How To Create A Working Search Traffic Strategy (STS) To Amplify Your SEO Strategy

So many of our newest clients are coming in after working with another Chicago SEO Company who has them ranking for keywords that have nothing to do with their conversion goals.  Just having a Search Optimized Traffic Plan (SOT) isn't enough, the entire picture of targeted inbound traffic has to be a planned event. Inbound marketing means strategically planning seo traffic. Ranking for terms that have no conversion potential is a waste of resources, and only serves to be bragging rights for the bottom feeders of Chicago SEO Companies.  Often these Chicago SEO Companies will just take credit for the top ranking, luck of the draw,  items from Webmaster Tools, even if they have no impact on the business whatsoever. This is not only dishonest, but it has no relevance or impact on their primary purpose, to convert their site for their targeted traffic. SEO Specialists who accidentally take credit for crap keywords. SEO Strategists Who Take Credit For Work They Didn't Do   Instead of trying to rank for random and "got lucky" terms, or trying to convert those who arrived at your site while looking for something your don't actually provide, your site team should be planning specific Inbound Marketing terms to use in your Search Traffic Strategy (STS). Your STS strategy should culminate with one specific goal: converting visitors to your site's primary purpose. If you have an ecommerce site, then the your strategy should focus on targeted traffic likely to desire your products.  The same holds true for services, content, blogs or any other type of site you are trying to deliver qualified search traffic to. There are many blogs offering "Top 5 Search Strategy", or "6 Search Traffic Items You Can't Ignore", and any other spammy title of the like, but these are more for promoting that SEO Company's blog than to assist you in your goals.  Instead, we are going to simply list a couple of common sense solutions to amplify your Search Traffic Strategy and boost your converted inbound marketing. You'll find tons of blogs pushing strategies like the image below, but effectively, throwing all the crap at the wall and hoping it sticks isn't a strategy for anything but mayhem.

Be Realistic While Being Ambitious

Rome wasn't built in a day, but it was built. Your Search Traffic Strategy (STS) should be focused and well planned for realistic growth potential. Starting with a realistic view of keyword development, your strategy should begin focused on conversions and little else. Use keyword tools offered by Google to find the ones that will have the most direct appeal to the most potential visitors in your market.  If you are a local business, you should search all terms in a local area instead of looking at broad terms (since those in the Adwords Keyword Tool are based on national stats).  For local businesses as well, there is Google Trends.  Digging down to local areas to test keyword effectiveness is always suggested.  You may also want to verify keyword usage with customer and reader surveys.  Poll your readers and those you want to become readers on what terms they find the most engaging. Use this data to build future Search Traffic Strategy plans that will be more effective at pulling in convertible visitors.

Get Your Visitors To The Funnel, Not To The Fluff

  Some marketers are now selling the theory of diverting traffic from your site to your social media and then back... This is absurd and a waste or potential conversions. All of those coaxing you to divert traffic elsewhere when a direct trip to your conversion funnel has fewer steps are asking you to risk conversions to prove their theory (that in many cases is only popular because a bunch of marketers bought into it and replicated it to their other clients).  In the end, the shortest distance between your visitors and your conversion funnel, then best.  Your keywords should be paired with your target conversions to bring the most qualified visitors to your funnel in the most efficient way possible.

Sell What You Sell

Instead of dancing around product keywords that have nothing to do with your own, stick to the ones people will use to find you. As long as the product can stand on its own, there is never a need to use fear tactics or subverted sales techniques to push your product Search Traffic. Many times we see the failure of this in scam sites pushing things like Prepper Food Supplies. We've all heard the fear mongering commercials about some guy who knows "a secret about a FEMA plan to cause global chaos"... probably leading to a zombie apocalypse and definitely death by snu snu...  Not only are these scams ridiculous in their appeals to those who are willing to eat up pandemonium as fact, they are a giant waste of resources since direct sales methods would likely provide better conversions. In all of those indirect, fear driven ads, they waste mass resources while one direct ad would be able to garner the target purchaser without all of the deception.  The only thing gained from those skyscraper, dupe sites are the sheep who are dumb enough to add themselves to these site's mailing lists.  Worse, those unskilled enough to allow themselves to end up on these lists will likely lack the financial means of being strong sales candidates. In the end, a simple, and direct sales message would weed out all of the non-purchasing traffic for those who would be willing to convert.  In fact, the only reason those clickbank and Newsmax scam feeds are even doable still is that the media still pushes them as well to push up their own affiliate banks.

 Only Use Analytic Data To Track Originally Targeted Keywords That Convert

As stated above, some Chicago and Naperville SEO Companies are all too willing to take credit for "oops" keywords.  If you have an SEO Expert bring you additional keywords that you never agreed to before (especially in a spreadsheet looking like it came from Google Webmaster Tools), your red flags should be going up.  Many times, struggling SEO Techs will bring thee up to divert from the failure to have clients ranking for the keywords that were to be targeted to begin with. If the keywords can't be cross-referenced to traffic Instead, make a decisive list of keywords to track, and pay little, if any attention to the others without traffic data to legitimize them as useful terms. You will want to ensure that your keywords are ones that convert traffic and sales, and as a result, this will be a criteria needing regular investigation. Again, this is where the scared SEO Tech will bring up ranking for random terms, but be mindful that these terms will need serious scrutiny.  When adding additional terms to your watch list, ensure that they produce.  Search new keywords in "Google Trends" to see if they have any ranking.  This is especially true when you dig down to your local market. If you rank #1 for a term that gets 1 local search per month, then it might not be one worth nurturing. If your SEO Expert tells you that this is a needed term, you may want to look for a more qualified representative. Ultimately, there will be new tools to pick up at every turn along the path, so most importantly, remain teachable.   SEO and Search Traffic Strategy are fluid and will require updating methods to adapt to updated measures.

10 Questions You Missed When Evaluating Sponsorships

Everyday I assist companies who have no idea how they determined their sponsorship budget, nor how they actually measure the impact of those expenditures on the bottom line. It’s not uncommon. Most marketing departments simply have a line item, called “Sponsorships”. When a regional or industry colleague calls and asks if they’d like to sponsor an event – it’s usually just a matter of whether the audience is relevant and if there’s budget left.

You’re losing money on your sponsorship investment. And you’re letting those companies who are coordinating these events off the hook. Your company can get better exposure, better results, spend less money… and target the exact prospects you’re seeking.

Here are 10 questions to help you evaluate your next sponsorship opportunity:

  1. What are the outcomes of the sponsorship that are going to matter to your organization? Don’t be fooled by stats and things that are easy to measure.
  2. What are the benchmarks of previous sponsorships opportunities that you’ve acquired? What are your goals with respect to them? Be sure they’re as specific as possible (“200 leads from women aged 30-55?).
  3. What is the return on each of those goals that are reached? How do they compare with your organization’s priorities?
  4. Do those objectives align with core drivers of your business.
  5. What metrics do you apply to other marketing mediums that can be applied to your sponsorship? (ie. close ratios, lead time, etc.)
  6. What are the emotional and behavioral states of the prospects you’ll be reaching? It’s not enough to understand their demographics – you need to ensure the intent is there as well.
  7. Utilizing primary research, are organizations going to be present that will drive business to you through their audience? Or are you just getting banner space on a website?
  8. How much money are you saving through your sponsorship? If you’re acquiring customers through sponsorships, you can save money by reducing sales travel and entertainment expenses that are typically associated with nurturing leads.
  9. How much of your customer base would be impacted by your sponsorship? How much of the sponsorship’s target would be interested in your products and services? If it’s 20%, you’re on the right track.
  10. How are you going to capture data? Capture data and then use the data to engage in meaningful conversations with your audience post-sponsorship.

If you’re a company who offers sponsorships, can you help answer these questions? By ensuring that your sponsors get a positive return on their sponsorship investment not only can you sleep easier – you can better evaluate the value of your sponsorship opportunities. Many companies underestimate their sponsorship by focusing on how many sponsor dollars they need rather than evaluating the value of their audience on sponsors!

This list was inspired by IEG’s 10 Factors Critical to Sponsorship.

This post was written by Julie Grice

Julie is the founder and CEO of Smart Sponsorship, a marketing firm specializing in assisting businesses to maximize their return on investment on sponsorship expenditures. Smart Sponsorship also assists companies build and price comprehensive sponsorship solutions to maximize revenue and impact for their customers.

Thanks for subscribing! download Doug's eBook on Blogging for SEO on us!

Most Commented Posts


Visualizing Your Traffic Objective – Part 1

Reverse-Ripple Marketing Theory

So here we are, trying to improve our site traffic.  Many people begin this aimlessly and without any clear idea of what they wish to accomplish.  I can speak from experience, that quite often I have done the same.  The misconception is that if you build a site, then send a bunch of invites and plug it to generic media, then people will automatically blow up your Alexa ranking, right?  Not necessarily.  A lot will depend on how targeted your approach may  or may not be.1184141_ripple Visualize The Approach Think of throwing rocks into a small pond or lake.  The ripples will swell outward in various patterns and expanses.  They become even smaller as they travel outward.  As they encounter obstacles and other ripples, their direction shifts in many more obscure ways.  This is the key visualization to increase site traffic... In reverse, of course.hidden links Our goal is to increase site traffic.  This means that we have to create these ripples in their reverse form.  Casting a large net across various related topics to your site will inevitably cause these ripples to develop and move back to their origin in waves of response.   The net has to be cast wide and in substantial volume.  Anyone with a blog presence can blow up their numbers for a few days.  We see companies offering this for exorbitant amounts on a regular basis.   They work with mob-like tactics; as soon as you stop paying, your site traffic immediately drops to the floor.  This is not a reason to run back to them(unless you really enjoy paying money for a service that's rigged for only short term gains). Diversify to Enhance your Marketing View To have a traffic plan with true longevity, you have to think of all of the ripple in the pond.  What happens when the ripple encounters an obstacle? It changes direction; it becomes obscure.  No matter what basis you may think, all ripples of net traffic eventually become obscure.  The point is to use the obscure traffic to grow your site.  All of the direct and sharp traffic is like the ripple closest to the rock.  They are large and even, but they only reach a certain radius.  The same amplitude is expressed with the smaller, uneven ripples that have expanded outward.  What separates them is that they are cast over a much larger area and range.  This wider net causes for slow, sometimes bent and obscure group reaction.1138325_rings_of_water Keep in mind, all waves have roughly the    same amplitude.  With this thought, imagine pushing traffic in small, obscure waves that build in size while traveling back to your website.  This requires a lot of work and interaction with other sites as well.  Using the blogosphere, utilizing Press Releases,  Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Ning, Digg,, LinkedIn, ect.... The list could go on for some time.  Now these are the at the tops of most every "At Home SEO Expert", but what of the lesser known sites?  What about blogs that are only minimally related to your goal.  They "ARE" all fair game, regardless of what some experts may say.   The point is to not just think of social networking, not just think of bookmarks, not to just think of the quick response websites,  but to think of every possible eventuality in response to the content you have to offer. My Enemy Is My Friend But what you have to offer may be something to consider as well.  When the ripples from different points of action intersect, they modify each other and cause for warps within their framework.  This is also a benefit if we play the tape in reverse.  By interacting with your competitors, you will wind up giving and receiving more traffic.  By competing in a communicative manner, both sites win more traffic and reach a larger audience. This is only the first of a 5 part series of post.  Using this "Reverse-Ripple Marketing Theory" will be a long, productive process, but the rewards for the work put into it are far better in yield than paying for quick jolt traffic that is bound to fall as quickly as it arrived.