Top SEO Strategies for Lead Generation

One of the most common arguments against investing in Search Engine Optimization is that the practice doesn’t impact the bottom line enough. And the truth is, it is difficult to get lead-gen content to rank for non-branded terms. 

Fortunately, that’s far from the only way SEO can be useful for lead generation. In fact, SEO is indispensable to contemporary B2B lead generation, if you take the right approach.

By incorporating a few new strategies, your optimized SEO can attract the right audience, build the right awareness and brand memorability, guide prospects through the full funnel, and all-but gift wrap MQLs for your sales team to contact.

Target keywords with lower funnel intent

Not all keywords are created equal. Some keywords are informational, which means the users searching them are looking for the answer to a question. Other keywords are commercial or even transactional, which means users are looking for a product, service, or brand.

Conventional SEO wisdom suggests that informational keywords are upper funnel, commercial keywords are middle funnel, and transactional keywords are lower funnel. When it comes to specific products and audiences, however, that distinction isn’t always as cut and dry.

As our guide to Marketing with Intent demonstrates, you should consider the funnel stage of a keyword completely distinct from its intent. Finding and targeting the lower funnel keywords across all the different intents is an excellent way to set your SEO apart.

Long-tail keywords are one perfect example. According to backlinko, keywords between 10 to 15 words in length get x1.76 more clicks than single-word terms. Despite their value, however, keywords this long are still frequently ignored by SEO strategists. This happens for two reasons: first, because their monthly search volume tends to be much lower than shorter keywords. Second, because long-tail keywords are usually informational in intent and therefore seem high funnel. But that may not be the case.

Often, a long-tail keyword indicates a searcher with a deep knowledge into the subject they’re researching. For example, this blog is pursuing the long-tail keyword “seo lead generation strategies.” This keyword has less than 100 monthly searches and its intent is informational, but the users searching for it are looking for the kind of very specific, technical information that makes it the perfect topic for a blog.

Great SEO always comes back to knowing your audience, and great lead generation SEO is no exception. Take the time and effort to get to know what your audience is searching for at every stage of the funnel and why, then create content that can expertly speak to their lower funnel questions and concerns.

Don’t neglect raising awareness with upper funnel content

The 60/40 rule that marketers should spend 60% of their budget on brand and 40% on demand generation still holds true today.  In the long run, brand awareness is a more effective means of creating leads* than demand generation. This counts double for B2B marketing, because at any given time, 95% of a B2B brand’s audience* is not in-market for their services. 

Even when your audience’s in-market, they probably aren’t searching for lower funnel, transactional search terms. If these are the only search terms you pursue, they’ll never find you until the 5% of the time they are in-market – and then, because they haven’t heard of you before, they’ll go with the competition they’re more familiar with instead. According to a McKinsey study, brands that audience members know when they first enter the market are more than twice as likely to win their business than brands they discover at that point.

Your SEO and content’s primary focus should be on raising your brand’s awareness and memorability among your audience before they’re in-market. By creating high-level, informational content about subject matter related to your services, you can catch your audience members from the very beginning of their customer journey.

If you can demonstrate expertise from this point, your audience will start associating your brand with your category, raising your Share of Voice. They’ll keep looking to you for answers, start seeing you as the go-to source for information, and then, when they’re in-market, they’ll know just who to turn to first.

Develop an integrated SEO and paid search strategy

Compared to SEO, paid search or PPC is considered a short-term strategy for rapidly gaining visibility with key audiences. By paying to appear at the top of SERPs for critical keywords, you can ensure that any audience member searching for a high-intent, commercial keyword like “B2B search engine optimization agency” finds you right away.

Used correctly, SEO and PPC should complement and enhance each other. For example, you could think of paid search as the Lead Generation to SEO’s Brand Awareness – ultimately, SEO is a better way to drive relevant traffic to your site, but PPC is how you get the right eyes on the right page right now.

Even the way ad auctions work demonstrate how intertwined the two disciplines are: in basic terms, the better the SEO of your website and the page you promote with paid, the more frequently your content will “win” auctions and appear in SERPs.

Focus your PPC efforts on a small, highly strategic set of lower funnel keywords, then support it with SEO. You could even take the killer combo further by retargeting audience members you attract with SEO using paid media campaigns, or using paid campaigns to research how to better appeal to your audience organically.

Guide prospects through the funnel with crosslinking

When we think of a CTA, we naturally think of it as a tool for demand generation: it’s where you write “Contact us to get started now” or “Claim your discount today.” But that’s not all a CTA is for.

Every page should have CTAs – even your highest-funnel, most strictly informational SEO-optimized pages. These CTAs shouldn’t try to seal the deal directly. Instead, use them to direct readers to your next piece of helpful content and guide your audience further down the funnel in the process. 

Your highest-level SEO content is likely going to draw the most attention to your site, because you’ll use it to target the broadest keywords. If you waste these CTAs on low funnel prompts, you’re not going to get anywhere. 

If you use your CTA more strategically, however, by linking to related pieces of content that supply the next piece of useful information, you can keep them on your site and engaging with your brand far longer. Not only will this lower your churn rate and improve your engagement metrics, but it will also help you create your own marketing funnel for turning new visitors into MQLs.

CTAs aren’t the only way you can do this, either. Take any opportunity that feels natural to link to your other content. When you mention a product, link to its page. When you reference another topic you’ve created content about in your copy, link to that content (the way we did in the last paragraph).  You want your audience to engage with as much of your content as possible, as often as possible.

Ultimately, every stage of your customer’s journey is a part of your lead generation strategy, from the first time they engage with your brand to when they’re a loyal customer reading your latest thought leadership. By influencing every part of this journey, the right SEO strategy can become one of your brand’s most valuable lead generation assets.

To learn more about what it takes to maximize the effectiveness of your SEO initiatives today, check out our guide on Building an SEO Strategy in 2024 (a high-level CTA!).

* LinkedIn Marketing Solutions is a client of TopRank Marketing. We weren’t involved in the research cited in this blog.

The post Top SEO Strategies for Lead Generation appeared first on TopRank® Marketing.

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