How to Integrate SEO with Other Common Digital Marketing Concepts

Implementing a full digital marketing effort requires the coordinated deployment of several channels. They not only need to work alongside each other, but also work together within areas of overlap in terms of execution, performance attribution, and business objectives.

For example, paid social media placements can lead to owned landing pages gathering the email addresses of marketing qualified leads (MQL), leading to a lead nurturing campaign via email newsletter. That effort alone spans social media, content marketing, and email, as well as both paid and owned media. The analytics tracking this pipeline would include the dashboards of the social network used, the company's own website tracking, and finally, email key performance indicators (KPI).

In terms of search engine optimization (SEO), how it integrates and cooperates with other marketing processes varies from business to business and from project to project; but in general, it is best to align these processes following a set of best practices.

Standalone SEO Efforts

SEO is composed of on-page (in-domain optimization such as keyword research and targeting, meta data, etc) and off-page efforts (e.g. outreach for link building). On-page optimization is always a given, and link building is the main concern for SEO outreach. Both efforts usually receive due attention from any encompassing digital marketing strategy, and building a solid link portfolio will work hand in hand with digital public relations.

Keyword research is especially important for internal, owned content such as blog posts and feature articles. Developing primary, secondary, and long tail keywords is the usual goal, but more in-depth strategies and target keywords that would be useful for content designed for MQLs further along the customer journey than the need recognition stage.

Every piece of content that goes out for link building; however, also needs on-page optimization in terms of getting the right keywords and a healthy combination of backlinks and outbound links. Examples of such content are guest blog posts. This two-fold approach of internal (owned, in-domain) and external (developed for link building) content is generally accepted and implemented as best practice for standalone SEO; though, the breadth and depth of campaigns will depend on business objectives, budgets, and other factors.

These two facets - on-page and off-page optimization - are also the two concepts of SEO that are integrated into other areas of marketing.

On-Page SEO for Content Infrastructure

A website's content infrastructure (the company blog, content assets, resources, etc) typically serves two functions:

  • During pre-launch campaigns, they serve to directly contribute to the buzz surrounding public beta launches and the like, as well as main events for promotion.

  • After "soft launches," existing content infrastructure will continue to be built for inbound marketing with the goal of driving more and more users to the business' frontend, user-facing digital portals and assets, which are typically at the end of the sales funnel.

Basically, all that content serves as a base for SEO. Without on-page optimized content that is linked back to during link building, there is no SEO (it's called optimization, after all - if it's not optimized it's not SEOed).

The entire domain's content infrastructure requires on-page optimization. Each webpage is unique, however, in terms of its optimization needs. Just the keyword targets of each page will likely be different, though generally the top three or five target keywords will be more or less consistent throughout the domain.

Each webpage will also be on-page optimized according to its use, both as a webpage within the domain and as a part of a specific SEO campaign. For instance, a product or service page with a signup form might receive standard on-page optimization similar to all other web pages within the domain. It should at least be optimized in the standard manner to increase not only its search engine results pages (SERP) ranking but also its usefulness to viewers by providing the information they require and leading to other relevant parts of the site through optimal internal links.

For a more aggressive lead-generating landing page; however, it would not be surprising to not follow standard on-page optimization, since all the traffic the company would want on such web pages is direct referrals from ads and other hard-sell content linking to it. Standard optimizations for a general, wider audience aren't a priority, as the eyeballs these webpages get require a different approach. For instance, its link structure might lead to additional offers or privileges for MQLs who choose not to convert right away, instead of to other generic parts of the organization's website.

SEO Integrated with PR

First, it is important to note that digital public relations function very differently from offline public relations, particularly in terms of the media hype they help build. The tenets of real-world public relations - connecting and gaining exposure from media outlets and events - remain the core principles of digital public relations, but in the spirit of data-driven marketing strategies, digital public relations are typically conducted in conjunction with SEO outreach.

Every piece of PR-related content that goes out to big media outlets; for instance, should contain at least a backlink to the main domain. This is often easy enough to accomplish, as these media outlets themselves typically have publishing guidelines geared towards usability for readers, so talking about a certain company with a website would almost always entail giving a link to that website for readers to click.

Beyond that, however, each PR piece should also attempt some deep linking to authoritative pieces or in-depth blog posts for interested readers to click through for further reading. This keeps them within the sales funnel or at least doubles the chances of brand recall. Aside from domain backlinks (the homepage link and deep linking to in-domain pieces), a healthy balance of outbound links to other reputable, impartial sources is encouraged.

A coordinated effort between on-page and off-page optimization is required to make full use of digital PR. After all, where in the real world just getting mentioned in a big local newspaper would be the goal, in digital PR a backlink is essential for SEO and other links for further reading and branding are going to be used; so, any web pages linked to should be properly optimized on-page.

Keeping Everything Monitored

One final aspect of SEO that overlaps with other digital marketing processes is analytics. As much as possible, everything should be tracked for performance attribution, across channels, centralized to provide a holistic view of every campaign, if possible. Anything that can be attributed can be measured, and thus tweaked for improvement.

Even nebulous marketing channels such as organic social media references should always be kept monitored. The idea is to "on-page optimize" as much of the traffic-referring platforms that you can control, though for platforms like social media (e.g. LinkedIn and Facebook company pages) there really isn't a unified set of technical rules for on-page optimization, just best practices for better visibility and the social networks' own guidelines.

You should still make it a habit to measure performance, adjust for improvements, roll out the changes, and repeat.

The key takeaways are simple:

  • SEO's two aspects - on-page and off-page optimization - can be extended beyond standalone SEO campaigns

  • On-page optimizations should be considered part and parcel of content infrastructure and adjusted to suit specific content types

  • Off-page SEO, meanwhile, should be merged or performed in conjunction with other outreach-centric channels, such as PR

  • Finally, always keep an eye on metrics across every digital channel you use so you can improve based on the data

These steps will help you integrate SEO efforts into other common digital marketing concepts.


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