From Billboards to Browsers: Mastering SEO for Traditional Marketing Agencies

by Toby

September 11, 2023

Mastering SEO for Traditional Marketing Ad Agencies

In the bustling heart of Manhattan, a traditional ad agency is preparing for its most significant campaign of the year. The team is buzzing, storyboards are being designed, and catchy slogans are being tossed around. But amidst this creative chaos, there's a missing piece - a secret weapon that could supercharge their campaign and catapult their client's brand to unparalleled heights. That secret weapon is SEO.

While we live in a digital age, many traditional ad agencies have yet to embrace the power of SEO or Search Engine Optimization fully. Why? There's a prevailing misconception that SEO is just for tech companies or online businesses. 

But here's a jaw-dropping fact: 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. Imagine the untapped potential your ad agency is missing!

This blog post aims to demystify SEO, breaking its complexities into digestible insights and practical steps and showing you that itโ€™s not just for tech-oriented companies or people. 

We'll uncover a process of SEO that you can follow for your traditional ad agency so you can reach the millions of people searching in Google every day. 

If you're ready to challenge the conventions and unlock new avenues for your client's success, read on. Prepare to venture into the dynamic world of SEO, where tradition meets innovation and where your ad campaigns can indeed come alive.

Misconceptions and Mistakes About SEO

  • Customers Donโ€™t Find Us This Way: Iโ€™ve heard this before from traditional marketing agencies: โ€œThe customers we typically cater to are not likely to discover us through SEO-based searches.โ€  Thatโ€™s false. If anything, they arenโ€™t finding you now because you are not ranking for anything.
  • Perception That SEO Is Technical and Complex: SEO does not have to be highly technical and complex, reserved only for web developers or IT experts. Technical knowledge helps, but equally important, SEO also involves strategic content creation.
  • Prioritizing Design and Aesthetics: Prioritizing design and aesthetics over user experience is a mistake with SEO. Google's algorithms consider factors like page load speed, mobile-friendliness, and overall user engagement as crucial for ranking. So, you need to balance design and aesthetics with SEO.
  • Integration with Traditional Marketing: SEO integrates with and creates synergy between traditional marketing channels like radio, billboards, and print. This makes traditional marketing spend even more valuable as it extends its life into digital. Metrics like ROI and ROAS all improve with digital integration.
  • Algorithm Updates Impact Results: Frequent algorithm updates by search engines can significantly impact search rankings and visibility. Itโ€™s essential to stay updated and adapt SEO strategies accordingly.
  • Limited Focus on Keywords: SEO is not about stuffing web content with keywords to rank higher in search results. The importance of user intent, semantic search (related keywords and phrases), and developing helpful content is essential.

SEO Strategy for Traditional Marketing Agencies

Content Plan, Roadmap: Good SEO starts with a plan. 

And that plan starts with the content you will produce regularly, backed by keyword research and data. 

The two core areas you will create content for are your service pages and the type of work you offer. And then the content for blog pages.

Your Service Pages provide clear information about your company's professional marketing services. The primary objective is driving conversions (e.g., sign-ups, consultations, purchases) and lead potential clients/customers through the sales funnel.

In comparison, Blog Pages provide readers with valuable, relevant, and often informative content. The primary objectives are driving search traffic to your site, improving your websiteโ€™s SEO, establishing authority in a field, engaging the audience, and indirectly nurturing leads.

Toby Danylchuk

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Topic and Keyword Research

Service Pages:

The goal is to uncover keyword variations around your professional services and which keywords you should create content for. 

For example - you may specialize in healthcare marketing. Below is an example of the keyword volumes around various marketing and advertising professional service terms in healthcare for your Service Pages. 

SEO for Traditional Marketing Agencies - Keyword Research

SEO for Traditional Marketing Agencies - Keyword Research

SEO for Traditional Marketing Agencies - Keyword Research

SEO for Traditional Marketing Agencies - Keyword Research

Blog Pages:

Blog content focuses on helpful informational content. Hereโ€™s an example of keyword research for terms related to marketing topics in the healthcare industry. Blog search terms are often long-tail, meaning 3 to 4 or more terms are in the phrase. Questions are also common - people ask questions constantly, so producing content around questions makes for great blog content.

SEO for Traditional Marketing Agencies - Keyword Research for A Blog

SEO for Traditional Marketing Agencies - Keyword Research for A Blog

SEO for Traditional Marketing Agencies - Keyword Research for A Blog

SEO for Traditional Marketing Agencies - Keyword Research for A Blog

Page Organization: Create Silos of Content

SEO for Traditional Marketing Agencies

SEO for Traditional Marketing Agencies

Your site content needs to be organized. 

The analogy we use for this is similar to grain silos. So, what does that mean for your website?

Suppose you provide traditional marketing services, including Branding, Advertising, and Websites. And then letโ€™s assume you provide professional marketing services to the following industries: real estate, retail, legal services, and spas. 

You would have a site structure similar to the below infographic. With the pages at the top focused on the core services, then below that, pages that are focused on core services with the industries you serve. (you can read more about silos in our posts about internal linking and WordPress categories for better SEO). Each of those pages in the silo has content specific to that service and industry. 

SEO for Traditional Marketing Agencies - Content Silo Strategy

SEO for Traditional Marketing Agencies - Content Silo Strategy

Writing Your Content for SEO

Write for humans first, search engines second. Write naturally. Do not force keywords into your content.

And content quality is essential. Ensure your content is well-written, informative, and provides value to your readers. Use your chosen keywords naturally throughout the content, especially in your headings and subheadings. However, avoid keyword stuffing in keywords as it harms your SEO.

How To Write SEO Content Without Paid SEO Tools

Develop an SEO blueprint for your content. Itโ€™s a simple process. 

Google the keyword that youโ€™re writing about. Review the top 10 pages and make notes about the following characteristics of the top-ranking pages:

  • How many total words do they use? Use the average word count as a rough guide to approximately how long your content should be. Average word count is not a hard and fast rule, but helpful. Sometimes, writing content that is too long can hurt your SEO.
  • What are the sub-headings or sub-topics they are covering throughout the content? Google knows what needs to be covered for a particular topic, and the top-ranking pages will give you insight into this. Pay attention to additional keyword phrases.
  • Do they have graphics or videos embedded? If all the posts display charts or infographics images, you should, too. Plus, optimizing your images for SEO will give you an additional opportunity to rank on the Images tab in Google.

On-Page SEO 

Recommendations for optimizing meta tags, headings, and URLs.

Meta tags provide information about your webpage to search engines, and headings help to structure your content for readability and relevance. At the same time, URLs are the unique addresses of your web pages that can be optimized to improve search engine visibility.

Meta Tags

Meta tags reside in the HTML code of your website and are not visible on the page itself. They communicate vital information about your page to search engines. The two most important meta tags for SEO are the meta title and meta description.

Meta Title

Your meta title tag is the title of your webpage. This is the first thing search engines look at to understand what your page is about. It's also the first thing users see on the search results page. Best Practice: Keep your title tag under 60 characters to ensure it displays fully in search results, and include your target keyword as close to the beginning as possible.

Example: If [business/brand name] sells organic cosmetics, a good meta title could be "Organic Cosmetics - Natural Beauty Products | [Business/Brand Name]".

Meta Description

The meta description provides a summary of your web page. While not a direct ranking factor, a well-written meta description can entice users to click on your page in the search results.

Best Practice: Limit your description to 155-160 characters and include your target keyword(s).

Example: "Explore our wide range of organic cosmetics. Enhance your natural beauty with [Business/Brand Name]'s eco-friendly, cruelty-free products."

Headings

Headings structure your content and make it easier for users and search engines to read. The H1 tag is your main heading, followed by subheadings H2 through H6.

Best Practice: Use only one H1 tag per page (usually the page title), H2 tags for main points, and H3-H6 for sub-points. Include keywords in your headings where it makes sense, but avoid keyword stuffing.

Example: On a product page, the H1 could be the product name, H2s could be 'Product Description', 'Benefits', and 'Reviews', and H3s could break down the 'Benefits' section further.

URLs

URLs help search engines understand the content of the page. They should be straightforward and descriptive.

Best Practice: Keep URLs as short as possible, use hyphens to separate words, and include 1-2 keywords.

Example: A URL for a product page on [business/brand name]'s website might look like this: www.[businessname].com/organic-cosmetics/natural-foundation.

Guidance on the internal linking structure and anchor text optimization.

Internal linking is a crucial SEO tactic that involves linking one page of your website to another. This helps users navigate your site more effectively and allows search engines to understand the structure and hierarchy of your website, which can improve your site's visibility in search results.

Importance of Internal Linking

Internal links help distribute link equity (the value passed from one page to another through links) across your site, influencing your page's ability to rank in search engine results.  Moreover, they enhance user experience by guiding visitors to relevant content and potentially increasing their time spent on your site.

Best Practices for Internal Linking

  • Use Descriptive, Keyword-Rich Anchor Text: Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. It should be relevant to the linked page and include target keywords where applicable. However, avoid over-optimizing, as search engines may see it as manipulative.
  • Link Deep: The most valuable links are the ones that go deep into your site architecture, not just to your homepage or primary service pages.
  • Relevance is Key: Links should connect related content. This helps search engines understand what your pages are about and, most importantly, useful for readers.

Suggestions for optimizing images and multimedia elements.

Images are an essential part of your content. For more in-depth information, read our post about how to optimize your images for SEO.

Advice on optimizing the content structure and readability.

 Content that is the easiest to read will perform the best. A famous copywriter once said that the best content is like a slippery slide - you get on at the top and donโ€™t stop until you get to the bottom. 

Creating well-structured, readable content is crucial for both SEO and user experience. Not only does it help search engines understand and rank your content, but it also makes your content more accessible and engaging for readers.

Tips to optimize your content structure and readability:

  1. 1

    Use Headings and Subheadings: Headings (H1, H2, H3, etc.) organize your content, making it easier for search engines and readers to understand. Your main title should be an H1, with H2s, H3s, and so on used for subheadings.

  2. 2

    Write Short, Clear Sentences: Long, complex sentences can be challenging to read and understand. Aim for an average sentence length of 15-20 words

  3. 3

    Utilize White Space: White space improves readability by preventing your content from appearing cramped or overwhelming.

  4. 4

    Incorporate Visuals: Images, infographics, and videos make your content more engaging and can help explain complex concepts.

  5. 5

    Use Active Voice: Active voice makes your writing clearer and more direct, improving comprehension.

  6. 6

    Avoid Jargon: Avoid industry jargon and technical language unless you're writing for a specialized audience.

  7. 7

    Implement a Logical Structure: Your content should flow logically, typically following an introduction-body-conclusion structure. Each section should naturally lead to the next.

Understanding Technical SEO and Enhancing Website Performance

Technical SEO refers to the process of optimizing your website for crawling and indexing. It involves improving aspects of your site that, when combined, make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your pages to provide users with accurate search results.

Improving Website Crawlability and Indexability

Crawlability refers to a search engine's ability to access and crawl content on a page. On the other hand, indexability is whether or not a search engine will index a crawled page. Here are some recommendations to improve these:

  1. 1

    Create an XML Sitemap: A sitemap helps search engines find and understand your website's content (Googleโ€™s guide on this)

  2. 2

    Use Robots.txt File Correctly: Ensure you're not accidentally blocking search engines from crawling important pages (more here about robots file)

  3. 3
    Fix Broken Links: Broken links can hinder the crawlability of your site, so ensure all links lead to valid pages.
  4. 4

    Improve Site Architecture: A well-structured site helps search engines understand your site and makes it easier to crawl (more content here on internal linking for site architecture and, if youโ€™re using WordPress, how to use categories for better SEO)

Implementing Schema Markup

Schema markup is code you put on your website to help search engines provide more informative results to users. This could include additional information like reviews, images, or business hours. Implementing schema markup can increase your visibility in SERPs and improve click-through rates. But it is not a ranking factor. You can learn more about schema markup for your business here.

Optimizing Website Speed and Performance

Website speed is a crucial ranking factor for search engines. A slow-loading site leads to higher bounce rates, and lower conversion rates, negatively impacts user experience, and hurts SEO (more here from Google on this topic). 

Here are ways to enhance your website's speed and performance:

  1. 1

    Compress Images: Large image files can significantly slow your page load times. Use compression tools to reduce their size (read our post on image SEO for more details).

  2. 2

    Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML: Minification removes unnecessary characters from your code without affecting functionality (usually).

  3. 3

    Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): CDNs distribute your content across multiple geographic locations to reduce the distance to your server and improve site speed. If someone is in San Jose viewing your website, it will load faster if itโ€™s served from a server in San Jose versus Seattle. Many hosting providers already provide CDN services.


Reporting and Measurement in SEO

Effective SEO goes beyond implementing strategies. It involves tracking, measuring, and adjusting your efforts based on data-driven insights. 

Hereโ€™s how you can establish a robust reporting and measurement system for SEO:

Implementing Tracking and Analytics Tools

Tracking and analytics tools allow you to monitor the performance of your SEO efforts. 

Google Analytics (GA4) is a widely used tool (installed on the majority of websites worldwide) that is free and offers insights into traffic sources, user behavior, and more (more here on GA4)

Google Search Console (GSC) provides valuable data about your site's visibility in Google search results. Consider using an SEO-specific tool like SEMrush for deeper SEO analytics and competitor insights. GSC is our primary go-to SEO tool for a quick understanding of how our organic SEO is performing. (a related post here on how to get easy SEO wins using Google Search Console).

Defining Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs for SEO success may include organic traffic volume trends, engagement rates, page load times, and rankings for targeted keywords. 

Conversion-related metrics such as form submissions, newsletter signups, or e-commerce transactions are also crucial.

Technology Stack for SEO

An effective SEO technology stack might include tools for keyword research (Ahrefs, SEMrush), on-page SEO (Yoast), backlink analysis (SEMrush or Ahrefs), technical SEO (SEMrush), and local SEO (BrightLocal, Whitespark).

Reporting Schedule and Format

The frequency and format of reports depend on your specific needs and the complexity of your SEO campaigns. 

Monthly reporting is standard, but some businesses may benefit from weekly updates (only needed if you have a high traffic volume). Reports should be concise, visual, and focus on KPIs. 

They should highlight successes, identify areas for improvement, and outline future strategies.

Remember, the goal of SEO reporting isn't just to present data but to provide actionable insights that drive continuous improvement.

Got SEO Questions

Leave a common on the blog or reach out to me now. I love hearing from people like you and respond to all inquries. 

Your Next Steps:

  1. 1
    Schedule a no-pressure 15 min introductory call with us to find out if we're a good fit
  2. 2
    We will prepare and send you a proposal outlining our proposed scope of work and costs based on your business needs 
  3. 3
    We'll schedule a kickoff meeting and begin work on your digital strategy

About the author 

Toby is the co-founder of 39 Celsius. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has started several companies throughout his career. He's an expert in SEO, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, Marketing Automation, and more. He has a BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UC San Diego and an MBA from SDSU.

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