Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important part of any Business to Business (B2B) marketing and lead generation program designed to reach more customers. With most purchase decisions involving web research at all stages of the decision process, getting found by search engines is key. While many companies need help, the good news is that SEO is quickly moving from a hard to understand technical discipline to a marketing discipline focused on strategy, planning, prioritization, and execution.
Understanding search engine optimization (SEO) and key SEO priorities for B2B Marketers.
Unlike B2C SEO marketing which often concentrates on technical optimization and “black-hat” specialists who try to “cheat” the system, improving SEO results for B2B comes from a combination of technical optimization and content value.
Technical optimization is similar to hygiene. Without good hygiene it is hard to get a date (ask any 14 year old boy!) but hygiene alone will not get you many dates. To become successful in the dating game you need more than good hygiene, you need to be interesting, and even more importantly interested in your date’s interests. You need charm to be truly attractive. SEO for B2B marketers works in a similar way.
SEO hygiene: don’t scare away the search engines
SEO hygiene should be handled by your web and blog design team. Search friendly coding, the use of keyword page naming systems, SEO optimized content management systems, robot.txt, sitemaps, 301 & 302 redirects, avoiding flash or proprietary content formats, etc. need to be built into your web and blog platforms. These technical specs should be part of your initial design but if not they can often be retroactively applied. Here are 5 quick steps you should do right away or for additional recommendations the SearchEngineLand blog has a great post on what to look for to improve your hygiene.
The good news is that once you are setup with good hygiene you no longer need to focus on it. If you are investing in a hygiene review and optimization more than a couple of times a year you should look for a better solution because you are wasting your money! The real challenge is that hygiene alone is not enough for results. You need to be investing in improving your charm.
SEO charm: how to use what you know to attract more traffic
SEO charm is focused on actively attracting prospects searching for information in your areas of expertise. Search engines specialize in delivering the most relevant and useful information they can find and they are continually improving how they determine the quality of their results. In the past, content with good hygiene but little value succeeded because search technology was still primitive. To determine quality and relevance search engines focused on in-bound links, metatag data, and other technical data to simplistically identify what the content was about.
But increasingly Google and other search engines are using sophisticated analysis of the content itself to filter out low-value results in favour of more relevant and useful content. They are spending billions on technologies that identify what content is interesting and relevant to a reader and what content is not. And that is now the key to SEO success. Don’t fight Google and the search engines, give them what they want.
To charm more customers and attract more traffic as part of your marketing and lead generation program, you need to share high quality content your customers will value. And since your customers and prospects are looking for information not just keywords you need to go beyond a simplistic keyword approach executed by a technical team and leverage your value proposition, your areas of expertise, and your understanding of what your customers want to know.
9 tips to deliver more SEO charm:
- Understand what your customer wants to know and stay focused on those themes. Use customer language and don’t assume they understand what you are talking about.
- Categorize your content so search engines and visitors can quickly identify relevant areas of expertise
- House your content in a resource center (an example is our knowledge center) designed to help visitors and search engines quickly find the information they are looking for
- Use titles that describe your content and make it easier for customers and search engines to find what they want
- Put your content in context by cross linking it to other relevant content both manually with links and by using categories and tags
- Optimize your meta content (meaning content describing you content) to provide better descriptions of its theme and relevance
- Use search friendly content formats such as blogs, social media, html text, links, image descriptions, headlines, and text formatting
- Share and promote your content using social media to encourage in-bound links and mentions
- Publish new content on a frequent schedule in order to keep it fresh and relevant
SEO for B2B marketing and lead generation should no longer be a technical mystery. Once you have your SEO hygiene in place success requires a strategic focus on your value proposition, your audience, and your areas of expertise and the development of a rolling content plan to deliver consistent and efficient execution of content, key messages and themes. In other words, better SEO requires marketing expertise and investment not technical expertise.
So go ahead, optimize your hygiene and then get out there and be charming, so you can connect with and convert more customers!
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Or feel from to contact us with specific questions about your needs. We would love to learn more about what you want to know.