How to Succeed in the Age of Organic Search
In a recent piece from Search Engine Land, columnist Trond Lyngbø explained how organic search has changed business from a “selling cycle” of trying to reach consumers to a “buying cycle” of letting consumers reach you. Trond is right, and the new Internet economy means that consumers have the power to do more research, vet more options, and actively avoid being sold to. But when it comes to advice for how to succeed in that environment, Trond is surprisingly vague. He offers general suggestions like “assisting clients with buying decisions” and “sharing information about products and services.” His big revelation: “Stop ‘selling,’ and you’ll make more sales!” Not exactly a detailed playbook.
So how, exactly, do you make sales in a world where you aren’t supposed to sound salesy? Here are four strategies that turn organic search traffic into sales:
- Know which questions your customers are asking: When it comes to organic search, the main strategy is to be the site that answers potential customers’ questions. Each question is a blog post waiting to be written—which will then attract more traffic and sales. For example, if you’re an auto shop you might be able to do a blog post on “How to Change Your Oil in 5 Easy Steps.” But you cannot answer customer questions until you know which ones they’re asking. So find out: install Google Analytics and see what search strings currently bring people to your site, then play with the Google Keyword Tool and try different questions to see which ones are searched a lot. Above all, listen to your existing customers. Questions you’re asked a lot on the phone, by email or in the store are likely ones that people are searching for online, too.
- Tailor blog posts to specific audiences: Just because different types of people need the same product or service does not mean that you can provide the same generic information to all of them. Every group of customers you have, whether it’s soccer moms and soccer players themselves or small business owners and large business office managers, has its own unique needs and concerns. The information you provide each group should be tailored to address their concerns and make sure they understand the solution that’s right for them. As an example, at EverSpark we work with many types of companies, but a large portion of our clients are law firms. That’s why we sometimes devote whole posts to SEO tactics for lawyers even though we could offer them general SEO information instead.
- Be the voice that defies conventional wisdom—and explain why: Do you ever find yourself correcting common misunderstandings, or explaining where the conventional “wisdom” is wrong? These moments are fertile ground for valuable blog posts that will get search traffic. People often don’t like to be corrected in person, but love seeing common myths debunked online. As an SEO company, for example, we often find ourselves explaining that the black-hat tactics of paying for backlinks or guest blog-posting are no longer effective—and that Google will actually penalize these unnatural links. This isn’t always easy news for companies that have invested heavily in link-buying schemes, but when they realize we can help them lift their Google penalties and rank higher than their competitors, they know it’s valuable knowledge. The more we educate potential clients on common misconceptions, the more clients we get.
- Adapt these messages for other media: We all know by now that social media isn’t a good place to sell things, but that doesn’t mean it’s just an echo chamber. Your social media posts should be more than just links to your latest blog posts; instead, repackage that information in a way that will resonate in a social setting. For our auto shop above, for example, a link to the oil-changing article isn’t bad … but instead, how about an image of a disgusting oil filter, with the words “Your Oil Filter after 10,000 miles” and the caption “Proper maintenance makes your car last longer.” People will share that post a lot, and you’re the one who gets the extra likes, site traffic and search influence.
Need help creating all this content? You aren’t alone. EverSpark can help you create frequent, high-value content that will turn your business into a thought leader—and your traffic into customers. Contact us for a free consultation today.