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Where To Invest In SEO For Maximum Impact

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Where To Invest In SEO For Maximum Impact

You’re a savvy marketer.

You know the importance of changing with the times, adopting new technology, and taking advantage of new opportunities.

So, it’s no surprise you’ve recognized the importance of search engine optimization (SEO).

After all, SEO is on an epic rise and helping businesses of all types find new customers.

And, if you’re in the process of expanding and targeting new markets, or just considering it, SEO should be a vital part of your marketing strategy.

But, you may find yourself wondering just how you should get involved in this field. Is it really worth the time, energy, and investment? Unequivocally, yes.

We have all the information you need to know about why you need SEO, how to invest in it, and everything else you might need to convince hesitant stakeholders in your organization.

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Is SEO Worth it?

Every business in the 21st century needs a website. And because you need a website, you need SEO to help customers find you.

It’s the best and most cost-effective way to both understand and reach customers.

The primary source of the traffic to most websites, it helps build your credibility and gives you a clear understanding of what your customers are searching for.

Good SEO means better traffic from more qualified leads, increased engagement, and more conversions.

SEO Amplifies Your Marketing Plan

Your brand doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

And because the internet in general and mobile devices, in particular, continue to be the primary tools for customer research, your online presence is paramount.

SEO works in conjunction with your other marketing initiatives, amplifying your results.

Imagine, for example, you’re a window company sending out a postcard mailer to potential new customers in your area.

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One customer is interested in getting a quote for installation, but he accidentally threw away your collateral. And he can’t quite remember the name of your business.

So, he does a search for “window installation in my area.”

Thanks to your investment in SEO, your company shows up at the top of search engine page rankings (SERPs) and he contacts you instead of one of your competitors.

In this example, both your flyer and your SEO investment have done their job, with each performing better than they would have on their own.

It’s A Growing Field

According to a study by The Business Research Company, the global search engine services market grew at a compound annual growth rate of 16.7% from 2015 to 2020, reaching a value of nearly $46.7 billion.

This rapid growth trend is expected to continue, with the market for SEO services reaching $217.8 billion by 2030.

It should also come as no surprise the biggest name in this field remains to be Google.

According to Similarweb, Google is visited more than 89 billion times a month. This gives it by far the largest market share, accounting for 92% of all searches.

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If your website isn’t ranking highly in SERPs, however, you’re missing out on a lot of business.

Effective SEO opens the door for exponential growth and helps you stand out from your competition.

SEO Creates Positive Experiences

No matter how brilliant you are at marketing, and we’re sure you’re amazing, consumers will always view your campaigns with some degree of skepticism.

That’s because they know your goal is to present your brand in the most positive light possible.

After all, McDonald’s wouldn’t sell nearly as many burgers if their slogan was “Eh, it’s okay,” instead of “I’m loving it.”

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Regardless of which tagline is more accurate, customers know when you’re pumping sunshine – and that’s what makes reviews so important.

Studies have found as many as 82% of consumers say they read online reviews for local businesses, with 91% saying positive reviews make them more likely to use a business.

Not sure what reviews have to do with SEO?

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The link between Google Reviews and SEO rankings has been long established, as positive reviews are a strong signal to search engines about your site’s trustworthiness and authority.

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of SEO, let’s take a closer look at the nuts and bolts of an SEO campaign.

What Is A Typical ROI For SEO?

Every successful business has one thing in common: They keep their balance sheet in the black. And an important component of that is making smart decisions with money.

Let’s put it on the table: SEO is not free.

Even if you’re willing to do all the work yourself, you’re still sinking a considerable amount of time into doing all the things it requires.

And that’s time you could have spent on other business initiatives. But trust us, SEO is worth it.

There are several different metrics you can use to measure the return on investment (ROI) of your SEO. You can measure your campaign’s success using things like:

  • Organic search – your page’s ranking in Google or other search engines.
  • Organic traffic – your share of non-paid search engine traffic.
  • Business metrics like backlinks, impressions, or clickthrough rate, among others.
  • Business profitability – conversions into sales (though you may also find value in opportunities and/or qualified leads).

SEO has been proven by some agencies to attract leads at 25 cents on the dollar when compared to paid search.

How Much Should You Invest In SEO?

By this point, it should be clear that your business needs SEO.

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And that means earmarking part of your marketing budget for it. But how much, exactly?

If you don’t know where to even begin answering this, you’re not alone.

Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer.

Depending on where you’re starting from and where you want to go, there’s a huge amount of variance.

But there is one truism: Like mattresses and car batteries, you get what you pay for.

If you try to take a budget route, you’re probably going to get budget results.

You could contract with one of the many SEO scammers with “Guaranteed First Page Results!™” only to fall victim to a bunch of black hat tactics that end up getting you penalized and effectively erasing your site’s visibility.

But if you don’t have a massive SEO budget, don’t worry. You can still get good results just by focusing on a few of the most important factors, namely:

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  • Site architecture: Ensure good crawlability, follow webmaster guidelines, and pay attention to user experience.
  • Good content: Regularly add fresh, keyword-rich content that matches search queries and satisfies user intent.
  • Quality backlinks: Natural backlinks (not link farms) from high trust-high authority sites can help you shoot up the rankings.

But, what does that mean in terms of dollars and cents? The short (and admittedly frustrating answer) is “it depends.”

SEO takes time and if you’re expecting overnight results, you’re going to be disappointed.

You should budget for a minimum of six months to see results. And that will vary depending on your needs.

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A first-class SEO agency running a local campaign may run you $500/month.

If you’re setting your sights on loftier goals, an international campaign will require a budget five to 10 times that.

But of course, the most cost-effective way to handle SEO is simply to become an expert yourself by reading articles like this one.

For a more in-depth walkthrough on how to determine your SEO budget, read this article.

How Do You Invest In SEO?

The first step in investing in SEO is determining your goals.

Are you looking to expand your sales funnel? Increase customer awareness? Show up in a specific number of searches per day?

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Figure out what you want to achieve, and then decide on your strategy.

Once you’ve landed on a plan of attack, you can work out which tactics you need to achieve that strategy.

Confused by the difference between strategy and tactics? The easiest way to remember it: tactics are small scale, whereas strategy is large scale. Strategy is why and tactics is how.

For example, Napoleon wanted to invade Belgium to drive a wedge between his British and Prussian enemies. That was the strategy behind his Waterloo campaign.

The attack of the French cavalry in an attempt to break the British center at the Battle of Waterloo was a tactic used to help achieve that greater goal (which failed, as any high school history teacher could tell you. Sometimes tactics are unsuccessful, though they don’t always derail an entire strategy as they did in this case).

In case that just muddied things up further, we have a handy piece that does a much better job of explaining it than a ham-fisted example from 19th-century warfare.

Need help developing a comprehensive SEO strategy? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there, too.

If you have the budget to cover it, there are a number of paid SEO tools that are well worth the money.

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From keyword research to evaluating backlinks, these programs can provide you with clearer insights into your campaigns and help you boost overall SEO efficiency.

For a breakdown of some of the best-paid SEO tools on the market, click here.

Should You Invest In SEO Or PPC Ads?

SEO has a better average ROI than pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, so that’s what you should be using, right? No.

Both are valuable, and ideally, you should have a mix of paid and organic search campaigns that make sense for your company and your current assets. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.

While you could write a book on just this topic, we’ll attempt to give you a very brief overview of the benefits of each and what you’ll be investing your time and money in.

Advantages Of SEO

  • Website traffic: SEO can help increase the total number of people who visit your site and land more clicks overall.
  • ROI: As previously discussed, SEO is more cost-effective than PPC, though be warned: Neither is cheap or easy.
  • Branding and awareness: Organic search puts your business in front of potential customers based on search queries, increasing visibility around search terms, and exposing people to your brand.
  • Credibility: Ranking highly in SERPs can play a large role in building trust. Many users skip right past the paid ads and click on organic results instead.
  • Longer-lasting results: While SEO takes some time to begin seeing results, it also takes longer to drop off. An optimized site can maintain a high ranking long after a PPC campaign has been deactivated.
  • Stability: Similarly, whereas PPC ad positioning can change according to bids from the competition, a site with good SEO will hold a relative position even if you forget about it for a while.
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Advantages Of PPC

  • Faster results: Once you launch a paid campaign, you should begin seeing more traffic, clicks, and conversions right away.
  • Algorithm changes don’t affect positioning: PPC is bidding for the top spots on a SERP, which means you don’t have to rethink content and strategies every time Google updates its search algorithm.
  • More control: Because you have control over your spending, you’ll always know what kind of returns you are getting, which in turn makes budgeting easier.
  • More accurate targeting: Paid search ads let you target based on an entire range of factors including demographics, geography, and time of day, so you can more accurately go after an audience.
  • You can use visual ads: People are more likely to click on images of the product they’re searching for. You can do this with PPC, but not with organic search.

Your SEO Investment

What exactly are you spending your budget on with an SEO campaign? In short, architecture and content.

If you’re handy with HTML and CSS, you need to evaluate your site to ensure it’s well-built.

That means improving crawlability and structural issues, ensuring it creates good user experiences, loads quickly, and doesn’t have 404 links.

If you don’t know your way around code, you should be able to hire a professional to handle this for you for a reasonable price.

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The content is a bit more straightforward.

You want to ensure your website has the information your targets are searching for. Effective and meaningful content will drive the traffic you want and improve your overall ROI.

For your convenience, we’ve provided a guide to developing an SEO content strategy and information on how to create evergreen content that will continue to drive traffic for months or even years.

How Should You Structure Your SEO Investment?

By this point, it should be clear that you need SEO. Now it’s just time to figure out where your budget should be going.

As with nearly everything SEO-related, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here.

What works for your business depends on a lot of factors, including your market, goals, and overall marketing budget.

However, if we could make a suggestion, it would behoove you to hire a strong SEO team.

There are a wealth of professionals out there skilled in various aspects of SEO, including technical SEO, keyword research, and content creation.

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Don’t have the budget to hire anyone? Never fear, these are all skills you can master yourself with some research and hard work.

Just keep in mind common traits SEO professionals share and work on cultivating those skills yourself.

Conclusion

Don’t kid yourself – SEO is a massive undertaking. But it’s not overwhelming. You have already taken a great first step just by reading this article.

There’s a lot that factors in, but with the right attitude and a clear strategy, you can get the results you want, no matter what your budget is.

Now, get out there and start working on your ranking.

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Featured Image: mialapi/Shutterstock

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How To Create Your Instagram Content Plan

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How To Create Your Instagram Content Plan

Are your Instagram posts not bringing desired results?

Then maybe you need to think about reshaping your strategy and create a content plan.

Content plans can help guide how you release content to make sure you’re hitting certain goals and help your content perform better.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to create a content plan that increases brand reach and conversions on Instagram. You’ll also learn some helpful tips to help boost your content.

1. Define Your Goal

The first thing you want to do is create your Instagram goal or goals.

What do you want to accomplish? Is it to grow your audience, drive more engagement, or generate sales?

Once you figure out your plan, you’ll be better prepared to tailor your content to meet those goals.

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Then, you can set the key performance indicators (KPIs) to mark different points of analysis you want to observe along with your Instagram campaign.

After you select your goal and some KPIs, it’s beneficial to break down your goal into different milestones you would like to reach along the way.

For example, let’s say you want to grow your audience by 20% by the end of the quarter.

What are some milestones along the way you can mark to achieve that goal? What types of content, topics, or content series can you create to increase engagement?

Now, that you’ve done some brainstorming, it’s time to start building your content calendar.

2. Plan Your Content Calendar

A content calendar is important because it’s your roadmap to guide your path, help you meet your goals, and set an end date for a campaign.

This way, you’ll know when you’ve met your goal and can readjust and analyze ways to improve your content strategy for your next campaign.

In addition, a content calendar can help keep ideas and campaigns organized, help you identify any content gaps, and help build consistency (which is critical for Instagram).

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When creating your content plan for the month, quarter, or recent campaign, it’s helpful to plot out which days of the week you want to talk about what.

Next, choose the topic and then form the right caption.

Break content planning into smaller actionable steps makes it easier to make a content calendar.

Then, if you have your goals, topics laid out, and captions, you can move to the next step: Create the necessary pictures or videos.

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Finally, you can compile your topics, days you’re posting, and captions and hashtags into a simple Google, Word, or Excel doc so you can easily copy and paste when you’re ready to schedule out your content.

Bonus Tip: Align Your Content With Marketing Initiatives

If you already have some marketing initiatives, it’s the perfect time to incorporate them into your marketing campaign. For example, maybe you have a new product release.

Then, you can create a content series for that. Create a couple of posts teasing the release of the product, include a giveaway, have an influence to promote your product or a video with them using it, and market those benefits.

Events or holidays are another great way to get consumers engaged and turn more consumers into customers.

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If you have an event coming up, you can create a campaign hyping the event and discussing the speakers involved, products that will be there, or awesome grab bags you’re giving away at the event.

Holidays are another fun and positive way to get customers talking about your brand. Holiday giveaways or deals are another way to grow brand awareness and gain followers.

3. Keep A Consistent Theme And Tone

Creating a tone or brand guide can be an effective way to make sure you keep posts consistent. You also want to maintain a similar theme throughout your posts, including style, font, and colors.

For inspiration, you can look at your website, content, and logos to help create the proper tone and theme for your posts.

In addition, Instagram has the tools in stories that can help you get a color scheme that complements your brand.

You also want to think about the look of your content for both pictures and videos. Consider a consistent angle or filter to set the right tone and look for your content.

It’s also vital to think about your messaging, whether it’s for captions, comments, or responses to direct messages.

It’s crucial to have a standard operating procedure for how you respond to consumers on Instagram, especially if you have multiple people responding to comments and messages, to ensure it’s within the brand’s tone.

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4. Showcase Your Creativity

IG is more than just a photo-sharing app. There are many different ways to create content for Instagram that can highlight your brand and increase engagement.

Let’s talk through them and share some tips on when to use them.

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As you know, Instagram has pictures. Pictures are a great way to showcase products. It’s also great for sharing quotes, posing questions you answer in your image caption, or promoting deals or giveaways.

Videos are an excellent way to show sneak peeks of something coming up or create product teasers. You can also use videos for business BTS and show how to best use your product.

You can use Instagram Reels, or short videos, to showcase products, share stories, and grow your audience.

IGTV or Instagram TV are longer videos on an Instagram feed. Brands use these to go more in-depth into describing a particular topic.

Instagram Shopping is a feature that allows consumers to shop your products through your photos and videos.

Brands can create product tags and product launches where consumers can purchase products straight through Instagram.

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Then, customers don’t have to take the step to leave Instagram to go to your website. Instead, they can quickly buy through the app.

Stories are photos or videos that last 24 hours (unless you add them to your highlights on your profile) where you can share posts from your profile or post new content. It’s a popular way to gain more followers and engage with consumers.

User-Generated Content or content created by influences, customers, or other users is a great way to extend your reach to different audiences and further promote your products.

People are more intrigued to learn about a new product if it’s promoted by someone they already follow.

Likewise, it can help build trust with consumers new to your brand if they see a post by a customer who already loves it.

But what content goes viral? It can be beneficial to look at what your competitors are people on Instagram creating and put your brand’s unique twist on it.

5. Craft Compelling Captions And CTAs

While it’s great to have high-quality pictures and engaging videos, the captions and call to action still matter.

If you hooked the consumer with your picture or video, you want to reel them in with your caption and CTA.

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It’s essential to take time crafting the right CTA to ensure consumers follow your page, engage with your post, or purchase your product.

6. Choose The Correct Hashtags

It’s also crucial to research and choose the right hashtags to ensure your posts reach the intended audience and some new ones that might be interested in your brand.

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Hashtags allow your content to reach users beyond your profile’s following. As you create content for specific hashtags, note which posts perform particularly well.

That way, you can create future posts for specific hashtags that will increase your content’s visibility.

7. Know The Best Time To Post

Planning posts ahead of time can help alleviate some stress of social media strategy.

You can use Meta Business Suites to schedule posts for Facebook and Instagram and set posts for a week or a couple of weeks.

If you’re unsure when to post, they have suggested days and times where analysis points to where you’ll get the most engagement and views.

Although, it would be beneficial to do some research specific to your industry to see the best time and day to make your posts.

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One important thing to keep in mind when you’re planning your content is the upcoming holidays.

Are you going to make a post celebrating the holiday, use the holiday to do a promotion or give away, or choose not to post on that day altogether?

No matter what you pick, it’s important to keep holidays in mind.

8. Measure Results And Adjust

Instagram Insights, both on the app and through Meta Business Suites, can show how many views a post gets and statistics on the engagement with the posts to help you see which types of content are working best. You can see your content’s likes, shares, comments, and saves.

Brands can also use Insights to get metrics on the paid activity. Insights are a great way to see trends so that you can adjust your content strategy.

You’ll also be able to see metrics into your followers to see how many you’re receiving, the age of your followers, and information on when they are most active online. This way, you can adjust the times you post to ensure you are better at reaching your audience.

Wrapping Up

Content planning is the best way to help boost reach and engagement on Instagram.

Creating a content calendar inspired by current marketing objectives and tailoring your content with a theme backed by metrics is the best way to help meet your goals.

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Featured Image: alinabuphoto/Shutterstock

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