Spring is in the air. Can’t you just feel all that growth coming? And no, I’m not talking about that plant on your desk (although you really should water that thing). I’m talking about growth marketing and, more specifically, the role of SEO in growth.
Growth doesn’t happen on its own. Like your favorite houseplant, your brand needs to be watered with care before you’ll see fresh new shoots peek through the soil. And while it may be tempting to push SEO to the side in favor of the fertilizer that is PPC and other paid tactics, the reality is that growth marketing works best alongside the day-to-day nurturing that comes from SEO.
What Is Growth Marketing?
Growth marketing is the process of using data to maximize your marketing strategies to drive, well, growth. We go into more detail on growth marketing in other blogs, but what you really need to know is this: Growth marketing involves all the usual traditional and digital marketing tactics but uses them in a highly scalable way to get results fast.
The Role of SEO in Growth Marketing
Put simply, the role of SEO in growth marketing is to create growth. Obvious, right? But the not-so-obvious idea here is that SEO does drive growth.
And since growth marketing can tap into any and all marketing tactics, it makes sense that SEO also has its part to play: to create growth and to support growth. Let’s break that down.
SEO Creates Growth
SEO is and has always been a growth channel. Though SEO is a bit of a slow cooker compared to the Instant Pot that is growth marketing, both have always had one goal: more. More eyeballs on the product, more customers, more retention. SEO just happens to do it through the systematic and strategic creation of content that puts your brand at the top of the SERPs.
But done well, that low-and-slow cook does boost traffic, increase leads and conversions, and create relationships between brands and customers that drive retention. If your SEO isn’t creating growth, it might be time for an overhaul.
We find that the SEO tactics that create the most growth include the following:
- Keyword research and mapping
- Strategic content creation
- Optimizing existing content and web pages
SEO Supports Growth
So much of SEO is about creating world-class user experiences — experiences that make it easy to find and use your website. For this reason, the second role of SEO in growth is to support your work in other channels.
Even the most well-conceived campaigns will fall flat if your website is a mess. But if you have an effective SEO strategy, it’s likely that your website is clear and has a cohesive user journey that’ll make it easy for prospective customers to go from click to convert. Experiences like these are non-negotiable parts of good SEO, which is why SEO is so foundational to growth marketing.
In our experience, the SEO tactics that best support growth are the following:
- Technical SEO
- On-page SEO
- Conversion rate optimization
- User experience optimization
The Difference Between SEO and Growth Marketing
SEO does have a role in growth marketing. But they have their differences, too. Think of them as cousins, not twins. They have some shared DNA and family history, but they aren’t totally alike.
While noting the differences may seem at odds with incorporating SEO into your growth marketing, it can actually help you better understand when to flip the switch on other channels and when to let SEO do its thing.
Business Growth vs. Website Growth
By now, we should all agree that both SEO and growth marketing are focused on growth. But there are some key differences in where that growth takes place. SEO’s eyes are always on the website. Sure, there might be some off-page SEO occasionally, but generally speaking, SEO is concerned with increasing eyeballs on the website.
Growth marketing looks at the business comprehensively. Good growth marketing will tackle everything from pricing strategies to conversion strategies, which requires collaboration across the organization. That means that growth marketing will need more cross-departmental buy-in, whereas SEO can create steady, sustainable growth in the background.
Mix of Channels vs. Single-Minded
Growth marketing is about pulling all the levers you can. That might mean A/B testing, personalization, heat mapping, and more for any and all channels you use. Successful growth marketers are often successful multi-taskers; they know what to focus on and when to really get results.
SEO is more single-minded. Sure, you might be creating new content one day and optimizing existing content the next, but it takes a singular focus on the website. Understanding when it’s time to test and innovate and when it’s time to focus on your website’s foundation is a key part of leveraging SEO in growth marketing. Striking the right balance is essential to ensure both approaches work in harmony.
We’ve established that SEO is a foundational part of growth, and we’ve even outlined the role of SEO in growth marketing. But how exactly can you use SEO to grow your business? That right there is the million-dollar question.
Your growth marketing and SEO strategies should be unique to your brand and your customers. But no matter what you’re selling or who you’re selling it to, these SEO tips should help get you on the road to growth:
1. Clean Up Your Technical SEO
If SEO is a foundation, technical errors are cracks in the concrete. Any good SEO strategy should start with shoring up that foundation.
Here's what to do to get your technical SEO in order:
- Make sure all pages are indexed.
- Confirm analytics and tracking are installed and functioning.
- Redirect 404s.
- Check any alerts in Google Search Console.
- Implement schema.
- Test for mobile friendliness.
2. Map Your Website
Neither SEO nor growth marketing benefits from slapping content on your site. Every page you add should be strategic. This includes:
- Mapping keywords: Ensure you map relevant keyword targets to every page of your website so you know what to optimize for.
- Mapping content: Strategically add content to your sitemap so that new content supports the rankings of existing content.
- Mapping the user journey: Understand how customers move through the website on their path to purchase so you can use SEO to smooth out the user experience.
Each of these maps is critical for SEO, but they also bolster growth marketing efforts because no matter where the users come from, they’ll have a positive experience on your website and, therefore, with your brand.
3. Create New Content
Take a growth marketing lens to all the content you create. Test headlines, copy, and even CTAs to see what works. In this way, growth marketing can actually make your SEO better.
Likewise, SEO can also enhance your growth marketing because you can create content that plugs into your campaigns. Need a new landing page for a paid campaign? Take SEO into account while you create it. Want to generate sustainable traffic but the keyword is pricey? Try ranking organically instead.
4. Optimize Existing Content
Optimizing your content ensures that it’s always performing, whether that’s making tweaks to get more traffic or boosting conversions. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is an important part of SEO — and one that’s valuable in growth marketing, too. Through CRO, you’ll make strategic changes to your site to increase the rate at which your target customers convert through both SEO and growth marketing. Win-win, right?
5. Monitor and Mitigate
The reality is that neither SEO nor growth marketing are ever over. True success with SEO in growth marketing is something of a wash, rinse, repeat of the tactics you know work, plus testing and monitoring to make those tactics even better.
Conduct regular SEO audits, resolve any issues, and keep your website as clean and functional as possible to see both your SEO and your growth marketing soar.
Create a Solid Foundation for Your Growth Marketing
Together, SEO and growth marketing make all the sense in the world. But that doesn’t mean it's easy to leverage SEO in growth. The reality is that SEO is your foundation and your steady friend, while growth marketing is your adrenaline junkie who can rapidly pack your funnel.
There is a time and a place for both. But the tricky part is knowing when that time is. Test your own SEO and growth marketing approach, or work with a growth marketing agency to lean on their expertise. Get in touch with us if you’re ready to scale your business through growth marketing and SEO.