Understanding Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimisation refers to the optimization of a website (SEO) for better ranking in search engine result pages (SERPs).

Essentially, SEO is the process by which a website is made indexable, crawlable, and rank-able in search engines without spending advertising budget. It is the foundation of assuring customers can find your organization and its products/services.   

Keyword Research

SEO understanding begins with realizing what your prospects are searching on the internet. It’s not practical to rank a website for a term that’s not searched. For example, a webpage ranked for “steam engine” will not get visitors searching for “renewable energy”.

The skill of identify the “keywords” your prospects are searching for can be approached in several ways, however, through marketing automation, there are several tools to support you in measuring the search volume of a specific term.

Search volume in and of itself is not the only criterion for selecting a keyword. Another criticaL factor that should influence keyword selection is the competition around that keyword. Highly competitive keywords are difficult to rank for and there may be better strategic options in what is known as the long tail (see also Zipf’s Law).  

Free software like Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends can be used effectively for keyword research before producing content for a website. Initially, a raw list of keywords is generated. Then, the most relevant keywords are picked using search volume and competition criteria leading to a set of keywords which are complimentary to the offering and can be built upon toward successful future page and domain ranking.

Types of Search Engine Optimisation

There are essentially three types of SEO:

  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO
  • Technical SEO

On-page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the optimisation of a website’s content, whether it be articles, user-interface, code, design, and linking structure.

A major portion of on-page SEO is keyword research and producing high-quality, valuable content on those keywords. Keywords are naturally used in the title tag, meta description, body content, URL structure, image alt tags, and subheadings of an article.

Moreover, internal linking between similar webpages on a website helps to establish relevancy by transferring what some term in SEO slang “link juice”. Further factors that contribute to on-page SEO are page speed loading times and mobile-friendliness.

Off-page SEO

Everything a marketer does outside the website to improve its search engine rank is called off-page SEO. It includes backlinking, social sharing, blog commenting and anything else likely to generate inbound traffic to the website. Backlinking is when an established website owner puts your website’s link on their website. Approaching influencers relevant to your niche and asking them for a link back to your website is a proven backlinking technique and a critical strategy as you seek to develop the page and domain ranking of the organisation’s website

Technical SEO

People use search engines for research. Search engines list websites corresponding to the search terms a user enters in the search box. Technical SEO is about helping search engines to index and crawl your website, making it more easy to access for the general public.

Registering a website and submitting its XML sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools are the important initial steps in supporting this more technical SEO process.


This was a brief introduction to search engine optimisation. If you want to get a deeper insight into how search engine optimization works, the following resources will be helpful.

  • Here is a free SEO training course by HubSpot.
  • And, Dave Chaffey has discussed SEO ranking factors here.


  • Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, E. (2016) Digital marketing: strategy, implementation, and practice. 6th ed. New York: Pearson.
  • Chaffey, D. and Smith, P. R. (2017) Digital marketing excellence: Planning, optimizing and integrating online marketing. 5th ed. London: Routledge.
  • Ryan, D. (2020) Understanding digital marketing: marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. Kogan Page Publishers.


  • Berman and Katona (2013) The role of search engine optimization in search marketing, Marketing Science, 32(4), 644-651.
  • MOZ (2020) The beginner’s guide to SEO: rankings and traffic through search engine optimization. Available from: https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo [Accessed 10 February 2021].
  • Search Engine Land (2020) What is SEO/search engine optimization. Available from: https://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-seo [Accessed 10 February 2021].
  • Zineddine (2016) Search engines crawling process optimization: a webserver approach, Internet Research, 26(1), 311-331.

Understanding Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is a fundamental element in digital marketing. Essentially, without content, no digital marketing strategy can work effectively. Having a content marketing strategy improves efficiency and results. Having focused content goals based on meeting the needs of your target consumers, keeps the marketer focused and motivated and brings consistent results.

A documented well-organized content marketing strategy inspires action and allows the marketer to analyze and improve it.  Content marketing aims to attract and retain relevant people (often best understood through developing ‘personas’. To achieve this a business produces valuable and high-quality content and distributes it across different marketing channels.

The goal of content marketing is to get the visitors to take profitable action – how profit is defined can vary across enterprises, with social enterprise seeking sustainable profitability as opposed to shareholder value. As highlighted earlier, studies show that successful content marketers have a documented strategy, a group/person to coordinate content marketing efforts, and metrics tools to analyze performance.

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy?

Objective Setting

The first step is to set appropriate marketing objectives. It tells what is important and what is not in a measurable way. These objectives will promote focus and give clarity of purpose.

These include target customers (personas), how a business delivers its message (content type), and what content to deliver.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs indicate that a business is going in the right direction. Achieving KPIs motivates the team/individual working on the content marketing strategy.

Measuring the performance of a business is essential to improve across all facets of the business and therefore content marketing strategy is a critical aspect of measurability also.

An example of KPI would be to get a certain number of signups on a webpage in a month or to convert a set number of engaged contacts to actual paying customers.

Knowing your Audience

Before getting into content creation, it’s important to get an idea of what the target audience is like. Demographic data like age, gender, income, and education tell a lot but even more impactful are Psychographics – like personality traits, attitudes, values are powerful if well understood.

Getting feedback from existing customers is a great way to optimize communications to the target audience. It lets a business improve its conception of buyer personas along the way.

Identifying the Best Content Channel

A business shouldn’t focus on all the content channels at first. Identifying where the target customer spends time is necessary to have a focused content marketing strategy.

Having a focused approach keeps things simple. Successful marketers focus on one content marketing platform before expanding to others.

Identifying Impactful Content Types

Not all content types are suitable for every context. There are also so many different forms in which content is consumed these days. Some critical one include blog posts, videos, infographics, social media posts, and more.

The content type for a particular business will depend on its goals and target audience.  For example, a blog post can answer visitors’ questions, provide an in-depth guide, or give the information they require to make a purchase. It’s arguably the most lucrative content type as it cost effectively brings people through search behaviours that are already looking for a solution.

Content Creation and Marketing

A content marketing strategy can’t be successful without high-quality content Moreover, search engine optimization is necessary to attract the relevant audience when creating blog posts. Proper keyword research helps a blogger to write content that has the chance to rank in key search engines increasing opportunities to be found.

Marketing of content includes distributing it on social media platforms and sending emails to subscribers. It’s success is dependent on being part of a holistic approach to delivering on digital marketing strategy.


This was a small introduction to content marketing and how a business can develop its content marketing strategy for maximum results.

  • Learn more about common mistakes in content marketing strategy here.
  • Learn how to be creative while developing a content marketing strategy here.
  • As well as excellent resources and a free course on Content Marketing by HubSpot here , there is a further detailed free course on content marketing by Google here.

Here is a case study focusing on JP Morgan’s Content Marketing leveraging video.

Article co-authored with Zain Khan


  • Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, E. (2016) Digital marketing: strategy, implementation and practice. 6th ed. New York: Pearson.
  • Chaffey, D. and Smith, P. R. (2017) Digital marketing excellence: Planning, optimizing and integrating online marketing. 5th ed. London: Routledge.
  • Ryan, D. (2020) Understanding digital marketing: marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. Kogan Page Publishers.
  • Hanlon, A. (2019) Digital marketing: Strategic planning & integration. Sage.


  • Drummond, C., McGrath, H. and O’Toole, T. (2020) Digital engagement strategies and tactics in social media marketing, European Journal of Marketing, 54(6), 1247-1280.
  • Harrigan, P., Miles, M.P., Fang, Y. and Roy, S.K. (2020) The role of social media in the engagement and information processes of social CRM, International Journal of Information Management, 54, 102-151.

Understanding Influencer Marketing

Although influencer marketing isn’t a new marketing technique, the unprecedented growth in digital media has prompted enterprises to move from TV commercials to this more niche-specific advertisement approach.

While influencer marketing can appear like an expensive option initially, once it is invested in strategically, it can bring a great return on investment (ROI) if well managed and virality is achieved. This is backed by Adweek’s study in the USA where it was found that influencer marketing brings $6.50 for every dollar spent.

Influencer marketing is now a more integral part of digital marketing with enterprises now underpinning their strategies through influencer marketing as it is seen as an important means  to connect with their consumers and make their services/products popular.

Understanding Influencer Marketing

An influencer is anyone with a good following on social media platforms like YouTube, Tiktok and Instagram. Organisations can leverage an influencer’s audience by offering him or her an advantage in return, usually in the form of money but can be in stock or service also which is advantageous for SME’s.

As the general public is more distributed now  in terms of their media consumption, using traditional marketing techniques is often not a cost-effective way of promoting particular products and services. Especially, when there is less chance that your target customer is engaging in more traditional marketing ways.

Difference Between an Influencer and a Celebrity

It’s important to understand the difference between a celebrity and an influencer for a marketer to fully realize the potential influencer marketing offers.  Attaching a celebrity to a brand and finding an influencer with authority in your industry are two different marketing strategies with different potential results.   An influencer has a niche-based following, allowing the advertiser to target an audience that is looking for products and services in your industry.

Establishing Trust with Influencer Marketing

In marketing, establishing trust with prospects is one of the primary difficulties brands face. Influencer marketing allows you to take advantage of an influencer’s already established trust with his or her audience.  For example, a travel Vlogger with an audience that’s interested in outdoor travelling can help a company who retails outdoor gadgets and make such brands popular among them.

Monetary Value of Influencers

The required marketing budget for influencer marketing depends on several things but wih established influencers it is usually based on the monetary value of the influencer, which, in turn, depends on the number of followers and type of platform. Other factors that may impact your influencer marketing outcomes include the engagement rate of the influencer and length of the campaign. Industry experts estimate an average of $1000 per 100k followers.

Why Influencer Marketing is Effective?

An influencer with an industry-specific audience can be an incredible source of traffic for your brand if their ‘story’ is compelling and there is synergies in their mission and your brandings positioning. People tend to trust the products their favourite influencer recommend, which is why influencer marketing continues to bring great ROI for brands.

A further case Study can be found here


Enterprises need to follow their prospects and the trends that are driving profitable action from their consumers’ behaviours. Influencer marketing is proving to be an effective way for organisations to get in front of their potential consumers in more creative ways (the equivalent of product placement in old TV parlance). Here are a few extra opportunities to develop your knowledge around influencer marketing.

  • Know about the trend of influencer marketing in 2021 here.
  • Here is a detailed infographic about how you can make influencer marketing inexpensive.
  • And here is an in-depth course on influencer marketing strategy on Coursera.


  • Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, E. (2016) Digital marketing: strategy, implementation, and practice. 6th ed. New York: Pearson.
  • Chaffey, D. and Smith, P. R. (2017) Digital marketing excellence: Planning, optimizing and integrating online marketing. 5th ed. London: Routledge.
  • Ryan, D. (2020) Understanding digital marketing: marketing strategies for engaging the digital generation. Kogan Page Publishers.


  • Jin, S.V., Muqaddam, A. and Ryu, E. (2019) Instafamous and social media influencer marketing. Marketing Intelligence & Planning.
  • Martínez-López, F.J., Anaya-Sánchez, R., Fernández Giordano, M. and Lopez-Lopez, D. (2020) Behind influencer marketing: key marketing decisions and their effects on followers’ responses. Journal of Marketing Management, 36(7-8), 579-607.
  • Taylor, C.R. (2020) The urgent need for more research on influencer marketing. International Journal of Advertising, 39(7), 889-891.