Recently, I was invited to speak at the Intrigue Madtech Summit Sydney 2023 as Head of Content for LegalVision. My fellow panelists and I discussed how a robust SEO marketing strategy helps your business weather an economic downturn. Here, I share my answers to the questions asked on the day.
Why is SEO so powerful and why should people invest in it?
SEO is powerful because it is a cost-effective way of driving traffic to your website, generating brand awareness and leads for your business. Unlike paid advertising, SEO does not require companies to pay for each click or impression.
Once your content is ranked highly for specific keywords, it can drive leads for your business for months or even years. Also, people are more likely to trust the content on the first page of search results, building brand credibility and trustworthiness. This outcome also increases your visibility, which is essential during a downturn.
1. What strategies can companies use to build a successful SEO marketing channel?
LegalVision was the first law firm in Australia to truly harness SEO marketing, which is why we are the highest-ranking law firm site in the country. Our strategy is to publish high-quality content at scale, which, together with a data-driven performance ads strategy, drives 90% of our leads. Our lawyers ‘down tools’ every month for a day to write articles because the management team understand how essential a robust SEO strategy is to our business. We have over 9000 freely available articles.
2. Quick tip for 2023 SEO?
Write two FAQs at the end of every article and use the FAQ structured data schema to showcase the FAQs in search results and increase the likelihood of ranking as an organic-rich result. Base the questions on the article; the answers don’t need to be more than one or two sentences long.
There two key benefits to this hack:
- The FAQs align with search intent. When someone asks a search engine a question, your FAQ could provide the answer, driving traffic to your site.
- It increases the likelihood of your article appearing in the ‘People also ask’ sections on search results pages, in turn increasing your chances of click-through.
3. What are the key features of content that ranks well for SEO and generate leads?
There’s no point writing dozens of articles for your website if they aren’t optimised for search engines and for the end user, because they are less likely to rank. Here are some of our essential tips:
- Ensure someone with subject matter expertise writes the content; add their name and a link to their bio.
- Write in plain English, using active voice and short sentences.
- Utilise subheadings, bullet points and boxes to break up the content.
- Incorporate ranking keywords.
- Write articles that are informative, educational, and help the audience. Your only promotion should be a call to action at the end.
- Finally, remember to add FAQs or other structured data to help the article rank.
4. How does strong SEO marketing protect a business during a downturn?
If you have a robust SEO strategy that delivers traffic to your website, it will continue to deliver results whether the economy is flourishing or struggling. People still search for information to help their business when things are tough, so, you want to be in front of them when that happens. Additionally, ranking articles require a minimal investment of your time, which creates cost savings and efficiencies that are essential during a downturn.
While the economy is getting tougher, our marketing priorities remain the same: continue to develop high-ranking content that will drive leads to the business. However, there are some actions you can take to support your business during a downturn.
Firstly, many businesses slash their marketing budgets when times are tough, treating marketing as ‘nice to have’ rather than ‘need to have’. Rather than cutting marketing completely, reduce your activities to those which deliver results. For instance, if LinkedIn provides leads, but TikTok does not, focus on LinkedIn.
Secondly, develop content that will help businesses during a downturn. For example, during the COVID lockdowns, we wrote articles that answered COVID-specific questions such as:
- what to do if you can’t sign a contract in person; or
- your options when your landlord wants you to keep paying rent, but your business is in lockdown.
This time, we’re producing content on how to protect your business during a downturn.
Thirdly, when people visit your website to read an article, give them a reason to provide you with their details so you can nurture a relationship with them, for instance, by signing up for a newsletter or a webinar or downloading a free publication. It will also allow you to build your email list for marketing purposes.
5. How will ChatGPT affect online marketing?
AI tools represent amazing opportunities to increase efficiencies and improve productivity in marketing teams. We’re enjoying testing ChatGPT for creating social media posts and we’re experimenting with prompts. However, I’m reluctant to use it to produce articles for a number of reasons. From a content perspective, issues I’ve observed include:
- repeating the same information in different words;
- incorrect information (e.g. using US law instead of Australian); and
- made-up information – in New Zealand, there have been reports of this tool inventing court case names.
So, at this stage, content needs to be carefully fact-checked.
As a legal publisher, I am also concerned about the impact of AI on intellectual property and moral rights. When a tool like ChatGPT formulates an article for you, it draws on content from the internet without acknowledging the source, which is an ethical issue that needs to be addressed. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that AI tools like ChatGPT are game-changing.
© Laini Bennett, MBA