Along with social media and content, SEO is one of the three pillars of digital marketing. This has been the case for well over a decade, and SEO’s vital importance shows no signs of flagging anytime soon. Consider the fact that 89% of B2B buyers use the internet to research purchases, and you have all the reason you need to invest heavily in search engine optimization.
The good news is that this doesn’t have to be as much a monetary commitment as one of time and effort. You will of course need to take Google’s ever-changing algorithm into account and implement SEO strategies relevant to today. Here are some tips on how to achieve that, plus recommendations for tools that can help you raise your SEO game.
Optimize for local
There are a couple reasons you want your B2B operation to optimize for local searches. First, this allows your business to rank in the local grouping of businesses relevant to a particular online search, and those local groups are what’s shown at the top of search results.
Second, this is going to allow you to go head-to-head with competitors in your area and vie for their business. So how do you go about optimizing for local? There are a number of crucial best practices. These include:
- Ensure the title and description includes only relevant business info and effectively promotes your brand
- Be consistent with the spelling and format of your business info (name, address, phone number, etc.) across all sites
- Get as many citations as you can from sites that aggregate business data, like Google My Business, Citysearch, Yelp, MerchantCircle, Infogroup, Neustar, and others
- Don’t forget about Bing, and utilize their Bing Places for Business to help your optimization
- Get as many online reviews as possible
- Use Schema Markup to boost your visibility in search engine results
And don’t overlook local media. Cultivating relationships with local journalists working in TV or trade publications and local papers is a great way to further raise awareness of your brand. Another tactic is to join the local chamber of commerce. On top of providing valuable networking opportunities, you’ll get a backlink in exchange for the fee they charge to join.
Get backlinks from non-competing local businesses
One of the major engines that drives effective search engine optimization is backlinks in content. This is the process by which authoritative websites link back to your business in a piece of content like a blog post. And if you can get backlinks from businesses in your area, that will certainly help boost the local SEO we discussed earlier.
Of course, few if any direct competitors are going to want to help your B2B operation to corner the market. That’s why you need to get non-competing businesses to backlink to your site. Say you’re a manufacturing company that produces tractor-trailers. In that case you’d likely want to approach general agriculture companies and offer them a quality backlink to their site in exchange for theirs.
Use long-tail keywords
A few years ago long-tail keywords were all the rage in SEO. But they’ve proven to have staying power, and no SEO strategy these days is complete without incorporating longer-form keywords (as opposed to single keywords) in the strategy. The premise is simple. Perhaps you’re a company that builds AI solutions for the industrial sector. Instead of utilizing simple keywords like “A.I.” and “artificial intelligence,” you would want to incorporate longer-form keywords like “artificial intelligence in manufacturing,” or “advances in A.I. and machine learning.” Doing so allows your SEO marketing initiatives to reach a wider audience.
Still skeptical about investing in this new keyword strategy? Consider these statistics: nowadays 70% of all organic search traffic comes from long-tail keywords. And those who do search with these longer phrases have higher purchase intent.
Do keyword research
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of keywords, the question then becomes which keywords are best for your business. There are a number of research tools that you can implement to reveal these insights, and the best part is that many of them are free. A few of these options include:
The process of performing keyword research is fairly straightforward. Start by making a list of as many topics relevant to your business that you can think of. Then identify the keywords and long-tail keywords that fall into those topic categories. Then, to round out your strategy, think of any related search terms of your topics and include those keywords as well. Whenever you find yourself struggling to find more keywords, use the tools listed above to help with the process.
Optimize for mobile
Yes, it’s obvious in this day and age that people spend more time on their smartphones than they do on their laptops, and thus it’s crucial to ensure your website is optimized for mobile. However, what many may not know (especially those in B2B industries) is just how much Google values mobile-first websites. The benefits are many: mobile sites decrease bounce rates, increase dwell times, and reduce load times. Google sees these benefits as signals and it takes these signals into consideration when deciding how high to rank a site. Therefore, the simple formula is a mobile-optimized website = higher rankings in SERPs.
Some tips to do this include:
- Keep titles and descriptions concise
- Remove all unnecessary characters from source code
- Reduce redirects to prevent the webpage from lagging
- Optimizing your images to be the appropriate size for mobile screens
- Eliminate pop-ups for the benefit of your users
- Don’t use Flash (Apple has eliminated Flash on their devices, so many of your users won’t be able to view it)
- Ensure your website is intuitive for finger scrolling and that there are no issues like accidental taps
The above SEO strategies are all crucial for ranking high in the search engine results page. However, it’s just as important to look even further down the road. Consider the rise of visual content as well as the prediction that video will account for a whopping 82% of all internet traffic by 2021. So now more than ever it’s crucial to think beyond text and diversify your content game so you can stay ahead of the curve.