Search engine optimization has evolved considerably over the years. The rules have become more stringent and the techniques much more advanced and varied. Not to worry though, your job is to put the best SEO techniques into action. Our job is to keep you up-to-date with what works in today’s digital realm.
Here is your guide to no-brainer SEO methods that will deliver attention, super-hot leads, and greater conversions and revenue down the line. The following SEO strategies are foolproof and will deliver more modern B2B decision makers your way. Put these strategies into action, and you’ll successfully improve the overall quality of your website and brand presence over the long-term.
Why SEO Matters
Before we get into the how of search engine optimization, it’s important to recognize the why. Of course, you want more leads and revenue. That’s a given. But why search? With over 6 billion searches per day across all search engines, and 4.5 billion of them originating from Google, it’s clear to see why SEO is one of the most powerful advertising methods in use today.
The SEO industry is worth over $72 billion dollars as of this year, and those numbers will continue to grow as more brands come into the fold and recognize the importance of becoming searchable and highly-visible on the web.
Google, more specifically, accounts for over 63% of all web visitors, so the lesson is to optimize for Google first. Over the years, many Black Hat hucksters have tried to game Google’s system, so algorithm changes continue to become stricter with new rules. You can find many of Google’s rules and lessons for proper SEO in Google Webmasters, which offers a series of free courses to learn how to provide value to search audiences. There, you’ll learn what’s accepted, and what’s not, so that you can always strive to give visitors what they want with every online brand touchpoint.
That’s how to gain favor with Google and the other search engines around the web: by offering immense value.
But what is web value?
Value, in terms of SEO, is defined in terms of content quality, usefulness (as in, what can visitors take away, be it a download or free advice), and targeting; which is where you ensure your content finds the right audience and meets their needs exactly.
Once that value is provided, SEO then becomes about leaving cookie-crumbs for Google’s bots, or spiders, to follow. Present all the necessary information in their proper locations, including within the code behind the scenes, and Google will reward you. It sounds complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. The following steps will break everything down for you in a way that’s easy to follow.
Find the Most Search-Friendly Keywords
Keywords have long been a staple of search engine relevance. You can think of keywords as a compass that directs search engine campaigns. They tell Google spiders where to rank your individual web pages, and how to determine the pages’ proper order within the search engine result page, SERPs.
Keywords hold importance for you as well. They will help you determine your Buyer Personas’ thoughts, deepest fears, and strongest desires. This information will come in handy when it comes to delivering useful content, which happens to be one of the foolproof SEO methods for attracting the highest-quality leads, which we’ll get into in just a bit.
For now, think of keywords as your memo to Google, that tells the search engine where you’d like your pages to be ranked. Deliver value and Google should accommodate you.
It’s all about value, after all. Google has a vested interest in delivering to its users the most relevant and valuable pages that relate to each search query. Make things easier on Google’s search spiders, and you’ll position your pages right where B2B decision makers can easily find them: At the top of the SERPs for your most important keyword terms.
How do you find those terms? Even if you’ve already performed keyword research and think you have the best ones handled and optimized for, pay attention. You may be missing out on a mass opportunity to tap into an entirely new market.
Start by coming up with one or more keyword phrases. Think four or more words, as those long-tail keywords will generally offer the least resistance by competitors. People tend to search in phrases anyway, especially with the prevalence of voice-to-text and Alexa-type home-bots, for example.
Instead of using “[Your Product] + [ Your Area]” which is intended to attract local prospects searching for your newest offering, you might select “How to find + [Your Product] + [Your Area] + [Product Size] + Delivery” for instance.
You can search in Google for those terms and then use Google’s suggestions available in blue links at the bottom of the SERP, which unveils popular searches as they relate to your most recent query.
You can use SEMRush, which will also give you the most popular matches as they relate to your keyword terms.
Further, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner to see what terms are most popular with Adwords advertisers. Those folks are betting their ad budgets on these keywords, so that’s a good indication that the most popular keywords on Adwords are indeed valid and useful for your SEO.
As an added tip, hit up forums by typing “[Your Niche] + [Forum]” and view the most popular questions. These will tell you which keywords people might be using to search for information in Google and should thus be added to your keywords list.
When coming up with various search terms to test, think of user intent. Your Buyer Personas are searching to 1) Find information, usually to alleviate a problem. 2) They have interest, and they’re digging in to learn more. 3) They’ve whittled their choice between you and a competitor. 4) They’re ready to buy and are waiting for you to provide them with a reason and means to convert.
Now use this as your guide to come up with keywords that may possibly alleviate their pain points, provide unique information to satisfy their curiosity, present your brand as the go-to source in your field, and promise to give visitors what they seek with viable and affordable solutions.
Once you have a list of highly-searched-for keywords, you’re ready to proceed. Start typing those keywords into Google and then click on the first ten results. Those are your competitors and you should be offering more value than they are if you hope to be chosen over them by B2B buyers.
When searching through your competitors’ websites, pay attention to the text that appears on the SERP. How are pages labeled with Meta Titles and Descriptions? Click through the listings and pay attention to your immediate reaction upon landing. Is the website attractive? Why or why not?
For instance, take a look at the SERP listing below. Notice how the headline describes and builds excitement for what marketers can expect: Solid advice for marketing to audiences via email! The meta description is then written to further entice prospects to click-through, as it mentions segmentation, personalization, mobile optimization, and more.
Clicking-through that listing brings you to the web page described. As you can see, the menu offers a simplified list of browsing options and the layout is fairly simple, which is very easy on the eyes. The entire experience is designed to make it so that prospects click-through, land, and continue reading.
Once you’ve analyzed the SERP listing and landing page, analyze the website’s overall structure. Is the information clearly laid out in the menu and sub-menus? Is the information easily-digestible with text and formatting that’s easy on the eyes? Take lots of notes and create a model of a web structure that’s even simpler than your competitors, and your visitors will determine yours to be the more valuable digital offering.
Take your notes and reconfigure your website if necessary. Ensure each page is uncluttered and contains just enough information to present visitors with what they crave. Write title tags and descriptions that will give searchers the information they need to click-through to your new and improved, highly-simplified website.
Produce Valuable & Consistent Content
With your website streamlined, you are then encouraged to use your keywords as guides to give visitors what they most crave. You can do this with your categories, web pages, and a blog.
Categories tell Google and search users which topics are available on your website, and can help attract people to your brand. Make sure your categories speak to visitors’ most crucial problems. This is where forums are helpful, as web forums are usually delineated according to highly-distilled topics, allowing you to find the categories that are most likely to attract B2B decision makers.
Web pages should be specific and thorough. Take notes from your competitors and try to take the information a step further. A product page describing your latest offering can be enriched with a video describing how to best use that product, thus delivering more value than any competing product page. If that video is then SEO-optimized for YouTube with keywords in the title and description, you just presented one more way B2B buyers can find you in the SERPs, boosting your SEO efforts even further.
Your blog should be consistent and entertaining to read. Don’t be a robot, but instead infuse your personality into your posts. You must give your audience a reason to land and read, and you can do that by offering timely advice and stories that show you have empathy for their suffering as they strive to find solutions to their most pressing needs.
Your blogs should cover all the categories on your site while offering how-tos, industry news, stories of your brand behind-the-scenes, and anything else that your audience may crave.
In short, Google loves constant and fresh content that it can then deliver to search users. Make your website and, most importantly, blog one of these content machines that consistently present your audience with plenty of reasons to keep coming back to your site for more. Each visit to your site with the intent to consume your content is yet another chance to convert and become a loyal client.
SEO Optimized Content
Make sure you infuse your content with your keyword phrases. They should be in your page and blog post titles, in the first paragraph, final paragraph, and peppered throughout your content. Helpful subheaders that include keywords can also help to appropriate your rankings. They should explain what the subsequent paragraphs are about, but they also help to break up your content so that it’s easier to read, and thus more valuable for prospects.
When it comes to content, no amount of research can beat real data. Visit your analytics reports regularly and determine which types and categories of content are setting the most records for your brand, then do your best to replicate your success. Content trends shift like the blowing of the wind. Stay on top of your audience’s preferences for relevant and useful content and you’ll travel much further than your competitors could ever hope to match.
Paid Strategies to Boost Engagement & Conversions
B2B brands are allocating more of their budget to paid marketing, with 30% planning to spend at least 10% more on paid marketing this year. To ramp up progress, you may want to increase your ad spend in kind. An entire guide could be written on how to maximize results from each of the top digital advertising platforms: Adwords, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others; but instead this guide is going to help you put forth a strategy that can stretch across platforms to deliver success no matter where your audience frequents.
When creating digital ads, focus on your prospects’ online habits. Where do they go and what terms do they search to find solutions to their most pressing issues? 92% of B2B marketers report using social media, and over 80% of B2B leads are generated from LinkedIn, so likely your budget wouldn’t be wasted on that platform along with Facebook or Twitter, but you’ll have to do that research on your own. Each platform offers segmentation options and you should make good use of them to ensure your ads are aimed at the right people.
A good way to segment your ads is by Benefits, Features, Target Industries, Sub Categories, and Geographical Locations. Start small and launch your campaigns while, again, paying attention to your analytics. When it comes to online advertising, your Quality Score matters, too. Read the rules, create useful and engaging ads, and the platform you use will steadily increase your Quality Score which can contribute to higher rankings and savings on keyword bids in the future.
Just as you would with your website content, make sure to include the most focused and relevant keywords in your ads whenever you can. The right phrases are the key to every successful paid digital ad campaign.
When it comes to using keywords in your ads, focus on buyer intent and relevance. Case in point, examine the ad below. The search phrase “Keyword research 2018” produced the ad below, which promises to deliver on that query with the keyword placed first in the meta title.
The search query “landing page optimization 2018” produced the ads below. Each front-loads the keyword phrase (the middle one uses “best-optimized landing page,” which may be a hot related keyword phrase) to deliver more click-throughs and conversions.
Notice how none of the ads above use B2C techniques like “Buy Now!” Instead, the creators of these ads know that the advertisements will be viewed by prospects who are conducting research and will likely require several more touchpoints with their brand before committing to a purchase.
Therefore, your ad copy should pre-qualify your prospects to ensure they’re your ideal customer. For example, an ad designed to attract your Buyer Persona at the discovery stage might read, “Discounts on [Your Product]: The lowest prices, guaranteed!” Or, notice how the ads above use language like “Secure Platform” and “Free Trial,” while at the same time promising more conversions, sales, and “Free Site Audit.”
Ad copy like that ensures that your prospects are in the market for your product and that they’re interested in a discount, audit, or trial. These calls-to-action are more likely to get the buyer to click-through to continue their research.
Your ads have to lead somewhere, and you’ll be best served by having each one click-through to a specific and relevant page that continues the ad copy’s story. If your ad promises discounts on your latest products, the landing page better go into more detail about those discounts, why they’re available, and how your customers can take advantage.
Don’t be wordy on your landing pages. A compelling headline that speaks to your ad segment’s pain points and a paragraph with a strong call-to-action is all you need. But whether you offer a free download on your landing page, a subscribe box, or other offers, make sure you test your ads and pages to discover the combination that improves your conversions and bottom line.
Hire a Digital Marketing Company
You may think you’re saving money taking a do-it-yourself approach to paid digital advertising, but you’ll likely get much further and more bang for your ad buck by hiring experts in the field. Digital advertising professionals know what works, and what doesn’t, and can use that expertise to deliver quality leads your way on the most popular platforms used by your audience.
You now have several ways to improve your SEO so that Google and other search engines present your brand prominently. As long as you focus on your visitors’ needs, and you deliver content that speaks to those issues and problems on a regular basis, the search engines should grant your brand favor.
Never rest on your laurels, however. Keep checking your analytics, testing new ideas, and listen to your audience so that your SEO game is always on point. That’s how to stay competitive this year and in the foreseeable future using the power of search engine optimization.