Scientists may tell you the last dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago, but they haven’t met your boss.
The very definition of old school; she’s the kind of person who only begrudgingly accepted email because she’s still convinced the internet is a fad.
But she’s the decision-maker and the person who controls the purse strings. How do you convince her of the importance of SEO?
How do you build a case for adding it to your marketing plan and allocating the resources to make it successful?
If only there was some sort of handy guide you could refer to… oh wait. We’ve got just the thing.
Why SEO Should Be Part Of Every Marketing Plan
In 2021, American consumers spent $870.78 billion online, or roughly 19% of total purchases. And that’s not even including all the in-person sales that were driven by web research and awareness.
Quite simply, every business needs a website.
And because websites with no visitors are of no use at all, every business needs SEO as part of their marketing plan.
This article will give you a step-by-step process to build a business case to add search engine optimization to yours.
Why You Need A Business Case
A business case is a formal justification for undertaking a project. It evaluates the benefit, cost, and risk of alternative options and provides a rationale for a specific solution.
Too many small businesses, overwhelmed by the enormity of day-to-day operations, completely forgo business cases.
But without one, you’re probably wasting valuable resources on projects with little benefit, losing sight of project goals, and struggling with proper prioritization.
This is something you don’t want to do with SEO, particularly if you’re trying to convince someone else of its importance.
You need a good business plan to make your case, one that describes the following:
- The opportunity.
- The problem in the current system.
- The solution.
This doesn’t have to be overly long; in fact, being concise is often better.
But it does need to clearly describe the vision and goal of your SEO strategy, the data to support your contentions, and the technological tools you’ll need.
You need to include financial projections about cost and return on investment, ideally on a month-by-month basis for the first year, as well as information about when you believe your SEO project will become cash-flow positive.
Building Your SEO Business Case
Below, we’ll work you through the process and help you develop a case your boss will have to sign off on.
Conduct A Website Audit
Like any good plan, your business case should start with research. And this means a comprehensive website audit, which will provide your team with a performance baseline.
Begin by evaluating your current SEO status and strategy, if you have one.
Determine what’s working at bringing in traffic to your website.
Do you have common keywords that are leading to your site? What pages are visitors landing on most?
Identify the opportunities that your strongest pieces of content provide.
Look at both on-page factors like keyword density, optimized images, headers, and URL names, and off-page factors like backlink quality, site structure, internal linking, and 404 errors.
Knowing where you’re starting from will help you accurately forecast the results your SEO campaigns will generate.
Intimidated by this process? Don’t be. There are numerous free tools you can use for site audits that will give you the information you need.
Do A Competitive Analysis
SEO is a zero-sum game. The traffic you’re landing is the traffic your competitors aren’t. And vice-versa.
With this in mind, it’s absolutely crucial that you know exactly what they’re up to, so you can find why they’re outranking you and discover opportunities to swipe visitor clicks from them.
But beware – your biggest SEO rivals may not be your biggest industry competitors; they may be only tangentially related companies that use similar keywords.
Figure out who you’re up against with an SEO competitive analysis. You’ll want to ask (and answer) questions like:
- What keywords do competitors rank for?
- Which keywords are they not utilizing effectively?
- How are they promoting their content?
- What is their SEO strategy?
- How is their on-page content optimized?
- What is the quality of their backlinks?
- Are they using paid ads? To what effect?
Not sure how to find all this information?
Aside from the always helpful articles you’ll find on this website, there are also a number of essential tools you can use to figure out just what the competition is up to.
Speak To Your Target Audience Based On Intent
In a digital world, it can be easy to forget that there are actual people on the other side of your campaigns and that you’re not just creating content for search engines.
Take some time to identify your target audience persona and research why this hypothetical person is visiting your website. You should identify:
- Who is a typical target?
- What do they want?
- What keywords or phrases are they searching for?
Some people find it helpful to create a character or characters to whom they can then speak directly to with content.
For example, an online hardware store may have a persona called Jim, based on an imagined customer:
Jim is a middle-aged man from the Midwest. He has a good job, but not enough disposable income to hire a professional for home repairs, so he does things himself. He knows his way around tools. He is a family man who enjoys sports, barbecue, and watching television.
By envisioning Jim as a real person, some writers find it easier to speak directly to him, using language he would feel comfortable with, which in turn leads to better results.
You don’t have to go this far, though the more you understand who you’re targeting, the better your SEO campaigns will perform.
Create A Monthly Content Plan
Now that you know who you’re targeting, it’s time to start planning to reach these people.
Create a month-by-month plan outlining your content.
Determine what you will focus on. This could be a theme like the holiday season or a product you want to push. Not everything needs to stay on theme, but it’s generally easier to plan a month’s worth of content when it’s all related.
Next, review your calendar to identify key dates like events, product launches, and affiliate promotions.
Armed with this information, it’s time to create a high-level content plan that presents the big picture of what you’ll be doing for the month.
Map out promotions and core content like blog posts.
Not sure what your priorities should be? We can help with that.
Want to go even further in-depth and develop an SEO strategy for the entire year? We have a free ebook that’s just what you need.
List Your Keywords
Of all the parts of SEO, perhaps the most important is keywords.
The foundation of an overall SEO strategy: it tell search engines what your content is all about and why it’s the perfect solution for their needs.
So, how do you find the keywords that are most useful for your goals? By this point in building your SEO business case, you should be well prepared to identify them.
There are a number of tools and techniques you should use, beginning with brainstorming a list of topics relevant to your content.
Come up with a list of seed keywords and then use a good keyword research tool to identify others.
Because you have already identified user intent, this will be helpful in finding long-tail keywords.
Likewise, your previous work investigating the competition will come in handy here by helping you figure out what keywords are working for them, so you can use them yourself.
Build The Workplace Relationships You Need
Now that you’re armed with the plan for a winning SEO strategy, it’s time to start assembling the resources to put it into action.
You don’t have to hire an SEO specialist or hire an outside firm to get started (though that can be a very good idea), because you likely have many of the pieces you need already in your organization.
Marketing, IT, and sales should all be brought into the fold.
While some people may be less than thrilled by what they’ll perceive as more work for them, explain they you’re all on the same team and working toward the same goal.
Build rapport with them by showing them how their individual contributions will make your SEO undertaking more successful.
Spend some time educating them on the process and be sure to highlight the importance of each of their roles.
Strengthen Your Case With Facts And Data
At the end of the day, most executives only care about one thing: Does it provide a return on investment?
That’s what’s great about SEO – it provides a wealth of data points you can use to show not only that what you’re doing is worthwhile, but that it’s paying off too.
And there is ample evidence to show why you need an SEO plan.
For example, you’ll surely want to mention that Google is responsible for 92% of web searches, with more than 267 million unique visitors in the U.S. alone. Or that 56% of web traffic comes from mobile devices.
If you’re promoting a paid component to your overall SEO plan, be sure to highlight that for every $1 a business spent on Google ads, they made an average of $2 in revenue.
Using this data, you can tell a compelling story that covers more than the black and red of a balance sheet and encourages buy-in.
Measure And Track Your Success
SEO is a long game and not one that will reap immediate rewards. You need to make this clear to stakeholders right from the start.
But with a solid strategy and a little old-fashioned elbow grease, you’ll soon start seeing measurable results.
Google is great at providing you with factual support using key metrics like:
- Organic traffic.
- Keyword ranking.
- Click-through rate.
- Bounce rate.
- Conversion rate.
- Time spent on page.
By carefully tracking your performance, you’ll get a better understanding of where and how you’re succeeding, as well as identify areas for improvement.
SEO is a good investment for any organization, but it requires an investment upfront in both time, budget, and resources.
While results are not always predictable, SEO is one of those fields where you get out what you put in.
If you throw together a slap-dash plan without much thought, you’re not going to get the quality results you would get from a more methodical approach.
But by developing a carefully thought out business case for SEO and highlighting its potential, it’s very difficult for even the most curmudgeonly boss to deny its value.
From increasing your customer base to driving new sales, there is no question a quality strategy will help achieve company-wide goals.
Now get to work – you have an SEO business case to build.
- 15 Reasons Why Your Business Absolutely Needs SEO
- Small Business SEO Checklist: 11 Ways To Improve Rankings
- SEO Strategy: A Full Year Blueprint
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