Here’s a professional approach to SEO for reaching customers & prospects in a B2B environment. It includes creating search goals, establishing a baseline, improving your site’s health, aligning & enhancing your site’s text, maintaining fresh, helpful content & continually assessing your site.A website is just a window to the world. Like any store on a busy street or mall, you have to be discoverable, relevant and display authority in your market. Without these three basic tenets, you are just another store with no SEO appeal. You may end up with traffic from the really curious, the knowledgeable researcher or an existing client. Not bad, but not great either.
In our world of B2B, specifically for tech or industry, the challenge is exponential. In fact, we have to attract, engage and convert multiple personas (buyer, specifier/user and payer) at the same time, when they are “looking” for ideas or for something that you do or make.
As I have written in prior blogs, the ideal marketing process should be centered around a modern website and an Integrated Business Development platform (CRM and Marketing Engine) as shown below. Using this process, Inbound Marketing efforts (i.e., creating a “pull” through social and engaged networks) and Outbound Marketing activities (e.g. “pushing” content through traditional outlets) are now merged into a single interconnected, automated platform that seamlessly integrates with Sales using CRM. This system bridges that gap between marketing and sales that continues to be a challenge for many companies of all sizes, and in all business sectors.
This is a great step forward to generate what is termed “organic” traffic, but that’s not enough…
The SEO Recipe for B2B
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a vital part of any modern marketing campaign. Creating and launching a website built around best practices (“basic SEO”) is the first step, and all new Levy sites do include this feature; however, once a site is launched, its metrics need to be monitored and improved continually over time in order to keep the site competitive for organic traffic via search engines.
To drive SEO up, you have to think about a marathon, not a sprint. This can take months. At Levy, we recommend a six-step process:
- Create Search Goals
Establish a list of words, terms & phrases that will help the right customers find your site. These are your Goal Keywords. This will help determine opportunities for your site to compete on new relevant keywords where there may be a vacuum in content or vis a vis of your competitors.
- Establish a Baseline
Use available tools or seek help from professionals to run a report on the most common keywords for the current version of your website, where you're showing up in the rankings for your Goal Keywords, and how well your site compares to your competitors.
- Improve Your Site Health
While content is king, in SEO practices, site health is an imperative foundation on which all content must be built. Check on the health of all aspects of your site, checking for issues such as broken links, error pages, missing meta-tags, incomplete page descriptions and long load times. Fix them as they occur. This is very dynamic and no matter how good your processes are, chances are this will need to be done regularly.
- Align & Enhance Your Site Copy (6 Weeks)
Since search engines use the words on your site to figure out exactly what your site is about and where it should appear in search rankings, this step is crucial to search performance. You need to align the copy on your current site with your Goal Keywords, making sure that those words, terms and phrases appear frequently and in the right places. For example, if you're selling bicycles, you want to be sure to use the word "bicycle" frequently throughout the content on your site, put it in headline text, add it to the page title and include it within the site's "meta data" (text that is invisible to users, but is indexed by search engines to expedite site discovery). Including your Goal Keywords in all of these locations throughout your site will make sure search engines know what you're trying to sell and how you're trying to sell it.
- Maintain Fresh, Helpful Content (Monthly for Min. 9 Months)
If the previous 4 steps could be done relatively quickly, this step can take months, or frankly is a never-ending quest. With your site as healthy as possible and your site content aligned with your Goal Keywords, you're ready to draw your audience into your site. By updating your site frequently with new, on-brand content designed to help your audience learn more about your product or industry, search engines will recognize your site as one that is topical and relevant, increasing your ranking in your desired subject areas. To keep your site fresh, we recommend to develop and publish two (2) new pieces of informational content per month. These can range from blog posts to news releases to technical articles or papers. The key feature of this content is that it is designed to be useful for your readers, designed specifically to seek out, reference and share. This part of the process doesn't happen overnight and requires a consistent strategic effort to establish your company as a leader and resource for your Goal Keywords.
- Continuous Assessment
After each step in this process and on a monthly basis during Step 5, Levy will run the same report used to establish a baseline in Step 2. As we work through the process, we'll be able to track measurable improvement in each of the categories noted below and make adjustments as needed. prospects to your website, your social media plan should include 2 posts per week. Content should be a combination of curated (trade journal articles and items generated by others) aligned with your strategic objectives to create buzz; educational (content created by others which has a more academic or theoretical bent than curated content) and promotional (you create to announce events or milestones in the life of your company).
Like any marketing programs, the big question is can I do it or should I outsource it? It really depends on your core marketing strengths, skills and bandwidth. The answer to this might not be obvious.
From my experience working with pre-money startups all the way to very large organizations, the basic requirement is finding someone, internal or external, that has:
- A reasonable knowledge of your industry, products, services, markets
- A clear understanding of your marketing/sales strategy
- A deep understanding of digital marketing techniques, specifically in Tech and Industry
- A track record in delivering conversions. Ask the thought questions. Impressions are just activities… Conversions are results.
As is the case with using any new tool, it’s best to ask questions or do research before taking action.
At Levy, listening to our customers, we developed a packaged program that delivers results in 90 days or less. Our mission is to make marketing counts. We aim for 7X the number of leads when compared to traditional approaches and 9X ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment of $9 in sales for each $1 in marketing spent). Here’s a quick synopsis of the program: