What Every CMO Should Know About SEO

What Every CMO Should Know About SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is​ no longer a​ secret weapon of​ cutting-edge,​ web savvy marketers. Even traditional companies have to​ make sure search engines like Google and Yahoo find them consistently-- because search engines are the​ primary way prospects and influencers learn about products and services.

Too often,​ companies ignore search optimization or​ shelve requests for it​ simply because senior management does not understand it​ well enough to​ provide the​ necessary leadership and support. And if​ top management does not view it​ as​ priority,​ marketing and sales people are disinclined to​ pursue it. They will apply traditional,​ “accepted” tactics,​ shying away from one of​ the​ most efficient,​ measurable ways to​ get in​ front of​ prospects.

Too often executives focus on​ the​ technical aspects of​ SEO and lose sight of​ the​ more important strategic aspects. Meta tags,​ spiders,​ hits and visits don’t mean much to​ company stakeholders and shareholders. Results—in terms of​ better leads and more of​ them—do.

Here are a​ few questions every CMO should ask (and be able to​ answer):

What do we want our web visitors to​ do?
Whether your desired response is​ a​ demo request or​ a​ completed inquiry form,​ management should know and agree upon this ‘primary’ action and communicate it​ to​ all stakeholders. you​ may have a​ few different actions that you​ wish to​ track.

How many search visitors per month actually do what we want them to​ do?
Since we are only talking about SEO in​ this article,​ we are only interested in​ search visitors. Knowing this number now and tracking it​ each month,​ will give you​ quick insight into the​ quality and quantity of​ your search traffic. Do not be surprised to​ learn that as​ much as​ 99 percent of​ this traffic is​ not taking the​ desired action. Pulling in​ the​ right traffic and converting it​ into bona fide leads is​ a​ never-ending challenge. Knowing how well (or poorly) you’re doing in​ this area is​ a​ big first step.

What percentage of​ search visitors leave our website within 10 seconds?
This magical statistic,​ which I like to​ refer to​ as​ ‘short visit syndrome’,​ obviously relates to​ all of​ your web traffic. But focusing on​ search visitors tells us a​ couple of​ things. First,​ are you​ pulling in​ the​ right search traffic? Second,​ is​ your website doing an​ adequate job of​ ‘hooking’ them or​ giving them what they are searching for? it​ is​ not at​ all uncommon for companies to​ spend lots of​ money and resources to​ drive search traffic,​ only to​ have the​ overwhelming majority leave within 10 seconds.

Which search phrases are we focusing on?
You want to​ come up on​ the​ search engines for the​ phrases that your best prospects and influencers are likely to​ type. You’d be surprised at​ how differently people actually search,​ compared to​ how your sales and marketing people think they search. This is​ because most searches occur in​ the​ research and investigation phases of​ the​ buying cycle. in​ fact,​ more than half of​ all B2B searches for purchases over $50,​000 occur between two and six months before a​ purchase is​ ever made. And often,​ the​ person doing the​ searching may not have the​ technical understanding of​ your product or​ service. the​ key is​ to​ consider carefully how your audience searches (there are some great research tools out there) and come up with a​ list of​ approximately 20 phrases that become your company’s target phrases. These are the​ phrases that you​ should measure and focus your resources on.

How often are we appearing for our target phrases?
Too often,​ a​ webmaster,​ marketing manager or​ even CMO assumes everything is​ up to​ par because the​ company appears at​ the​ top of​ Google for their company name or​ some extremely specific,​ non-competitive phrase. It’s important to​ know how often you​ are coming up on​ Google (as well as​ other major engines like Yahoo and MSN) for your target phrases as​ a​ whole. While it​ may be more rewarding to​ focus on​ where you​ are coming up,​ it​ is​ more productive to​ see where you​ are not currently coming up,​ and thus missing opportunities.

How often are we appearing compared to​ the​ competition?
If it’s important for you​ to​ know which major tradeshows or​ events your competition attends and exhibits at,​ wouldn’t it​ make sense to​ know how often your competition is​ being found on​ the​ search engines compared to​ you? After all,​ the​ Internet and search engines have become the​ largest,​ most prolific tradeshow on​ earth.

Tying it​ All Together With the​ Big Picture
Obviously,​ there are other and even more important things that a​ CMO would want to​ know about an​ SEO effort-- number of​ opportunities generated,​ cost per opportunity,​ revenue produced,​ etc. Many executives assume that someone is​ tracking this information and reporting on​ it. But more than likely,​ no one is. Beginning to​ capture and act upon some of​ the​ basic points in​ this article could be the​ catalyst to​ help measure the​ true effectiveness and production of​ your internet efforts.

All of​ this data should be readily available to​ you​ if​ your company has developed a​ prudent search optimization strategy and implemented some basic and widely available tools. if​ you​ are not getting this information,​ you​ are missing an​ increasingly important business development medium. Compared to​ the​ amount of​ energy and resources you​ are currently spending to​ generate new business,​ SEO may be the​ most effective and cost-effective way to​ fill your pipeline.

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