organic lead generation

Organic Lead Generation: Grow Your Leads with SEO and Content Marketing

We all want to improve the number of leads we generate, especially when they’re organic.

That’s something we can all agree on from the outset.

With billions of searches happening every single day, there are people out there looking for what you provide. Most of which have the potential to turn into leads for your business.

In this post, we’re going to de-code how to increase lead generation using organic search, and provide some practical tips on how you can start generating more enquiries.

What does a lead look like to you?

To provide some context around what’s to follow, we wanted to clear up what a lead looks like.

The truth is, this depends on your business.

For a clothing retailer, someone signing up for a newsletter in return for a discount code is a clear indication that the person is nearing a purchase, with little more information needed to convert this visitor into a customer.

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In contrast, while an email signup would be great for metalwork supplier, nurturing this lead to gain more information is vital.

Before you start looking to increase lead generation, having an idea of what would be useful (or necessary) for your sales team to follow up helps massively.

Why is lead generation important?

We’ll give it to you straight.

Organic lead generation is one of the most effective ways to gain business. That’s why everyone wants to optimise their website for Google.

Your job is to stand out. Give the user enough reasons to trust you, and you’ll start generating enquiries through SEO. And that’s hard, but not impossible.

By following this guide you’ll be well prepared to take on your competition.

Where do you start with SEO lead generation?

Getting started with SEO & Content Marketing can feel a little daunting.

So we’re going to start by looking in the mirror. Your website.

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How to increase lead generation by auditing your website

The first thing to look for is a benchmark.

How well is your website doing currently?

Usually, a website has Google Analytics set up to measure the amount of traffic coming in.

Alongside this, GA provides the ability to track ‘conversions’, which is basically an action you want people to take.

This could be a form completion, a specific page being viewed, or an email address being clicked.

Although sometimes, conversions aren’t set up.

If this is the case, don’t worry. Here are a few places to check how well your SEO is generating leads:

  • Check manually.

The obvious one.

If a particular email is set to receive all of your web forms, get an average over the last 3 months.

You could also ask your sales team whether they ask leads how they found you.

If they do, this is likely tracked on your CRM system.

Worst case scenario?

Nobody is tracking where leads come from.

In which case:

Start measuring and see where you are at the end of week one.

  • Check Google Analytics.

It’s likely you have a contact page that asks people to fill in their details, before redirecting them to a ‘thank you’ page.

Theoretically, just go and check how many people have seen that thank you page!

It gets a little more complicated when your form doesn’t redirect users to a page such as this, but nothing is impossible!

Which leads us on to…

  • Check your website.

Most content management systems have a method of tracking enquiries, to protect against the danger of an email stopping working, and those leads you’re generating disappearing into thin air.

If you’re using WordPress, there’ll be a plugin for it – we love Flamingo, which integrates seamlessly into Contact Form 7.

Drupal, and many other CMS’ have monitoring built in.

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The main thing to take away from this section is to measure what you’re getting.

If you don’t measure currently…start!

Now!

It’s easy and will help you make informed decisions.

If you are, then you have the perfect scenario to improve things.

How well is your content performing?

We’re heading back into Google Analytics.

Data doesn’t lie. If people visit your page and leave, something’s up.

Equally, if people are engaging with your content, then how can use that to improve everything else?

Here are a few metrics to look for:

Bounce rate.

This is a measure of how many people visit your page and leave without viewing anything else.

It’s important because it generally provides an indication of how useful your website is.

If people land on the page, and leave straight away, chances are they’re heading back to Google to find another website (Pogo-Sticking) that will answer their query.

Click on this column (highlighted in the screenshot below), and sort from high to low.

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See what isn’t performing.

Also…sort low to high. This will give you an idea of what is working.

Just a little tip : 

Sometimes it’s worth taking this data with a pinch of salt.

If someone lands on your page and you provide all of the answers they need, resulting in an enquiry or a phone call, before leaving – technically they have ‘bounced’ from your site.

But in reality, your website did everything it needed to do.

This is why bounce rate shouldn’t be looked at in isolation when analysing behaviour metrics.

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  • Time on page.

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Perhaps a more accurate representation of how useful your content is, is how long visitors stay on the page.

Is it long enough to read everything on offer?

Any less than 10 seconds, and it’s likely your content isn’t doing a great job.

  • Pages per session.

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This metric gives you a measure of how engaged your visitors are.

If they’re viewing more than one page, they’re probably looking to learn more about you, your products, or your services.

If it’s just the one, then the people finding your website might not be interested in what you’ve got to offer.

Are you on top of your technical SEO?

Google your business, product, or service.

What appears? Do you stand out?

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Google takes the information your website provides it with, so if you’re left unimpressed by the way you appear on the search results page, you can make adjustments to improve your listing.

Speed matters.

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Listen.

We know websites can be unruly, and over time they grow into something they were never supposed to be.

But it’s time to shape up, for two reasons.

  • One.

Your visitors.

We’re past the days of websites taking 10 seconds to load.

There’s the age-old example that Amazon would lose $1.6 billion in revenue if their load times increased by one second.

  • Two.

While the example above may be theoretical, this one isn’t.

Smart Furniture increased their load times and benefited from :

  • 20% increase in Organic Traffic
  • 14% increase in page views
  • Average of two positions gained across keywords in search

Failure to prepare. Prepare to fail.

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So you’ve got an idea of how your website performs.

Now it’s time to do your research.

Look at the market, your competitors, and your local area.

How can you improve?

Here’s how you can find out :

Search Intent

Getting visitors to your website is all well and good, but not if they aren’t resulting in any leads.

Understanding the intent of a search is essential, as it allows you to both optimise and prioritise the information you provide.

Informational Searches

Say someone is looking to purchase a new TV.

They start their search by simply typing in ‘tv’s’.

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They’re presented with a range of retailers, all trying to tempt the searcher into clicking through to their website.

This is an example of an informational search. The user isn’t looking for anything other than information at this point, to help them whittle down their choices.

While it’s unlikely you’d get any sales from this type of search, visits are still valuable and highly sought after.

Why?

Because you can build trust with the visitor.

If you help them on their journey, they’re much more likely to think of you when it comes to actually purchasing.

This type of search can help you improve your lead generation by providing useful content that helps the visitor on their journey.

Usually blogs posts, reviews, comparisons, inforgraphics, interactive guides and inspirational blogs are the ideal type of content for this audience.

Less sales push. More assistance.

Transactional Searches

Now.

These are the searches you want to appear for.

At this stage, visitors have made their decision. They know the type of product they want and the specification it needs to be.

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Let’s go back to our TV example.

Someone is looking for a TV.

They’ve checked out a few options, and have decided that they’d like something to fill a gap in their TV stand – so it needs to be a 55 inch.

They also know that one particular Toshiba has had a tonne of good reviews on websites like Amazon, Curry’s, and AO.com.

That leaves us with the user looking to purchase a “55inch 55T6863DB Toshiba TV”.

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They want to buy, and they want to buy now.

It’s your job to convince them they need to spend their money with you.

Now.

Don’t get us wrong, appearing for this type of search isn’t a walk in the park.

Many other businesses out there will want to rank for this search term, but that’s where SEO experts like ourselves can help you stand out and generate conversions from your organic traffic.

We also want to point out that this type of search isn’t solely reserved for business-to-consumer purchases.

In fact:

Hubspot reported that over 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search.

They then proceed along the same journey, but the end conversion is slightly different – usually in the form of an enquiry form or phone call.

Are people in your area looking for your services?

Google has placed a lot of emphasis on local search queries in the last few years, with the emergence of the ‘local pack’ of listings.

These sit above all other organic results.

If local customers are important when it comes to generating leads, make sure you’ve done a couple of things:

  • Set up a profile on Google My Business

This will give you a presence in Google, which is enhanced as you add more information.

Take time to add images, a new post, anything that Google prompts you to fill out.

  • Ask a few customers for reviews

The local listings that stand out the most have 5-star reviews.

As ratings are left by third parties, searchers trust the review score and it might be the difference between them clicking on your website or a competitor’s.

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You’ll then start getting reports on how many people have been searching for you, where your traffic is coming from, and importantly, how many people asked for directions/looked up your phone number.

Create an SEO strategy to increase your lead generation

This is where things get serious.

You’ve made it this far, let’s get into some practical organic lead generation tips.

Do your keyword research.

By now you’re aware of informational and transactional search terms.

It’s time to find all of the keywords relevant to you, and decide which ones you should focus on.

How to find keywords:

  1. Type your product or service into Google“organic
  2. Note down all the variations in description and explanation of similar things“organic
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the search page.

You’ll see a ‘People also searched for:’ box.

If there’s anything relevant, add those to your document.“organic4. Install a brilliant tool called ‘Keywords Everywhere’ to your browser.

Go back to searching for your products or services, but pay attention to the right-hand side of the page.

See that?

A handy little ‘People also search for’ box that gives you some semantically linked terms to either add to your list, or do some more digging into.“organic

5. Head over to Moz.com/explorer.

Type in your product or service, then head into ‘Keyword Suggestions’.

Again, this will provide you with lots of terms that are linked to your phrase.“organic6. Once you’ve got a solid list of keywords, click on that handy tool we mentioned, Keywords Everywhere, and choose Import Keywords.

This will give you the volume data that will help you decide which ones are worth focusing on.“organic

Prioritise what matters to your business

You’ve got your keyword list, now let’s dive into how you can improve lead generation.

Go ahead and copy the data Keywords Everywhere provided into an Excel document, or Google Sheet.

We’ve decided to keep UK data only, as it’s a local search term.

Add a column to your list that indicates whether a search term is ‘informational’ or ‘transactional’.

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Let’s tackle informational searches first.

Start by sorting your list of keywords by level of competition.

Now, the competition field you’ll see in the data you’ve brought across only refers to Google Adwords. To find more data on keyword difficulty in the organic results, we need to head over to Moz’s or Ahref’s keyword explorer.

Type your keywords into the handy little toolbar, and you’ll get a keyword difficulty score back.

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Now repeat the process for the rest of your keywords ( both are paid tools but offer a few free searches), and you should get something that looks like this:

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Next step:

Sort the keywords from low difficulty to high difficulty.

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Take a look at the Search Volume column (which shows how many people are looking for your keyword per month).

Are there are any large numbers towards the top of your list?

If so – this is a great place to start producing content.

High volume keywords with low difficulty are the holy grail of SEO, and while they’re hard to find, they do exist.

Now reverse your sorting. High to low.

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It’s likely that the most competitive terms are generating a huge amount of searches.

But a little healthy competition is good for everyone, right?

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Which keywords are most relevant to what you do?

Search for these, and see if there’s any extra information that you could create, to better answer the searcher’s query.

It’ll take some work, but building these into your targets could reap long-term benefits.

Finally, which keywords should you remove?

Any that have a huge level of competition, from sites such as Amazon.

As we said, outranking them isn’t impossible, but in terms of generating leads in the short term, it’ll prove difficult.

Transactional Searches

Repeat the process above for your transactional searches.

This time however, consider how much value you would place on generating a lead for that particular product or service.

If you’re struggling to pick a figure, the profit you stand to make from each sale is a good place to start.

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We’re only using this as a method of prioritising.

Now sort this column from high to low.

These are the terms that will make the most difference to your business.

Let’s go and get some leads from them!

This will form the basis of a great SEO campaign.

You know what you want to achieve, now we’ve got the easy task of accomplishing it!

Implementing organic lead generation

The easiest place to start is your own website.

Look at your list of keywords and see if there are any relevant pages that currently exist, but aren’t doing a great job of attracting visitors.

Ask yourself three questions:

  • What’s missing from your page that visitors are getting elsewhere?
  • Can you incorporate this information into your own website?
  • How can you improve on it?

Check out Rand Fishkin’s intro to creating competition-busting content

Next:

Look at the technical information held on your website.

  • Page titles
  • Meta descriptions
  • Header tags

Are some of the most important aspects of improving the results you see from organic lead generation.

Ensure each incorporates the keyword you want to rank for, and offers something of interest to the searcher.

Now you know where gaps exist in your content, and what new content is required.

Take your visitors on a journey

In all likelihood, visitors will do a bit of jumping around websites before they commit to buying or enquiring.

One of the most effective ways of improving your lead generation is to talk to your visitors on more than one platform.

This is usually referred to as taking visitors down a ‘funnel’.

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Informational searches get visitors into the top of the funnel, and gradually your marketing should filter out everyone that isn’t interested, communicating solely to the people that are likely to result in leads.

But what happens when someone leaves your website?

Other than the lasting impression you hope your website has made, there’s nothing you can do to track/encourage someone to come back.

Or is there?

Your informational searches should have an objective.

If this isn’t a purchase, then what?

Anything that your sales team can use to further develop the lead.

  • A name
  • An email
  • A phone number
  • An address

The task here is to get as much information as you can for your sales team to use, and then think of ways you can get that information.

Provide a benefit to the visitor of parting with their data.

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You can then use this data to take the guesswork out of organic lead generation.

Email marketing is ideal for lead generation, as it allows you to gradually provide your leads with information that nudges them towards a conversion.

Plus, organic traffic increases the number of users you can remarket to.

Remarketing gives you another chance to get in front of a visitor to your website, either via Google Adwords, or ads through social media.

Both email marketing and remarketing provide the opportunity to develop a visitor into a lead. Therefore these are essential parts of a sales funnel.

By creating multiple points in a ‘funnel’ that trigger a certain response from you or your team, you’ll be able to assess how close someone is to purchasing.

Which leads us on to our final point.

Measure. Measure. Measure.

Organic lead generation is only as effective as the data you can gain from it.

Put measures in place to judge how successful your campaign has been, and also use tools such as Google Analytics to judge whether certain pages aren’t performing.

You’ll be in a much better place for it, and be able to take control of your marketing.

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As you can tell, increasing your organic lead generation isn’t an easy process, but with time, it’s achievable.

If you’re unsure where to start, even after reading this, get in touch!

Matt Cayless is the Director of SEO at Bubblegum Search. He is an expert in Search Engine Optimisation having worked on campaigns for some of the world’s biggest brands and has a passion for helping businesses grow online. When he’s not chasing the Google algorithm he can be found training for his next marathon. Follow him on Twitter 

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