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Why we no longer have an SEO department

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Chris Schimkat

As Alpha’s Head of Digital Experience, Chris “Schmako” Schimkat is in his element when matching client objectives with actionable and effective SEO & CRO techniques. When he isn’t investigating code and website structure, you’re likely to find him in the kitchen,out on the soccer field, or relaxing with a spreadsheet.

This is not an April fool’s joke, as of today, Alpha Digital no longer has an SEO team. Today, our SEO team will be expanding its scope by evolving into “digital experience”. This evolution is in response to, and anticipation of, the expanding responsibilities that today’s digital environment has thrust upon our SEOs. We’ve outlined the impact, rationale, and advantages of this team upgrade to explain what to expect with the new changes.

The Evolution of SEO to Digital Experience (DX)

If we look at SEO as a silo, we can miss a lot of opportunities available from interrelated parts of the digital marketing mix. In contrast, digital experience embraces these interrelationships, allowing us to make a bigger impact. By removing our SEO goggles and looking at the greater picture, we can create more effective strategies for our clients. The aim of digital experience is to orchestrate a range of digital marketing techniques in a way that out-performs the sum of it’s parts.

To put it in its simplest form, you’re going to hear a lot less, “That’s not my department”.

What is Digital Experience?

Digital experience is any interaction between a person (prospect, client, partner, or employee) and an organisation on a digital medium. At Alpha Digital, our digital experience offering includes:

Typically, the following can also be included in a DX offering:

Why Digital Experience?

Traditionally, SEO has focused on getting the right content with the right keywords in front of the right people. But once these users get to the website, the SEO’s responsibility typically ends there. Digital experience means that we get a holistic view of the full digital funnel, from right at the top with audience profiling and targeting, through to content and technical, and finally closing the deal with conversion rate optimisation and then re-engagement.

Because DX looks at all points in the funnel, it can have far greater results. For example, if you compare doubling your click-through-rate vs. doubling your click-through-rate and conversion rate you’ll achieve a 4x improvement in total conversions as compared to the 2x improvement from SEO alone. That doesn’t even count the uplift in lifetime customer value that effective re-engagement and loyalty campaigns can provide.

Digital Experience Services

Search Engine Optimisation

The existing foundation of this team is grounded in search engine optimisation. As SEO moves further towards “website optimisation” as a broader discipline, this includes work like:

  • Technical improvements
  • Content strategy and production
  • Tracking and analytics
  • Keyword, trend, and topic research
  • Click-through-rate improvements
  • Information architecture design

Any existing clients will continue to get their SEO services, but now there are a range of additional tools in your account manager’s toolbox to add on. Because we have a broader range of tactics available to us, it removes the “when you’ve got a hammer everything looks like a nail” effect that can occur with SEOs.

The next parts are the additional services on top of SEO that we’ll be offering with digital experience. These are the things your digital experience account manager can now offer you.

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)/User Experience (UX)

CRO & UX are some essential elements that should be looked at in a digital experience strategy. All of the quality traffic in the world is wasted if the website converts poorly. Conversion rate optimisation is focused on the psychology and user experience of a web page to maximise the likelihood of any given user converting. This doesn’t just look at all website users as one aggregate audience to optimise against. It also works on a user-by-user basis by personalising a web page based on what we know about a user. If a user is returning, has purchased before, or is in a certain demographic, we can customise the experience to appeal to them.

The main sub-disciplines of CRO and UX at Alpha Digital include:

  • A/B and multivariate testing
  • User testing
  • Landing page design
  • Conversion path analysis
  • Conversion-optimised copywriting

Content Marketing

We’ve separated content marketing from SEO because content can be written and distributed for more than just enriching search experience. We run content strategy, development, and promotion projects that aim to do more than just match the most-search questions on Google.

These projects can include deliverables like:

  • Resources
  • Calculators
  • Tools
  • Studies/insights
  • Whitepapers
  • Guides

These can be used for objectives like new customer acquisition, generating brand awareness, (and, yes) attracting links to your website.

Once we produce something worth promoting, we use a range of methods such as digital PR, native/paid advertising, SEO, and email to get it in front of the right people to generate ROI.

Audience Profiling/Personas

By using data from your DMP, analytics, CRM, and by enriching with 3rd party data, we can analyse your audience and put them into clusters. These clusters form “personas” which we can use to improve your marketing efforts. Once we know who your audience is, we can run qualitative surveys to find out what motivates them and enhance all of your touch points to match.

Tracking and Analytics

This final part of the digital experience offering is where we set up measurement and reporting tools to gain insights. By setting up better tracking on a website, we can start to learn more about its strengths and weaknesses to help drive future strategy. This is also where we can review the performance of past initiatives to determine if they should or shouldn’t be repeated or expanded upon. We have an in-house software developer who helps us to build custom reporting dashboards. This allows us to visualise and make sense of everything happening in your marketing mix.

Future Roadmap

As technology changes and improves in this area, so will we. But the underlying vision of this team is to use the most effective techniques to improve client outcomes, whatever that may be. This is sure to change in the coming weeks, months, and years. We’re excited to get more involved in our clients’ strategy.