Our home page challenge: SEO or Inbound Marketing

The question

Should our home page target SEO or inbound marketing?

The problem

We are an inbound marketing agency. That’s what I say when people ask. And when they stare at me blankly I elaborate, “It’s SEO but for 2012. It includes all the traditional SEO stuff but with other increasingly related areas such as design and social media thrown in.”

We’re not alone in calling it inbound marketing. For the industry, the term has become almost synonymous with modern day SEO. Our single most important audience, however – those beautiful people that pay the bills – are largely unaware of this trend. As far as they’re concerned, it still begins and ends with SEO.

Why is this a problem?

It probably sounds like I’m getting my knickers in a twist over nothing, but matching your terminology with the expectations of your clients is always really important. Even offline a discrepancy would lead to confusion and lost opportunities, but online the prospects are twice as harrowing due to their impact on SEO (or should that be inbound marketing??!!).

Whichever we choose to describe our service, SEO or inbound marketing, it needs to be the dominant term on the home page. After all, that’s the welcome page to the site that should be summarising everything that’s contained inside. If there is any mismatch between user intent and content (great Rand video on that here), then not only will our rankings suffer but so will the user experience and ultimately conversions. For this reason, the obvious answer is to opt for inbound marketing as that is the term that accurately sums up the collection of services (of which SEO is only one) that we offer, hence inbound.co.uk.

The trouble is you only have one home page and you need to have it firing on all cylinders for the search engines. Not only does it typically collect the greatest volume of link juice/authority, but it also tells Google that the entire domain has some relevance to the term in question. It’s the ultimate combination of authority and relevance, the ace up your sleeve, and you need to use it wisely. So, when we look at the exact monthly search numbers, inbound marketing looks kinda lame:
Inbound marketing – 880
SEO – 49500

Our audience clearly considers SEO to be the term that sums up our service, and it seems foolish, almost arrogant, to dismiss this in favour of one that we nerdily consider a bit more accurate.

So the answer?

My heart says Inbound Marketing but my wallet says SEO. However, when I look at Google trends… suddenly the future looks very interesting indeed.

I’m still not sure though. I think we’ll keep the emphasis on inbound marketing for now but I can’t help but feel like there’s a big (lead generation) party going on and we’re not invited. It’s like being 15 all over again.

To find out more about Boss Digital, get in touch with our team today.