What are the keys to develop the right SEO strategy?
This is a good question to start with, as it is key to determine the success of any serious online project. Summarizing all, I would highlight four big areas:
1. Competence analysis.
In an ecosystem as competitive as the digital one, it is essential to know the market in depth, see what competitors are doing. Equally important is knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, like those of other brands because these differences will allow us to leverage the situation and take advantage.
2. Keyword research.
Very important since these will be the words that users will use to make queries in different search engines and, therefore, will be the way the user will find us.
Here I want to emphasize the difficulty of carrying out a search of keywords nowadays due to the continuous updates in the algorithms of the searchers. For example, Google updated its algorithm in 2013 to penalize those robotic texts in which keywords were massively dumped in the content with the sole purpose of positioning the term.
The tendency has been placing users in the center of all these mechanisms and, therefore, if the content is not relevant to them it will neither be so for the search engine. Hence the importance of concepts such as long tail keywords or semantic searches or, what is the same, enrich the content with relevant but not key terms that provide some value to the user.
3. Give the content the importance it deserves.
Closely related to with the previous point. It is useless to have the keywords very identified if we do not know what to do with them. The content is key to bring the target audience to the site, to maintain it and to differentiate ourselves from the competitors.
In addition, an attractive content, original and relevant to the user will also be perfect for the search engines algorithms, which will reward ours with respect to the rest of contents that do not develop this area in depth.
It is basic to know if we are succeeding in our work or we need to change the focus. One of the advantages of SEO at this point is that it is fully measurable: we can measure the ranking of our keywords, the number of incoming links, web traffic captured by a source…
At this point, we must transmit calm to our client, since it is very common that if they do not understand the whole process they may demand very short-term results. Although it is true that significant changes can be observed from the very beginning, it is proved that SEO optimization gives consistent results in the medium-long term. Also, it is necessary to make the client see that SEO is a daily job, that requires a lot and that does not end with just having an optimized and beautiful website.
Do SEO and SEM work well together?
Of course. SEO and SEM are not mutually exclusive channels but complementary ones.
Most online projects will have a limited organic coverage so you will be losing qualified traffic somewhere. SEM will allow us to address these keywords and work to maximize the project coverage.
A strategy that combines both channels and works exceptionally well is using SEO as an attraction channel through quality content, and to use remarketing in SEM as a tool to re-impact on those users who did not become an organic visitor. If we evaluate SEO and SEM in terms of ROI, and not cost, we will be pleasantly surprised.
What are the advantages of planning a SEM strategy in advance?
I could not start working the SEM without a previous planning, since it clarifies the execution and brings transparency with the clients. It is very important to identify the objectives of the campaign since that way we can redirect it and choose the project needs. Depending on this we can make one type of campaign or another (searches, display, video…).
Of course, knowing the budget range available to make a proper assessment makes everything much easier for the professional, and from the first moment campaign results can be estimated with certain logic, and not blindly.
My objective when I carry out any campaign planning is that this preliminary project contains enough information so that any colleague who has not participated in the planning may execute it anyway and, in addition, the client may know beforehand how the proposed campaign will work.
What should comprise the right online marketing strategy?
Beyond the type of marketing strategy that is developed or the channels that planned to be used… It is essential to define specific marketing objectives, also known as SMART objectives. Also, it is crucial to define a measurement system and develop a table with the KPIs and performance metrics that will be the reference to evaluate the performance of marketing actions. That is, to specify what we are going to measure.
If we do not start by defining the strategy well and we cannot close it with a solid and concrete measurement system, the middle part of the strategy (content strategy, actions, channels…) loses effectiveness because we do not have a context to compare the performance of the marketing actions carried out.
Why the digital marketing analytics is so important and what information does it exactly provide to our industry?
Analytics closes the cycle of marketing actions. Daily work and needs sometimes leave no room to data compilation, but it is a very important activity.
Those of us who work in marketing endeavor to make super comprehensive, complete reports, but I find it more useful to design functional control panels that show the key metrics for each client, to draw conclusions with them. Results are much better this way, since the client finds the information much more accessible and takes time to read the whole report.
With respect to the second part of the question, digital analytics brings many advantages, but I think that for a marketing professional the biggest one is to know if the accomplished work is aligned with the objectives set in the initial strategy. It is the only way to know if we are doing well.