How to use Surround Sound Marketing in 7 easy steps

What is a Surround Sound Marketing Strategy?

Surround Sound marketing strategy is a digital marketing technique that helps your target audience to discover your offering through third-party search results such as review sites or listicles. It works best for organic search terms like “best” or “top” surrounded by your keyword. It’s therefore also called surround sound SEO.

Many search queries with “best’, “top”, or “leading” followed by keywords result in review sites and articles or videos. While your domain or your competitors might be in the highest-ranking results a majority of the pages listed are independent publishers, bloggers, review, or discovery platforms.

Surround Sounds Marketing’s goal is to be present in as many third-party mentions as possible.

Why should you incorporate a Surround Sound Strategy into your Marketing?

The Surround Sound strategy has four major benefits:

  • Discovery
  • Credibility
  • Referral traffic
  • SEO backlink boost

Discovery: Simply put, if your offering is not listed on any surrounding sites, it’s more difficult for users to learn about your products and services in the first place.

Credibility: Review sites like Yelp, discovery platforms like Capterra have great authority for your target audience. They are honest, independent resources and often have public reviews from fellow users. Additionally, high-authority blogs or news outlets that share their opinion on the “best [keyword]” are trustworthy.

Referral Traffic: Often the search only starts on the surrounding websites and the user clicks through to your website or social media accounts.

SEO Backlink Boost: High authority pages that link back to your domain signal to Google’s algorithm that your website is worth looking at. Please note, that not all sites link back to you and sometimes include a ‘NOFOLLOW’ tag. Nonetheless, SEO experts argue that a NOFOLLOW is still better than no backlink at all. A link analysis can help you identify already existing backlinks and leverage those by cross-linking pages on your website for better SEO results.

How to get started with Surround Sound SEO Marketing

  1. Analyze your surrounding content for your main keywords
  2. Identify how many surrounding search results are independent, third-party websites as opposed to competitors and your domain
  3. Review each of the independent search results if you are a) listed on the first page of the site, and b) are listed on the site at all.
  4. Check your current referral traffic for pages you are listed already
  5. Write down all results
  6. Develop a strategy to increase your listings – quantitative and qualitative
  7. Improve your listings and track results

Analyze your surround sound SEO

In this manual process, you’ll turn to Google and simply search for your search terms, e.g. Best Content Marketing Platform or Top Rated Plumber in New Orleans.

Another streamlined way is the use of a paid tool. SEMRush surround sound is a feature paying users can leverage to automate this process and automatically identify the best opportunities that you’re missing. The surround sound analysis in SEMRush allows you not only to search by keyword but also by your competitors.

Identifying independent search results

Go through all page one or two search results: Write down and count all independent sites compared to yours or competitors’. For example, if the number 1 result is “The Top 10 Plumbers in New Orleans” by Yelp, this would be an independent result. If it’s “John’s Plumbing Co. serving New Orleans since 1956”, it’s a competitor (or your site).

Check each surrounding site for your company

Sticking with the Yelp example from above, click through and see if your profile is listed in the top 10 Yelp results. If not, check if you have a Yelp profile at all. This works for every resource where businesses can create listings.

Analyze current referral traffic

Reviewing your current referral traffic in Google Analytics will help you to draft a strategy. For example, your Yelp referral traffic might not be as much as FourSquare. That could inform your strategy to double down on your Yelp listing or spend your time somewhere else.

Collect all audit results in one place

Write down all results so you can also track progress later on.

Develop a quantitative and qualitative surround sound marketing strategy

The goal is to increase the overall number of mentions but also to increase the quality of the listings themselves. For instance, your Yelp profile may require updates to make it more relevant (qualitative).

Improve your Surround Sound Marketing and track results

Start your marketing campaigns including reaching out to blogs to get featured, improving your owned listings, and tracking the results in the same spreadsheet over time.