, he suggests that SEO is important, because your website is how you communicate with the rest of the world. Obviously, you want your voice to be heard.

If you want your unique, relevant and engaging content to be seen, you should definitely spend part of your time on optimization.

SEO is essentially the art of attracting free organic traffic to your website. It’s a long-term marketing model with a high ROI (return on investment). If done properly, SEO provides cost-efficient traffic-building strategies. “It’s a valuable and cost effective way to market your business,” according to Rachel Howe ‏@R8chel_Marie.

Besides yielding a high ROI, our special guest named another advantage of SEO – it’s not very difficult to do: “In fact SEO is not that difficult. SEO is easy. You just need to want to implement it.”

Ryan Johnson reminded us that search engine optimization is not just about fantastic rankings. Website owners should also provide the best user experience possible and try to understand their customers’ needs and wants.

I like the comparison that Andy Drinkwater drew. He believes that having a website without SEO is the same as trying to breathe without air:

Our other chat participants also made some good analogies. For example, ThinkSEM ‏@ThinkSEM said that implementing SEO into your marketing strategy is like eating the right foods, which keeps you healthy. And here’s another great analogy: “Having a website without proper SEO is like having a house without sturdy walls.”

Let’s sum up!

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As we can see, it’s not quite time to jump off the SEO bandwagon. SEO is an effective way to attract qualified visitors to your website and help people find your content.

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As an important part of your overall marketing mix, search engine optimization helps you reach your target audience. But if you want to make the most out of your marketing campaigns, you should know what important steps to take when applying SEO to your company’s workflow.

Have a clear plan and set measurable goals

First of all, you should figure out what you want to achieve and how SEO can help you accomplish it. If you want to succeed, you need to set goals. Without them, you’ll simply lack focus and direction. Clear, measurable goals will provide you with a benchmark for understanding whether you are actually progressing and succeeding. Once you’ve set your major goal, you need a plan a strategy for accomplishing it.

ZenContent ‏@ZenContent recommends coming up with “a solid strategy that matches your goals/objectives for traffic and sales, and getting everyone on board.”

Perform gap analysis to identify keywords

You need to research and identify what keywords your target market uses to search for what they need. Gap analysis allows you to identify any gaps between your website and your competitors’ websites that are on the top of ranking position. It enables you to determine where you rank now and what terms you should target in order to “close the gap.”

Understand your brand

Having a clear understanding of your brand will also help you strengthen your SEO efforts. Ruth Burr Reedy once wrote that great SEO starts with your brand. Even though a company’s branding isn’t a ranking factor in the traditional sense, Ruth Burr Reedy believes that building a recognizable brand can actually help you increase your CTR from SERPs and foster visitor engagement and loyalty. Also, it can allow Google to better understand content on your website.

Optimize your content marketing

It’s important for each business to understand their customers’ path – from their first interaction with the company to their final step of becoming a loyal client. Once you clearly understand this path, you can create content that addresses your customers’ needs at each stage. Before generating content, you should understand how you can answer potential questions, educate your audience, and satisfy their needs.

Sync your teams

Each team in your company must understand the overall goals of your marketing strategy. One of the main reasons that businesses fail is that employees are often not committed to common goals. Ensure that your teams comprehend your company’s ultimate purpose, and cooperate well with each other. “Make sure your whole team is on board and understands the goals you are trying to achieve,” says Andy Drinkwater ‏@iqseo.

Here are the essential steps for implementing SEO into your overall marketing campaign. You can also find a few other tips in the following recap.

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If you incorporate SEO into all of your other marketing efforts, you will achieve quality, long-term results.

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Every business that appears on the market is has to identify its typical customers and understand what they need. But this is easier said than done. Some companies have problems defining to whom and when to market their products or services.

Our guests shared their tips for identifying your target audiences and their needs.

First of all, you should do research to understand what needs your product/service fulfills. Does anyone have a use for what you offer? Before entering the market, you should definitely ask yourself this question.

Chris Desadoy also points out that many people simply forget to talk with their clients, which can be detrimental. Our other guests agreed, stressing the importance of communication between your company and your customers:

By doing thorough keyword research, you can understand what keywords your potential customers are typing into search engines, and as a result, identify their needs and wants. HubSpot compiled a list of the nine best keyword research tools.

Another great option look at who could benefit most from your product or service. As you attempt to answer this question, consider several important factors like age, geographical location and buying power, which is defined as the number of products or services that can be purchased with a unit of currency. Find out who is most likely to buy what you offer.

As we said earlier, having a conversation with your customers is important. Social media provides marketers with the unique opportunity to listen to the global online conversation. Successful brands are having real-time conversations with their consumers and developing close relationships with them. Social media is a great way to understand your audience’s opinions, your competitors and your market.

Let’s see what we have so far.

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Defining your target audience isn’t easy, but with the right approach, you’ll finally manage to uncover the mysteries of who your actual audience is.

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SEO is an area that requires a lot of special attention. It’s definitely not something that you can simply do in your spare time. If you don’t have an SEO specialist on your team right currently, one day your company may need one. Hiring decisions are often difficult, but deciding between an in-house SEO expert and an outside SEO consultant is even harder.

Let’s take a look at our chat participants’ opinions on this topic.

If you have an in-house SEO specialist, you know that someone is focused exclusively on your company. WooRank believes that although an in-house expert or team might be more expensive, both of these options will possess a more intimate knowledge of your brand.

At the same time, our special guest says that hiring an in-house team is, in general, less expensive, and the overall benefit will be much greater. Your SEO team will know your customers, partners and products/services better than an outside party.

Some of our chat participants pointed out that your decision concern whether to hire an in-house specialist or an outside consultant will depend on the amount of work to be done. Your website might not even require need a full-time SEO expert. For example, if your site consists of only a few pages, it will take less time to optimize it. In this case, you are unlikely to need a full-time employee.

Sean Hecking agrees that your hiring decisions depend on your specific needs. He explains that an in-house specialist is a sort of multifunctional employee, rather than a narrowly focused SEO expert.

In his opinion, SEO consultants fill a knowledge gap; they need to provide value and perspective. They can also be a source of fresh ideas, and they are usually well connected with other experts in the industry. “Outsourcing SEO will give you fresh ideas and access to industry experts, which will help you reach your marketing goals,” explains Nicole Dinser ‏@NicoleDinser.

Finally, Jerome Joseph Gentes suggests that you should ensure your key team players grasp the basics of SEO. They don't have to be SEO gurus, but they should still know something, because this will benefit your company in the long run.

There are pros and cons to both hiring in-house specialists and outsourcing consultants. Analyze your strategies, goals, resources and your approach so you can make the right decision that will fulfill your company’s needs.

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So what are your thoughts on this topic? Have you ever worked with an in-house SEO expert or an outside SEO consultant? We would love to hear about your experience!

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Once you’ve already decided to hire an SEO specialist, you’ll have to consider what key skills a perfect job applicant should possess.

Lukasz Zelezny names four skills that a great SEO expert must possess and three negative personality traits that you should avoid.

An interviewer should know at least some SEO basics in order to be able to identify a competent specialist. If your hiring employee doesn’t, they could select the wrong person. If your interviewer knows nothing about SEO, it will be a real challenge for them to find the right candidate.

Candidates without the right qualifications are a bad option. But employees without enthusiasm may be an even a worse choice. You can teach a person who lacks knowledge, but it’s practically impossible to make an employee devote themselves to your company if they don’t share the same goals as your business, and are not interested in contributing to it. A candidate who is really interested in the position they’re interviewing for and who loves their job will have fresh ideas and turn out outstanding work, and find new answers to unresolved questions.

Transparency is an important trait that every candidate should possess, no matter the industry. But for an SEO specialist, this skill is probably even more crucial. A person who will be responsible for search engine optimization should be completely transparent with you, so that you know exactly what is happening behind the scenes. “Another important factor is transparency. No good SEO should ever worry about showing what they have done for others,” says Andy Drinkwater ‏@iqseo.

Below you’ll find a few other skills an amazing SEO expert should possess.

Have you ever hired an SEO specialist? Or have you been on the opposite side of the barricade? What are some skills you think a great candidate should possess? Let us know in the comments!

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At the end of our chat we asked our guests to share their most sure-fire successful SEO tip. Let’s see what our experts recommend marketers do.

  • Keep your website clear and simple

Your website needs to tell visitors exactly what your company offers. Include a clear, simple headline and an informative sub-headline that briefly describes what you do. Focus on your target audience’s common pain points, and don’t just talk about yourself. Because most people respond better to visual information, it’s a good idea to add images and short videos to your content.

  • Develop a link building strategy

Smart link building, or link earning, is one of the most important SEO skills. Make sure you apply a well-planned link building strategy to your overall marketing campaign. Keep in mind that even if black hat SEO techniques still work, they are by far not as effective as they used to be. Earning quality links requires time and a combination of several skills. But once you’ve built those links, you’ll get high-converting search engine traffic to your website as a reward.

  • Work in synch with a developer

Your website will reach its full potential only if your SEO specialists and developers can work together. They may have different opinions about your website’s performance, which can sometimes lead to conflicts. But their close cooperation will finally enable them to successfully achieve their common goals. By learning a bit of programming, an SEO expert can encourage this cooperation, as Anthony Randall ‏@tonyxrandall suggests: “Learn a little bit of programming so you can stop recommending stupid things to the web developers!”

  • Don’t invest all your efforts into one plan

Investing all your SEO efforts into just one course of action is not the best option. Google constantly updates its algorithms to provide users with a smoother search experience. Make sure you keep track of all of Google’s updates. “Stay up-to-date with new trends, wants, and needs, and cater your content to these to stay relevant,” recommends Nicole Dinser ‏@NicoleDinser.

  • Always learn

It’s important for any marketer in any industry to constantly challenge themselves to learn new things. Try to learn something new every single day. There are various SEO and digital marketing resources available on the Internet. And don’t forget to observe your competitors’ strategies. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but you can still get a wealth of information from your rivals that can be useful for your own marketing campaign.

That was our final question!

All the tips from this post will help you successfully inject SEO into your company’s DNA and bring organic traffic to your website.

Thanks to Lukasz Zelezny and our other guests for sharing so many useful tips!

Liza Perstneva is a Social Media Manager at SEMrush and a #SEMrushchat host. Follow Liza on Twitter.

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