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Designing an SEO Strategy for B2B Companies

Search engine optimization is a very valuable marketing tool for every company both big and small, but especially business to business companies.

Last Updated:December 10, 2018

Digital Marketing

Reading Time:26 minutes

Guess how web pages are published every day.

Any ideas?

6.6 billion - give or take a few hundred million.

How about just blog posts? Since search engine optimization has the greatest influence over content, how many new blog posts are added on a daily basis?

About 2 million - and that's only counting WordPress users - the largest blogging platform in the world.

That means that about 760,000 new web pages and 231 new blog posts were published while you read those 5 sentences.

That's a lot of content.

All of this content makes it really hard to stand out from the crowd, but if you want your blog to be successful you have no choice.

While I probably spend about 5-6 hours writing my blog posts, the 10-20 minutes I spend optimizing each post for SEO are probably the most important

What do we know about Google other than that it's the largest search platform in the world at 78% of the market?

search industry market share

Well, we can learn that Google has over 30 trillion individual web pages indexed on its server.

And 3.5 billion searches are performed each and every day on Google. That number is well over 4 billion when we account for the other search engines such as Baidu, Yahoo, Yandex, and Bing.

With all of those searches, it's easy to understand how your business being successful at SEO could be a huge boost just accounting for increased public awareness.

What is SEO?

A good, clean defininition of search engine optimization (SEO), according to Neil Patel, is:Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your online content so that a search engine likes to show it as a top result for searches of a certain keyword.

Let's say that you have security business that offers IT security for companies. You published an article on your website that lists the benefits of having a company's computers and networks protected by professional IT security. You want Google to show this as the top result when anyone searches for something like "professional IT security".

SEO is what can be done to help make that article the top result - or close to it.

But Tyler, my company is business-to-business. Does SEO really affect me? How many customers are actually going to sign a contract with me because of a blog post?

Consider these statistics:

  • 89% of B2B companies use the internet to gather information about future purchases (ThinkWithGoogle).
  • B2B companies won't get in touch with a saleperson until they're 57% of the way through the customer journey (we talk about the business to business customer journey in depth in chapter 1).
  • 87% of US-based B2B organizations use digital content marketing (i.e. a blog) (Emarketer).
  • Blogs gives websites an average of 434% more indexed pages in search engines (iMPACT).
  • Businesses that regularly blog gather 67% more leads per month than those that don't. (Hubspot).

Without a doubt, the most important statistic above is the last one - 67% more leads.

The second most important statistic, in my opinion, is that B2B companies will perform the first 57% of their customer journey on their own and will only reach out to you once their well into the consideration stage, maybe further.

customer journey

This means that we need to position ourselves to be found by them during their researching.

This is where content marketing and, for purposes of this article, SEO come into play. Learn more about content marketing for your B2B company in chapter 2.

In the post to follow, I want to share with you how you can submit your website to search engines. Then, how you can not only make it easy for search engines to index your content but encourage them to do so quickly.

Any time you're discussing a topic that has a lot to do with programmable botsBots, or Internet robots, are also known as spiders, crawlers, and web bots. Bots may be utilized to perform repetitive jobs, such as indexing a search engine. (Norton), you can expect for the language to get a big technical. It does, and there's no way around that, but I'll do my best to explain everything as we go along and to provide helpful visuals. Hang tight!

FYI: when I refer to "Google", what I'm sharing is mostly relevant to the other search engines as well. Google is just the biggest platform and, therefore, has been studied the most. However, the other search engines have pretty much followed Google's lead as far as indexing web pages is concerned. Most of the differences are related to the user interfaceThe user interface (UI) is everything designed into an information device with which a person may interact. This can include display screens, keyboards, a mouse and the appearance of a desktop. (TechTarget).

How search engines work

We'll get to optimizing your website for SEO in a second, but some people find it helpful to understand how search engines operate behind the scenes so let's cover that real quick.

If you'd still prefer to just get to the actionable steps, feel free to skip ahead to the next section on submitting your website to search engines.

Behind the scenes, a search engine is a computer program set up to crawl URLsA URL, also referred to as a website address, is a way of identifying a file on the internet. The file could be one's home page (https://example.com), an internal page (https://example.com/post) or even an image (https://example.com/images/image-1.png). on the internet, catalog new URLs and update existing ones in an index of web pages, and return relevant results to searchers typing in specific queries in their web browsers.

Crawling

Crawling is when a search engine bot goes around the internet to discover new web pages and existing pages that have updated content.

Depending on the bots algorithmAn algorithm is a set of guidelines that describe how to perform a task. (Slate), it will be told which websites to crawl and how frequently to do so.

For example, websites that are updated with new pages and content frequently will usually receive more attention from bots.

When search engine bots crawl websites they also collect a list of links to other web pages and websites based on the content that is on the page. Sometimes these other URLs are crawled immediately and other times they are added to the next cycle's to-do list.

Here's a visualization of a web crawler where each cluster represents a single web page and the dots in each cluster represent links that point to other unique web pages:

search engine bot crawl visualization

A crawl process begins with a list of links generated from previous crawls and user submitted sitemapsA sitemap is a file where you provide information about the pages, videos, and other files on your site, and the relationships between them. Search engines like Google read this file to more intelligently crawl your site. (Google).

While crawlers will naturally continue to follow the path of links to new web pages, their path will be stopped when a website refuses to grant access to bots.

Yes, you can prevent robots from crawling your website.

You have the ability to block Google, Bing, or any other web bot from crawling your site by putting the following code in your robots.txtRobots.txt is a text file webmasters create to instruct web robots (typically search engine robots) how to crawl pages on their website. The robots.txt file is part of the the robots exclusion protocol (REP), a group of web standards that regulate how robots crawl the web, access and index content, and serve that content up to users. (MOZ) file:

robots txt example

Now, I don't know why you'd want to block Google from your entire website - actually, that sounds like a terrible idea - but that's how you could do it and block the Googlebot from continuing that path.

A better idea would be to use your robots.txt file to block hackers.

Do you want more traffic?

Indexing

Indexing is the process of adding each of the crawled web pages into a database.

When crawling, the bot isn't only interested in finding the next URL to go to. Rather, it's trying to learn and understand the content on the existing page so that characteristics of the URL can be added to the web pages row in the search engine database. It determines the characteristics by processing the information in the page's title tagA title tag is the HTML element used to specify the title of a webpage. (Ahrefs) and other important attributes.

Search engines can (and will) crawl just about everything on a web page. The only things that they can't crawl so well are certain media files (e.g. streaming videos, downloaded programs from other sources).

Consider the visualization below when thinking about how search engines index your website. Along the line, each dot represents someone's website. Zooming in on a single dot we see the website's sitemap including landing pages and each individual web page.

search engine indexing example

Serving results

When a user enters a search query, Google will search their database for possible matches to the request. Based on over 200 different ranking factors, they'll find the best matches, rank them (again, according to their ranking factors), and print them to the screen for the user.

This is where the user will see the entire culmination of the work performed during the crawling and indexing phases put into a simple list of options containing unique and identifiable web pages.

b2b search engine result page

You think you could build your own search engine now?

Maybe not, but understanding - at least from a macro viewpoint - how search engines work isn't too complicated. The major difficulty for us as B2B companies looking to build our website traffic is still to come.

Submitting your website to search engines

But first, the easy part - submitting your website to a search engine.

Though technical and requires a few steps, this is the easy part in that you only need to follow some directions to get your website's sitemap to a search engine so that it can begin to crawl it.

But wait - didn't we just go over how web crawlers go web page by web page automatically, following a natural path around the internet?

That's correct. You could post a page on your website and probably get it indexed by search engines eventually as long as Google either already knows about your website or another website decides to link to your new page for some reason. This is certainly possible.

But the entire point of search engine optimization is proactivityProactive: creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.. The reason why we want to leverage SEO is because we want to get ahead of our competition as soon as possible. Because of that, we don't want to wait for Google to find our new page, we want to tell them exactly where it is!

Generally, you'll want to know how to submit your website to Google, Yahoo and Bing unless you live in China (and will want to submit your site to Baidu) or Russia (and will want to submit your site to Yandex), so we'll go ahead and cover those next.

Create a sitemap

As stated earlier, a website's sitemap is a simple file that basically just lists out every URL of contained within the website.

There are a lot of different free tools and plugins that can help with this process.

Perform a quick search for "generate sitemap" and click on the search result for XML-Sitemaps.com.

generate sitemap search results

Enter in the URL of your website and click "Start".

xml sitemaps website example

Wait for the program to build your sitemap and then click "View Sitemap Details".

xml sitemaps view details

And then download.

xml sitemaps download file

Now you have your website's sitemap on a file called "sitemap.xml". This name is the standard, so don't rename the file.

This file now needs to go in a specific folder on your website referred to as your website's root directoryThe root directory of your website is the content that loads when visitors access your domain name in a Web browser. (GoDaddy). This is basically the main or home folder of your website.

The least technical way to upload the file to your root directory is by contacting your hosting company (the company you pay to put your website on the internet) and asking them to do it. However, to not leave you hanging I'll walk you through how you could do it yourself.

You'll need to access the account where you website is hosted and then go to your site's Control Panel. For our example here, I'm going to walk you through how to do this in the standard cPanel Interface.

After logging in to your cPanel, you'll want to scroll to the section titled "Files" and click on the link for "File Manager".

cpanel file manager

Double-click on the directory titled "public_html".

cpanel public html directory

You're now in the root directory of your website. Just click to upload the sitemap.xml file.

cpanel upload file

And drag-and-drop or select the sitemap.xml file from your computer.

cpanel upload file select

The file should then upload and be in your root directory. You can verify this by going to the URL of your sitemap in the browser - http://example.com/sitemap.xml.

Submit website to Google

Submitting your website to Google will require that you access the Google Search ConsoleThe Google Search Console is a free web service where you can check the indexing status and optimize the search visibility of your website..

To access this free tool, perform a search for "google search console" and click on the result for "Google Webmasters". Once on this page, go ahead and bookmark the link in your browser as you'll want to review your search performance using the Search Console often.

google search console serp

From here, you can sign in with an existing Google account (a special search console login is not required) or register a new Google account.

google search console sign up process

When signing in to the search console for the first time, you'll see a simple form where you can submit the URL for your website. You'll need to enter the complete URL including the "http".

google search console submit new website

Then, you'll need to verify that you own the domain. Google offers many different ways to verify ownership, but perhaps the best non-programmer way to do so is via your domain name.

google search console verify ownership options

You'll then need to select your domain name provider or registrarA domain name registrar is an organization that manages the reservation of Internet domain names. (Wikipedia).

google search console verify ownership domain name

Let's say that our domain is registered with GoDaddy (by far the largest in domain name market share) so we'll go ahead with that option for the remainder of our example.

After selecing "GoDaddy.com" from the dropdown list and selecting "Verify", Google will send us to the domain page where we'll want to make sure we're in the "Manage DNS" section.

godaddy verify domain search manage dns

Google will provide us with a line of text that looks something likegoogle-site-verification=RxTf4with a bunch of random letters and numbers. Be sure to highlight and copy this text to your clipboard.

Now, go into your DNS settings in GoDaddy and under "Records" click "Add". Select "TXT" from the dropdown for "Type". Add "@" for "Host", keep "1 Hour" for "TTL" and then paste the text copied from Google in the "TXT Value" field.

godaddy search verification add new txt record search engine txt verification details

Now press "Save", navigate back to the Search Console and click to verify. Google should now be able to verify your ownership of the website.

Before we're done, we just need to submit our sitemap to Google so that they will be able to quickly and easily index our URLs.

On the left hand sidebar, click on "Sitemaps", enter the direct URL for where the sitemap is located and then press "Submit".

google search console submit sitemap file

Your website is now submitted to Google and will start showing up in search results as Google sees fit. You can monitor the results of the sitemap indexing and search performance in the Search Console.

Submit website to Bing and Yahoo

Yahoo is now powered by Bing, so that's good for us in that now we only need to submit our website to one location - Bing's Webmaster Tools.

Similar to Google's Search Console, Bing's Webmaster Tools allow you to submit, manage and review the search performance of your website.

To get there, perform a search for "bing webmaster tools" and click on the search result. Now save the URL in your browser as a bookmark as you'll want to review your Bing performance often.

bing webmaster tools search

Now, click to sign in to Bing. Fortunately, Bing makes it easy to sign in with either a Microsoft, Google or Facebook user account.

bing search submit website

You should now be brought to the page where you can manage your website. Since you haven't yet submitted yours, you'll want to scroll down and click to add your site.

bing webmaster add website

Now, enter the complete URL for your website and the location of your sitemap file and click "Add".

bing webmaster add website details

Just like Google, we'll need to verify ownership of the domain with Bing. Similarly, we'll do so by adding a new DNS record to our domain name in our GoDaddy account. This time, however, we'll select "CNAME" for "Type", the long list of random letters and numbers for "Host" and "verify.bing.com" for "Points to".

bing search verify ownership domain bing verify ownership domain cname record

Then, go back to Bing and click "Verify".

Your site is now submitted to both Bing and Yahoo and will start showing in search results as they each see fit. Don't forget that you can monitor the results of the indexing in Bing's Webmaster Tools.

Okay, you made it through some of the more lengthy processes that SEO requires. From here on out, most of what we'll do - while still technical - won't involve as many steps.

Helping search engines index your content

Now that we've submitted our website to the main search engines, we can trust that our sites will get indexed and start to show in search engines. Maybe, just maybe, some of our web pages will even start to rank well on their own without any extra work.

This is more of a longshot and requires a lot more than search engine optimization to make it happen. Typically, we'll need to do a few things to encourage search engines to not only index our content but index it how we want them to.

The next few items that we'll cover highlight specific SEO components and are really the core building blocks for good SEO.

Note - tackle these items first!

Keywords

Keywords are the most important factor in SEO. Because people search in keywords (and keyphrases) and our goal is to get our content in front of them when they search, we need to be sure that our content is tailored to those keywords and keyphrases that people are searching for.

Finding the best keywords

So, how do we know what people are searching for? You may have an idea based on your experience, the industry you're in and the conversations you've had with your customers, but we should still perform a little research.

Fortunately, there's a free tool from Google that will help us with this. It's called the Keyword Planner and is part of the Google Ads network (formerly called Adwords).

Perform a quick search in Google for "keyword planner" and click on the result from Google Ads then go to "Find new keywords".

keyword planner search result

Here, we can put in a few different keywords that we already had in mind about our web page. Since this is generally used for advertising a business page, you'll see that the wording reflects that but we can use this as research for any form of web page.

keyword planner search

Now this is where we get keyword research gold. On the left, you'll see a list of different keyword alternatives.

In the middle you'll see the average monthly searches - we obviously want to go for the keywords that have the most amount of searches.

On the right will be the competition level ranging from "Low" to "High". This refers to the number of other websites that you'll have to compete with to get your URL ranked highly.

Further to the right you'll see dollar values for bids. You can ignore those for now since we're focused on organic SEOOrganic SEO is the phrase used to describe processes to obtain a natural placement on organic (non-paid) search engine results pages. (Webopedia) and not paid advertising with Google.

keyword planner results

What we'll want to do is to create our web page using the keywords with the most traffic and least competition. And, of course, we'll want to use keywords that are actually relevant to our business.

Once we've determined what these keywords are, we'll want to actually use them on the web page itself. We'll also want to use them in page components such as the title, description and alt tags - more on those to come.

Page titles

Like I mentioned earlier, the page title or the title tag is used to specify the title of the page.

The reason why it's important that you set the page title is because it's indexed as part of the web page and used at the top of your page's search result.

title tag in search results

Additionally, you'll see it in your browser tab:

title tag browser tab

And social media shared links:

title tag social media

As well as other places that may crawl the content of your web page.

Not only do they get a lot of exposure, but Google also uses the content within the title tag to help index the web page and determine which search queries the page should rank for.

To protect the value of their search algorithm, Google doesn't share much in terms of SEO, but it does address title tags and provides a list of things to avoid when it comes to selecting them:

  • Choosing a title that has no relation to the content on the page
  • Using default or vague titles like "Untitled" or "New Page 1"
  • Using a single title across all of your site's pages or a large group of pages
  • Using extremely lengthy titles that are unhelpful to users
  • Stuffing unneeded keywords in your title tags

Heeding to the above recommendations will not only make Google happy but will also help your search result reach and convert a bigger audience.

When users see our search results, we want them to convert by clicking on the result and visiting our website. By doing so, the SEO has been successful and now it's up to our content marketing to continue providing value to the website visitor and help them to continue on their customer journey. You can learn more about developing a business to business content marketing strategy in chapter 2 and the business to business digital marketing customer journey in chapter 1 of this guide.

A page title should clearly and simply define the content that is to come and while SEO is less about tricks and more about improving the user's experience, there are still a few sales tactics that we can use to encourage clicks on our search result and potentially improve rankings:

  • Start the title with the chosen keyword - or at least put the main keywords near the beginning of the title
  • Add modifiers such as "best", "guide", "checklist", "review" and "2019"
  • Highlight what's unique about your content (i.e. "cheap ways to ...")
  • Add parentheses to improve readability

Accessing the title tag

Depending on the CMS platformA content management system (CMS) is a software application or set of related programs that are used to create and manage digital content. (TechTarget) that you're using for your website, there are different ways to access both the title tag and the page description (to be discussed next).

The most basic (and universal) way to do so is by accessing the page code. This is where you can create and edit them directly.

title tag description plain code

However, you may not have access to the code that makes up your website or be comfortable changing it, so here's a list of some of the most popular platforms and how you can edit the page titles and descriptions:

Page descriptions

A web page description is used to provide a quick preview of the content that is on the page.

Like the page title, it's also indexed and used for the page's search result:

b2b page description search result

And social media:

b2b page description social media

As well as potentially other places.

There is disagreement over how much the page description is used for SEO from a technical viewpoint, but it's clearly influential in getting users to click on your result since it's a major part of it.

Here is what Google has to say about what to avoid in the page description:

  • Writing a description meta tag that has no relation to the content on the page
  • Using generic descriptions like "This is a web page" or "Page about baseball cards"
  • Filling the description with the keywords
  • Copying and pasting the entire content of the document into the description meta tag
  • Using a single description meta tag across all of your site's pages or a large group of pages

You can see from the list above that many people either don't put in a page description or just don't know what to put.

Here are some best practices for you to keep in mind when you write yours:

  • Stick to an optimal length of about 50 - 300 characters
  • Treat the description as an elevator pitch about your page's content to entice clicks
  • Use your chosen keywords
  • Ask questions

Page headings

Page headers are usually seen as the large text that appears at the top and throughout web pages.

They only appear on the actual page - not your search result or social media - and should be used to break up text on long pages and introduce new page sections.

Search engine bots use page headers to gain an understanding of the page content as well.

Headers come in different sizes and are numbered from H1 to H6.

page headers h1 h6

As you can see, the H1 tags are usually the largest in font size while the H6 tags are the smallest.

The font size isn't the only differentiator, however, as the H1 tag is also the most valuable in terms of SEO among the headers.

The H1 tag acts as the on-page title and should only be used once. The other tags can be used more frequently and should be used sequentially throughout the content on the page.

Continuing with our trend, here are Google's top things to make sure to avoid in terms of page headers:

  • Placing text in heading tags that wouldn't be helpful in defining the structure of the page
  • Using heading tags where other tags may be more appropriate (for example, don't use heading tags for stylistic purposes)
  • Erattically moving from on heading tag size to another
  • Excessive use of heading tags on a page
  • Very long headings
  • Using heading tags only for styling text and not presenting structure

When you use page headers you should think of a page or content outline.

Here are a few other tips:

  • Include keywords in your header tags when it makes sense to do so
  • Keep your header tags consistent (e.g. title case, sentence case, short)
  • Don't be afraid to use them often to break up text and introduce the next section

Structured data markup

Another way that you can help search engines index your data is through a method called structured data markup. This isn't brand new but seems to be avoided by a lot of people due to a lack of understanding of what it is and how to implement it.

Structured data is simply a way of telling search engine bots what the content is that is being crawled.

Is the content referring to a bike that is being sold, a business's hours, a recipe, or an event? By using data markup, you can communicate directly with the bot so that it understands your content and can better feature it in search engine result pages.

For an example of how Google uses data markup to feature its results, when I search for "concrete material" I am returned a list of regular results mixed with other, more interesting results.

Here's the first example of data markup being used:

google search structured data markup

And the second:

google search structured markup featured snippets

The point is that Google is using our content in other ways in order to provide the user with the information that they are looking for. Structured data markup puts us in a position to be able to be used by Google and, understanding how competitive SEO can be, anything that we can do to get an edge is worth doing!

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Implementation

Here is where maybe most interested people fade away - structured data markup can be tricky to implement.

First of all, there are 3 different ways to perform data markup - schema, microformats or RDFa. I'll be honest, I don't entirely understand all of the differences between the 3 so I'm not going to complicate matters and try to explain them to you.

Secondly, implementing schema typically requires that you have access to a page's code. This is getting better as WordPress does have a growing list of plugin options.

Plugins, programming experience or not, I'm going to share with you a simple way that you can implement data markup by simply copying-and-pasting examples.

Start here with Google's structured data search gallery.

google structures data search gallery

Scroll down until you find an example that matches the content you have on a specific page and click "Get Started".

corporate contact structured data

Then, scroll down to "Examples" and click "See Markup" for one of the examples.

corporate contact markup example

Finally, when seeing the example markup, highlight all of the text on the page (from the beginning script tag to the ending script tag) and press CTRL+C or Command+C to copy everything.

corporate contact structured data copy paste

With this, you'll want to access the page where the content you're wanting to add the markup to is located and paste all of the code. After pasting the code, simply go in and update the information (in this case, the contact information) to your own and you're all set!

To verify, Google has a structured data testing tool where you can submit the URL of your web page to be sure that everything was done correctly.

Feel free to browse around Google's data search gallery for other information that you could add to other pages on your website.

Optimization Best Practices

The elements mentioned above in how to help search engines index your content are really the core elements of SEO. Start there and make sure you've done well with your page title, description, headers, and structured data markup.

Once you've taken care of those key elements, there are a number of other things that you can do to improve your SERP ranking.

A quick search for something like "seo factors" will return articles featuring over 100+ different things that you can do with your website to improve your SEO ranking. The only problem with these articles is that Google usually denies that they are accurate and there isn't much data to back up if the methods work or not.

Because of that, I stick to a short-list of SEO factors that either I've realized evidence of success or they come from SEO professionals that I trust and respect.

Again, after taking care of the elements above, below are some other things that you can try to improve your SEO.

On-Page SEO

We're going to break this into 2 sections - on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

On-page SEO refers to search engine optimization activities that you perform directly on the page whether front-facing (what the user can see) or behind-the-scenes (what the user can't see).

Here are some optimization techniques that you can try:

  • SEO-Friendly URLs: you know those long URLs that look like this "/folder1/04235019234/x2/2350290uflajsgi"? Yeah, don't use those. Use one like this instead: "/article/why-you-should-outsource-hr".
  • Visuals: include a lot of interesting visuals. They are a big plus for your content's quality which encourages visitors to stick around. How long a visitor is on your page and bounce rateA "bounce" occurs when someone visits your website and leaves without interacting further with your site. Your bounce rate shows you the percentage of your visitors who bounce off of your site. (Neil Patel) can affect your site's ranking.
  • Keyword in first 100 words: put your chosen keyword within the first 100 words of your page. Don't take too long to get to the main point of the page. Also, what you put near the top of the page is looked at as the most important.
  • Mobile-friendly website: verified by Google, sites that aren't responsive and show as well on mobile as they might on desktop will get penalized by Google.
  • Link to other good websites: Google is thought to group websites together based on content and links. Linking your content to other high-quality sources of content will help your website to be grouped with them.
  • Link internally: link to other pages on your website. Don't link to all of your other pages on one page, but if you have other pages relevant to the content then be sure to link to it.
  • Improve loading performance: a fast website improves user experience which will decrease bounce rate. The biggest obstacle to this is large images. Compress images as much as possible.
  • Image attributes: be sure to name your images what they are, not just "image-1" and "image-2".

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to activities that you perform away from your site in hopes of building exposure for your site.

Here are some techniques that you should implement or look to improve:

  • Create a great product or service: having a product that is recognized as one of the best in its class will improve your SEO because users will search for you and click on your search results. Google rewards search results that receive good clickthrough ratesClickthrough rates (CTR) are the ratio of emails sent to the number of times links contained in the email are clicked on by the recipients..
  • Customer service: similar to having a great product or service, but if you struggle with providing good customer service, customers will start choosing your competitors over you which will impact your rankings.
  • Be in front of your audience: whether it's on social media, forums, discussion boards, commenting on other blogs, if your audience recognizes you they will be more likely to click on your search results.
  • Capitalize on articles written about your company: there are many tools to help with this, but I like to type in company names in Google News to check on recent news articles. Then, I contact the author of the article and ask for a link to my website where the company name is mentioned.

User Experience

If you noticed a trend with some of the above SEO factors, it was likely how search engine optimization relates to the user's experience on your website.

When you perform research for SEO and try to find articles where Google has actually weighed in, they are usually all about improving the user's experience.

Here are some quotes directly from Google:You should optimize your site to serve your user's needs

Do you serve high-quality content to users?

Users dislike clicking a search engine result only to land on another search result page on your site

Avoid using lengthy titles that are unhelpful to users

making it easier for users to navigate through your document

Google reported revenue of $27.77 billion for the 3rd quarter of 2018. Of that, $24.1 billion (or 86.8%) was from advertising which includes both paid search and display ads.

Let's put this together - Google makes almost all of its money from selling ads. Google can sell ads on its search engine because it receives so much traffic every single day. Why do they receive so much traffic? Because when people use Google to search for something they usually find it, or Google delivers a great user experience.

This is why it's so important that we, as website owners and marketers, deliver a great user experience, too.

SEO for Business-to-Business Companies

Is SEO a good strategy for B2B companies?

Yes, SEO can be a very valuable marketing tactic for B2B companies as long as it is coupled with a consistent and quality-driven content marketing program.

If my company doesn't produce content regularly, is SEO worth the cost of hiring a specialist?

The existing pages on your website can still be optimized, and your users would benefit from an experience standpoint by having easy to understand titles, descriptions, URLs, headers, and a fast-loading website. But if you don't produce content then an ongoing SEO program isn't what I'd recommend for your company.

Analyze your search performance

Now that we've done a lot of work by submitting our website to search engines, made it easy for them to index our content, and even went above and beyond to optimize our content and page-loading speed, we need to check on our results.

First, we want to be sure that our website is getting indexed. Second, we want to review how often people are clicking on our search results and if we're seeing results from our SEO activities.

Can search engines find my content?

So, did the search engines index my content? Let's open up the Google Search Console and review our results.

After going into the Search Console and clicking on "Sitemaps" on the left hand side, we should be able to see our submitted sitemap. Hopefully we'll see the status listed as successful and a number for the discovered URLs.

google search console review indexing

We could actually dive in further by clicking on the row and seeing a breakdown of our content by what URLs were valid, excluded or returned errors or warnings.

google search console review indexing details

How am I performing in search results?

Okay, great. So what we submitted was indexed. We're in there now!

What about performance? Well, it might be a little early to start seeing results (there's usually a 2-3 day delay to see search results), but once it's been a few days we could review this information by going to "Performance" on the left hand side and seeing our results broken down by clicks, impressions, CTR, and position.

google search console review performance

Due to a recent Google update, we can now see results going back a year or more so we can really track the performance of our URLs over time.

Keep in mind - SEO takes time. I know, it sucks.

But don't let that get you discouraged. Once you have a great content creation and SEO strategy in place, you'll have the opportunity to generate a steady flow of traffic (and hopefully leads and customers) for the months and years ahead!

White hat vs. black hat

Search engine optimization is a competitive industry and because it is there's often the temptation to try and beat the system (or Google) to improve your site's standing. This is referred to as black hat SEOblack hat SEO refers to the use of aggressive SEO strategies, techniques and tactics that focus only on search engines and not a human audience, and usually does not obey search engines guidelines. (Webopedia)

A lot of what is known today as "black hat" didn't used to be so. For example, the concept of "keyword stuffing" is when a website uses their main keywords as many times as possible on a web page. Extreme examples of this are when you as the reader can barely (or can't at all) read and understand the content on the page because it doesn't read properly.

Google made an update to their search algorithm (Google Panda) to address this problem just like they've done to address other similar issues where individuals were able to force the issue to improve their rankings.

Because these situations led to obvious poor user experience, Google does all they can to mitigate similar problems.

"White hat" SEO is just the opposite - the clean way to perform SEO focused on user experience and original and high-quality content.

Here's a visual that lists a few other examples:

black hat white hat seo examples

There's no need to worry about violating Google's search engine standards as long as you follow what we've talked about in this post and focus ultimately on the user.

Think - Do - Measure

To be sure we have a practical understanding of what search engine optimization is and how we can apply it as a useful tactic for our business and marketing, let's summarize what we've learned in this chapter by applying the Think, Do, MeasureThe Think, Do, Measure method is a practical tool that I use with clients to develop a simple strategy, decide exactly what we're going to do to accomplish the strategy, and identify how we're going to measure our success. method of learning to this important marketing concept.

Think

SEO can help your company's web pages reach an audience that's both enormous (3.5 billion searches) and extremely high quality to your company - after all, these people are looking for you. They're looking for the information you have as well as your products and services.

But SEO is competitive because it doesn't need cost any money out of pocket and can be a real game-changer in terms of the success of one's website. Because of that, we need to be proactive in doing all we can to give our site the edge.

And the number one thing we'll focus on is the experience of our users. We'll deliver them a great experience by creating extremely high quality content.

Do

There are a lot of things that we can do as Google has over 200 ranking factors in their algorithm. But we'll start by submitting our sites to both Google and Bing/Yahoo.

Then we'll make it super easy for search engines to index our content and understand it.

Lastly, we'll do a few other things to take our SEO to the next level like optimizing how fast our page's load.

Measure

We'll know how well our SEO activities are performing in terms of ROI by performing regular reviews on Google Search Console and Bing's Webmaster Tools.

We'll make sure that our pages are getting indexed (both the ones we've submitted via the sitemap and the new ones we've published recently) and the positioning of our search results are improving with time.

Summing up

Search is a huge part of our lives - both as consumers and as companies. Because of this, B2B companies stand to benefit from having an SEO strategy coupled with a content creation strategy that is geared towards producing regular content aimed at highly-relevant, potential customers.

Now that you understand how search engines work and what your company can do to leverage SEO as a marketing tactic, let's continue in our Complete Digital Marketing Guide by discussing a marketing tactic that is controversial with B2B companies - social media.

Hey, I'm Tyler

I help businesses use digital marketing to generate leads & sales.

Former Operations Manager at Pepsico, I understand the difficulty and hard work that goes into changing the culture of management teams and business systems that are content with the status quo. Why is that important? Because I'm passionate about empowering individuals and companies to build and consistently manage marketing systems unique to their brands even if it means making radical changes.

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