SEO: It's Not Rocket Science. It's Brand Science

Most SEO content fits into 3 areas.

1. What to do.

2. How to do.

3. We did this.


I like to think I open up a 4th category of "you should think about this".

But let's get back to the 'we did this' part.

Thanks to the wonderful work of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science, we now know how brands grow.

Through increased mental and physical availability.

In short, the likelihood that someone will think of you in a buying situation.

And the ease and convenience of being able to buy from you.

Do this, and you grow sales.

The way I view this is relatively simply.

SEOs should ensure they rank for as many relevant terms as possible.

Show up for as much as you can in the buyers search journey and show up when then want to buy.

Except, somehow, SEOs became obsessed with that vile word 'ROI'.

The elusive idea that somehow, you can track human interaction with a business to such an extent, you can pat 1 marketing channel on the back and say "it's saved us".

It's marketing Highlander. With business owners and marketers trying to say "there can be only one".

All of which is quite funny when considering that analytics software only ever captures recent customer interactions, 90 days at most.

SEO is a game of discovery and memory.

We show brands to customers.

We keep showing up to remind them we're great.

We show up at the end to remind them again.

If it works, this, combined with other marketing channel activity, will nudge your customers over to you.

Assuming that ease and convenience of buying are present.

When SEOs try and use words like 'ROI,' we start to sound like the PPC department.

No...your last click attribution isn't solely responsible for the sale any more than theirs was.

It's just taking the credit in a desperate attempt to prove our financial value.

So, what should SEOs be focusing on?


Reaching as many potential future customers as possible.

And there's a whole truckload of ways to do that.

We can build, we can write, we can create.

Our job is to transport a business to customers and let the brand assets go to work. 

With the rational optimism that if we do it enough, we'll help sales to come in.

For marketing managers and business owners.

You need to stop trying to chop the heads off marketing channels in the hope you can minimise your budgets.

It forces marketers into wildly inaccurate attribution reporting.

SEOs should avoid trying to report like you're PPC. 

SEO is just an assist.

Or, as I like to say it, we're the shoulders that PPC stands on.

Sometimes you'll need PPC to reach the customers.

Probably less than you think.

But we certainly shouldn't be competing and reporting on our success like them.

We're a different channel.

We're organic.

Report on our success accordingly.

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