Do you want to generate more SEO leads? Here at Oz, most of our leads come in through SEO, and so we’re very passionate about the topic! In this article, we’ll be taking you through some of the SEO lead generation techniques which have worked for us, as well as share some of the data we’ve gained.
Why is Search engine optimization a long-term strategy? It aims to position your company as an industry leader through the production of valuable content. Unlike paid media, which once you turn on, starts generating traffic that same day, SEO takes a little time to develop. Also, unlike paid media, SEO has a stable customer acquisition cost, and the leads don’t stop once your budget runs out. With some forward thinking and smart SEO lead gen techniques, you can create an SEO lead generation system that consistently keeps your sales pipeline filled and grows your revenue reliably over time, at a customer acquisition cost far superior to other channels.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the most effective SEO lead generation techniques we’ve uncovered, helping you to improve your optimization efforts and generate SEO leads. Whether you’re a new or seasoned marketer, this article should have something for you.
1.) Audit and Find Opportunities to Improve
How do you know where your search engine optimization needs to improve without an audit? An audit can be a great way to evaluate your current standing, find gaps in your strategy, and identify opportunities for improvement both onsite and offsite.
A close examination of your site performance and general adherence to SEO best practices is a key first step to start as you look to improve your SEO lead generation techniques. Do all of your pages have SEO meta titles and fleshed out descriptions? Is every page targeting specific keywords and sub-keywords? Are you using those keywords to inform the content on those pages?
Starting with a detailed audit gives you a roadmap to future tasks and strategies while ensuring that you don’t cover ground you’ve already covered.
Here are a few SEO audit tools to get you started:
You can use these to get a general idea of what you are doing right, what you are doing wrong, and dig into what your competitors are doing for some inspiration.
At Oz, we start off all of our clients with an SEO Audit- it’s just that important. Need help on getting started? Reach out here.
2.) Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly
Mobile-friendly websites are critical for success in Google. Today more than 60 percent of all Google searches are performed on a mobile device. By 2020, 45 percent of all eCommerce sales in the U.S. will be completed using a mobile device if trends continue. In 2016 Google embraced these trends and announced a new update to their algorithm that specifically boosted websites that are mobile-friendly with a focus on supporting responsive technology.
If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website (using responsive technology) there is a high likelihood that you will be penalized in the search results. A mobile website is no longer a luxury, but a standard that you must adhere to if you want to perform well in Google and other search engines.
If you are unsure of whether or not your website is mobile-friendly, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool to gain some insight. All you have to do is type in your URL.
3.) Target Long-Tail Keywords
Source: Neil Patel
It takes many businesses 6 months to 1 year to start seeing significant traffic through SEO lead generation techniques. Google and other search engines prioritize websites that have been around for some time, and it sometimes, but not always, takes months to truly get the ball rolling.
If you want to speed things up and begin seeing results earlier, target long-tail keywords instead of short-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are keywords that include 2 or more words or phrases. These keywords are generally less competitive and easier to rank for. In some cases, you may begin to see significant results well in advance of the 6-month mark.
At Oz, we switched to this type of long-tail keyword blogging strategy early on. In our case, we saw a 495% increase in organic traffic results over 6 months by following this strategy- not only that, but we published only half as frequently.
495% increase in organic traffic over a 6 month period compared to the previous period- while blogging half as much!
4.) Optimize With RankBrain in Mind
If you are serious about SEO lead generation, understanding how to optimize your web pages with Google RankBrain in mind is key. If you’ve been in the SEO industry for some time, you’re probably used to Google’s landscape-shifting algorithm updates. In 2016, Google announced that they would be launching a new algorithm update that would have a large effect on their search results with Google RankBrain.
RankBrain is the first machine learning algorithm that the company had ever announced. In short, the algorithm was designed to measure and analyze how users interact with Google search results on the first page for all keywords. Their goal was to ensure they are giving priority to pages that users like and engage with. Immediately, RankBrain jumped to the top 3 Google ranking factors, according to Google’s Andrew Lipattsev.
RankBrain is using a wide variety of factors when it analyzes websites. Some will be in your control, others not so much. Of the factors that RankBrain does examine, you should pay special attention to a few specific areas:
- Organic Click-Through-Rate (CTR). Of the people that see your website listed in the search results, how many are actually clicking through to your webpage? If you perform well, you are more likely to get pushed up in the rankings. If you don’t, you are likely to go down.
- Bounce Rate. When a user does arrive on your website through organic search, how long do they stay? If they leave immediately before interacting with your page (known as a bounce), this increases your bounce rate. This shows Google that the content on your page may not be what the users were expecting when they clicked on it.
- Time On Site. Taking the same concept a step further, the time that they end up spending on your page matters for RankBrain optimization as well. Keeping them on your page for longer periods of time than your competition shows that your content was useful and interesting to their audience — something they want to reward.
RankBrain didn’t make a lot of changes to what we already knew about SEO. We knew these concepts were important. The announcement was just a formal declaration of how important these factors were. For anyone starting out with SEO lead generation now- knowing about Rankbrain is too important to ignore.
5.) Create Supplementary Media for Distribution
When you spend a lot of time putting together that 3,000-word blog post, you should try to squeeze every bit of usefulness out of it that you possibly can. Putting together long-form content is a serious commitment and it can take several days to put together one single high-value blog post.
To make a piece of long-form content stretch farther, try to include supplementary media that you can distribute on various platforms around the web along with it. Some people like to call this process “atomizing” content. You’ve already conducted the research, so you might as well get as much out of that research as you can and make “atomized” pieces of the main content.
Use the information that you have gathered to help you put together:
- Guest Posts
By taking the research that you have already put time into and releasing it as other media assets that can perform well in search, you expand the reach of your original work and generate more SEO leads over time. Additionally, including that media on the page with your original article can help your article rank more highly in search, as Google prioritizes content that includes rich media.
Want to know one of our best performing SEO lead generation techniques ever?
With some of our long-form pieces of content that generate a fair amount of traffic, we’ve included a one-page “cheat sheet” for our content so readers who don’t have time to read the full blog post could get the overview quickly. Over the last 3 years, we’ve gathered 5,702 email leads from this. Obviously, we’d recommend this technique for anyone looking to generate more leads from SEO!
6.) Don’t Neglect Social Media
Even if your focus is on generating SEO leads and not necessarily on growing your social media following, it is important to remember that the two should go hand-in-hand. Social media can be a great platform for networking and growing awareness. Social media can be a great platform for distributing your content, securing new backlinks, and generally generating opportunities that will benefit your search engine optimization in the future.
Remember — Google and other search engines take social media presence into account when ranking websites. It may not play as large of a role as your content and backlinks, but it does have a measurable effect. Beyond that, fostering a social media following will have a long-term impact on your search optimization efforts.
7.) Update Existing Content That Has Performed
Do you have a piece of content that is performing particularly well in search results, but was created years ago? Updating your content to include new information can be a great way to give it a boost in search while providing more value to your visitors.
According to Search Engine Journal, updating a top performing piece of content can result in a 15-30% increase in traffic, which is significant when talking about the best performing pieces on your website.
Giving an article a “New Years Update” can also be a great way to signal to users that the article contains new information while targeting a whole host of year-related keywords typically searched by users who are looking for the freshest, most up-to-date information.
8.) Find Wikipedia Broken Link Opportunities
Broken link building is the act of finding a link that linked to a website that was similar to your own that has since gone down, then contacting the website (or in this case, editing the Wikipedia entry) to include to your own content and building a backlink in the process.
Broken link building is an extremely effective strategy, but an advanced one. It may take several attempts to get a link to stick on popular platforms, but it has everything that you would hope for from a link building strategy — it’s scalable, white hat, and produces results.
On Wikipedia, start by visiting pages that cover topics that you have thoroughly covered on your website. Go through the references section, and look for citations that have been marked with the “[dead link]” tag, which typically shows up to the far right of the citation in the “References” section of every Wikipedia page.
Then edit the Wikipedia entry and change the reference to include a citation to your own website. This can be a great way to build a highly valuable backlink without a whole lot of effort. Sometimes, you’ll find that the admins don’t allow you to place your link so easily, so make sure that the page that you are linking to is valuable and directly deals with the subject in the Wikipedia article.
9.) Use Your Competition’s Keywords as a Roadmap
Finding keywords that produce high-intent visitors can be difficult and often takes a bit of time to fully understand the keyword landscape within your industry. If you want to skip a lot of the research phase, you can jump in front of the pack by taking cues from your competition.
Using tools like SEMRush, you can see what keywords your competitors are ranking for. By analyzing those keywords, the content that they produce, and the backlinks that they build you can get an idea of what keywords are most lucrative for them.
Using your competition as a guide can be a great way to jumpstart your SEO lead generation techniques and save a lot of time and money that would usually be spent researching and analyzing your way through your keyword list. You’ll be able to target the most valuable keywords from the start and identify keywords that are performing well for your competitors.
At Oz, some of our best performing keywords for driving leads that turned into sales opportunities originated from competitive research.
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10.) Create Long-Form Content
Long-form content performs better in search engines. According to a study from Backlinko that examined more than 1 million Google search results found that the average word count on Google’s first page was 1,890 words. The deeper on the first page you go, the lower the average word count.
Long-form content is ideal for Google because it means that you are simply providing more information to your users. You are diving deeper into the subject and giving more value to their searchers. It makes sense that they would want to route their users to websites that provide more useful information.
Keep in mind, that a long-form content piece is not necessarily ideal for each keyword. Search intent matters. Sometimes your users will arrive on your website expecting a short product page, and throwing a long-form article at them will increase your bounce rate and result in decreased rankings. However, for information-first keywords, long-form content will almost always outperform shorter articles.
11.) Mention Influencers Within Content
Want links from influential people and websites? There is no more straightforward way to secure these types of links than to start networking and building rapport with influencers.
By mentioning influencers within your content and informing them when you do, you increase the likelihood that they will link to your website or mention you on your social accounts. If they share your content, you could be looking at dozens or hundreds of shares from their followers.
If you want to go a step further, you can reach out to influencers through DM or email and ask if they would be interested in being featured in a piece of your content. Getting them to provide a quote on the subject that you are covering can be a great way to get them to buy in and
12.) Reference Authority Websites
Studies have shown that linking out to trusted sources has a positive effect on SEO. Google and other search engines want to send their searchers to pages that have done their research and provided citations and sources to back up their assertions.
Within your content, find ways to link to authority websites within your industry. Not only will this signal to Google that your page is more valuable, but it will increase the chances that these websites will link back to you.
13.) Use Internal Links to Boost 2nd and 3rd Page Results
Do you have some pages on your website that seem like they are stuck on the 2nd or 3rd page, on the cusp of a traffic bump that would have a measurable impact on your business? If so, you should do everything in your power to give those pages any additional bump that you can. One of the simplest ways to do so is to increase the number of internal links to those pages.
By pushing additional link juice to those pages through internal links, and showing Google that those pages include useful information on related subjects, you may be able to give them a little bit of a boost that can put those pages on Google’s first page results.
The difference between page-one and page-two rankings is huge. SEO lead generation really only takes place on the first page because so few searchers click through to the second page in the search results. Internal links can be a simple but effective way to improve the standing of individual pages. Remember — link to those pages from pages that are already performing well to ensure the best result.
14.) Transcribe Audio and Video Content
If you produce a lot of audio and video content and are not having those pieces of media transcribed, you are missing out on a big opportunity. The script and words contained in your podcasts, marketing videos, webinars, and other rich media that you produce is a perfect opportunity to improve your SEO lead generation techniques and provide more content on the pages that contain this media.
Additionally, providing the transcript on platforms like YouTube can also help with your search optimization on those platforms as well. A 30-minute webinar could contain 10,000+ words of content, which is useful to provide to users that can’t watch the video or users who want to search the content to find a specific subject.
15.) Create Topic Clusters
Over the course of the last few years, SEO has been shifting toward a “topic cluster” model, where a singular page, known as a “pillar page,” acts as the main hub for all related content on the subject. It’s an excellent method for connecting different pieces of content, passing link juice to your most important pages, and ensuring that you cover topics completely.
The strategy is meant to push your pillar content to the top of the SERPS while internal link juice from supporting pages on related subjects. Additionally, the strategy helps to get visitors clicking on multiple pages and engaging with your website, which helps to satisfy the qualities that RankBrain prioritizes.
Dig into the pillar page and topic cluster model and think about how your current content could fit that mold with a little bit of editing. If you already produce content, there is a high likelihood that you have the beginnings of what would make for excellent topic clusters or pillar pages that would perform well in search.
16.) Guest Post for Link Building and Awareness
Many underestimate the impact that guest posting can have on your SEO lead generation efforts. Yes, guest posting is great for building high-value links from industry publications, but it also fosters a lot of awareness from their audience as well.
In fact, a guest post can generate leads on its own on the right publication. By sharing your expertise in an area that your ideal clients will care about, a guest post on a popular website can catch their attention and convince them to reach out. Guest posting should play a role in any SEO lead generation campaign. It’s just too valuable a technique to overlook.
17.) Optimize Landing Pages for Search
If you use landing pages in advertising campaigns, there is no reason why you should not also optimize these pages for organic search as well. The more pathways you can open up for SEO lead generation, the more leads you will be able to collect in the long term.
According to MarketingSherpa, 44 percent of clicks for B2B companies go to the homepage and not to a landing page. This isn’t to say that your homepage isn’t important, just that it may not be the best choice for generating leads through SEO.
The main elements of what would be considered a landing page include no navigation (because you want users that land on the page to stay on the page), useful content based on the keyword they arrived from, and a call to action. For the purposes of SEO lead generation, that call to action will likely be signing up for your email list through downloading a lead magnet or resource.
Don’t let your landing pages just sit on the shelf collecting dust. Optimize them for search. Even if they only generate a small trickle of SEO leads, it’s still a valuable asset that otherwise would have been doing nothing for your business through organic search.
SEO Lead Generation is a Long-Term Strategy
SEO is a strategy that builds on itself. Over time, you’ll see the number of leads that you are able to generate through SEO increase as you develop more content and improve your optimization across the board. Using the SEO lead generation techniques outlined in this article, you can begin to build an organic lead generation system that keeps your sales pipeline filled with a consistent stream of high-quality leads and grows your revenue.
Did you learn anything new in this article? Anything else you wish we could cover? Let us know in the comments below!