If your business is struggling and you need leads right now, inbound marketing is not for you. Now, that might seem like a strange thing for an inbound marketing agency to say, after all, we're in the business of making money by helping people with their lead generation. The thing is, inbound marketing isn't a quick fix for a sales funnel that's dried up, it's something to do when your revenues are in good shape and you want to make sure they stay that way.
Our Overnight Success Took 10 Years
People find Red Evolution when they search in Google™ for SEO, web design, inbound and lead generation related searches. This hasn't happened by accident, our search presence is the result of a strategy, planning, relentless execution and some good fortune. Like many successful organisations, our overnight success has taken years.
Clearly, we've learned a lot along the way and this means we can help other businesses avoid some of the mistakes we made. However, it doesn't mean we've got a secret sauce that will power websites up the search engine league table in double quick time, we really haven't, please don't call us if you think we have, we 100% haven't.
Your SEO Probably Isn't Broken, Your Approach Probably Is
Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is confusing if you let it be. Day after day we have conversations with people who have tied themselves in knots over it.
"My site's better than my competitor's site but they are number one when people search for blue widgets and we're nowhere".
"Our SEO must be bad because I've created a site that uses all the right words but it never appears in Google."
"We need to re-design our site because we've been told the SEO is no good."
I could go on but I'm sure you get the idea and I'm convinced most of these
The Simple Truth About SEO and Lead Generation
If you follow SEO best practice and carefully craft your pages that's a good thing. You really should do that and if you type learn SEO into Google the guide from Moz, which will probably be at No.1, is all you need. I'm suggesting you find it that way to satisfy yourself it really is a good resource, after all, it's number one in Google!
Although it's important you get this right, doing so won't in and of itself guarantee a high ranking. A 100% perfectly optimised web page is not guaranteed a good search ranking. Read that again. Now read it again. And again.
Your web pages should be well optimised because that makes it easy for the search engines to index or catalogue them. It makes sense, you should just do it or pay someone to do it. You should also make sure nothing technical is blocking the search engines and an easy way to see if Google is indexing your pages is to type site:yourdomain.com into a Google search. If you see a list of all or most of your pages then Google knows about them.
If you don't, you need to check or ask someone to check why this might be the case. It could be you're blocking Google or it could simply be your site's new and Google hasn't done it's thing yet.
A Quick Tale About Blocking Search Engines
We're about to embark on a piece of work for an organisation who have seen some strange things happening to their search rankings. One of the first things we uncovered was each page is telling Google not to index it. Each page is saying to Google, under the hood, "Go away, don't index me and don't show me in search results." Effectively, a system created to legitimately tell search engines to ignore a web page has been, we assume, accidently used to tell the search engines to ignore pages the organisation don't want them to ignore. Ouch.
We can fix this and it will clearly make a difference to this organisation when we do. It will mean Google starts indexing pages it's been ignoring and this should improve their search traffic. However, it won't mean they suddenly start appearing high up in search results, that requires more than just
All Things Being Equal, Things Will Remain Unequal
Assuming all 100 pages are perfectly optimised, search engines organise them by their popularity. How they measure that popularity is contentious and confusing and the detail is known only to Google.
We know links to your pages from other websites are important. We assume social signals from platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn play a part. Techy things like using SSL (https instead of
In short, there's a
What they're not doing is the hard stuff. The stuff that potentially makes the biggest difference.
The (Not Very Secret) Secret Sauce To Search Engine Success
I know I said we don't have the secret to search engine success and I meant it. However, although it's not a secret it might as well be, based on the conversations we have. So here goes, the big secret. To attract customers from Google you need to understand what they're looking for, their problems and the words they might use in a search. You then constantly create compelling, fantastic content that helps them. Content so amazing other people share it, link to it, blog about it, tweet about it and so on.
What most people do instead is this. They create pages of content about themselves, "We are passionate about blue widgets", "We sell the world's best blue widgets", "We sell the cheapest blue widgets" and so on, I'm sure you get the picture and recognise what I'm illustrating.
The problem is, the person searching probably needs content like this "How to choose the right blue widget" or "The beginner's guide to blue widgets". The second examples will help your potential customer and by helping them you may secure their contact details and from there a sales opportunity. It's how people buy today, they research, they investigate, they compare and the finally buy. You need to attract them while they're researching to increase your chances of being on their radar when it comes to the purchase stage.
Is It Time To Embrace Inbound?
We started by considering when the time was right to embrace inbound marketing. I suggested waiting until your order book is empty wasn't the right time, it really isn't. However, if you answer "That's Me!" to most of the following points then you may be in a great place to create your own strategy for stealing a lead on your competitors and carving out a chunk of the goodness on offer from the search engines:
- We've had some business from our website but we'd like more.
- Our analysis suggests traditional media is not working for us like it used to.
- We're comfortable diverting money from our existing ad spend to something new.
- We've seen our competitors successfully leverage the web and we want to invest in it.
- We've played at web based lead gen now we want to get serious about it.
Whatever you choose to do remember this stuff takes time. We reckon it takes six to nine months, sometimes less sometimes more. If your competitors are doing it now you'll be playing catch up, if they're not you'll be out in front and they will be trying to catch you. I know where we are and it's a great feeling.