The shocking truth is that just having a website is no longer enough. You need to continually invest in it to ensure prospects can easily find you. The best marketing tactic you can use is search engine optimization or SEO. Thankfully, you can use SEO for lead generation, and it’s a highly affordable tactic.
Most businesses spend a fortune on developing a flashy-looking website. Nothing wrong with that. But they don’t think about how to market their website, so it drives revenue for their business and pays for itself.
You can market your business’s website using an endless list of tactics, including SEO, pay-per-click (PPC), and social media. Unless you’re in a highly competitive niche, SEO is the most affordable option as it delivers fresh leads every day.
Here’s how to use SEO for lead generation and turn your website from a cash cow to a money-making machine.
What is SEO?
The simplest way to describe SEO is: SEO is the practice of building web pages that target a keyword or phrase that people are searching for.
Search engines are uber-powerful, and they collect a myriad of data from each search query. You might Google “men’s leather loafers size 8” and you’ll see a list of results tailored to you.
Google records what phrases people use and how often these are used. It will also calculate where each website that’s targetting that phrase should be displayed in the results based on how authoritative each website is. It does all of this in a fraction of a second.
Most people mistakenly believe that SEO provides instant results or is a form of magic that’s smoke and mirrors. Hopefully, you can see SEO is about building pages around phrases that people are searching for.
Why SEO is perfect for lead generation
There are many reasons why using SEO for lead generation makes sense.
If your competitors are sleeping on marketing their business online, with some tweaks you can boost your website’s visibility and drive more leads.
While PPC will give you instant results, they will also disappear if you stop paying for your adverts to appear (see our article on paid search vs organic search). It’s true, that SEO takes time but can provide constant results with only a small amount of ongoing effort.
SEO drives highly targeted traffic to your website when compared to other marketing tactics. The leads SEO can deliver are affordable and done efficiently.
Unlike social media or your local paper, both of which could disappear tomorrow, search engines are here to stay. And once you’ve mastered the art of appearing at the top of the search results, you can keep using SEO to generate new leads.
What KPIs should I set?
If you don’t set clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) before you start, you’ll likely be disappointed as you have no way to measure your progress or decide if your strategy works or needs tweaking.
I’m a big believer in setting 2 or 3 website KPIs that are super simple to measure and get looked at daily. For most businesses, they should measure:
- Leads form completed
- Time on website
That’s it. The longer people spend on your website, the more they’ll see you as the ONLY option and not one of many. And if they see you as their only solution, they will fill out a lead capture form or buy a product.
Yes, there are thousands of metrics you could measure, including bounce rate, average keyword positions, number of keywords in the top 3, and visitor numbers. But all of these are window dressing that have little impact on your bottom line.
If you get 100 visitors each day but only one converts into a customer, you’re wasting a lot of effort. However, if you’re getting 20 visitors per day and two convert into clients, you have a much leaner money-making machine. So, visitor numbers don’t matter at all, but conversions do.
#1 Audit your website
Before you can start building an SEO plan, you need to check your website’s vitals.
Here are the critical elements you need:
- Keyword plan
- % pages indexed
- Benchmark loading speed
You’ll also need a keyword research tool such as Rank Tracker by SEO Powersuite.
If you don’t have a keyword plan, your website won’t perform to its full potential. Don’t worry, we’ll cover this in more depth later on.
Search engines use sitemaps to find new pages that they will crawl, index, and then rank. If you don’t have a sitemap, you should sort this out asap. WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace allow you to add a sitemap in a few clicks.
% pages indexed
Before your page appears in the search results, it needs to be crawled and indexed by the search engines. In Google Search Console, you can easily see what pages have been found, crawled, indexed, and what keywords they appear for.
Benchmark loading speed
We’ll cover website loading speed in the following sections. But having a fast-loading website is critical to you converting more visitors into leads.
#2 Increase your website speed
As we use the web more, our attention span shortens. So, how fast a website loads become even more critical. No one will wait more than 3 seconds for your website to load. Ideally, you want a load time of under 2 seconds.
Before you can improve your website’s speed, you need to measure it. I recommend recording the speed of your home page, a product/service, and the about page. Doing so will give you a complete overview rather than a false sense of security.
There are two different tools you should use. Ideally, take the average of the two.
Google PageSpeed Insights
The first tool is Google PageSpeed Insights. You only need to focus on the figure for the Largest Contentful Paint. Ignore everything else, especially at this stage.
You should also scan your website with GTmetrix. Be warned, that this tool will show you a hundred different data points. Again the only metric you need right now is the figure for the Largest Contentful Paint.
If you’re under 2 seconds. Great. Otherwise, you need to work on your website speed. Start with my post: Why Website Speed Matters To Your Business.
#3 Ensure your website is mobile-optimized
We’re using our smartphones more, and many prefer them to laptops for casual browsing. If your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you’ll lose sales or leads that your competitor will happily scoop up.
It’s simple to check your website. You could use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, a mobile device (phone or tablet), or BrowserStack’s Responsive Testing Tool. Within a second or two, you’ll know if your website looks great, ok, or poor.
If you’re using WordPress, simply upgrade to a newer mobile-friendly theme. Squarespace and Wix are mobile-friendly out of the box. Otherwise, you’ll have to hire a developer to rebuild your website so it looks great across different browser options.
#4 Basic keyword research strategies
We all search using keywords or short phrases. So, we should create content that use them. Use your keyword in the title, URL a subheading, and a few times in the body of the page or post. Don’t overuse your keyword or you’ll get slapped by the search engines.
The best keyword research method is to focus on what questions your clients already ask you and what problems you solve. Start by writing down a long list of these.
With your list, you can use a keyword tool such as Rank Tracker or Ubersuggest to validate your assumption. Regardless of what keyword tool you use, there are only two metrics you need to pay attention to: Average Monthly Search and Keyword Difficulty.
You want to ensure you target low-difficulty keywords that are easy to rank for. For example, “Bentley Azure paint correction in New York” will be easier to rank your website for than “Bentley New York“.
#5 Organize your keywords list for your buyer’s journey
You should have content for each step in your sales process. There are three steps in the buyer’s journey Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. So, it’s worth grouping keywords by each step.
The buyer realizes they have a problem. They want to understand more about it. They might search for “how to solve x“, “can I repair y“, or “Should I hire someone to fix z“.
Creating awareness content is easy as you’re answering common questions.
The buyer is looking for and comparing potential solutions to their problem. They will search for “product A vs product B“, “product A review” or “does product A last?“.
You might need to ask clients who they’ve researched before choosing you. With this information, you can create pages that compare you and your competitor.
The buyer purchases a solution and so searches “buy product x” or “product y discount”. You must have a clear CTA such as buy or book demo, to convert a visitor into a client.
#6 Update existing on-page content
Start with what you have. After you have a keyword list, take a moment to match up your existing content with this list. You might need to re-optimize pages and delete some that don’t fit with a keyword from your list.
If you don’t update your existing pages to fit within your new keyword strategy, you risk limiting your growth over the next year. Take the time to sort out your existing content so that you build a firm base that makes growth easy and scalable.
Next, you can start to build out your content plan.
#7 Add a FAQ page
Hate having your time wasted by prospects asking the same four questions? Create an FAQ page that answers the common questions you’re asked. Next, add a link to the page from your main menu, so it’s easy to find.
If you run an e-commerce website, you might find it easier to add a short FAQ section to each product page that covers delivery options, returns/exchanges, and sizing information. Again questions you’re asked regularly.
#8 Create a 12-month content strategy
If you plan to blog weekly, you’ll need a content strategy with 52 keyword ideas. I’m a massive fan of covering two or three topics at once. By only focusing on a single topic, you’ll bore your audience. So mix things up and cover different steps in the buyer’s journey.
Another benefit of having variety in the topic you cover is that you’ll produce interesting content that your readers will enjoy. If you’re bored when writing, your readers will sense it!
#9 Create a backlink strategy
To appear at the top of the search results, you need some quality backlinks. You probably need less than you think. Yet most businesses don’t have a strategy in place to acquire them.
There are plenty of places you can get backlinks from, such as the local newspaper, trade press, niche forums, and networking groups.
#10 Create an internal linking strategy
The biggest mistake I see with my client’s website is the lack of internal links. If you want visitors to stick around, you need to link to other pages on your website that keep them engaged and moving toward clicking a CTA.
One way to build internal links is to add breadcrumbs to the top of each page that link back to the top category. On blog posts, you can reference other posts and pages on your website and add a list of popular posts at the bottom.
Aim to add at least two internal links when creating a new page or post. These will help keep visitors engaged on your website for longer and make it easier for the search engines to find new pages.
#11 Promote and manage customer reviews
Negative reviews can be a good thing. They show you’re human, especially if you try to make good when you fall short. That said, your potential customers can smell a rat if you only have positive reviews.
You need to manage customer reviews and ensure any fake ones are removed. It’s worth promoting your best reviews on your social channels.
#12 Have active social media channels
It takes a few seconds to post on Facebook or Twitter, yet many small businesses don’t bother. What they don’t realize is that their prospects will look at their social media to check they are still in business and worth working with.
Social media is powerful for engaging with prospects, sharing your best work, and creating a stronger brand. So stay active and keep pushing people back to your website.
#13 Make it easy to become a client
While this might sound simple, it’s not always the case. A quick story to illustrate my point.
Recently, I was with some friends and discussing where to eat lunch. We liked the look of an American-themed dinner, and so one of the group called to book a table. She was told to book online. Fine. It took her five minutes to find the booking form on the website.
Make it easy for visitors to become clients by making it simple for them to take the intended action. If you’re trying to collect leads, make the CTA clear and only ask for minimal information. Regularly check that the lead form is still active on the page.
If customers can purchase online, make it easy to find both the add to cart button and the cart itself. Sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how difficult some businesses make it to give them money.
Your visitors will leave and buy from your competitors if you make it hard for them. Part of making it easy is using automatic follow-up emails that inform the customer of what will happen next.
Remember SEO is a long term strategy
If you want SEO results now, you should have started at least 6 months ago! Yes, SEO takes time to work. It’s not like PPC where you can pay to be displayed at the top of the search results.
That said, SEO will continue to drive targeted visitors to your website for years to come. With PPC, if you stop paying, your ads will disappear, as will your flow of new leads. So, put the effort into SEO and reap the long-term results.
That’s how to use SEO for lead generation
SEO traffic is the best as after you put in the work, you should get passive visitors week after week. Now you better understand how to use SEO for lead generation, you can apply some of the tips we covered to improve the number of sales that your website generates.
Struggling to drive sales from your website?
Our 1-to-1 SEO website content marketing coaching service is designed for you. Book Free call