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7 online marketing concepts and fundamentals that SEOs should know

Jason Roy

Search engine optimization or SEO is now more important than ever — especially with so many businesses struggling because of the economy and the ever-growing costs of earned media.

For SEO professionals, however, having command in only one niche or area isn’t really recommended. SEOs often serve as a bridge between different areas of an online business, and familiarizing yourself with various digital marketing fundamentals can play an important role for your career as well as the clients and businesses you are serving.

Here are 7 online marketing concepts and fundamentals that SEOs should and understand.

1. How online marketing and businesses operate

Online businesses have changed the definition of businesses and how they operate. Digital products and value based on informative content now stand at the forefront of online businesses.

Understanding what is unique to online businesses and how online marketing and businesses operate is a fundamental concept that all SEOs should understand.

One, it helps them align themselves and their efforts with the overall business goals.

Second, it helps SEOs understand how their business is expected to serve potential and existing customers and what they expect from a business. This might influence how SEOs prioritize certain areas of the website, e.g., an informative top-of-the-funnel guide vs. a commercial landing page.

2. Online customer journeys


This can be understood as a natural extension of what we discussed in the previous point.

We know that online businesses often do not just sell their products or services. Instead, many of them also produce informative, top-of-the-funnel content that quite often serves as the starting point of the customer’s journey.

Understanding all these different phases and routes a customer takes in their journey can play a crucial role for SEOs. For instance, it can help answer some of the following questions:

  • What is the customer journey that is best suited for a particular type of online business?
  • How is SEO supporting all the different stages of the buyer’s funnel?
  • Is SEO optimizing top of the funnel (TOF), middle of the funnel (MOF), and bottom of the funnel (BOF) content as per the requirements of the business?

3. How competitor analysis affects the online landscape

One of the first things SEO professionals should do is to run a very thorough and comprehensive competitor analysis. Not only can it unearth valuable opportunities and keyword ideas, but it can also help identify areas that might be great business drivers.

Competitor analysis, however, isn’t simply about feeding a few websites of your direct competitors to SEO audit tools and coming up with a list of keywords. Understanding how competitors can affect the online landscape for your business is more nuanced than that.

Today, you are not only competing with direct business competitors in your industry or niche. You are also competing with other mediums and types of businesses: media publications, social media influencers, YouTube channels, Netflix, video games. Anything that can take away your audience’s attention is a competitor.

Even search results have become increasingly diverse with map packs, videos, and tweets. All of that comes into play and should be taken into account during competitor analysis.

Lastly, competitor analysis is also important for SEOs to understand what needs to be done and how to stand out. You can’t necessarily do that by replicating what everyone else is doing. This is especially important for SEOs that also help formulate a content strategy, which brings us to our next point …

4. The critical role content plays

SEO and high-quality content go hand in hand. You really cannot succeed at search engine optimization if you have poor-quality content.

Therefore, it is not uncommon to build a full-fledged content team under the wings of an SEO professional. This may include bringing in writers, editors, animators, graphic designers, web designers, photographers, etc.

However you may assemble your team, the most important part is how you tie it all up. The content should not only be driven by creativity but also by empirical data, keyword research, marketing and business goals of the business, and growing trends.

5. How paid media campaigns can affect SEO

Just as content and SEO almost always go hand in hand, paid media and SEO are often perceived as two parallel lines. Paid media campaigns (such as search engine marketing campaigns on Google) and search engine optimization efforts sometimes feel contradictory. 

For instance, if you are ranking on the number one position for your brand name, should you bid on branded keywords? How will that affect the traffic and revenue that the SEO department brings in?

Understanding how paid media (or SEM, in this case) works can give you the much-needed clarity to anticipate, figure out, and answer questions like these. Consequently, you can make better, more informed decisions that help you achieve your SEO as well as overall business goals.

Fun fact: We discovered in an experiment that running SEM ads for branded queries, despite ranking on #1 with SEO, helped us achieve disproportionately higher traffic.

6. How data and analytics impact SEO and online business

We have talked about it before, but this is so important that it warrants a separate reminder.

While there is always room for gut feelings in businesses, online businesses are more methodical and data-driven by comparison. With tools like Google Analytics available to business owners for free, they can dive deep into analytics and see they acquire traffic, how visitors engage with the website, how many people convert and on which pages, and so much more.

SEOs should know how to get all these relevant data points, how to analyze data and analytics, and how to use that data to improve performance.

7. The overall impact of UI/UX and web design


Web design and SEO now have a much closer relationship, now more than it ever was.

Poor website design can have a direct negative impact on SEO — from lower search engine rankings to even search engine penalties. As an SEO professional, it is your job to guide website designers on what kind of a website you want.

From the decision regarding whether or not to use interstitial ads to customizing the website structure, SEOs are an important stakeholder. However, you can only share your valuable input and make your presence felt if you understand the creative choices, alternate options, and constraints designers have.

We recommend building a thorough understanding of how the overall web design and user experience can affect the website and the SEO performance of a website. Beyond that, also try to learn about the various tips, tricks, options, and hacks that designers use to circumvent common pitfalls.

Arming yourself with this knowledge can make you a better SEO manager and strategist.

Conclusion

The costs of earned media continue to grow. Additionally, as other businesses become more tech-savvy and start utilizing the different online marketing mediums, competition also keeps getting fiercer. That’s why SEOs have become more important than ever.

However, they can’t just be limited to search engine optimization. The modern-day SEO must also serve as the bridge between data, marketing strategy, content, performance marketing, and web designers.

Having a holistic understanding of different digital marketing channels — especially the online marketing fundamentals and concepts discussed in the article — can give you a huge competitive advantage.

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