The objective of any successful SEO campaign is to deliver qualified traffic that offers new business opportunities and creates new income streams. This is often easier said than done though. There are always challenges to building an SEO campaign but none more so than delivering an ROI for services or products that receive little or no search volume.
Search volume can all too often dictate how an SEO strategy is developed though. Fortunately, driving traffic to a site based on keywords that no one uses is not that common, however, there can be times when the service or product you are offering if not something people are searching for (yet!). This can occur for new start-ups, niche hobbies, the arts, non-profits or events.
For example, if I wanted to create a product line of plastic transparent desks (lighter and cheaper than glass) I may not necessarily think search engine marketing would be all that useful:
Over the last year I have worked on a couple of projects where a new start-up is looking to establish themselves in a marketplace that doesn’t exist yet. Whilst SEO may not be the first marketing technique that springs to mind in these circumstances it should not be discounted. There is always a solution to any problem and techniques can be applied to deliver results:
Many services or products may have little direct volume but can be thought of and promoted in a similar way to existing services in demand. Targeting keywords that fit the bill for that substitute can deliver a new revenue of search volume and open up your brand to a wider market to reconsider.
For example, offering a substitution to our plastic transparent desks conundrum, we could create content such as:
“Don’t Break the Bank with a Glass Desk If you’re Seeking Transparency”
A blog post or article to this effect could then rank alongside “Glass Desk” related results and can help build awareness and attention to our new product line.
In cases where a product or service cannot be easily substituted for a more commonly used search term you can almost certainly compare it to something more familiar.
As an example, I want to create a new ‘social network’ for job hunters/organisations that utilised Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. to build a space where organisations could interact with top talent who are interested in working with them and vice versa (for the record…LinkedIn doesn’t offer this just yet!). This form of recruiting socially couldn’t be substituted for “social media recruitment” as this would label it as something it is not. However, it could be comparable to a social network, professional network or a job site.
Using a similar tactic above I could look to compare this new social network to LinkedIn, Facebook or a job site but could not class it as a substitution.
Focus on the Audience
If the substitution and comparability are simply not enough though we can always turn to the tried and trusted…demographic targeting. Rather than marketing to those limited numbers who may or may not express an interest, demographically focussed SEO can raise awareness to a sector of consumers who were previously unaware. This, however, requires some careful planning and preparation to ensure brand identity remains intact.
Using the ‘social recruitment’ model above you may want to target young, upcoming processionals who are highly motivated to succeed and have a passion for your business. But what demographic attributes are applicable and, most importantly, how do they interact with social media and how do they search?
If, for example, the target market was current undergraduates or graduates who were very active socially online and we knew they regularly search for information on top technology companies we could create content/blogs/articles discussing those organisations.
Whether working offline or online, core to any marketing activity is to build brand identity and equity to help increase awareness. Driving traffic to a site through search can be done effectively if a brand has been established that people can instantly recognise and associate with.
The most successful ‘brand’ builders over the last 4-6 weeks have undoubtedly been Charlie Sheen and Rebecca Black. Whilst Charlie Sheen certainly had a brand and reputation in place prior to his very public implosion, Rebecca Black* has built a brand overnight through the use of social media that has seen a rapid increase in search volume.
SEO cannot always be seen as the answer to online marketing by any means but even in markets where little search volume exists there are SEO techniques that can be implemented to drive traffic to your site. The above techniques are not the only way of generating traffic but provide an insight into alternative routes available.
*Rebecca Black shot to fame in March 2011 with perhaps the worst music video ever made. Just for your enjoyment…here it is! (Venn Digital or myself cannot be held responsible for any broken computer screens as a result of watching this)