Posted by : Amanda Stein Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's easy to forget that people who reach your site from a search engine are largely first-time visitors. Worse still: if your SEO is done incorrectly you will see that search engine traffic tends to produce your lowest dwell times. Yet the highest value usually comes from repeat visitors who stay on your site and explore. That is just one reason why SEO and CRO (conversion rate optimisation) are so intertwined. Another reason why you cannot do expert SEO without CRO is down to the obvious benefits CRO can have on improving user signals which is an important ranking factor, especially in those top positions. 

Why then do so many people put 90% of their energy into fighting for positions, as important as that is, and so little into creating value from their visitors? It's too easy to become search-dazzled: to pursue search engine positioning to the exclusion of all else and forget the reason why we're doing it in the first place.

It is not just the initial monetary value of customers that we are looking for however... SEO is such as strange industry; in my years as an SEO expert I have heard many juxtaposed stories of success and failure, charlatans and saints, black hat and white hat SEO. All the business owners seem to care about when the rubber hits the road is one thing, ROI. Due to this reason SEO agencies can be so intent on proving themselves with the current ROI they neglect a task which can be just as important, how to provide long-term value for websites from every user that visits. 

This is where other forms of marketing come in. done well SEO is a vital part of increasing traffic and revenue, it should not end there however, how do you continue to get value? In come the other forms of marketing that are now having a direct as well as indirect effect on SEO efforts. I am of course talking of social media and email marketing. In order to build high life time value from users the link between increasing traffic and retaining traffic by making customers ‘stick’ to your brand must happen

Building this high lifetime value from your customers requires a dialogue between your website and your other forms of communication especially email marketing and social media. And I do mean dialogue: it's a two-way process as we'll see in a moment. You must not be concerned with ROI when it comes to having a slick well run social media campaign, its main purpose is to keep people connected with your brand and done correctly can also aid your SEO efforts. 

Email marketing is a cheap and highly effective way of making sales and retaining customers however unsolicited email marketing is largely ineffective these days, so your database relies on sign-ups. It is important to design your site so you funnel all traffic into potential retainable traffic for email marketing; this is done by the clever use of sign up forms. To get customers to register, you have to create engagement on your website. 

SEO isn't easy; you're fighting millions of competitors for that precious bit of real estate on page one. So you either have to pay an expert to get you there, or be prepared to do little else but blog, link, Tweet, Digg, Pin and whatever the right verb is for Facebook. Both options are expensive. The results of both are largely outside your control.

The websites that perform are those that deliver enough value to bring visitors back, and to do that you have to provide genuine information, not just your sales pitch. Make that information sufficiently valuable and you can ask visitors to register to receive it. And there's your e-mail marketing pretty much sorted: you've started the dialogue. Now all you have to do is maintain the quality of communication and you've built lifetime value into your customer database.

How to do it? Well, a building company might allow architects to register to access specification and building records libraries. An accountancy practice could provide clients access to useful HR forms, VAT regulations and so on. Once registered, customers then receive occasional (not over-regular!) updates on information that's genuinely useful.

It all requires careful thought and the discipline to maintain the standards that your brand - and your customers deserve. Social media, SEO, and email marketing is an interconnected food chain that you need to ensure real lifetime value from every customer!

Author Bio: Rob Wood – SEO Account manager for dotdigitalgroup plc.  
Image Rights: SEOPlanter, seocamberley

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