Lead generation is crucial for all types of business. It drives quality prospects that can turn into quality customers. However, as much as 61% of marketers recognize it as their biggest challenge.
In the process of generating leads, marketers must prepare the right digital marketing tools, platforms, and content. Thus, it can be a risky process for businesses if not carefully planned.
Fortunately, you can mitigate the risks through search engine optimization (SEO). Lead generation is among the many benefits SEO offers for a business.
In this article, you will find the ultimate guide to SEO leads, including their definition, benefits, and 12 best practices to generate quality leads. Let’s get started.
What Are SEO Leads?
First, let’s understand what SEO and leads are.
SEO is a marketing strategy to improve different aspects of your website to gain quality traffic and rank higher on search engine results. Consequently, it helps increase your business sales and profit.
Better SEO strategies mean higher chances for your website to show up on the first search engine results page (SERP), generating more leads.
Leads are people who are interested in your brand and one step closer to being potential clients. Businesses gain leads through advertising, direct sales, and other marketing efforts.
SEO leads are the leads generated from your SEO strategies. They’re the people who found the brand organically through search results, the main goal of SEO.
To gain more and more high-quality SEO leads, it’s necessary to implement several digital marketing strategies, which we will cover further in the article.
Now, let’s discuss how a lead generation funnel works so you can get one step further in gaining SEO leads.
How Does the SEO Lead Generation Funnel Work?
The simplest way to understand SEO for generating leads is through the AIDA sales funnel.
AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. Each of them represents people’s level of interest in your brand.
This funnel works as a guideline to help determine the right SEO and marketing strategies to generate leads successfully.
The first stage in the funnel is Attention. As the name suggests, the goal is to gain the attention or awareness of everyone within your market reach, making them understand your brand and its unique selling points.
To gain attention, start by building awareness. Communicate with people within the relevant age demographics, location, gender, and socio-economic factors.
After that, focus on the goals of your digital marketing strategies, which may include:
- Establishing credibility. Credibility influences people’s behaviors and decisions. Build credibility through solid company branding, including a well-functioning and informative website, blog posts, and other channels like email and social media. Optimize them to increase quality and start gaining visibility.
- Increasing reach. Invest in paid ads, like Google and Facebook Ads. Use this opportunity to cover more locations and expose your brand to new audiences.
- Building social influence. Create a Google My Business page and social media profiles on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn to build social influence.
After going through the first stage, your audience is now called suspects. In this step, people are starting to show interest in your brand and know how to contact you.
Your audience also knows about your product and starts to build interest because your brand fits their lifestyle. However, you must tread carefully as you can still lose people’s interest.
After discovering your website or social media page through ads, they take the next immediate action.
These actions include going to your website to learn about its content and your product. They start following your brand on social media, interacting with it through likes, shares, and replies.
It is also where marketers can take advantage of email marketing. Include links to your site on the emails, create engaging content, and guide readers with call-to-action (CTA) buttons.
Other strategies you can implement here include free product trials, asking for feedback, and sharing insightful social media content to build engagement. The goal is to maintain the suspects ‘ interest.
In this step, suspects turn into prospects.
They are aware of and deeply interested in your brand. Prospects know about your business and products and how they can help solve problems.
Prospects show high interest by providing their contact information, like email address and phone number. They want to purchase your product yet have some considerations in mind.
Therefore, the goal of this stage is to convince your prospects to make a decision. The strategies you can implement are as follows:
- Building relationships with your prospects. To do so, emphasize soft selling instead of hard selling. Treat them not as potential sales but as individuals looking to solve their problems with your products.
- Focus on email marketing. Upgrade your strategy by providing offers, discounts, and time-limited promotions.
- Personalize your approach. Building genuine relationships, calling prospects by their first names, and adjusting the content or product preferences are some of the ways to add personalization.
- Contact and follow up on their inquiries. Genuinely listen to their inquiries and aim to solve their problems. Understand the factors that keep them from buying your products.
The final step is when your prospects start taking action. Here’s where you can start measuring conversion rates to improve your sales efforts.
The desired action of this funnel is for the Prospects to make a purchase and subscribe to newsletters. After going through the Action stage, your prospects turn into customers, completing the purchase funnel.
Aside from turning prospects into customers, the action phase can also encourage them to become returning customers.
Some Action strategies you can implement are:
- Add a CTA to your landing pages. Include calls to action on your social media posts, ads, email newsletters, and other material to direct people to your landing pages.
- Optimizing product page and fulfillment process. An optimized product page will help drive more conversions, increasing your SEO leads.
- Offer free shipping or time-limited promotions. A time-sensitive action creates a sense of urgency, encouraging the potential customer to make a purchase.
Overall, the AIDA model helps you conduct people down the sales funnel by creating digital content that fits their preferences and expectations.
In addition to AIDA, some models adopt an extra step, retention. It’s about maintaining your customers’ trust, generating loyalty, and steady profits.
12 Ways to Generate Quality SEO Leads
Now, let’s check 12 best practices to generate qualified leads from SEO:
1. Benchmark Your Site Against Competitors
The first step is benchmarking your site against your competitors, checking and evaluating the strategies adopted by other companies in your industry.
By doing so, you can learn from your competitors and understand their strengths and weaknesses, site structure, and how they build customer relationships.
The benchmarking process is important to understand how to improve your website for SEO and understand your business growth potential.
To do it, start by listing and researching relevant competitors. Use a competitor analysis tool, like SEMrush or Google Adword Keyword Planner, to help you do it.
Then, analyze marketing trends and determine your objectives. Use the data you collected to create action plans to improve your website and its capabilities. This can range from implementing SEO strategies to redesigning the site.
Additionally, learn about the competitor’s brand persona. Learn how people respond to it and see how you can elevate that to create your own persona.
2. Create an Online Content Strategy
Content marketing plays a significant role in gaining SEO leads. This is because part of an SEO strategy involves optimizing your site’s content for search engines.
When you create content for SEO, don’t forget to build a strategy that covers the planning, distribution, and management processes. When developing a content strategy, you should ask the following questions:
- Is the strategy scalable?
- How much will it cost?
- What will be your marketing platforms?
- How many resources do you need?
- Does it cater to the audience’s needs?
- Does it reflect the brand’s unique selling points?
An online content strategy will provide a clear path and foundation for lead generation. It means you create high-quality content that generates results, fulfills the audience needs, and improves your site rankings.
To create a successful online content strategy, firstly, set short and long-term goals. To do that, take into account potential costs, your audience, and their preferences. Use Google Trends and Google Analytics to help in this process.
After that, choose the content types that best fit your goals and potential consumers’ preferences. The right content helps gain traffic much faster, resulting in higher search engine rankings.
Landing on the first page of the search results is crucial – 95% of people only check the first results page.
Then, distribute your content on suitable channels, like social media or email. Create a content calendar to manage and publish content effectively to increase brand exposure.
3. Do Keyword Research
Keyword research is a part of the SEO process of finding relevant search terms people use on search engines and using the keywords on your website’s content.
The relevant keywords found in the research provide insights on marketing trends and which topics to cover in your content.
You’ll increase content quality, increase audience engagement, and boost lead generation with more relevant content.
To research relevant keywords, start by listing terms related to your business. You can find them by using Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, the search autocomplete feature or other SEO tools like SurferSEO.
Opt for long-tail keywords first as they’re more focused and help your content match the user’s search intent better. Long-tail keywords also work better than short-tail keywords in driving relevant and high-quality traffic to your site.
After gathering all relevant keywords and search intent, it’s time to add them to your content. Distribute your keywords strategically to help strengthen your SEO score.
Don’t forget to take search intent into account. There are four search intents – informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial. Ensure your content matches the search intent behind each keyword.
Once that’s done, you can add keywords when updating your existing content, which we will discuss next.
4. Update Existing Content
It’s also possible to gain SEO leads by updating your existing content. It helps you make the most out of your current content and ensure that it stays up-to-date with relevant market trends.
Your current content already has an SEO score. When updating and optimizing your content, your goal is to maximise its potential without losing the existing score – ideally, increasing it.
To update your existing content, begin by collecting your content marketing data from your marketing tools, including your site analytics data. Gather all the essential metrics, like the number of visitors, traffic, and click rates.
Then, re-analyze the content’s search intent because as it is a crucial ranking factor for SEO. Check if your content matches the audience’s search intent and if it answers their questions.
After that, list the content to update, including photos, videos, and product descriptions. Don’t forget to add keywords to better optimize the content.
Additionally, work on your CTAs and internal linking to improve your content ranking further. CTA helps increase your conversion rates, while internal linking helps Google identify new and important pages within your site.
5. Use Local SEO Strategies
As the name implies, this SEO strategy focuses on improving the website for the local audience. The goal is to attract their interest while also increasing the site’s visibility on search engines.
Local SEO is necessary for businesses that operate in a specific area or have a physical location. For example, when users search businesses “near me” or “in location,” local SEO strategies will show your business on the search results.
Local credibility helps gain the local audience’s trust, increasing your domain authority, and generating more relevant traffic. It also provides an excellent first impression and makes it easier for people to learn about you.
The process of doing local SEO starts by:
- Creating a Google My Business page. First, you’ll need a Google Account for your business. After that, sign in and fill out details about your company.
- Using local keywords. In addition to your location, add nearby landmarks as your keywords.
- Making your business credible for Google. Do this by building high-quality backlinks and keeping your content fresh.
- Creating a local landing page. Adjust your landing page’s language, content, and CTA for the local audience.
- Inputting essential information. Share essential information that includes your name, address, email, and a contact us page so the audience can find you easily.
6. Internal Linking
Internal links are links placed on your site that lead to pages within your site and are one of the most important SEO ranking factors.
Link-building strategies are essential to improve the site navigation and structure. Internal links provide content relevant to the page visited, helping search engines understand how these pages relate to each other.
The more links you have on your site to a certain page, the more important it will be in your site structure.
Here are some of the ways to have an effective internal linking strategy:
- Consider your purchase funnel. Ensure the internal links help generate leads and conduct a potential client through the purchase funnel.
- Define the most important pages. List your top-performing landing pages. In addition to adding links on these pages, make sure your other pages link back to the top performers.
- Ensure that the internal links are related to each other. There must be a clear contextual relation between the two pages.
- Promote your content on your email newsletters and other channels. Add links to your website on your newsletters and social media profiles.
- Track your internal links with Google Analytics. By tracking the links, you’ll understand what works and what needs improvement.
Additionally, don’t forget to audit your links to ensure they are working properly.
7. Select the Right Social Media Channels
People who follow your social media accounts are within the second stage of the purchase funnel, which is Interest. Build this interest by investing in social media marketing.
Social media marketing helps generate SEO leads as your social media presence plays a big role in attracting potential customers. A total of 73% of consumers made purchases based on a brand’s social media.
Thus, choosing the right social media channels will help your content reach your target market, generating more qualified leads and maintaining your local customers.
To find the right social media channels, first, analyze all the available platforms. Different platforms offer different tools and let you explore different content types to generate leads. Each platform also has different audience demographics, so choose the platforms that match your target audience.
For example, with Twitter you can use Twitter cards or host live AMAs (ask me anything) so people can clarify their doubts about your brand and products. With Facebook, you can run giveaways and share content via Facebook lives.
After choosing the platforms, manage your social media content with use social media management tools like Hootsuite. Create engaging content that will encourage your followers to continue their journey through the purchase funnel.
Lastly, don’t forget social media optimization (SMO). SMO is a strategy that uses social media to optimize and maximize content effectiveness. It includes keyword, links, and image optimization – all aligned with your SEO strategy.
8. Create Lead Management Strategies
Just as important as generating leads is managing them. Therefore, establish effective lead management strategies to manage your clients.
Lead management strategies include collecting information about your potential clients, analyzing data – lead’s activities, interactions –, creating and maintaining communication with your leads.
A lead management strategy is important to connect marketing and sales efforts, which also enhances customer acquisition processes. It helps you ensure that your leads will continue moving through the funnel and become clients.
Therefore, establish personal relationships with your customers, nurturing each relationship and managing their expectations. You also need to prepare for the expected and unexpected business scenarios.
To achieve that, use lead management and tracking software and site analytics to check for areas of improvement. You can also use CRM software to effectively manage your prospects and increase productivity.
If possible, automate marketing tasks to focus more on sales and nurturing your clients – a process we will cover further in the article.
9. Optimize Your Blog
Your blog page needs as much attention as your site’s product pages. Therefore, optimize your blog content to improve your site’s ranking.
Some of the main benefits of optimizing your blog are:
- Maintaining the content relevance
- Creating opportunities to use new keywords
- Improving your internal linking strategy
- Having appealing content to promote on social media
To optimize your blog, first, pay attention to how you format the posts. Put yourself in the reader’s perspective to create easy-to-read and informative blog posts. Write compelling content that matches your branding and persona.
Then, use the keywords from your research as a guide on which topics to write about. Apart from the blog posts, keyword optimize the blog images, meta titles, and descriptions.
Take advantage of market trends, and always have something insightful to offer. Don’t forget to add CTAs (call to action) and links to your product and services pages.
Once your blog posts are optimized, share them on your newsletters and social media channels to increase reach.
10. Do Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is another link-building strategy. In this case, you create post blogs and other content for other websites, usually adding a backlink to your own site.
In the long run, guest blogging allows you to collaborate with relevant brands, enhancing your reach to new audience demographics and driving traffic to your landing pages.
To start guest blogging, research websites to guest blog. They can be a non-competitor website, guest posting platforms like Medium, or partner companies related to your industry.
Additionally, connect with journalists, media, or bloggers to expand your network and open more guest blogging opportunities.
Then, plan your content and establish a short to long-term strategy. The guest blog content should be relevant to your business and attract the audience to your site. Also, don’t forget to adjust your writing style to the partner website.
After publishing a guest blog, constantly monitor and analyze it. See if the links are generating enough traffic and leads, and how you can improve on future collaborations.
11. Nurture Your Leads
Lead nurturing is the process of creating and maintaining relationships with your SEO leads in each step of the purchase funnel.
Aside from increasing conversion, nurturing leads helps improve customer satisfaction and business reputation.
For effective lead nurturing, you need to establish strategies that match your client’s preferences. Communicate with them using your website, contacting them directly, and sending email newsletters.
Lead nurturing emails have 4-10 times more response rates than stand-alone emails. Another strategy is to listen to your customers. Actively ask and listen to what they have to say. Use your Contact Us page or your company’s email address to send surveys and obtain feedback.
Most importantly, personalize your approach when nurturing leads to earn more engagement. In addition to personalization, you also need to deliver a great customer service experience.
Use customer service tools like Zendesk or Sprout Social and monitor your leads using a customer relationship manager (CRM) system.
12. Perform Site and SEO Audits
Regardless of the industry, a website needs frequent auditing to maintain its relevance and performance. Apart from updating the site’s design and features, the auditing process also establishes company credibility.
An SEO audit analyzes your website and its content quality to make sure it’s relevant, informative, and suitable for your current marketing practices.
Performing an SEO audit also helps increase site usability, as you can use the opportunity to identify potential website issues and areas for improvement.
Follow these practices to audit your website:
- Update on-page SEO. This SEO strategy includes using relevant keywords on meta descriptions, titles, header tags, and making your content easy to read.
- Update the robots.txt file. Improve the site’s structure to make the crawling and indexing process easier. Also, tell search engines whether to crawl certain pages by updating the robots.txt file.
- Improve site speed. Optimize images, compress website files, and update your hosting plan if needed.
- Add alt texts on images. It helps increase web accessibility and SEO score.
Then, recheck your site speed after the audit. Use Google PageSpeed Insights or Website Speed Test tools to check site speed. If it loads in up to 2.9 seconds, your website speed is optimized, and the website audit was successful.
Is SEO Really Worth It?
In case you are still wondering if SEO is worth it to generate leads, this section will cover the advantages and disadvantages of SEO for lead generation.
Advantages of SEO
Here are five main advantages of SEO:
- Low-cost strategy. One of the best reasons to do SEO is that it doesn’t require huge investments. All it takes is constantly improving your website’s content, speed, and user experience.
- Better brand reputation. Along with your PR strategies, SEO helps to promote your brand. The higher your search engine rankings, the more people get to know and trust your brand.
- Increase your reach. SEO helps you expand your reach and gain new potential clients.
- Long-lasting results. SEO is a long-term marketing strategy. Your on-page SEO efforts focus on optimizing your website and its content, and it takes time to see and measure the results.
Disadvantages of SEO
Here are five disadvantages of SEO:
- SEO is a long-term strategy. SEO is a long, continuous process because you’re working with complicated search engine algorithms. It takes at least six months until it generates results and changes in SEO ranking. That’s why many companies prefer hiring SEO agencies to take care of it.
- SEO is a tedious task. SEO is about ensuring your content stays relevant and up-to-date with the latest trends. It requires optimizing the site without losing its existing SEO ranking.
- Plenty of competition. Almost every business practices SEO. So, most companies in your industry will be working with the same keywords, competing to land on the first page of the search engine results page.
- No guarantees. Apart from keeping up with the search engine’s algorithm changes, there are no guarantees that your website will rank higher. Since there are many ranking factors to consider, keeping a good position, especially on the first SERP, requires solid efforts.
- No full control. You can’t predict how your page will rank. Moreover, you need to pay attention to Google penalties from unnatural inbound links and other sources.
SEO is an important part of a digital marketing strategy to help businesses gain qualified leads and increase conversions.
In this article, we’ve covered how SEO lead generation works through the AIDA model. The overall objective of AIDA is to turn quality leads into customers by conducting them through the sales funnel.
The model uses four steps, which are Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. In each step, there are different goals and strategies to consider.
We discussed 12 ways to generate quality SEO leads, along with the necessary tools to achieve it. They are:
- Benchmark your site against competitors
- Create an online strategy
- Do keyword research
- Update existing content
- Use local SEO strategies
- Create a link building strategy
- Select the right social media channels
- Perform lead management
- Optimize your blog
- Do guest blogging
- Nurture your leads
- Audit your website
We’ve also explained the advantages and disadvantages of SEO. Some of its advantages are the low costs, better brand reputation, and increased audience reach. On the negative side, it is a long and tedious process with no guarantees or control.
Consider your project needs and budget when deciding if SEO is worth it. Still, it is a great boost for generating qualified leads. Good luck!