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In today’s digital marketing landscape, many businesses regard SEO as an expense–a game of roulette or chance in which money is spent on a service that can be tracked and successfully measured in terms of organic ranking and user engagement, but not under the microscope of actual revenue. When integrated with inbound marketing automation, search optimization goes from being an expense to an investment; something that actually shows where your leads came from, what type of content converted them, and how much revenue a business earns per channel.

Inbound Inspired SEO is the Bend Runner in Your Business’s Relay Race

Time is money, and if your business growth strategy isn’t using time and resources to the best of its abilities, your internal will start to crumble while the competition passes you by and takes a marginal lead in the race to be the industry number one.

SEO is still vastly important; it is what pushes your brand’s advancement from the starting block and around the bend. After all, if people can’t find you online, they aren’t going to pay for your products or services. Search optimization is a runner; it begins with a strategy, explodes from the starting line, and gains momentum as Google crawls its architecture and content to award authority.

But then what? You may be ahead, ranking on page one of Google with your competition on page three, but you keep running in circles while clicks fail to translate into coin. Your content is ahead, but blindly ranking for mega-volume keywords while lacking humanization will cause you to fall short from reaching, converting, and delighting your target audience members.   

This is where inbound marketing enters the track, syncs with SEO’s pace by aligning content with the right buyers, executes a seamless changeover, picks up speed, and breaks through the finish line several steps ahead of the competition taking home the gold.

How does Inbound Make SEO a Solid Business Investment?

Simply put, the inbound marketing methodology can guide SEO strategists towards ranking for THE RIGHT keywords and not simply limiting their scope to focusing on the ones with the highest search volume. SEO is an overrated service if the agency simply ranks a client’s web pages for keywords most often enter into search engines without examining context and the buyer’s persona (where his intentions rest).

The inbound marketing methodology is broken down into the following process:

Attract – Use blogs and keywords to attract large audiences to your web page.

Convert – Convert visitors into leads by using SEO-enriched content via CTAs, filling out forms, or going to landing pages.

Close – Use workflows, email marketing and CRMs to close leads and turn them into paying customers.

Delight – Delight your buyers so they become your brand advocates; use social monitoring, surveys, and specific content to keep them happy and eager to share your brand with friends and family.

The attraction stage is going to be the foundation to using smart SEO–keywords used in both Google and user-friendly content that will not just lead groups of blind traffic BUT the right people most likely to move through the funnel and make a purchase. In order to engage this strategy, SEO strategists must first consider their buyer personas.

Revenue Generating SEO Relies on Inbound Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are fictionalized representations of your customers built on gathered data that reveals facts about pertaining to driven sales. Personal demographics, educational background, career path, one’s company role, how one’s job performance is measured, family status, hobbies and several other consideration points play into creating accurate buyer personas. Once you have a cross sector of buyer personas that represent all the groups of your consumer audience, you will know how to write specific content directly to them, and use keywords appropriate to how they search for your products and services as opposed to general search volume that offers no intimate, human insight.

Here is a comparison showing traditional SEO alongside a search optimization strategy that incorporates the inbound marketing methodology:

The Business

A luxury kitchen remodel company based in Los Angeles. They specialize in architectural and design remodels and new builds using only high-end materials and products. Their clients spend an average minimum of $100K to an average maximum of $400K. They don’t take on jobs under $80K, and they don’t work with house flippers.

Top Relevant Keywords:

  • Kitchen remodel – 18.1K monthly searches
  • Kitchen remodeling – 9.9K monthly searches
  • Kitchen remodel ideas – 8.1K monthly searches
  • Kitchen remodel costs – 6.6K
  • Kitchen remodel on a budget – 480
  • Luxury kitchen remodel – (search volume is too low to offer data)

How Traditional SEO Strategists Would Approach Said Project 

It’s all about ranking and nothing much beyond that. Traditional SEO services will rank their clients using general keywords and lots of content that is densely bland and non-personal. Then the marketer may blame his client’s internal sales team for failing to convert leads brought in by digital. This happens all the time.

These service providers will use keywords like the ones above (minus the one with no search volume) and their variations to create web page content, titles, page descriptions, and meta while getting backlinks from referring domains with hefty authority scores. Organic ranking will go up if they are doing a better job than the competition, but if the clicks don’t generate revenue, then the business is incurring an expense even if the SEO is running well on one good leg.

The Profitable SEO Approach

In addition to using similar methods in the previous example, an inbound-driven SEO provider would engineer search-friendly content to rank for the right buyers, at appropriate various stages in the buyer’s journey ( Awareness, Consideration, Decision). He would also focus on the low search volume keywords that resonate more with buyers while incorporating the high-volume ones to leverage the brand’s online visibility, unless they are irrelevant.

For example, someone looking for options on remodeling their kitchen with modern yet budget-friendly materials would not be an ideal customer for this business example, nor would trying to rank for keywords like “kitchen remodel costs” and “kitchen remodel on a budget” be beneficial. The idea is to create content that ranks for the right search terms that pair with ideal customers while sending them them to a landing page that will convert them into buyers–a nurturing process that uses SEO and inbound to generate trackable revenue.

How Google Ranks Low Hanging Fruit in Context to High-Reach Branches

Just to be clear, Google doesn’t reveal its secrets. Instead, it publishes its best practices while digital marketing experts use their knowledge and skills to stay within those parameters while experimenting with different strategies. Because Google’s algorithm RankBrain runs on AI and machine learning, the search engine has the ability to identify with human users and better understand their intentions behind each search entry and the data it gets from clicks.

We can assume only that which has been proven to work, and most SEOs who are true experts in the field will tend to agree that content with low-dangling and high-volume keywords from the same purposeful branch give the most rankable content value to specific buyer groups (oh, and this generates revenue). Why? Because once a business ranks for “luxury kitchen remodel”, gets clicks that translate into favorable data (like page session duration, low bounce rate, conversions, etc) the higher more prized yet common keywords will be looped in by association and also begin to climb the trails of rank mountain, so long as your web page content supports the strategy. Then you need a clever inbound marketing automation hand to nurture that sector of unexpected readers.

If you rank for general keywords, congratulations, you are getting some SEO juice to your site. But without those niche, long tail and buyer-specific keywords that more closely correlate with the emotional purchasing decisions your buyers make, the engagement metrics will soon drop and you’ll be back to square one.

Compromise is Never Overrated

Some SEO experts shoot for the low-hanging fruit, while others say go big or go home when it comes to keyword ranking. Due to the fact that consumers have significantly changed their buying habits and are increasingly researching products before spending their cash, Google seems to be looking for search solutions that present high-end niche content that associates itself with the larger, broader and more general keywords framed within educational, comparative, detailed and entertaining information. By making inbound methodology the heart of your SEO intentions, you can expect to convert visitors to your company’s website into paying clients and have measurable returns on your investment. 

Jen Saunders
Jen Saunders
Director of SEO at | More Posts

Jen Saunders is Director of SEO at WEBITMD, an award-winning Digital Marketing Agency with offices in Los Angeles, New York City, and Miami. Jen’s focus is on creating agile SEO and content strategies designed to deliver business growth and measurable revenue. Jen’s passion currently sits in SEO’s evolving role within inbound, and testing high-conversion content optimization concepts.