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Sean Flamand

How Thought Leaders Can Get the Most from SEO

SEO is a strong option to help thought leaders build their presence online. Here are a few key tips for thought leaders to keep in mind.

When Done Right, SEO Is a Strong Play for Thought Leaders

We’ve often discussed the merits of SEO for service-based businesses, but SEO is also a strong option to help thought leaders build a presence online. This applies to authors, entrepreneurs, business owners and executives, and any other individual who aims to build authority within their chosen niche.

That said, in some ways thought leaders must be more deliberate in their approach to SEO, ensuring they have the content and online assets needed to set them up for success in organic search. So to maximize the effectiveness of SEO, here are a few key tips for thought leaders to keep in mind.

Treat Your Website as a Central Platform

For many thought leaders, a website may be seen as an additional component, and potentially unnecessary if you can build a strong presence on social media. However, your website is critical and should serve as the central focus for all of your marketing efforts—not just SEO.

The reason for this comes down to the distinction between earned, rented, and owned media. While it may seem like a social media account is yours, it’s actually highly subject to changes that may apply to the platform as a whole. For the most part, it’s been easy to operate as though this distinction isn’t important—but recent major shakeups in the social media space have demonstrated why it’s important to own as much of your media as you can.

All that said, SEO will be most effective when it’s leveraged to direct users back to your website—a central platform for your digital marketing efforts that you have full control over. This way, even if a major change occurs on a key social media platform, your audience will still know where they can always find you.

Establish Authority with a Blog

Moving more squarely into SEO, it’s crucial to establish your authority as a thought leader within your niche through original content posted regularly on your blog. 

Much has changed about SEO over the years, but one simple fact has always been true: content is king. Adding new content to your website provides additional opportunities to rank for keywords, keeps your website active, and expands your authority as you provide genuinely valuable content and information for your audience across a wide range of topics.

If you’re a thought leader looking to drive more traffic to your website through organic search, the number one thing you should do is begin blogging regularly.

Drill Down to Key Services

Thought leadership can be worthwhile in its own right, but many thought leaders also provide a key service (or services) to their audience. If this is the case, positioning these services as central can significantly boost your SEO efforts.

The reason for this comes down to user intent. Service-based businesses see major benefits from SEO because they can capitalize on searches that demonstrate a high intent to find a business and make a purchase—i.e. “roof repair near me” or “HVAC services.” While thought leaders generally don’t offer the wide range of services that a local business will, leaning into these offerings is still a strong SEO play.

While every individual is different, common services we see offered by thought leaders include:

  • Consulting
  • Business coaching
  • Keynote speaking
  • Mentorship
  • Workshops

Get More Mileage from Social Content

Even though your website is central to your marketing, it can be hard to move away from the immediate benefits of things like ongoing social media efforts. And overall if your social strategy isn’t broken you don’t need to fix it.

That said, you can still improve your performance on search without fully pivoting away from your social strategy, and one way is to reuse and repurpose content across platforms.

For example, longer-form text posts on LinkedIn have consistently performed well in recent years, building engagement on a platform that is heavily tailored to benefit thought leaders. Naturally, it wouldn’t make sense to pivot away from this, particularly if you’ve built a healthy following on LinkedIn already.

However, if you’re already developing content for LinkedIn, it can make it much simpler to start posting content on a personal website. Some ways to do this include:

  • Making an excerpted post on LinkedIn and directing back to your website to read the full text as a blog post.
  • Making a long-form post on LinkedIn, then approaching the same topic from a different angle on your own blog. 
  • Splitting a long-form topic into multiple LinkedIn posts, then posting the full text as a blog on your website.

One caveat: there may be some duplicate content penalties to watch out for that could hurt your SEO performance if you publish identical posts on LinkedIn and your own website. However, the way this works out in practice is that Google chooses one to deprioritize while the other is left alone. And while it’s likely better in the long run if your personal blog performs better, either version being picked up in search will help to build your audience all the same.

Start Building Your SEO Strategy

Overall, SEO is an important component of your marketing strategy as a thought leader. SEO is a good way for thought leaders to build recognition for their personal brand among those who don’t already know your name and may exist farther outside your network than you could otherwise reach easily.

However, like all digital marketing efforts, SEO should be done strategically in order to maximize the benefits, minimize wasteful spending, and ensure your valuable time is being used wisely.

At Alter Endeavors, we’ve worked with many thought leaders to help build their online presence and authority, with SEO often featuring as a key component. If you’d like to learn more about how effective SEO could be for you, reach out to our team for a free SEO audit! We’ll vet your online presence and identify the best opportunities to build visibility for your brand in online search.


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