Accelerate Leads: 3 Steps to an Effective Search Engine Optimization Program

Many companies believe that the process of optimizing your website by adding keywords to the content, title, and Meta tags is the silver bullet to generating sales leads.

By itself, it isn’t. An effective search engine marketing strategy is only part of the process.

Driving prospects to a website is just the first step in a successful search engine optimization program. Unfortunately, 90 percent of businesses focus almost exclusively on this first step, while a successful online campaign actually has three critical components:

  • Drive prospects to your website.
  • Keep them there by creating a compelling benefit-based message.
  • Generate sales leads, ensuring the site turns visitors into customers.

It’s a lot of work – why bother?

Search engines provide an opportunity to increase sales leads by 25%-50% in the first months provided your website follows site optimization and web usability best practices as outlined below:

Assess your audience and identify what actions lead to sales.

Success lies in understanding your customers. Whom are you trying to attract? What content would attract each of these key audiences? How can you encourage website visitors to interact with your company?

  • Talk to sales. Identify the best type of lead for the sales team. Take into account how the salespeople describe your products and services to prospects, and the objections they receive.
  • Evaluate customer buying cycles and potential “call-to-action” items that could be incorporated onto the site to engage prospects. Do you have relevant content for prospects that are in the early research stages? Do you also have relevant content for those ready to engage with your sales team?

Assess your site

  • Evaluate the content on your website based on the needs of your audience. Do you have content for all audiences? What types of content will keep prospects on your website?
  • Research the competition. Review the websites of your top competitors and assess how well they rank in the search engines for your top search phrases. Identify competitors that you may not even know about by using the “similar sites” feature in Google. Search engines know what sites are similar based on the siteâs content and the links pointing to a site.
  • Assess your website traffic activity. Where is the traffic coming from? How many visitors leave after viewing the home page? How long do visitors stay on your site? What are the top search phrases used to find you? What is the most visited content?

Identify the right keyword phrases

  • Identify the most valuable keywords for your company based on relevance and popularity. Being found for unpopular search phrases is of little value.
  • Think like your prospects. Understand how they would conduct searches for your products and services. There are several ways to identify the right keyword phrases:
    • Brainstorm with existing customers.
    • Analyze website statistical data.
    • Review site search results.
    • Research keywords with special tools and search engines. Explore competitors’ websites.
    • Test with a Pay-per-Click (PPC) campaign.
    • Research the popularity of your search terms and the competition for those same words. Good tools for this are Wordtracker and Overture.
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Optimize your site

  • Create keyword-rich title and Meta description tags.
  • Optimize each web page for two to three keywords, using your keyword phrases in a natural way. Dispense with marketing fluff and jargon.
  • Include keywords in internal anchor text links.
  • Include an extensive site map and link to it from the homepage.

Track performance and re-evaluate

  • Your company will spend considerable resources creating its online lead-generation program. Tracking is the key to defining the effectiveness of this program.
  • There are multiple ways to evaluate effectiveness including the:
    • Number of unique or new visitors
    • Increase in the rankings of your site for top keyword phrases
    • Opt-in email sign-ups
    • Information requests by phone or email enquiries
    • Visitors taking online product tours or signing up for webinars.
Getting a prospect to click on your listing in a search engine is only the first step in an effective online lead generation program.

What happens after they arrive on your website is just as important as how they get there.