Search engine optimisation a long-term strategy. It aims to position your company as an industry leader through the production and marketing of valuable content. Unlike paid advertising, which once you turn on starts generating traffic that same day, SEO takes a little more time to develop.
Also, unlike PPC or advertising, SEO has a stable customer acquisition cost, and the leads don’t stop once your budget runs out. With some forward planning and smart SEO techniques, you can create an SEO sales system that consistently keeps your pipeline filled, growing your revenue reliably over time at a customer acquisition cost far superior to other channels.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the most effective SEO lead generation techniques we’ve uncovered, helping you to improve your optimisation efforts and generate more organic leads. Whether you’re a new or seasoned marketer, this article should have something for you.
1. Audit & Prioritise Opportunities
Step one is so obvious it shouldn’t need saying, but we see people skipping this step all the time. Find out where your SEO needs to improve by doing a full audit. An audit can be a great way to evaluate your current standings, find gaps in your strategy, potentially improve your understanding of competitors and benchmarks, and identify opportunities for improvement both onsite and offsite.
A close examination of your site performance and general adherence to SEO best practices is a key first step as you look to improve your SEO lead-generation techniques. Do all of your pages have SEO meta titles and fleshed out descriptions? Is every page targeting specific keywords and sub-keywords? Are you using those keywords to inform the content on those pages?
Starting with a detailed audit gives you a roadmap to future tasks and strategies while ensuring that you don’t cover ground you’ve already covered.
Here are a few SEO audit tools to get you started:
You can use these to get a general idea of what you are doing right, what you are doing wrong, and dig into what your competitors are doing for some inspiration.
Of course the difference between a good audit and a great audit is the ability to read between the lines and to prioritise the things that will have the greatest impact on your rankings. While you can probably find dozens, maybe even hundreds (or even thousands) of individual ‘crawl errors’ to fix, if you want to uncover those golden insights that will revolutionise your SEO, you usually need to roll your sleeves up and do some manual auditing and investigation.
At MoreTraphic, we start every project with a full, in-depth SEO Audit – it’s quite simply critical to success.
Don’t have the time, tools, or expertise to do the audit yourself? Looking for a second opinion? Get in touch for help and advice.
2) Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
Mobile-friendly websites are critical for success in Google. More than half of all Google searches, website visits and even ecommerce sales now come from mobile devices. In 2018, Google fully embraced this by moving to a ‘Mobile-First Index’, where every website’s rankings are now determined based on the mobile version of the site.
Even before this, as far back as 2016, Google released an algorithm update called the ‘Mobile-Friendly Update’ which gave a boost to websites offering best-in-class mobile user experiences. And in early 2020, Google announced they will continue down this path by baking ‘Core Web Vitals’ into their algorithm as ranking signals.
There is a lot of technical stuff to review around this and I won’t go into detail here, but as an absolute minimum you need to make sure your website is fast and easy to use on mobile devices. That’s what Google is looking at and judging you on, so don’t make the all-too-common mistake of fixating on your desktop site when making SEO decisions.
If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website (using responsive technology) there is a high likelihood that you will be penalised in the search results. A mobile website is no longer a luxury, but a standard that you must adhere to if you want to perform well in Google and other search engines.
If you are unsure of whether or not your website is mobile-friendly, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool and Pagespeed Insights to gain some insight. All you have to do is type in your URL. Also check in Search Console as there are specific report sections in there for Mobile Usability and Core Web Vitals.
Just like with auditing though, you should always manually review your site. If you need help with this or you are unsure about precisely what you should be looking for, just give us a shout and we’ll be happy to help.
3. Target Long-Tail Keywords (Kinda)
It takes many businesses 6 months to 1 year to start seeing significant traffic through SEO lead generation techniques. Google and other search engines prioritise websites that have been around for some time, and it often, but not always, takes months to truly get the ball rolling especially for newer/younger websites.
If you want to speed things up and begin seeing results earlier, target long-tail keywords instead of short-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are keywords that include 2 or more words or phrases. These keywords are generally less competitive and easier to rank for. In some cases, you may begin to see significant results well in advance of the 6-month mark.
At MoreTraphic, we always try to include a good mixture of short-tail and long-tail keywords in every campaign to make sure we have realistic short-term, mid-term and long-term goals to work towards. That approach means we get ROI very early and that ROI builds as the campaign progresses.
We’ve seen increases in organic traffic as high as 535% over the initial 6 months of a campaign by following this strategy.
It’s important to not take this to extremes though. There was a time when using long-tail phrases as topical focus for pages was a good strategy – it worked. You would often see sites with thousands of pages all focussed on the same topic but using a slightly different long-tail variation of a keyword.
Google has put a stop to that now. Several algorithm updates in recent years were aimed at improving their ability to understand the meaning behind search queries and content on web-pages, even anticipating the searcher’s needs and their intentions. The most famous were the ‘Maccabees Update’ and the introduction of the RankBrain algorithm.
Thanks to RankBrain in particular, Google can understand when a piece of content is valuable and fully addresses a topic and a searcher’s requirements. Keyword research has evolved to include ‘intent research’ and you should optimise accordingly.
4. Create Supplementary Media for Distribution
When you spend a lot of time putting together that 3,000-word blog post, you should try to squeeze every bit of usefulness out of it that you possibly can. Putting together long-form content is a serious commitment and it can take several days to put together one single high-value blog post.
To make a piece of long-form content stretch farther, try to include supplementary media that you can distribute on various platforms around the web along with it. Some people like to call this process “atomising” content. You’ve already conducted the research, so you might as well get as much out of that research as you can and make “atomised” pieces of the main content.
Use the information that you have gathered to help you put together:
- Thought pieces
- Editorial copy
By taking the research that you have already put time into and releasing it as other media assets that can perform well in search, you expand the reach of your original work and generate more leads over time. Additionally, including that media on the page with your original article can help your article rank more highly in search, as Google prioritises content that includes rich media, especially if it helps to match the page to specific search queries based on searcher intent.
To make a piece of long-form content stretch farther, try to include supplementary media that you can distribute on various platforms around the web along with it
Want to know one of our best performing lead generation techniques ever?
With many of our long-form pieces of content that generate a fair amount of traffic for clients, we also included a one-page “cheat sheet” so readers who don’t have time to read the full blog post could get an overview quickly. These have proven to be invaluable for capturing user data and generating hot leads.
Get in touch for more info on this tactic. We’d be happy to show you some case studies. (and we’ll try not to be too smug about it, we promise).
5. Don’t Neglect Social Media
Even if your focus is on generating leads from SEO and not necessarily on growing your social media following, it is important to remember that the two should go hand-in-hand.
Social media can be a great platform for networking and growing awareness, drumming up interest in content. Social media is a simple and inexhaustible tool for distributing your content, securing new backlinks, and generally generating opportunities that will benefit your search engine optimisation in the future.
Remember — Google and other search engines take social media presence into account when ranking websites. It may not play as large of a role as your content and backlinks, but it does have a measurable effect. Beyond that, fostering a social media following will have a long-term impact on your search optimisation efforts.
6. Update Existing Content That Performed Well
Do you have a piece of content that is performing particularly well in search results, but was created years ago? Updating your content to include new information can be a great way to give it a boost in search results while providing more value to your visitors.
Updating a top-performing piece of content can result in a 15-30% increase in trafficSearch Engine Journal
Giving an article a “New Years Update” can also be a great way to signal to users that the article contains new information while targeting a whole host of year-related keywords typically searched by users who are looking for the freshest, most up-to-date information.
7. Find Broken Link Opportunities
Broken link building is the act of finding a link that linked to a website that was similar to your own that has since gone down, then contacting the website owner (or an editor) and asking them to update that broken link to point to your content.
Broken link building is an extremely effective strategy, but an advanced one. It may take several attempts to get a link to stick on popular platforms, but it has everything that you would hope for from a link building strategy — it’s scalable, white hat, and produces results.
While you might be doing it for your own benefit (of course) remember that you are helping the other website. They don’t want broken links on their site, so by flagging these up to them and making it super easy for them to update those, you’re doing them a favour. They would much prefer to send their users to valuable content than to give them broken links!
8. Use Your Competition’s Keywords as a Roadmap
Finding keywords that attract visitors and conversions can be difficult and it often takes a good amount of time to fully understand the keyword landscape within your industry. If you want to skip a lot of the research phase, you can jump in front of the pack by taking cues from your competition.
Using tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs, you can see what keywords your competitors are ranking for. By analyzing those keywords, the content that they produce, and the backlinks that they build you can get an idea of what keywords are most lucrative for them.
Using your competition as a guide can be a great way to jumpstart your SEO lead generation campaign and save you a lot of time and money that would usually be spent researching and analyzing your way through your keyword list. You’ll be able to target the most valuable keywords from the start and identify keywords that are performing well for your competitors.
9. Create Long-Form Content
Long-form content performs better in search engines. A study from Backlinko that examined more than 1 million Google search results found that the average word count on Google’s first page was 1,890 words. The deeper on the first page you go, the lower the average word count.
Of course, this can vary from keyword-to-keyword. Using a SERP analysis tool like Surfer SEO will give you precise correlations and targets.
Long-form content is ideal for Google because it means that you are simply providing more information to your users. You are diving deeper into the subject and giving more value to their searchers. It makes sense that they would want to route their users to websites that provide more useful information.
Keep in mind, that a long-form content piece is not necessarily ideal for each keyword. Search intent matters. Sometimes your users will arrive on your website expecting a short product page, and throwing a long-form article at them will increase your bounce rate and result in decreased rankings. However, for information-first keywords, long-form content will almost always outperform shorter articles.
10. Mention Influencers Within Content
Want links from influential people and websites? There is no more straightforward way to secure these types of links than to start networking and building rapport with influencers.
By mentioning influencers within your content and informing them when you do, you increase the likelihood that they will link to your website or mention you on their social accounts. If they share your content, you could be looking at dozens or hundreds of shares from their followers.
If you want to go a step further, you can reach out to influencers through DM or email and ask if they would be interested in being featured in a piece of your content. Getting them to provide a quote on the subject that you are covering can be a great way to get them to buy in.
11. Reference Authority Websites
Studies have shown that linking out to trusted sources has a positive effect on SEO. Google and other search engines want to send their searchers to pages that have done their research and provided citations and sources to back up their assertions.
Within your content, find ways to link to authority websites within your industry. Not only will this signal to Google that your page is more valuable, but it will increase the chances that these websites will link back to you.
12. Use Internal Links to Boost 2nd and 3rd Page Results
Do you have some pages on your website that seem like they are stuck on the 2nd or 3rd page, on the cusp of a traffic bump that would have a measurable impact on your business? If so, you should do everything in your power to give those pages any additional bump that you can. One of the simplest ways to do so is to increase the number of internal links to those pages.
By pushing additional link juice to those pages through internal links, and showing Google that those pages include useful information on related subjects, you may be able to give them a little bit of a boost that can put those pages on Google’s first page results.
The difference between page-one and page-two rankings is huge. SEO lead generation really only takes place on the first page because so few searchers click through to the second page in the search results. Internal links can be a simple but effective way to improve the standing of individual pages. Remember — link to those pages from pages that are already performing well to ensure the best result.
13. Transcribe Audio and Video Content
If you produce a lot of audio and video content and are not having those pieces of media transcribed, you are missing out on a big opportunity. The script and words contained in your podcasts, marketing videos, webinars, and other rich media that you produce is a perfect opportunity to improve your SEO lead generation and provide more content on the pages that contain this media.
Additionally, providing the transcript on platforms like YouTube can also help with your search optimisation on those platforms as well. A 30-minute webinar could contain 10,000+ words of content, which is useful to provide to users that can’t watch the video or users who want to search the content to find a specific subject.
14. Create Topic Clusters
Over the course of the last few years, SEO has been shifting toward a “topic cluster” model, where a singular page, known as a “pillar page,” acts as the main hub for all related content on the subject. It’s an excellent method for connecting different pieces of content, passing link juice to your most important pages, and ensuring that you cover topics completely.
The strategy is meant to push your pillar content to the top of the SERPS using internal link juice from supporting pages on related subjects. Additionally, the strategy helps to get visitors clicking on multiple pages and engaging with your website, which helps to satisfy the qualities that RankBrain prioritizes. This is very much a modern take on long-tail SEO, tying it directly back to your short-tail keywords.
Dig into the pillar page and topic cluster model and think about how your current content could fit that mold with a little bit of editing. If you already produce content, there is a high likelihood that you have the beginnings of what would make for excellent topic clusters or pillar pages that would perform well in search.
15. Optimise Landing Pages for Search
If you use landing pages in advertising campaigns, there is no reason why you should not also optimise these pages for organic search as well. The more pathways you can open up for SEO lead generation, the more leads you will be able to collect in the long term.
According to MarketingSherpa, 44 percent of clicks for B2B companies go to the homepage and not to a landing page. This isn’t to say that your homepage isn’t important, just that it may not be the best choice for generating leads through SEO.
The main elements of what would be considered a landing page include reduced navigation (because you want users that land on the page to stay on the page), useful content based on the keyword they arrived from, and a call to action.
Don’t let your landing pages just sit on the shelf collecting dust. Optimise them for search. Even if they only generate a small trickle of SEO leads, it’s still a valuable asset that otherwise would have been doing nothing for your business through organic search.
SEO Lead Generation is a Long-Term Strategy
SEO is a strategy that builds on itself. Over time, you’ll see the number of leads that you are able to generate through SEO increase as you develop more content and improve your optimisation across the board. Using the SEO lead generation techniques outlined in this article, you can begin to build an organic lead generation system that keeps your sales pipeline filled with a consistent stream of high-quality leads and grows your revenue.
Did you learn anything new in this article? Anything else you wish we could cover? Let us know!