As a marketer, you likely associate SEO with things like site links, SERPs, and keyword research. But have you considered how email can help you boost your performance in SEO?
Marketing emails aren’t ranked by search engines, and the goal of an email campaign is usually to get opens and click-throughs—not to boost your SEO.
But considering 51% of people discover new websites through email, it’s worth looking at how you can leverage those visits not just for one-off click-throughs, but for high-quality traffic that increases your search engine rankings.
Let’s look at a few of the benefits of designing emails with SEO in mind.
1. Improves bounce rates
Search engines know how long people tend to stay on your site and what percentage of them leave immediately (or “bounce”) without checking out your content. Your bounce rate is an important factor in your overall search ranking. Even with the best SEO writing in the world, a high bounce rate will kill your ranking.
The first step to cutting your bounce rate is creating outstanding content—and by linking to your content in email newsletters, you can actually control the quality of your visitors. Visitors from email links tend to be more engaged and more interested in your content, which makes sense because they were interested enough to sign up for your emails in the first place.
2. Boosts social engagement
An email with links for social sharing encourages your most enthusiastic visitors (subscribers) to promote your content across their social channels. Be sure to include a CTA asking subscribers to share new content. These loyal first readers can help sow the seeds of virality and drive much needed organic engagement.
Social media sharing has a clear relationship to SEO. According to a study by Cognitive SEO, the top five ranked pages were also the top five shared on Facebook, Linkedin, and Google+.
3. Helps target content
This is where email segmentation and CRM tools really come in handy. Using demographic info from your email list, you can deliver content directly to those who are most likely to find it valuable.
And in our modern email environment, that’s more important than ever: More than 65% of marketers are already leveraging personalized email content.
With email polls and surveys, you can ask your subscribers what they want, build content around their needs and interests, and then deliver that content in your emails. Segmentation allows you to be deliberate about the relevance of your content, and relevance is one of the pillars of SEO.
4. Creates a content hook
Email is a great way to get people to read a post and it’s a great way to distribute any single piece of content. But while you have a reader’s attention, why not try to get them to engage with multiple pieces of content?
Use your email campaigns to cross-promote your other social channels by asking readers to subscribe to your YouTube channel or follow you on Twitter, for example. These efforts will help organically grow your following and can lead to cross-promotion of even more content. Win-win.
5. Boosts engagement via CTAs
The personal nature of email makes it the ideal place for calls to action (CTAs), so when it comes to comments and shares, just ask for them with a compelling CTA. Later, you can use segmentation to target the most active contributors within your comment feed.
The same goes for reviews: Make an ask through a CTA. Better yet: Embed review forms and links to your Google Business reviews in your emails. This is vital for retailers and for anyone interested in local targeting. A 2017 study by MOZ found reviews to have a 13% impact on local search results.
6. Gives content a second life
Your emails are beautiful little value-packed pieces of content in their own right, so why not get as much mileage as you can out of them? The inbox is just the beginning. You can repurpose long-form emails or batch smaller ones as blog posts (which have a direct SEO benefit).
You can also put them in an archive on your site, giving non-subscribers access to the top-shelf content ordinarily reserved for subscribers, and you might just convert some new subscribers in the process.
Think of email marketing as a way to connect high-quality visitors with your high-quality content. Search engines are getting better and better at separating quality content from the rest, and SEO is becoming a matter of just putting out good stuff.
Email marketing puts your best content in front of the best possible audience, and segmentation tools take the guesswork out of knowing your audience. Your email initiatives should take into account what you’re trying to accomplish with SEO and should be designed to support those goals.