Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and email marketing are two powerful, standalone techniques to engage with your online audience and grow your revenue. At first glance, they seem completely irrelevant to each other. But they can work together. And combined, they’ll have a greater impact on your bottom line and brand.  

Let’s take it from the top, though.

SEO is the act of creating and optimizing the content of your website in a way that will make it SERP-friendly—meaning it can score better on Search Engine Result Pages and, potentially, reach the first page of a desired search engine like Google or Bing. Essentially, when you’re applying an SEO strategy, you’re incorporating core keywords your users might be looking for in relation to your brand.

Doing so will help your content appear higher in SERPs. But there’s a catch: You need high-quality, authoritative content that users will love. So, it’s not just about using keywords but about creating well-researched content pieces that will be used in many different ways, leading to better engagement, brand awareness, and, eventually, more organic leads and sales.

percentage of google traffic

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As the chart above clearly shows, the vast majority of Google traffic comes from its first page. And while creating a PPC strategy will earn you a top place in SERPs and get you on Google’s first page, it can also increase your marketing spending if not done correctly.

On the other hand, SEO is in it for the long game, and it’s a surefire way to boost your website’s traffic and get you more email marketing sign-ups and revenue down the line.

But how can you do that? And what does email marketing have to do with it?

Why Email Marketing and SEO?

Email marketing has one of the best ROIs out there:

email roi

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Email marketing is an affordable and measurable way to keep your users engaged. And, unlike social media posts, it’s not dependent on an algorithm. It’s essentially a knock on the user’s door—much like promoting your business through targeted keywords, which is what SEO is all about. 

SEO techniques are almost free to create and sustain, but they won’t offer the same ROI. Which means that investing in email automation software and combining the two techniques will have users visit your website and interact with your brand.

Increased interactions reduce the possibility of users bouncing out of your website. Creating a well-researched and SEO-optimized piece of content and sharing it with your audience through a targeted newsletter will help the right people reach the right page. Users are more likely to land on a specific blog post or web page through a dedicated email campaign or an organic search result.

In other words, SEO opens the door, while email marketing welcomes users to stay and chat. So, by combining the two techniques, you get the best of both worlds:

  • SEO increases visibility through keywords and top rankings in SERPs.
  • Email marketing updates prospects through newsletters and welcome emails, keeping them informed and engaged.

Of course, to achieve these actions you’ll need more than just some wishful thinking and a one-off great strategy. Tools are extremely important in these cases. Try out keyword research platforms like Ahrefs and create engaging campaigns with Moosend, Mailjet, or other email marketing tools, to see what works best for you and, most importantly, your goals.

Let’s say, for example, that, using a keyword research tool, you’ve identified that people are looking for tips on creating the perfect landing page. 

google query

You can create a relevant blog post so they can get the information they need. 

how to create a landing page

SEO did its magic and they’ve landed on your website. Now it’s time to engage them. And that’s where email marketing can help. On the same page, you can add a subscription form so readers can sign up for a newsletter. Your email marketing platform will recognize what initially piqued their attention (the landing page blog post in our case) and automatically add them to the relevant list so they get content on topics that interest them. 

So, there you go; you’ve created a group of email subscribers that you can further nurture.           

All because an SEO action led them to your blog. 

lead capture

But that’s not the only way that SEO and email marketing complement each other. 

Search engine optimization is a technique that needs a lot of time and effort, and search engines could take a lot of time to rank your content. This is where email marketing can take the wheel again. Since SEO requires time for content ranking, email campaigns can provide instant engagement. While you wait for your content to rank, you can send updates to your audience and drive traffic to your website, and see your customer retention, CTR, and conversions rise.

Now, as your email list expands, you can urge users to share your content around through email and social media. This amplification enhances brand visibility and your SEO efforts, combining the two strategies almost organically. The more mentions search engines recognize, the more your website’s organic traffic, and the more valuable your content seems to be to search engines.

Lastly, if a user clicks on your website’s link through an organic search result and browses around a bit, they’re way more likely to sign up for your email list and your content. 

Now, let’s see the ways you can combine the two techniques.

What Are the Ways to Combine Email Marketing and SEO?

Now that we covered the whys, let's move on to actionable tips and real-life scenarios that will help you combine two methodologies.

Segmentation Comes First

It has not been too long since email blasts were the staple in email marketing and email marketing campaigns could lead users to a website that looked like this:

yahoo geosites

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Users accessed this website through an email with nothing special to show, no tailor-made content, and no triggered action. Essentially, email blasts sported content created for everyone and led to websites that wouldn’t convert, by today’s standards at least.

This is where expert segmentation came into play. Today, marketers make sure to categorize subscribers that have something in common. A segmented email campaign uses data that help you understand the type of content they need and their actual place in the customer journey.

See how your audience interacts with your brand and with competitor brands, analyze their demographic and psychographic data, and understand what it is that they need from your brand and product.

Like Sephora did:

moosend stats

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If you’re not sure what to use, create a survey or a questionnaire and see what your users prefer in terms of content. This will make the process easier. It also allows you to include users in decision-making and managing resources and makes them feel special and like part of a brand as a whole.

Create a landing page, share it around your social media platforms, and get more traffic and engagement.

Sending a generic email marketing campaign won’t do anything for engagement and traffic and won’t send the users to the right web page that will increase your SEO efforts.

A segmented list can send high quality traffic to your website through targeted content and improve your SERP rankings down the line. More traffic means more visibility and more quality traffic boosts your potential as a whole.

Include Useful Links in Your Email Marketing Campaigns

You may wonder, “What is a useful link anyway?”. Well, in our case, a useful link is one that your email marketing campaign can support through its content and the trigger that set it into motion in the first place.

Email marketing aims to pinpoint a specific user action and have users perform that action. So, let’s answer some questions before including links in an email marketing campaign: 

  • What is your email campaign about? 
  • Where would the user like to be redirected? 
  • What is your CTA in every case?

Understanding what the objective of your email campaign is will help you pinpoint the web pages you need your users to visit and what constitutes quality traffic. If, for example, you’re sending an abandoned cart email, including a blog post link could be less valuable. The desired action is to proceed with a purchase, not read your latest blog post.

If, on the other hand, you’re sending out cold emails, including a blog post, home page, or even a landing page link would make way more sense.

When sending out a promotional email, create the space to provide all relevant information—the main word here being “relevant”. Don’t start talking about offers to newcomers that are not familiar with your brand, and include SEO content wherever possible through your CTA.

On that note, don’t include more than a couple of different links. One link equals one CTA more often than not. A couple of CTAs will confuse the user, and you’ll end up driving them away from the desired action.

Add UTMs to Your Email Marketing Campaigns

This is an often overlooked but valuable methodology in terms of understanding where your traffic comes from and what to do to maintain it.

Add UTM parameters to your URLs to understand where and why the user clicked on a specific link. UTM tags are tracked by your Google Analytics tool. It should look like this:

This little indicator there can help you understand where your email marketing campaigns lead to. Moreover, using UTMs will show you the type of traffic you attract with each email marketing campaign in the following ways. You’ll understand: 

  • How much of that traffic is valuable—i.e., how many users are taking an action at some point in time.
  • What pages attract more people through your email campaigns, which, in turn, will lead you to understand which pages need to be promoted through your email marketing campaigns vs. your organic marketing efforts.

All in all, using UTMs in your email marketing campaigns helps your SEO efforts by showing you where you get your traffic from and how to improve it.

A High-Quality Backlink Profile

In SEO, backlinks—otherwise known as inbound links—are links from any other relevant website or content piece that lead back to your content. But why are they so important?

Backlinks are among the most efficient tools to hack your growth and get your content noticed by a larger slice of your audience. When you create a piece of content that is authoritative, well-written, and informative, chances are that relevant websites will link to it and send users back to your WordPress blog or your website as a whole, depending on the strategy you’re following.

Search engines value backlinks, as they are something like a vote of trust of other brands towards your brand and your content. Backlinks build your authority and credibility, especially seeing as other brands find your content to be authoritative and credible enough to cite it on their website. And the more valuable links lead back to your content, the better for your SERPs.

To hack this methodology, make sure you create email marketing campaigns that encourage your audience not to just visit your website but to share your content around with their peers or in their own work.

For example, an infographic with well-researched information can be a valuable addition to a website’s case study. The same goes for a whitepaper or information from an ebook.

Don’t Just Focus on Keywords

Keywords might be the basis of SEO and the core around which you build your content—email or otherwise. But there is more to keyword research than just the actual keywords.

You need to focus your research on two essential methodologies:

  • Long-tail keywords
  • User intent

Long-tail keywords are specific and to the point and showcase the segment you should cater to. Here’s an example:

Our user here is not just looking for yoga studios. They’re looking for yoga studios in a specific place, meaning that if you’re not in the area, you’re not the one they’re looking for.

Generally speaking, long-tail keywords are valuable if you’re trying to rank for something very specific and attract the right type of audience. This is why you need them on your website and email marketing campaigns.

Long-tail keywords can give you a huge boost when it comes to creating email content. They’re specific and tangible, like “affordable email marketing services”, or “best restaurants for families”. These two long-tail keywords are an excellent content nucleus that can help you create campaigns and train users to look for you using specific wording.

Super Pro Tip: Long-tail keywords are fantastic for your SEO efforts because they’re targeted. Shorter terms, like “email marketing” or “best restaurants” are competitive, which makes them way harder to rank for.

But let’s move to the user’s intent. Knowing the keywords users are looking for doesn’t mean that you understand why they’re looking for them. In our example above, the “affordable email marketing services” keywords might represent a marketer looking for an affordable service, or a company that does comparative research around pricing with no intention to buy.

Since the user’s intent is not always clear, search engines now focus on creating a useful experience depending on user behavior. This is why they’re on the lookout for content that will

show spot-on results that answer the user’s queries.

This makes it imperative that you create content that does just that. But how are you going to discover the users’ intent behind a keyword?

So, imagine that we use the “affordable email services” keyword. The intent here could be three-fold:

  • The user could be just looking for information (informational)
  • The user could be looking for a specific type of page or website (navigational)
  • The user could be looking for a service to purchase (transactional)

The three intents could, potentially, be your three core pain points. It’s wise to create content—a landing page, perhaps, or dedicated blog posts—that will address these three pain points. So, you could go for:

  • An informational blog post that addresses everything a user could be looking for in an “affordable email service” like tools and tips on how to use it.
  • A landing page with a headline that would address a navigational pain point, like this “getting started with” landing page:
calendly

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  • A transactional landing page with comparison tables, or a blog post about “alternatives” of affordable email marketing services, with CTA buttons that will lead users to purchase.

For our example, we’ll go with the scenario where you create a blog post—in other words, a page that satisfies the “informational” intent. And let’s go through the process step by step.

  • Create the informational blog post and use data, comparison tables, and CTAs that urge users to go deeper into your content piece and read further.
  • In your blog post, incorporate a resource—a whitepaper, or a template—that can be downloaded, and encourage users to download it.
  • Monitor the users’ interactions and segment according to users who downloaded your content. They likely to be interested in a more product-oriented approach.
  • Re-target those who subscribed to your newsletter but didn’t download the resource, with emails that contain content from the same content cluster as your informational blog post.

Also, keep the following in mind: You’ll need to study the traffic your page has and the user’s behavior when they navigate it. What are they looking for? Do they go through the entire page? How many are there and how many of them interact with your CTAs? Do they visit other pages?

Answering the questions above will help you understand how users interact with your content. You can consult your analytics tools for that one. Monitoring user engagement will help you understand the users’ intent and what solutions they’re looking for on your page.

After understanding the intent, it’s time to segment your audience and create email content specifically for that intent. This would be one of the best email marketing practices at your disposal.

Don’t forget to include your blog post in a reader’s digest email series. And keep in mind that unveiling the intent behind a certain keyword could not just boost the chances of users reading the content. It could also help you unlock other keywords with the same intent and show you what to use and which pages are better for each content type.

Don’t Be Afraid of Reviews

Reviews are a marketer’s bread and butter, as they can show what to improve and how to improve it. And a very handy way to get reviews is through email marketing.

B2B Buyers Trust

(Source)

As the statistic above shows, 92.4% of users proceed with a purchase after reading trusted reviews. This is a lot of revenue for your business, and not using it would be like leaving money on the table. Not to mention that reviews will use keywords that you’re already targeting, thus helping your SEO efforts and making you rank higher in your SERPs.

Don’t be afraid to send out an email marketing campaign and ask your subscribers to review your product or service, either on Google Reviews or on any third-party review site. This will help you gather and transform data into keywords you might not be aware of yet, and keywords into actionable content.

The reviews will help you in terms of content, engagement, and transparency. A brand that creates an email marketing campaign to ask users for reviews is a brand that trusts its audience and wants to boost its user experience first.

The Takeaway

Email marketing and SEO can work together, even though they don’t influence each other at first glance. Their common denominator is the fact that an email campaign can drive traffic and awareness to your website—much like SEO.

Getting valuable traffic can help interested leads subscribe to your email list, thus reducing the bounce rate. At the same time, getting subscribers to visit your website is a win-win.

Just create content that is worth their while, segment and personalize your email campaigns down to a tee, send useful links, and acquire backlinks. Finally, don’t shy away from reviews, UTMs, and expert keyword tracking. 

Making data-driven decisions will get your website from the second page of SERPs to the first organic result.

Author Bio:

Téa Liarokapi is a Senior Content Writer for Moosend, an email marketing and marketing automation platform, and an obsessive writer in general. In her free time, she tries to find new ways to stuff more books in her bookcase and content ideas - and cats - to play with.