Email Marketing

5 Ways Email Marketing Can Help Your SEO Efforts

Email and SEO can be a powerful combination. Here are five ways that email marketing and SEO can help boost your rankings and search visibility. Brad Smith / December 19, 2018

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5 Ways Email Marketing Can Help Your SEO Efforts
email preffered by marketers in personalized experiences
choice of email type
correlation to Google ranking
email campaign elements tested
email content curation
original email content
impact on search visibility

None of the channels in a digital marketing strategy should exist in a vacuum.

They’re all connected in some way, and using those connections to your advantage can help you maximize your results on each.

Unfortunately, many marketers’ approach to this is simply aiming for consistent branding and messaging on each channel. And while it is important to create cohesive campaigns, that’s only the beginning.

Still, the potential impact each channel can have on another isn’t always immediately obvious — like with email and SEO.

But that doesn’t mean the connection isn’t there.

Keep reading to learn five ways email marketing can impact SEO, and how you can use each of those impacts to improve your SEO campaign results.

1. Drive Qualified Traffic to Your Website

One of the most obvious benefits of an email campaign is that it can drive traffic to your site.

But the emphasis here should be on qualified traffic, or visitors who are likely to make some sort of conversion after they arrive.

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One of the best ways to do this is with personalization.

And that’s likely why among all of the channels on which personalization is a possibility, marketers are more likely to use it on email than any other channel.

As a result, consumers now expect the email newsletters and content they receive to be tailored to their interests.

In fact, in one HubSpot survey, Dan Zarrella asked email subscribers why they opted to subscribe to emails from certain companies.

38 percent of respondents specifically mentioned the word “relevance,” and one person wrote that email content should be “particularly and specifically” relevant to them.

If you’re living up to this expectation, you can be confident that your email newsletters aren’t just driving traffic to your site, but driving targeted, qualified traffic that’s more likely to convert.

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And when you consider that the ultimate goal of every SEO strategy is to earn customers and revenue, this is a benefit that’s hard to overstate.

Fortunately, if you aren’t yet sending emails that are tailored to your audience’s interests, getting started doesn’t have to be all that complicated.

The easiest way to begin is by segmenting your list.

For example, when a user opts into fashion blog Man Repeller’s email list, they can choose which types of emails they want to receive.

This way, subscribers only receive the emails they want — and the creators of these campaigns can create content that’s specific to each segment’s interests and preferences.

2. Improve On-Site Engagement

Another advantage of driving qualified traffic to your site is that it enables you to attract readers that are likely to spend time engaging with specific resources and pieces of content.

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As a result, you can work toward increasing time on page and decreasing exit rates for your site.

What’s the biggest benefit of this?

The longer a visitor spends interacting with your site and content, the more likely they are to eventually convert.

But on-site engagement metrics may also contribute to your SEO efforts.

Although it’s impossible to say for sure whether these metrics are a direct ranking factor, time on site and bounce rate both correlate with high rankings.

The more effective you become at driving your subscribers to content that matches their interests, the better your search visibility can become over time.

3. Develop a More Targeted Content Strategy

Almost every experienced email marketer tests and analyzes at least a few elements in each of the emails they send.

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The most common of these is subject lines, with 70 percent of marketers saying they routinely test them in their campaigns.

Another 60 percent say they test messaging, 54 percent test calls to action and design, and 34 percent test personalization elements.

So if you’re like most email marketers, you probably already have a wealth of data on the elements you test. And this data can give you valuable insight you can use to shape other parts of your marketing strategy — including your on-site optimization.

After all, if you’ve built an effective email list, the recipients are all part of your target audience.

This means that their preferences can help you make data-backed decisions about your site and other channels.

So, for example, if you notice that your audience response particularly well to a specific headline within an email newsletter, you might opt to test that headline as the title for the corresponding page on your site.

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Or, if you test a new CTA and it performs particularly well, you could incorporate the same CTA copy into your homepage.

When you use your emails to get a sense of what your audience responds to best, you can make even better decisions about your site and SEO efforts in the future.

4. Turn High-Performing Emails into New Site Content

There are many approaches you can take to creating newsletters and other email campaigns.

One of the best is creating original content specifically for your subscribers, and selecting topics that are highly relevant to their interests and needs.

For example, when financial life management company United Capital first launched their newsletter, they used a third-party content curation service to send articles from other publications relevant to their target audience.

The articles they sent were typically centered around trending topics in the finance industry, along with posts on other subjects that might be relevant to the company’s target audience in some way.

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To improve its value as a lead generation tool, they decided to shift their approach and start creating original email content that was not only highly relevant to their subscribers, but also centered on financial topics that other publications weren’t yet covering.

Vice President of Digital Marketing Christina Martin explained that the approach allowed United Capital to “expand the conversation through both curated and original content to expand into concepts like working, earning, spending.”

And it worked.

After incorporating more original content, United Capital saw a 145 percent increase in newsletter engagement.

Their average open rate increased from 21 percent to 26 percent and even more impressively, their click-through rate jumped from 10 percent to 17 percent.

Now, if you’ve ever played a role in the content creation process, you might be thinking that this sounds like a lot more work than collecting a few links to content that already exists – and wondering whether all of that extra work is really worth the jump in engagement.

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Personally, I think it is.

But if you aren’t yet sold on this idea, consider that the new content you create for your campaigns doesn’t have to be limited to email.

Instead, you can maximize the value you get out of each newsletter by republishing them on your site or blog – and reap the SEO benefits that come along with high-quality content.

5. Encourage Social Shares

By getting your content in front of a targeted audience, you increase the potential opportunities each piece has to be shared on social media platforms.

This is especially true if you encourage your subscribers to share your content on their own social channels within your campaigns.

But is this really connected to your SEO strategy?

To be clear, Google has denied that social media shares aren’t a direct ranking factor.

But increased social visibility can still boost your SEO.

Indirectly, you can use it to:

  • Find link opportunities.
  • Increase positive brand mentions.
  • Build valuable partnerships.

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Beyond that, there’s evidence that social shares correlate with improved search visibility.

In one Hootsuite experiment, the company selected 90 pieces of content to test during a two-week period:

  • 30 of these articles (the control) were not shared on social platforms at all.
  • 30 were only shared organically.
  • 30 were boosted for two days with a budget of $100 each.

At the correlation between this activity and each group’s search visibility is clear:

Pages that were shared organically performed 12 percent better in search results than the control, and those that were boosted performed 22 percent better.ADVERTISEMENT

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This indicates that earning social shares can work to your advantage – and few strategies are more effective for doing this than delivering your content directly to readers who are likely to get value from it.

Conclusion

Part of creating an effective digital marketing strategy is finding ways to use each channel’s strengths to positively impact the others.

And while email and SEO may seem to be unrelated on the surface, there are plenty of ways you can use your email campaigns to boost your rankings and search visibility.

Use personalization and segmentation to drive qualified traffic to your site. This will not only help you move closer to your ultimate site goals, but can also improve engagement metrics that have a positive correlation with rankings.

Then, use the insight you gain from your campaigns to develop more targeted content strategies, and even repurpose top-performing emails as site content.

And as you get relevant content in front of your audience, you’ll naturally increase social shares — and while that might not have a direct impact on rankings, it can still indirectly improve your search visibility.

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Image Credits

Featured Image: Pixabay.com
All screenshots taken by author, December 2018.CATEGORYDIGITAL EXPERIENCESEO

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Brad Smith

Brad Smith

Founder & CEO at Codeless

Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, co-founder of uSERP and CEO at Wordable. His content has been highlighted by … [Read full bio]

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How to Identify Site Quality for Link Building

Paving the Path Forward with SEO: Preparing for New Normalities

 Lemuel Park   / May 21, 2020

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Paving the Path Forward with SEO: Preparing for New Normalities

The demand for SEO is trending to an all-time high, with more than 1.5 million searches in the month of April.

Marketers are searching for the most affordable and cost-effective ways to understand shifts in consumer behavior and demand volatility, while optimizing content for all of their digital channels.

SEO is now mission-critical – it is the front and center of digital marketing strategies spanning paid media, local, mobile, video, email, and across verticals like Amazon and ecommerce.

Companies that can activate their search insights with speed and accuracy are best positioned to recover and make gains, both during and post-COVID-19.

How SEO Paves the Way Forward

Even prior to COVID-19, organizations were struggling to keep pace with rapidly evolving consumer behavior.

Now, digital marketers – even as they adapt to their own work-from-home and isolation strategies – are having to rethink their digital marketing channels and ROI forecasts.

SEO, once considered a simple marketing channel, has grown over the last decade into a rich, abundant source of business and consumer intelligence.ADVERTISEMENT

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SEO has become the most accurate representation of “voice of the consumer” inside organizations, offering digital marketers from companies of all sizes the opportunity to enhance visibility and expand their digital footprint while generating that rich, valuable business data the entire organization needs.

Search marketers are in position to really help customers recapture or transform their businesses into a more digital-focused economy, as:

  • People always need products and services.
  • SEO reaches the consumer when they are in a state of need and regardless of state of mind.
  • When there is scarcity, people turn to search.
  • SEO is affordable and efficient for ROI.
  • Optimized content helps protect, build, and grow brand equity.
  • SEO is the voice of the consumer and provides vital insights into consumer behavior and patterns.
  • Search helps future-proof the business and provides immediate, midterm, and long-term wins.

With over 53% of website traffic coming from organic search, now is the time for organizations to leverage SEO in a multitude of ways.

Many companies have halted paid search due to Coronavirus-related business interruptions and now need to re-evaluate how paid strategy works in synergy with SEO.

How can organizations drive more traffic to the best content, feeding consumers’ need for media to consume while protecting furthering enhancing online brand equity?ADVERTISEMENT

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SEO Now: Utilizing Insights & Taking Action

As the pandemic situation continues, opportunities will arise for brands to win prime search visibility and companies who get the first-mover advantage will be quickest to recover, dominating share of voice in-market.

In fact, the conditions generated by COVID-19 present a great opportunity for proactive marketers willing to double down on SEO as consumers crave interactive, engaging content.

Brands have unlimited potential right now to entertain, assist, educate, and inform.

Search is the pulse of the market and as recent research from BrightEdge (disclosure: my company) has shown, COVID-19 has impacted every industry.

Depending on how the vertical has been affected, strategies will differ.BrightEdge free on demand webinar on Industry trends – mid-May updateBrightEdge data on Industry trends – mid-May update

1. Real-Time Data: Leverage to Understand & React to Trends & Consumer Behavior

With demand so volatile across all industries it is important, where companies can, to utilize real-time research to answer questions and uncover opportunities as they happen.

This helps account for industry-wide trends but also empowers marketers to ask specific questions and discover quantitative, data-driven answers with speed, ease, and accuracy.

Marketers must take action to understand, in real time, how content is performing and ranking across all vertical and global search engines.

As video consumption increases dramatically, it is important to track rankings there, as well.

This can help you unlock which products, categories, and influencers are taking off and use that to further promote those videos and inform future content strategy.

For ecommerce organizations, it is particularly important to protect the brand on Amazon.

Track how and where products rank, and quickly identify whether rogue merchandisers are taking away sales and diminishing your brand equity.

SEO Is Your Best Representation of the Voice of Your Customer

The insights that SEO data gives marketers in terms of understanding intent, behavioral, and buying patterns has never been so important.

At a time when consumers are making both rational and irrational decisions based on emotion and the formation of new habits, it is essential to make sure you have technology and systems in place to identify and action “in the moment.”ADVERTISEMENT

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Search data is valuable not just to the SEO team, but for marketing, product, and PR teams who are all looking to understand new types of customer journeys and what drives people on their journey.

2. Benchmarking Competition: Know Your Share of Voice & Work to Capture Market Share

As the shift to digital accelerates, the online landscape becomes increasingly more competitive.

With new content being published every second, organizations must understand who is outranking them for the topics they want to own in dynamic SERPs.

Understanding share of voice helps marketers increase SEO authority by identifying sites that can help the brand reach the target audience with paid ads or other partnership opportunities such as co-authorship or backlinking.

Competition in search results can vary widely by search topic or user device.

This is very important as working from home has consumers using both desktop and mobile devices in different ways than they did as commuters.

Content strategies must be informed by insights on how aggressively competitors are targeting search topics and how their content performs in smartphone, tablet or desktop searches.ADVERTISEMENT

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Share of voice accurately maps key competitors to help marketers prioritize competitive content marketing work plans.

The more informed decisions marketers make based on understanding the brand’s share of voice, the better they can maximize return on spend and increase revenue from all digital marketing efforts.

3. Website Optimization: Enhance User Experiences & Create New Experiences

In order to get ahead and stay ahead, regardless of your vertical, is to ensure your website is primed to convert traffic.

That means ensuring every aspect of your site, including content, is optimized and easy to navigate.

Consumers are looking for an experience that informs and gives them the best experience possible.

Configure site audits for the site health issues that matter most.

Audit on-page elements such as page title and H1 tag, and off-page factors including page loading speed, redirects, and 404 errors.

Tailor site audits to support specific business needs. It is also important to monitor and detect anomalies such as:

  • Loading issues.
  • Changes in performance.
  • Drops in conversion.
  • Decreases in traffic or revenue from content.

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Detecting these issues as they happen and fixing them rapidly will mitigate any revenue loss and keep websites clean, healthy, relevant, and informative.

It is important to run ad-hoc audits to ensure website performance is not affected when and if organizations are taking on large projects such as:

  • Site migration.
  • Regulatory and accessibility projects.
  • Penalty recovery.
  • International expansion.
  • Pricing management.
  • Social media integration.

4. Content: Create & Optimize Content in Synergy to Ensure Relevance & Performance

At a time where so much content is being produced, it is vital to make sure the content you produce is of quality.

Content needs to be authored with usefulness and trustworthiness and in line with Google E-A-T guidelines.

Systematically review all of the content you have on your site.

Look closely at your optimization efforts to see how well you are meeting your current COVID-19 business objectives.

Find any gaps in your content and adjust your process to better serve your (old and new) intended audiences.

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This allows marketers to align content with the buyer’s journey and measure the impact it is having on the growth of the business.

With consumers’ media needs so high due to COVID-19, it’s a great time for marketers to fill gaps in the customer journey with quality content.

Depending on the type of business and the extent to which operations have been affected, this may not even be the time to convert prospects to a sale.

However, opportunities are still there to re-optimize to convert to another action that will deepen relationships and keep the brand top of mind until sales pick up once again.

5. Global, Local & Mobile: Manage, Pivot & Optimize for People, Places, Content & Devices

Digital media continues to create global interconnections.

Many brands want to expand or pivot focus beyond their borders and engage with new prospective customers in foreign countries.

From store closures through to store reopenings, local search is intrinsically linked to SEO.

Now is time to look at your strategies and opening plans and ensure your site and content is optimized for local and hyper-local search.ADVERTISEMENT

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This is especially true for brick and mortar stores hard hit by the initial impact of COVID-19.

Trust is a big part of recovery so it will be important to analyze search volume and ranking data on key store target locations.

Evaluating the searches conducted in the areas surrounding locations will help you build content to drive traffic to re-opened locations.

It is important to also do this at a global and local level across multiple geographies, locations, and languages.

And as consumers interact on multiple devices, from desktop to mobile, marketers must track mobile demand, mobile searches, and mobile rankings changes.

Focusing on key areas related to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), mobile site structure, and page speed will help further enhance user experience, conversion, and revenue.

6. Technology & Innovation: Scale Performance With Additional & Valuable Automated Resource

Real-time research powered by deep learning is already helping marketers get the information and insights they need, right when they need it.

Advancements in these areas are opening key opportunities for all types of digital marketers (a trend BrightEdge has seen directly within its platform over recent months).ADVERTISEMENT

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The ability to ask questions and find answers on demand reduces time and increases revenue performance.

Utilizing the power of a one-stop solution platform also brings instant impact, since marketers do not have to struggle with disparate and unconnected data silos and the inflexibility of narrow point solutions.

Advancements in the fields of AI and machine learning have already proven successful in being the “extra SEO person,” that additional data scientist and digital marketing Sherpa needed to help with time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks.

From an SEO perspective, intelligent automation can improve many of the auditing and optimization tasks that will help brands stay on top of Coronavirus-related shifts in demand and consumer behavior.

It is especially important to save time and maximize output in these times of resource scarcity when marketers are being asked to accomplish more (and faster) during COVID-19.

In its most simplistic form, automation gives marketing capabilities the gift of scale. Technology does the work of redundant tasks, reducing manual labor costs.ADVERTISEMENT

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It frees up time for human marketers to focus on more creative and impactful work.

Utilizing advanced automation is already helping many marketers simplify complex and time-consuming tasks, even while drastically improving their impact on business outcomes and helping them make smarter and better-informed decisions.

Conclusion

In this time of uncertainty, search is the best option for responding to ongoing COVID-19-related business interruptions with speed and agility.

SEO, in particular, is critical not only for discovery, but as the channel that provides the greatest insight into consumer behavior in real-time.

Search insights can inform every stage of COVID-19 brand response through to post-pandemic success.

There will be business winners and losers in this new digital economy, and search insights will inform every stage of a proactive COVID-19 brand response.

Understanding the challenges of COVID-19 and resulting consumer behavior is key in the path to evolving in sustainable and even profitable ways.

SEO insights will uncover opportunities and provide key insights for operations, customer service, product development, R&D, the C-suite, and businesses as a whole.ADVERTISEMENT

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As a result, the relationship between SEO and business strategy is set to become even more tightly intertwined.

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