What Executives Need To Know

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is by far the least well understood form of marketing among executives and SEO professionals alike.

While there is much about SEO that is solely related to the technical practice of building SEO friendly websites, most of what will move the needle and get a website exposure is actually just good marketing.

What We Know

SEO allows businesses to capture people when they are most valuable, at the point they are actively looking for something related to a business. The result is high quality traffic, coming to your doorstep, learning about you. With 3.5 billion searches a day, a proper SEO strategy can bring in hundreds of thousands of users to a site every month, but most executives focus on the wrong things.


According to Google, there are four types of queries (user searches):


  1. “Know” queries, where a user is looking to learn something of substance
  2. “Know-Simple” queries, where a user is looking for a 1-2 sentence response to a question
  3. “Do” queries, where a user is going to take an action on their device
  4. “Website” queries, where a user is looking to visit a specific website

When it comes to commercial search terms, know queries, users researching product, outnumber “do” queries by 10 to 1. This trend of researching is only increasing with Google reporting that the number of people are searching for the “best” product is up 80% in the past two years. Increasingly, people are doing research to find what will suit them best, what is similar to things they’ve seen, and even research for products at specific price points.

To succeed in SEO, a content development strategy that is optimized to meet the needs of users conducting research will be what defines success. While “do” queries will always bring in the highest converting traffic, many websites see their best customers convert after visiting their sites 7+ times, this is especially true for B2B sales and high ticket items, and less true for ecommerce websites.


How to meet the needs of your consumers, all while selling your product.

If you have an SEO team, or worked with an SEO team in the past, one of two things is likely to have happened.

  1. Your SEO team was adamant on content marketing as well as technical perfection
  2. Your SEO team thought that landing pages were enough


If your SEO team fit in with number one, then you are on to something, if your SEO team thought that landing pages were enough, I doubt you were happy with the results.


Content marketing, knowing that people are researching 10x more than they are buying, is an essential part of SEO. Even if your conversion rate is one tenth of what it is for the “buy” queries, you can double the amount of conversions by targeting the research questions.


When you take into account the interconnectedness of content marketing to how Google views your website as a whole, it makes even more sense. Google has a vested interest in showing the best result to people. If they do, they keep coming back and Google continues to make more money. So it follows, if you have comprehensive content around your product or service that will enhance the user experience, Google will prioritize your website over others.


The bottom line is that if your website satisfies all of the needs a consumer has, you will be positioned incredibly well to rank for the words profitable for your business.


So where do most executives go wrong?


Content marketing takes time; a lot of time. And not only does it take time, it takes money, and the results can be uncertain when just starting out. Going for a big money “buy” keyword is often much more attractive due to a clear cause and effect; a cause and effect that may become harder to track.


Content marketing is a crowded space, and chances are your competitors are already competing for these supporting terms. To win in content marketing, you actually have to have better, original content than the rest of your competitors. If the content rehashes the same things that people can access elsewhere, it will not win.


While this can be a major issue when trying to compete against giants, there are often opportunities in multimedia. If someone is searching for a question related to your industry that pulls only blog post results, there is a potential opportunity to be a first mover on video. Having a page that includes video, audio, as well as text, can most definitely provide a superior user experience, and thus be positioned to perform better on Google.

The Caveat

You may have heard that content is king, any marketer that keeps pushing that phrase has no idea what they’re talking about. I don’t care if it’s Social Media, writing a book, SEO, or anything else, it is not content that is king, it is connections. If you want to get really smart on why that is true, read The Content Trap, by Bharat Anand. He explores in great detail why it is connections that are king, rather than content.


Think of it this way, if you had the greatest product, but no way to advertise it, no “connections” to people, you wouldn’t be confident in success. If the funniest video ever to be released was put up on an obscure video site that got little traffic, it would very likely not succeed.


Google understands this. Because Google is not a human, they can’t look at a piece of content and judge if it is better than another similar piece of content. To get past that, they look at how other websites talk about the content, in essence, they look at connections.

Digital PR

Before the internet, if you wanted to get your message out to people you couldn’t directly contact, you would pitch someone who had a channel of access to other people. They would cover your content, if it was good enough, and everyone was happy. When the internet came along, that was not necessarily needed anymore. Users could put the word “how to buy a used car” in a website hundreds of times and remove the need to have authority validated by an outside entity. Google’s gotten a lot smarter, and in order to “score” a piece of content they look at the authority of the websites talking about the brand or piece of content in question.


To succeed in search, your content needs to be so great that other people reference it as an authority, write about it directly, or let you post your content right on their site. That’s no easy feat, but combine the traffic coming to your website directly from those posts and the greater amount of traffic coming in from Google search, and you’ve got one heck of an asset from your content marketing efforts.


Want it in one sentence?


Be the premier destination where you customer can get everything they need and be trusted in Google’s eyes through having other websites linking to you.

*While this is a foundation for SEO, there are hundreds of pages worth of extra information. If you want to learn more head to and we will do our best to get back to you in a timely fashion. If you would like to work with us head to and we’ll be in touch.

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