SEO (search engine optimization) is the art of getting a web page onto page one of a search engine’s results pages. Lead generation is the art of converting visitors to your website into leads. A lead is an individual or company that has the potential to become a client.
At first glance, SEO and lead generation are made for each other. Search engines send visitors, and lead generation converts them into leads. But of course, it’s not that simple.
SEO is hard work. Getting to page one of Google for any useful keyword phrase requires a commitment, and patience. Most business people find it hard to muster enthusiasm when it comes to paying for 3-6 months of link-building activity.
Faced with such a prospect, an intelligent business owner must wonder whether or not it’s worth the cost? If you find yourself in this position, consider testing the favoured keyword phrase in Google AdWords.
It’s going to cost several thousand pounds to compete for a popular and useful keyword phrase. When faced with such a fee, a business owner ought to insist on testing to find out for certain whether or not the keyword phrase is actually worth pursuing.
Google AdWords provides a way to test a variety of different keyword phrases against each other, and find the one that delivers the best leads (i.e. produces the most sales). SEO activity can then focus on that keyword phrase.
Sometimes AdWords delivers enough leads that SEO isn’t actually required (i.e. high-cost SEO activity). With leads coming from AdWords, a business can instead look at low-level low-cost SEO activity, and take it’s time. SEO sometimes works best over an extended period of time, and Google in particular likes to see a site grow ‘naturally’.
When SEO is combined with lead generation, the nature of SEO changes. Instead of link-building for the homepage, the focus switches either to a specialist site, or to pages within the main site.
This UK pension advice site is an example of the former. The site is dedicated to UK pensions, and the homepage was set up to generate leads rather than act as generic website. This approach is ultimately easier, but takes longer to achieve because the mini-site is deemed to be a new site by search engines.
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This wedding reception entertainment site is intended (eventually) to be an example of the latter. The company doesn’t want to change the homepage of the main site, but is happy to add pages within the site that focus on converting the target market. This approach is more difficult to achieve, but doesn’t take as long because pages within a site benefit from the trust already established for the domain.
Either way, lead generation requires specialist copy and must be built around a specific offer. This often creates SEO challenges that can’t be resolved on the main site because it needs to split its focus among several different products and/or markets.
The real key to success with SEO lead generation is focus. And in particular, focus on a specific offer to a specific target market.
About the Author
Wayne Davies is a Web Marketing consultant based in London.