Own a business, work in sales, or manage a marketing department?
This article explains the importance of SEO (search engine marketing) and content marketing for any small business or local business in 2023.
Ever heard the expression, “revenue is the lifeblood of a company?”
Here’s what it really means…
To succeed in business, you need a great sales team with a steady flow of great leads.
Besides word-of-mouth, 2 of the best ways to generate leads in 2023 are PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns and organic SEO.
In 2023, organic SEO is important if you want more leads – without breaking your budget.
What Is PPC? Pay-per-Click Marketing
PPC, or pay-per-click, is an ad model where you pay a search engine whenever somebody clicks on one of your paid advertisements.
First, you bid on the keywords and phrases that your target audience uses to find your product or service.
Then, when a user searches for one of the keywords you’ve bid on, your PPC ad appears near the top of the search results.
But… if your audience is part of the 31% of internet users running an ad-blocker, they will never see your ad.
The Rising Costs of PPC in 2023
In 2023, the average business now spends US $9,813 per month on PPC campaigns, with the average price per click costing between $1 to $3.
If you live in a big city and work in a competitive industry like real estate, finance, or insurance, average PPC costs rise to a staggering $50 per click – which makes PPC marketing unsustainable for most small and medium-sized businesses.
In 2023, organic SEO and content marketing have emerged as a powerful way to increase your website traffic, get more leads, and grow your business online.
About Content Marketing and Organic SEO in Digital Marketing
What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which refers to optimizing a website to get more traffic in popular search engine results pages (SERPs) like Google.
SEO helps you climb the ranks in SERP, increase your website traffic, and win targeted leads to fuel your sales team.
What is a SERP (Search Engine Results Page)?
Search engine results pages (SERPs) are the webpages you see after entering a search query into Google, Bing, or a social media platform like Twitter.
SERPs include a list of search results with elements like advertisements, featured snippets, and maps with relevant local businesses.
Getting your web pages higher in organic search engine results is a critical component of online success in 2023.
That’s because most users click on the top-ranked results or featured snippets. In fact…
The top 3 results on page 1 of Google get an average of 68.7% of clicks, while the number 1 position gets 39.8% of clicks.
What is Organic SEO & Content Marketing?
In 2023, organic SEO and content marketing are inseparable.
Content marketing is the art of creating helpful information to attract, engage, and inform your target audience about your products and services.
Content can be blog articles, infographics, videos, online tools like mortgage calculators – or any other media that informs and engages your clients.
Organic SEO is a more broad term that includes any efforts that increase your website ranking in SERPs (besides PPC), like the following strategies and SEO tactics:
- Keyword research to determine exactly how people search for your product or service
- Creating high quality content that’s optimized for relevant keywords
- On-page optimization to get your content ranking in search results
- Technical SEO to make your site load quickly
- User experience (UX) design to make your site user-friendly
- Measurement to see how much traffic you’re getting and how well visitors are converting to leads
- Revising your content to keep it up-to-date
- Consistent execution over a long period of time
The Importance of Keyword Research & Target Keywords
To succeed in content marketing, first you’ll need to figure out how your target audience searches for your product or service.
Every sales pipeline is different, so you need to have a deep understanding of your industry, and then use keyword research tools to determine exactly which words and questions your customers use in search engines like Google.
For example, if you’re selling real estate in Kelowna, your clients might search with keywords like:
- “Kelowna homes for sale”
- “Kelowna real estate”
- “Kelowna townhomes for sale”
Next, you create genuinely helpful content that targets those keywords, resonates with your audience, and informs them at different stages of their buying journey.
The Importance of E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trust) & Helpful Content
Since Google’s “Helpful Content Update” of August 2022, the only way to get your website noticed in SERPs is by creating “helpful, reliable, people-first content” that relates to your industry or location.
Google’s automated ranking systems analyze your content for 3 primary factors: Expertise, Authority, and Trust.
- Expertise: your content must demonstrate true know-how while avoiding factual errors
- Authority: you must refer to widely-trusted and credible sources of information when making claims
- Trust: your content must be original, complete, helpful, reliable, and free of exaggeration
If you produce a wealth of content that meets all of Google’s E-A-T requirements, your business can reap some serious benefits…
The Benefits of SEO & Content Marketing in Business
Content marketing engages your target audience, positions you as a trusted thought leader, and ultimately drives profitable actions like lead generation, conversions, and customer retention.
These are the top benefits of SEO and content marketing for businesses:
- Cost effective lead generation
- Authentic branding that builds trust
- Customer engagement at every stage of your sales pipeline
- Long term ROI
- Competitive advantage
Cost Effective Lead Generation
Content marketing allows brands to share information that’s specifically targeted to the needs and interests of their ideal customer. By providing leads with in-depth information that helps them towards a goal, you can attract customers who are already interested in your product or service.
Compared to traditional advertising and lead generation tactics, content marketing is often more cost-effective.
Branding and Trust
Creating unique content gives you an opportunity to showcase your product or service’s value, highlight your team’s industry knowledge, and share your company’s story with your local market.
By establishing yourself as an honest and trustworthy source of information, content marketing helps build up an authentic brand image, establish yourself as a thought leader, and build trust with your clientele.
Engage Customers at Each Stage of Your Pipeline
Content marketing helps you engage and nurture leads throughout your entire sales funnel – from investigation to retention.
leading to more qualified leads and ultimately more conversions. keep their audience engaged and move them closer to a purchase decision.
By providing your customers with valuable, relevant, and highly targeted content you can position yourself as a thought leader, generate qualified leads, close deals, and retain customers. Here’s how…
- Top Funnel: Awareness
At this stage, customers are just becoming aware of their problem or need. Use content to inform and educate potential customers, address their pain points, and offer solutions.
Example: Best Places to Buy an AirBnB in BC or Alberta
- Mid Funnel: Consideration
Once customers are aware of their problem, they start researching their options so they can make an informed decision.
Content marketing positions your brand as an expert in the industry using in-depth information like case studies, whitepapers, and product reviews.
If you can talk the talk and walk the walk, you’ll turn some of these customers into leads.
Example: Moving to Kelowna
- Bottom Funnel: Decision Time
At the decision stage of the funnel, customers are ready to make a purchase.
Use content marketing to offer free discovery consultations, product demos, and special offers that help convert them into new customers.
Example: New Kelowna condos for sale
- Retention Stage
Content marketing can also help you retain your customers by providing them with free, valuable content like how-to guides, customer testimonials. By sharing high quality information you can help reaffirm your clients’ purchases, show them you are on top of your game, and give them exclusive offers to keep them loyal to your brand.
Example: Kelowna Real Estate Market Forecast
While content marketing and SEO both require significant investments of time and resources, it’s a long-term investment that offers unbeatable returns.
Unlike paid advertising – which stops working as soon as you stop paying – organic SEO can drive new traffic to your website for years and years, leading to a snowballing return on investment (ROI).
Quality SEO is a valuable investment for businesses of all sizes, from small startups to well-established enterprises.
If your competitors are investing in SEO and you’re not, they’re going to outrank you.
If you get outranked, other businesses will win your local traffic, get more customers, and maybe even steal some of yours.
By investing in SEO, you can level the playing field, get ahead of your local competition, and compete with the top players in your local market.
Local SEO: Boosting Your Visibility in Your Local Market
Local SEO is a specialized form of SEO that focuses on optimizing your website for local searches.
Local search queries are those that include a city or region, such as “best restaurants in Kelowna” or “Kelowna home inspector.”
Local SEO techniques help your website appear at the top of SERPs and Google Maps when your target audience searches for a relevant product or service in your area.
If your business relies on local customers, like brick-and-mortar shops, restaurants, and real estate agencies, local SEO is a requirement – not a luxury.
Why is Local SEO Important? Here are Some Key Reasons:
Increased Local Visibility & Targeted Traffic
By ranking high on Google Search and Google Maps, you can improve your online visibility, get more clicks on your website, and convert those visitors into paying customers.
Local SEO also helps you establish yourself as a trusted and authoritative source in your local area, leading to increased brand awareness, credibility, and trust.
Compete with Local Competitors
In today’s competitive business landscape, it’s crucial to stay ahead of your local competition.
If competitors in your region are investing in local SEO and you’re not, they’re likely to outrank you in the local SERPs, which can result in lost business.
Since revenue is the lifeblood of your company, local SEO efforts are a critical component of any business strategy in 2023.
By deploying cutting-edge SEO tactics backed by proven strategies, you can level the playing field and compete with the big businesses in your area.
How to Optimize Your Website for Local SEO | Importance of Local SEO
Local SEO is the process of optimizing a website around location-specific keyword searches.
For example, “new Kelowna condos for sale.“
Here are some key steps to optimize your website for local SEO and make the most of your marketing efforts:
Optimize Your Website with Local Keywords
Keyword research is a foundational part of local SEO.
First you’ll identify target keywords that are relevant to your location and your industry, then incorporate them into your website’s meta tags, headings, URLs, and content.
You’ll have to be mindful not to overstuff keywords onto your page, which can result in penalties from Google and other major search engines.
Pro Tip: The Importance of Your Domain Name in SEO
Your domain name is one of the most important components of on-page SEO optimization.
If you register a domain name that includes one of your primary keywords, then fill that website with well-optimized content around that keyword, you are far more likely to rank high in SERPs and get organic clicks that move the needle for your business.
Create High-Quality and Location-Specific Content
High-quality content that’s targeted to your geographic location is critical for local search engine optimization success.
You should develop content that informs your target audience with relevant information about your products, services, and location.
For example, if you’re a real estate agent in Vancouver, you could create content about the best neighborhoods to live in, tips for buying or selling homes in Vancouver, things to do, great restaurants to eat at, or upcoming events and activities in the city.
By creating content that’s filled with helpful information, you’ll provide value to your customer base, and gain topical relevance with search engines for your target location’s keywords. This improves your ranking potential for any keywords related to your local market.
Optimize Your Website for Mobile
As of 2023, over 63% of Google searches are done on mobile devices.
With the increasing use of mobile devices for online searches, optimizing your on page SEO elements for mobile is crucial.
Since mobile optimization improves the user experience, search engines consider it as a key ranking factor in 2023. To stay on top of SERPs, you need to make your website mobile-friendly and responsive so it adapts and loads quickly on different screen sizes.
Optimize Your Google My Business (GMB) Profile
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows you to create and manage your business profile on Google.
Optimizing your Google My Business profile helps search engines understand more about your business and helps you appear in local Google search results, Google Maps, and Google’s local 3-pack (the top three local results that appear in a box at the top of the SERPs).
Make sure to claim and verify your GMB profile, keep it updated, and fill out all the relevant information:
- Your business name, address, and phone number (NAP)
- Description (optimized for SEO)
- Customer reviews
Pro tip1: Get tons of excellent customer reviews as part of your sales process.
Pro tip 2: Optimize your GMB description around your primary business keywords to get to the top of Google Maps results.
Need an experienced SEO firm to guide you to SEO success?
Navigator Multimedia is a Kelowna-based SEO and digital marketing agency that helps local businesses win leads.
Want to get your website to page 1 of Google? Contact Navigator Multimedia at (250) 862-9868 for a free SEO consultation.
Build Local Citations and Backlinks
Local citations and backlinks are important for local SEO. Citations are mentions of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites, such as local directories, review sites, and social media platforms.
Backlinks, on the other hand, are links from other websites that point back to your website.
Both citations and backlinks help search engines understand the relevance and authority of your website in the local area.
Building local citations and backlinks can be done through strategies such as guest posting on local blogs, submitting your business to local directories, and reaching out to local influencers or businesses for collaborations.
Encourage Great Customer Reviews
In an era where users trust search engines, customer reviews play a crucial role in local SEO.
Positive reviews help establish trust and credibility with potential customers, and also signal to search engines that your business is reputable and relevant to the local area.
Encourage your satisfied customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business profile, and any other relevant review sites like social media platforms.
Responding to reviews, both positive and negative, also shows that you are engaged with your customers and care about their feedback, which can enhance your local SEO efforts.
Utilize Social Media for Local Engagement
Social media promotion is a powerful tool for online business SEO. You can engage with your local audience, build brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, and improve your local SEO efforts.
Share local news, events, and promotions on your social media profiles, and encourage your followers to share, like, and comment on your posts. Respond to comments and messages promptly and interact with local influencers or businesses.
Make sure to include your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) consistently across your social media profiles, which helps search engines understand the relevance of your business to the local area.
Use Schema Markup | Top On-page SEO Hack for 2023+
Schema markup is a structured data markup that you can add to your website’s HTML code to help search engines understand the content and context of your website.
By using schema markup, you can provide more information to search engines about your business, such as your business name, address, phone number, business hours, reviews, and more.
Schema markup helps search engines crawl your site, which helps improve the visibility of your website in search results and increase the chances of appearing in rich snippets.
Rich snippets are enhanced search results that are usually displayed at the top of SERPs which can help your website stand out from the competition and increase your click-through rates.
What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO refers to SEO work that boosts how quickly your website loads and how quickly search engine spiders can crawl the content listed in your site’s robots.txt file.
Site speed is one of the main aspects of technical SEO and one of the most important ranking factors in major search engines.
That’s because site speed is a critical factor in user experience…
Research shows that 53% of mobile website visitors will leave your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. A 2023 study found that 1 in 4 website visitors will bounce if your site loads in more than 4 seconds.
Optimizing your site speed and performing technical SEO greatly improves website performance and helps you climb the ranks in SERPs.
Technical SEO involves the following SEO strategies, and more:
- Image Optimization & File Compression
On most websites, images are one of the biggest users of bandwidth. Image optimization refers to compressing image files (manually or using a plugin), using modern file formats, and specifying image dimensions in your HTML code to reduce their size and load times.
Minifying involves removing unnecessary characters like white spaces and comments to reduce file sizes and further improve load times.
- Server optimization
Optimizing server settings, such as using Gzip compression, leveraging browser caching, and enabling HTTP/2 can further improve your site speed.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A CDN is a network of servers that distribute website content across several geographic locations.
CDN’s let users access your content from a server that’s close to their location, reducing latency and quickening load times.
- Mobile Technical SEO
With more than half of internet users on mobile in 2023, optimizing your website for these users is one of the most important aspects of technical SEO.
Mobile device optimization includes having a mobile-friendly design, a dynamic and responsive layout that looks good on any device, and fast loading speeds so your website performs well – even on slower network connections.
Looking for an Experienced Team of SEO professionals to Boost Your Business?
Navigator Multimedia is a Kelowna-based digital marketing firm and SEO agency offering a full range of expert SEO services, including:
- Keyword research and SEO strategy – using the best SEO data and SEO tools
- Full-service content production – blogs, whitepapers, infographics, and videos
- On-page SEO optimization to keep you on top of organic search engine rankings
- Off-page SEO strategies to win you more backlinks, Google My Business reviews, and win more organic traffic
- Marketing strategies, custom web design, eCommerce, analytics, and hosting to bring your website and brand to the next level
What is White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO?
White Hat SEO
White Hat SEO refers to ethical SEO practices that are recommended by search engines.
White Hat focuses on creating genuinely helpful, valuable, and relevant content. It also includes optimizing website structure, navigation, image alt texts, meta tags, and winning legitimate backlinks.
White Hat SEO builds up your website’s authority and credibility, giving you sustainable rankings on SERPs that won’t get punished by new Google algorithm updates in the long-run
So far, everything we’ve covered in this guide is considered “White Hat SEO”.
Black Hat SEO
Black Hat SEO involves using unethical or manipulative techniques to deceive search engines into boosting your website rankings.
Black Hat SEO tactics include:
- Keyword stuffing
- Hidden text or links
- Cloaking (presenting different content to search engines and users)
- Buying backlinks from PBNs (private blog networks) to artificially inflate rankings
Black Hat SEO practices typically run afoul of search engine guidelines like E-A-T. Using black hat tactics can result in site penalties, or worse – getting completely banned from SERPs. It also reflects poorly on brands.
Understanding the Elements of SERPs in Digital Marketing
When you perform a search online, your results get displayed on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
SERPs feature a variety of elements that provide information and options to users.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the common elements you’ll encounter on Google’s SERP…
Google Search Organic Results
Organic results in Google Search refer to the non-paid results that get displayed based on Google’s algorithmic ranking.
Optimizing your website’s content and site structure with the latest SEO techniques helps you improve your organic search rankings and increase your businesses visibility.
Featured Snippets are results that get displayed at the very top of certain SERPs, providing a concise answer to user queries.
Featured snippets often appear in a box format and can include text, images, or other forms of content.
Here’s a featured snippet won by Reeves Realty in Calgary.
Pro tip: Optimizing your content to provide clear and concise answers to commonly asked questions can increase your chances of appearing in featured snippets and improving your website’s visibility.
Paid results are the advertisements that get displayed at the top or bottom of the SERP and are marked as “Ads” or “Sponsored.”
Paid results are generated through PPC campaigns like Google Ads, where businesses bid on keywords to have their ads displayed for specific search queries.
Paid results can provide immediate visibility and drive traffic to your website, but they require ongoing management and investment.
The Local Pack is a specialized result that appears for location-specific searches, such as “Kelowna restaurants” or “Kelowna hotels.”
The local pack displays a map with local businesses along with their NAP information (Name, Address, Phone number).
Optimizing your Google My Business profile, building local citations, and encouraging customer reviews can improve your visibility in the local pack and attract more customers to your business.
The Knowledge Graph is a box that appears on the right-hand side of some SERPs and provides information about a specific topic.
The knowledge graph gets generated from various sources like Wikipedia, and usually includes a brief summary, images, and other relevant information.
Optimizing your website with structured data markup, such as schema markup, can increase the chances of your website appearing in the knowledge graph and improving your brand’s visibility.
Images, Videos, and News Results
Depending on the type of query, search engines may also display images, videos, or news results at the top of SERPs.
If you have relevant multimedia content like images or videos, or if you publish news content on your website, you can get additional visibility for your website if you optimize correctly.
In the ever-evolving world of SEO, search engines are continuously updating their search engine crawler algorithms and SERP layouts – which means you need to stay on top of the latest changes and trends to impress your online customers and stay ahead of your competitors.
Need Help Winning the Local SEO Game?
We can help you win leads, expand your accounts, and retain your customers in the long-run.
You’ll benefit from our deep understanding of search engine algorithms and the latest SEO trends, while you watch your online traffic skyrocket to new heights.
Schedule a free discovery call with us today or call (250) 862-9868