ARTICLE: THE ST. LOUIS DIGITAL MARKETING MINDSET
Digital marketing and growth hacking share common roots: the mutual desire to grow a site’s traffic; both disciplines fall under the umbrella of search marketing. In this chapter, we’re setting the stage for how to get creatively motivated to increase traffic and learn how to kite trends. Kiting internet trends is one of the most exciting things search marketers do. Simply having an awareness of opportunities allows a search marketer to expand his or her audience. Getting screen time from users on a site depends on how well you know who you’re trying to target and how much you can tickle them. Competition is cut-throat and new platforms are constantly emerging.
So you want to be an SEO growth hacker? You’ve come to the right place. How does one step into this mercurial, money-making mindset? The right combination of experimentation, data analysis, persistence, and moxie. If another site is dominating your search landscape, the right research can help you understand why. Much can be learned from studying digital marketing information already out there on the web. I learned how to grow my SEO traffic strategies by learning to dissect those that were in front of me.
Accept from day one that nothing will ever be handed to you; the SEO engines do nobody any favors. The results will always favor the user- and they should. My point is that the arsenal of traffic strategies you secure are going to be yours to build.
As Warren Buffet put it so succinctly:
Never invest in anything you don’t understand.
Make no mistake, St. Louis digital marketing is an investment.
When marketing a site your philosophy colors everything. Are you positive about the site? Are you excited? If not, get that way! Begin the journey by stepping into the discovery mindset. It’s not always an easy thing to grow a website, but your perceived reality will determine your approach to building growth. Maintain a keen eye towards new potential search moves to be made and partnerships forged.I have always believed that to help a site’s traffic grow full tilt, requires imaginative exploration coupled with scientific discipline. Top SEO marketers masterfully combine their creative endeavors with data capture and analysis. Curiosity with a hint of skepticism should be exercised when determining potential areas for growth online. The key to long-term growth is testing and then adjusting course correctly. To test should mean you are going to learn, therefore, learning from tests means integration, which in turn creates growth patterns.
There’s an expression people use in business: don’t boil the ocean. To go for it and go for everything in terms of search sometimes means that you’re likely to accomplish nothing. Decisions must be made from the outset of any project- which role does the SEO practitioner need to play? Maybe the project reeks of data drama, i.e. are we seeing too much dark traffic showing in analytics? Are the load times painfully lackadaisical on mobile due to large video assets and inadequate hosting packages? The most important targeting decision is to figure out who the target actually is. Be open to SEO targets you wouldn’t normally consider. I’ve seen businesses delighted by the fact their income derives from happy existing customers- but care must be given to finding that information. Once the search targets are properly identified, all other decisions will naturally flow from that.
The content and physical piece of the puzzle is referred to as ‘on-page’ SEO. Always think about the user and why they are visiting your site in the first place. What are they getting for coming to your site? Is it what they want or is it what you want? Data analysis works in concert with the creative elements to aid the practitioner in navigating the decision-making process.
Growth marketing and SEO as a profession cannot and should not be scalable, for it cannot be applied generically. There are universal concepts and methods of testing which can be applied to most sites, but each case is unique. For example, running developer tool audits or diagnostic tools. They will generally return some result that needs attention. The key to SEO growth is to set yourself up for it by having clean code, optimized pages for usability and in general decent information for the user to consume.The balance of art and science that’s called for varies on every new project. Sometimes the first step is not doing the right thing (better), but rather to stop doing the wrong things.
In summary, it’s not a winning idea to think about St. Louis SEO in terms of being a one-hit wonder. It’s not a search champion’s mindset to think to yourself, “we did that one thing and yeah, cool. We did St. Louis SEO.” A one-dimensional approach seeking to game the search engines or a platform is not a long-term strategy.
SEO should operate in a similar style to David Bowie’s; with his tireless evolution and collaboration between channels, habitual artistry, and innovation; he managed to stay relevant for decades while maintaining his creative integrity. A superior strategy over trickery is to put the time in, study, experiment and always measure everything for great SEO.
You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.
-Richard Branson, business magnate, investor, and philanthropist
Some of the best ideas for growth I’ve ever had have come from mucking around with my own stuff or someone else’s. It’s like riffing to your favorite jam on the radio and creating your own silly songs. Experimenting requires thoughtful tinkering. One of my tried and true tinker method is to explore sites built by intriguing companies. I often will examine pages thoroughly to learn what they’re doing on their home pages, blogs, shopping carts, etc.
Sometimes I’ll go so far as to fill out their web forms to see how they market themselves effectively through email. I like to see what it’s like to hop in their funnel. How is the experience? Is it exciting? Is there ample feedback? Is it … fun? Be honest with yourself, if you spare your feelings, remember the general public won’t always be as kind.
Where you’ll need to cruise for ideas is dependent on what you’re working on. Apple is an interesting case to look at for SEO as they have never really “done” a blog in the classic sense, so their site is not necessarily a good example for content layouts. If you are enhancing a shopping cart for better click-through rates (CTR) it would make sense to study Apple’s cart, because they sell millions of dollars in products online every month- despite speculation of a decline in recent years. If you are creating a blog with heavy imagery then it’s better to study sites like Lyft, Fubiz or Quartz, because they have delightful layouts for the end user. Without an inviting layout, your SEO content has less of a chance to be seen. Users are especially fickle when it comes to mobile layout and design because the time on site is less than desktop.
Even if the goals of a site do not line up with what you’re working on, ideas can be gained by studying who’s on top. Make sure to review the sites on a desktop, mobile, tablet, TV, etc. and note the subtle differences. Responsive or not, the experiences should be crisp for each user on every platform. Websites have had browser sniffing and redirecting capabilities for the better part of a decade.
Just like flipping through fashion magazines for wardrobe ideas, perusing the sites that are crushing it helps a St. Louis SEO to gain a sense of ‘what’s in’ this season. By studying strategies of others with mad traffic, you start to get the sense for what users are responding to and study how usability changes over time.