You’ve put in the work. You’ve got a successful business. Your company is doing well, but you know it can do better. Maybe your competitors are getting more leads than you are. Or you’re running a tight ship, and there’s just not enough time for your internal team to execute what needs to get done to keep growing your business. This is where an integrated digital marketing agency like Digital Third Coast comes into the picture.
Our Chicago marketing agency focuses on three core services: search engine optimization (SEO), paid media (PPC), and digital PR (DPR). On its own, each of these services is valuable in their own way.
The core focus of SEO is to optimize your website to improve visibility and increase organic traffic. The advertising tactics of paid media, which is often known as pay-per-click (PPC), gets visibility for businesses faster. Meanwhile, media coverage gained by DPR leads to increased brand visibility and awareness.
So, what is a full service digital marketing agency? They tie these three services together for the ultimate marketing trifecta to take your business to the next level.
Let’s start first with SEO. Think of the SEO team as your website guru.
The team learns the ins and outs of your website, becoming an expert on everything your site needs to succeed from a technical perspective. A lot of what they do is in their name: search engine optimization. SEO teams delve into the mechanics of your website, making sure that it is an optimal experience not only for visitors (and therefore potential customers), but also for Google.
Ensuring that Google can crawl and index your website is a huge step in making sure that your website ranks high in the search engine results page (SERPS). At the end of the day, if people don’t see your website when they search for relevant keywords on Google, they’ll never find you. Getting closer to the top of the search queue can make a difference in thousands of dollars of potential revenue- if not more.
|The Benefits of SEO
|Long Term Conversions
One of the key benefits of SEO work is the technical audit. The audit is an in-depth analysis of each and every page on your website. It is used to analyze everything from your site speed and canonical tags to your title tags and meta descriptions to make sure they are optimized for Google.
You’ve probably seen or know of sites that offer technical audits, so why use an SEO team with an integrated digital marketing agency? Because there’s no real formula that makes up the perfect technical audit. Since Google itself doesn’t provide its exact rules and requirements for how it ranks websites, there is no sole audit that exclusively has the answers. That means different platforms will sometimes give an exact opposite recommendation!
For example, even when writing blog posts, some of our SEO tools have provided conflicting recommendations. When writing one piece, a tool warned us that we had a high word count metric and recommended shortening the post. However, from our experience, our team knew that blog posts with a higher word count often rank better than competitor pieces, because the piece is more fleshed out and provides better expertise. So, our team ignored the recommendation and carried on with the work we were doing.
The same goes for technical audits. SEO teams have experience and expertise that no single platform can compete against because their daily work involves real-time, real-world feedback from Google in the form of watching sites perform in search rankings. They come with knowledge and human experience that is invaluable and can’t be replaced by any automated platform.
Our SEO team also stays up to date with Google’s latest news to ensure that clients are making any and all changes necessary for the health and ranking of their websites. We’ve led our clients through the implementation of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and transition out of Universal Analytics. In this era of constant change courtesy of AI, we’re keeping track of any releases from Google about how they’ll be tracking, evaluating, and monitoring AI-created content.
Our team is in the know and doing the necessary research, so you don’t have to. Understanding Google is a full-time job: you already have one in running the rest of your business.
Another focus of SEO is increasing organic traffic. By optimizing pages and constantly improving a business website, the goal is to improve the website ranking and, therefore, the online visibility of the company. In one instance, our team helped a nationally-ranked children’s hospital increase organic traffic by 351% year-over-year after creating and implementing a blog optimization project.
Often, we find our clients already have fantastic content– it just needs to be examined through an SEO lens. Our high-level changes enhance content in Google’s eyes and make it more easily discoverable by people searching online for topics in each content vertical. In this specific case study, our SEO team audited the current blog posts of the hospital, making dedicated changes so that users who were searching for those topics would find it easier.
Our team also did expansive keyword research and on-site recommendations for the client’s future blog content strategy, helping shape plans for new content. These recommendations ensured content would rank better sooner after being published by following positive SEO guidelines.
An important note about SEO work is that it is often not about instant results. While hugely beneficial to the website, you won’t see the impact of your SEO work immediately, days, or even sometimes months after putting in the work. It takes a long time to build up backlinks and content on your site to become an authority on certain topics.
Good SEO work requires good content. This isn’t an overnight quick fix, therefore patience is key when it comes to SEO work, but know overtime on-site SEO work will pay off for your business.
One tactic that will provide faster visibility on the SERPS compared to SEO is PPC.
The priority of SEO work is to attract leads by making technical changes to the website so that potential customers will be more likely to discover and land on the website while paid media uses keyword research to put together comprehensive ad campaigns to attract customers.
|The Benefits of PPC
|Faster Visibility on the SERPS
|Social Media Advertising
PPC is often considered a faster solution for awareness and leads because paid ads can put your business on page one of the SERPs quickly.
Once an ad campaign has begun your brand will become much more visible faster. However, keep in mind PPC is cost-based. You’re paying for this exposure and will have to continue to pay for this exposure, unlike SEO, which focuses on achieving more merit-based rankings in Google’s eyes. When paired together, you get immediate traction online for your brand, which can help improve its notoriety while giving you time to improve your SEO.
While SEO drives organic traffic, PPC is all about paid traffic. The main goal of gaining paid traffic is to attract and target potential leads. Paid media is all about advertisements – using ads to increase brand visibility, discover a business’ target audience, and, of course, drive traffic to the company website.
There are numerous types of ads to choose from to promote your business: search ads, display ads, performance max ads, and others. It can be overwhelming to try and choose which ad type is best for your company.
One of Google’s newest ad types, Performance Max, offers smart bidding and automation technology so you don’t have to do it yourself. While the technology makes it easier for a hands-off approach when it comes to paid media, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re as successful.
A huge benefit of a paid media team is the human experience that informs our decision-making. At the end of the day, automation is technology, and it will not think as strategically or as innovative as a human PPC team will. Our team of PPC experts knows the ins and outs of all types of advertisements, they have experience knowing when and where you should put your money for the best optimal outcome.
In one situation, our team led a medical device manufacturing company to cut their ad spend in half while still retaining nearly the same number of conversions! We found the company’s ads were too broad and were therefore leading to overspending. Our new PPC strategy led to a 46% decrease in ad spend and a 38% decrease in cost-per-conversion, saving the client thousands of dollars.
Paid media isn’t limited to search engines, but social media as well. Paid social is a great opportunity to attract future customers you may not have even known existed.
In the land of social media, Facebook may have been the reigning social media app in the 2010s, but now there’s Threads, BeReal, TikTok, and probably others that could be surpassing those in popularity by the time you read this! We know social media is constantly in motion, so our PPC team is constantly staying on top of the latest trends and apps and isn’t afraid to take on paid social campaigns for social media sites ranging from YouTube to LinkedIn and even TikTok.
In one case, our team created a paid social media campaign on TikTok to help a sports tournament ahead of a big event. The campaign ended up delivering record-breaking results for a paid social campaign at DTC: a 14% conversion rate, 274 total conversions, and a reported successful event.
While PPC can help drive social media awareness through advertising, digital PR can help a company get social media awareness through influence. Digital PR creates newsworthy content to help companies attract media attention, building their brand while also actively building their backlink profile. This form of marketing is a unique form of public relations that differs drastically from a standard public relations team.
|Benefits of Digital PR
|Active Link Building
|Social Media Influence
The main goal of digital PR is to help improve a company’s website ranking with backlinks, typically from media outlets. The more reputable the backlink (i.e., the higher the domain authority of the linking website) the more beneficial it is for a company website.
Digital PR targets two types of links: backlinks that have high domain authority and/or backlinks that are from relevant sources (ie. a pet food company getting a link from a cat company). This link building is achieved by creating newsworthy content that is tangentially or relevantly related.
While digital PR works to build links a lot more actively than SEO work, the work doesn’t happen overnight. Concentrated digital PR efforts can take place over the span of weeks or months.
One digital PR tactic is to newsjack trending topics. That means creating content to ride the wave of current news coverage. With the excitement over the release of the Barbie and Oppenheimer movie coming out, our team did just that, creating a newsjacking campaign to see which movie each state was more excited to see. The campaign ended up receiving more than three dozen high DA links in the span of just two weeks!
Media coverage provides fantastic public relations opportunities for businesses to promote and expand upon their brands when they get into big-name publications. Digital PR can help immensely with brand recognition and brand awareness. Just one majorly successful campaign could get a business name in outlets across the nation, and sometimes even around the globe!
While this PR opportunity is exciting, the key marketing goal of digital PR is to build a company’s backlink profile, thus increasing its authority in the eyes of Google and therefore improving its place in the SERPs. The public relations and brand growth that comes out of the process is like icing on the cake.
While some digital PR work will be very relevant to the client vertical, some more tangential topics are less about the client’s expertise and more about helping the client’s website grow in authority by earning high quality backlinks.
The excitement that digital PR work drums up can go a lot further than just media coverage. Our campaigns are made to spark conversations and often focus on trendy topics that people want to hear or learn more about.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our team had to get creative to break into the news cycle, which was understandably flooded with stories about coronavirus. We ended up putting together a piece about “How Americans Plan to Travel” for a financial client. On top of the 150+ links the piece received, it also had nearly 30,000 social media engagements on sites including Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook.
It’s clear SEO, PPC, and digital PR can all make a difference when it comes to marketing. Separately, each can provide vital marketing tactics and techniques to improve your website, branding, and leads. When used together as part of an integrated marketing plan, these three can really take your business to the next level.
One of the best examples of this is conversions: in Google Analytics, you can track the path people take before converting. You may first envision something simple, such as someone directly searching the website and then organically finding it before converting.
However, not every path is as clear-cut as the one mentioned above. Below is an example of an entirely different experience one person went on before converting for a home-building company.
That referral could be through any website, including through a link seen from a placement by the digital PR team (though again – the main goal of digital PR is to improve the company’s backlink profile and brand awareness, so the company website is higher ranking in the SERPS, not necessarily to get direct referrals for conversions)!
All in all, this journey to conversion is clearly helped by having a solid marketing plan in place.
|The Benefits of SEO, PPC, and Digital PR Combined
|Keyword Research & Content Strategy
|Scalability & Flexibility
|Brand Awareness & Cohesion
One of the key benefits of an integrated digital marketing agency is that the teams can all work together when it comes to both keywords and content strategy! SEO, PPC, and digital PR all rely on keyword research to influence content. While each uses it differently, the teams can share their data to help each team with their work.
SEO and paid media can work in collaboration in a lot of ways when it comes to this. For one, paid media gets a lot of useful conversion data in relation to specific user queries. This data can be incredibly useful to the SEO team over time, because it can help show which keywords are the most successful, giving them more data to guide their keyword and content strategy.
Separately, the SEO team can help paid media when it comes to keyword mapping and some on-site technical page work as well. Our PPC team works closely with the SEO team to ensure the landing page users are directed to after clicking on the ad is high quality. Ensuring the page has features such as the proper title tag, content, and keywords, can lead to a high-quality score, which can help the ad receive higher ad positions, lower CPC, and increased visibility.
Often, our PPC team makes their own landing pages for ads to ensure it has a high quality score, but with a full service client, that’s not something they have to worry about because the pages often have already been improved and adjusted thanks to the SEO work being done.
For a home-building client that has now been with the agency for years, our paid media team says they don’t have to worry about landing pages and quality score, because of the work that’s been done on the website. That saves the client time and money!
KOB analysis (keyword opposition to benefit) on top of initial keyword research can also be incredibly useful for all teams, especially when it comes to content for both the SEO team and the digital PR team. These teams can work together to develop an in-depth content strategy. While this doesn’t always closely align with traditional tangential digital PR tactics, this can be a key component as the industry shifts to more relevant content.
Having an integrated digital marketing plan for your business through an agency has numerous positive impacts.
Working with a single, integrated agency provides streamlined reporting and organization since the teams are all from the same company. Rather than balancing numerous reporting calls with different companies, you’re able to meet with everyone at once. It is also easier for the teams within one company to easily communicate and align on an overarching goal. This format also provides ease of scalability and flexibility.
If you want to focus solely on SEO for a few months due to a website redesign you can shift more of the budget toward that project. Then, if you are hosting some big events you want to promote in one month, you can put more of the budget toward paid media. Or, if you really want to increase your brand awareness and see your company in the news more, you can double up and do two or even three digital PR campaigns when you normally would have done just one.
Working with one agency makes it easy to scale your work as you choose and the flexibility of having three teams in one is unmatched.
In one case, while doing work for a financial client, our SEO team helped the client rank first for a keyword. After achieving this, the team alerted the PPC team, which was bidding on the same keyword. Because the site ranked number one organically and was getting good clicks, there was no need for the paid media team to put money and effort toward it anymore. So, the PPC team stopped bidding on the keyword and shifted toward a different one. By working in tandem, the SEO and PPC team helped the client, saving them money.
At the end of the day, an integrated marketing agency makes it easy to focus on brand awareness and cohesion. Consider that SEO, PPC, and DPR are all fundamentally working towards the same goals, and when they’re able to communicate, collaborate, and execute joint strategy, the benefits compound with teamwork. Any one approach will help your business– but using all of them will help your business in bigger, more tangible ways.
Integrated digital marketing can and will be the solution to take your business marketing strategy to new heights. Our team of experts is ready and excited to listen, take on your challenges, and make positive, measurable changes for your company.
So, if you feel like you’re ready to grow your business and streamline your strategy, but don’t know where to start, start here! Reach out to us.