Simon Dance: ignore everything you've heard or already know about SEO
Simon Dance: ignore everything you've heard or already know about SEO
A view from Simon Dance

Tech viewpoint on growth through SEO

In an era when "growth at all costs" marketing is becoming less relevant, or at least more scrutinised, how can SEO become the cornerstone of profitable growth?

Here are some of the main opportunities, trends and issues that are critical to planning a profitable organic growth strategy.

Fish where the fish are. Ignore everything you’ve heard or already know about SEO and consider that Google is purely an answers engine. Every day, users are turning to Google to help them answer a question. Success – in terms of effectively leveraging Google as a lead generation and sales channel – is deeply understanding those areas, those questions and those customer pain points, and making a critical call on which you can legitimately position yourself in front of. 

Big change, big impact. A 10 per cent improvement that affects 10 per cent of traffic is only a 1 per cent improvement. Don’t be afraid to think big and make bold, sweeping changes if you know they will put you on the path to profitable growth. If you need to re-architect your taxonomy, expire an entire section of your website or switch to HTTPs (all big changes), the earlier you do these, the better. Small tweaks are great when you’re hacking away at growth (or at maturity, when 1 per cent growth is meaningful), but large, sweeping changes, particularly when you are at an early growth stage or have hit a stagnation point, are going to make a real difference. 

Ship early and often. Any change that you make to your website will need to be crawled by the search engine robots, your pages re-indexed and then ranked within the search results – so ship early and often. The more focused changes you can make (backed by data), the more exponential the growth. 

Build a diversified channel mix. I’ve worked for businesses with more than 80 per cent reliance on search, which is remarkable overexposure. Google might release a page-layout change (as it did in February), increase a product module (as it has done with flights, hotels and credit cards) or roll out another algorithm change, and you could be caught on the wrong side of it. Build a diversified channel mix – support SEO but also build a great product for users.

Death to last-click attribution. Don’t be afraid to change or tweak your attribution model. You need to correctly attribute value (and therefore investment) into the channels that provide a meaningful contribution to your business. Rarely – almost never – is this last-click attribution. Nail this and the snowball (the collective impact of each marketing channel working together) gets larger, and your overall velocity increases.

Simon Dance is the head of organic acquisition at Lyst