We recently came across a poll on LinkedIn that asked the question, "What do you think should be the first step in bringing your keyword rankings to the first page?" The options were:
- Conducting keyword research from scratch
- Rewriting old/outdated content
- Writing new content
- Working on building strong backlinks
Which one do you think was the winner? (Drumroll, please.) Conducting keyword research from scratch! There is no right or wrong answer to this question, and the best approach will change from brand to brand—but conducting keyword research is almost always a fundamental piece of the puzzle when it comes to improving SEO.
What's more, keyword research plays a crucial role in two metrics important to every business: lead generation and revenue growth. Hiring an SEO consultant may not be the first step that comes to mind when you're looking to meet revenue and growth goals, but it should be. Here's why.
Why Is SEO Vital to Your Growth Strategy?
Let's understand some stats first that'll further reinforce why SEO is so important as part of your growth strategy:
- Organic search drives 51 percent of all visitors to B2B websites, leaving a lot of opportunity on the table. (MediaPost)
- Over 25 percent of searchers click the first Google search result—and only 2.5% click the tenth result. (SearchEngineJournal) Getting that #1 spot can really make a difference!
- 75 percent of internet users never scroll past the first page of search results. (Forbes)
- High-quality content and mobile-first design aren't just important to visitors; they are the two most important signals used by Google to rank your website for search. (SearchEngineJournal)
- 91 percent of all pages never get any organic traffic from Google, mostly due to the fact they don’t have backlinks. (Ahrefs)
- 46 percent of Google searches are local. (HubSpot)
In most cases, decisions such as choosing the right SEO agency go beyond statistics. Here are a few reasons to hire an SEO agency to grow qualified leads and revenue.
6 Reasons to Hire an SEO Agency
An SEO Agency Will Create a Long-Term Strategy
SEO could and should be seen as a revenue-generating mechanism that's part of your organic search growth marketing strategy, tying into organic traffic, organic branding, and organic revenue. While you can rank for almost anything today if you put in the effort, what you're ranking for will have a vital impact on how that brings in revenue to your business.
Search engines are battlefields with high competition and unique content that's already ranking well. But the same scenario also gives rise to highly competitive SEO strategies that directly tie to revenue.
Immediate inclination towards PPC and little to no actual experience or use cases that organic SEO works. And that's perfectly natural. It's generally easier to put a budget together and calculate ROI for a PPC campaign. While PPC and SEO can work together, once your content starts ranking in search results, it is less expensive and takes less effort to manage/maintain these with SEO as compared to PPC. It's easy to see why SEO is the long game when it comes to building content authority organically.
So, if SEO has to work for you, there needs to be a strong long-term SEO strategy in place and a confident buy-in from the team to give it a go, along with knowing how you can measure it.
They'll Fill Your SEO Strategy Gaps
Leading from the previous point of not being able to measure the full impact of SEO, you might feel something is lacking at several points during the execution of your strategy. It IS possible for SEO to drive demo calls, product demos, product/service quotes, and direct conversions apart from keyword rankings.
If the current SEO strategies are driving quite average results and you know that there are gaps that you're not able to catch, the expertise of an SEO agency can help uncover missed opportunities.
How do you know your current SEO strategy is under-delivering?
There are a few clear indicators of the SEO strategy not working as it should. You could experience little to no improvements in areas that were some of the reasons why you created a strategy in the first place. These could be website and keyword rankings; content performance in SERPs; branded keywords; navigational, informational, and transactional queries; local presence; rich snippets; and fewer gaps found on conducting competitor analysis. If these aren't bringing desired results, you know for sure your SEO strategy could be checked out twice.
Underperformance is not the sole reason to hire an SEO agency; sometimes, you might want to leverage the success you're already getting with your SEO efforts.
You Can Get an SEO Audit with High-Level Information
One of the advantages of using an SEO agency is that they can perform a thorough SEO audit to uncover areas that you may not have internal expertise on. This is the basis of all future strategy work, so all the missed opportunities, low-hanging fruit, and gaps need to be thoroughly analyzed and documented at this stage. Whether it's using HARO for link building or creating a long-term SEO strategy at scale, these are a few things that need to be a part of the audit. Your audit should also provide you a pulse on:
- Technical: Meta page titles, schema markups, page load time, SSL certificate, and clear navigation
- Keyword Rankings: Intent-based keywords, branded and non-branded keywords, current keyword gaps, current keyword opportunities, competitor analysis
- Content Rankings: Uniqueness of the content based on rankings, thought-leadership content, content that's well-linked internally with pillar pages, backlinks from other high-authority sites, data-driven content
You should expect an easily comprehensible report on all of their findings with clear indications of organic growth opportunities that'll bring in leads and revenue eventually.
An Agency Will Help You Navigate the Competition and Offer Leverage
For a SaaS business especially, it takes time to achieve the desired rankings, not entirely because there aren't enough high-volume keywords to rank for (honestly, sometimes there aren't) but because of the longer sales cycle than B2C. It requires prospects to keep finding your content to make a purchase decision when they're ready.
How can an SEO agency help? Analyzing user engagement on the site, internal and external linking of content, the intent of the content, the correct mapping of the content to the buyer journey, and the trustworthiness of your site are a few things that could significantly improve your rankings and, ultimately, lead to shorter sales cycles in time.
Even the best content strategy alone (one of the most common mistakes many SaaS businesses make) doesn't always mean high rankings; it's the all-encompassing SEO approach that gets all wins. When you choose an agency that understands that, it can quickly help you leverage your current offerings and navigate competitive gaps, thereby contributing to closing more sales and bringing revenue.
They Can Map Your SEO Strategy to the Marketing Funnel
Awareness, consideration, decision, and a few in between — you're likely aware of how it works. Even if the marketing funnel isn't set in stone for you, it still gives several access points for a potential customer to enter. This is where it becomes all the more important to not start with "which keywords should we rank for?" Instead, use SEO research as a framework to understand your buyer persona's main pain points.
Since more than one persona is involved in a SaaS business, the whole process can be quite cumbersome and time-consuming to do on your own. We recommend making SEO an integral part of your lead generation strategy for impactful results.
Source: STAT by Moz
Hiring an SEO agency can help quickly line up test demo calls, gather customer surveys, and any other useful data that'll ultimately lead them to map everything to the buyer journey. They can then align with the lead generation team to understand their growth goals and how they can partake in bringing more revenue through SEO.
Hiring an Agency Can Lead to Long-term Budget Efficiency
You may be thinking, "But hiring an agency can be really expensive!" Sure, it can be, but compare that against millions of dollars lost by not choosing the right partner or doing it on your own in the absence of expertise.
Even for PPC, think of the amount you're already spending or likely to spend each month and how quickly paid opportunities can dry up. It should be apparent that you need more than a PPC campaign if it's organic growth you're after. If you have to keep plunging cash month after month into PPC campaigns, you're likely not getting a return on what you've invested in the past.
This ISN'T the case when you choose organic SEO to drive growth. It helps your brand become its own marketing channel that's sustainable in the long run since you'll be optimizing ALL content and not just the ad copy for your ad campaigns.
Measuring the ROI of Hiring an SEO Agency
When you're using PPC campaigns to acquire customers, you're paying for every click to your website. More often than not, the cost-per-acquisition through paid methods goes really high over time and you'll likely be at a point where you just won't be able to reduce this cost.
SEO does the exact opposite. With SEO, costs are reduced quite significantly. And since SEO is not working on its own in a silo, everything from lead generation to content marketing brings together a unique combination of success factors when done correctly.
When it comes to measuring the impact, there's a full guide on how you can measure the ROI of SEO by Optimist. There are more than three ways to measure the impact of your SEO strategies, but if you're hiring an agency, then you also need to look at the ROI of that + SEO as opposed to SEO alone.
Two Mistakes to Avoid
While measuring the ROI, there are two common mistakes that are made:
- Measuring the ROI on a specific website section, landing page, content asset
- Measuring the ROI of specific parts of SEO and not the SEO strategy as a whole
While measuring the ROI, custom attribution models are always helpful in giving a better picture of your SEO efforts, so if you feel some categories are being left out, you can add them to Google Analytics or any other data analytics tool you're using for reporting. It's usually best to monitor your efforts each month to get a sense of where they're headed and whether the SEO agency is aligned with your organic growth goals or not. On top of that, a quarterly and six-month analysis should be a priority — something that a well-structured, data-driven agency with proven expertise in advanced SEO comes prepared with.