Email Marketing is a very effective means to promote your product/service to existing customers, to ensure repeat business and maintaining a reliable relationship with consumers. Showing you care and that you are striving to improve your service to them is crucial. However, if done wrong, then it can come across as too spammy and irrelevant to Google – which could have knock-on effects on a site’s SEO.
Here’s a rundown of what you need to think about when using email to market your product and how to aid your SEO efforts.
As with most forms of SEO, you start with targeting key search terms to deliberately target an audience.
A good place to start is cultivating search queries related to discovery and development, where people want to find out more about your product/service. This ensures that whoever opts to give their email address to you genuinely wants to find out more, thus increasing the likelihood of an increase in time spent on site and conversion rate.
You know who cares about those stats? That’s right, Google. Weird or irrelevant or uninterested traffic will make your site look lower quality, and thus will result in a lower ranking in the SERPs.
Create a sign-up area on your site, and use this as your primary if not only source of email leads.
This is absolutely essential if you want your emails to be seen as legitimate and increase conversion rates on your site. If you purchase mailing lists, it’ll sometimes get you blocked/reported as spam, which can be incredibly harmful to your SEO efforts.
With GMail, Google have a powerful spam filter which is capable of monitoring and blacklisting offenders – I do not see any reason for them to avoid using this information when it comes to the SERPs for particularly bad offenders. A bad email reputation is a bad reputation, period.
Advertise the sign-up by featuring it on every relevant landing page, displayed loud and proud on the home page and consider having it pop up when someone makes a comment on your blog.
The key here is not to spam bought lists of emails, you want to provide a service with these emails to those who ask for it. Google will be able to identify those who aren’t focusing on a tailored service, but more of a widespread advertising ploy.
Nothing gets people more interested in a product or service quite like the offering of something free and interesting. The book Predictably Irrational devotes quite some time to this concept, emphasising that even when something free represents less value returned for your investment, the concept of ‘free’ dominates the concept of ‘value’ even when there’s no inconvenience to you.
Further, with free stuff, your user is likely to recommend the site to their friends. This is because they feel like they are doing them a favour by showing them your site, rather than doing you a favour by linking to your site. The SEO benefits are obvious.
Note that you should be somewhat cagey about using the term ‘free’ in the emails themselves – for obvious reasons, this can look a little spammy at times.
The chance for a user to gain something without any loss overrides most other thoughts when deciding to give their email address away. Once you’ve attracted them, it’s up to you to ensure they stay.
To maximise the staying factor, make sure the content on the emails are on a par with industry-thought-leader type content, as the key is to give them something that is up-to-date, fresh and potentially innovative. You want to offer something in each email that is unique and interesting in order to promote engagement on the main site – where your product is housed.
In addition, include snippets of new posts to the site in the email to snag the interest of the email reader. Include a link after the snippet to the main site so that those who click on it, will genuinely want to read the rest of the piece. Ensure social buttons and comment boxes are clear and present to promote interaction.
It’s important that you treat each subscriber individually and give them personalised responses/recommendations. Amazon have this spot on with their monthly emails showing items similar to recent purchases that you might like and want to buy with them.
This may seem very time consuming and a logistical nightmare but if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. This is where you have the chance to harness a positive reputation through your emails and offers a great opportunity to boost conversion rates, again increasing your standing in the eyes of the search engines.
This’ll also help identify your key demographics your site is aimed at, aiding in any blended results searches for users.
So How Does Email Marketing Tie Into SEO?
SEO and Email marketing don’t relate to each other directly. However, email marketing can be used to promote the good SEO work of a site and (hopefully) enhance traffic whilst keeping bounce rates low.
To do this, content on the emails need to have an emphasis on building and maintaining relationships with users in order to build trust around a site’s brand. Using rel=canonical tags to multiple web pages with the same content, that might be included emails, will help solve any duplicate content issues and go towards the SEO of the site you want targeted.
James Duval writes about SEO from a number of different white hat angles, covering everything from social media to microsites.