(Updated November 18, 2019)
Your business might be amazing -- but without the right B2B SEO tips to drive traffic to your website, you might be the hidden secret of your industry. And as appealing as secrets might sound, the truth is that for most businesses, it's not part of the game plan.
Some businesses sadly fail to see the importance of SEO in their strategy. They pour money into designing a beautiful, intuitive website, thinking that this will cause people to knock down their virtual door. But it takes a lot more than just a fancy website to attract leads and customers.
B2B search engine optimization, or SEO, is the algorithm with the power to take your business off the shady, back alleyways and place it right on the main strip of Google's first page.
In late 2019, Google added an important change to its search engine algorithm, naming this update BERT. This update is significant in that it uses artificial intelligence in the form of natural language processing, where it can distinguish even the small nuances that make language so complicated. The goal of this update is to improve the overall relevancy of search result in order to better align with people's intent.
This update is particularly helpful for search queries that are more conversational or that include prepositions like "to" and "for" -- other searches, such as a simple keyword search, won't be drastically affected.
What does this mean for companies and their PR and SEO strategy? We'll get into that more specifically in the points below -- but it's important to note that SEO remains a vital part of your digital strategy.
Let's look at 10 SEO best practices -- some of them including PR and SEO tactics -- that are easy to use but also essential to the success of your website and brand.
10 B2B SEO Tips That Will Boost Your Business
SEO Tip #1: Identify Keywords
Let's talk keywords for a moment. These are words and terms that people commonly search for on Google -- and which, when peppered throughout your content, can make you more discoverable on search engines.
And the great thing is that you don't have to be a mastermind to identify the best keywords. Simply head over to your Google Search Console. You'll discover which words people are entering in search engines in order to find your site. You'll also learn how your site is performing on mobile and which sites are linking to your website.
Long-tail keywords are best and are generally easier to compete for on Google, especially with its latest update. Be as detailed as possible. For example, if you choose the keyword "accounting software," you'll likely be competing with (and losing to) big wigs like Quickbooks and Xero. But if you specify "affordable accounting software for small businesses," you'll more easily reach your target audience.
Additionally, if you're not ranking highly for keywords crucial to your traffic, start to build a content plan to boost your keyword ranking.
SEO Tip #2: Use Keywords Strategically
Now that you have your go-to keywords, start using them in your owned content. However, keywords placed willy-nilly around your site won't cut it.
Let's take Marx Communications as an example. Since we're all about B2B PR, we want to rank highly for that keyword. So we pepper our content with that keyword, placing it in strategic places, such as:
- Page content
- Meta titles
- Meta tags
- Alt text descriptions for images
Exercise caution in this area, though. Too many keywords that are forced into places they don't belong will make your site spammy for Google, and will turn away readers who find your site.
Search for ways to organically use your keywords. In addition, use synonyms and other related words when creating keyword-friendly content. Google your keywords, and look at the bottom of the search results page for terms related to it. These terms can also bolster your SEO.
Note: Google's recent BERT update takes the emphasis off of keyword density as a primary goal. This means that we no longer have to split hairs about how many keywords are in a piece of content. Instead of counting keywords, focus on natural writing.
SEO Tip #3: Optimize for Mobile
Over 51% of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product while conducting a search on their smartphone. This makes a mobile-friendly site absolutely essential. And it's not just a frill -- search engines like Google have made mobile optimization a key factor within their algorithm.
Ensure your website is built with mobile in mind. What does that mean for your site and content? Here are a few tips to make your content more mobile-friendly:
- Make your headlines more concise.
- Reduce redirects to keep your site working smoothly.
- Eliminate pop-ups.
- Don't use Flash.
- Make your site finger-scrolling friendly -- i.e., limit accidental taps.
A good all-around tip is to view your site on a mobile device (smart phone or tablet) to see how it looks. Is it an enjoyable experience? If not, make whatever changes you need to make it so -- this will inevitably lead to improved SEO.
SEO Tip #3: Maintain a Blog
By far, when talking with newbies about owned content, the most popular question is "Why should I have a blog?"
The short answer is that blogging creates more pages for search engines to crawl, and increases the likelihood of prospects finding you.
However, it does more than that. It establishes you as a thought leader and an authority in your industry. Getting your name and expertise out there is an obvious way to increase traffic.
If you're slipping in ranking for some keywords, blogging is also a great way to boost that. Remember keyword ranking not only depends on your own efforts, but also that of your competition. This means that you need to keep continuous watch on your keyword ranking, even if you already score highly.
If your ranking starts to slip, run a keyword campaign for a month. Create a series of blog posts that use the keyword or topic for which you're trying to rank. And create posts that address specific concerns and issues rather than generalities. This will help your audience to find the exact content that they need -- something that Google often rewards.
The most important thing to remember when blogging and creating content? Quality is key. While there has been a push in recent years to create a lot of long-form content, the latest BERT algorithm update makes a major push toward quality above all else.
SEO Tip #4: Choose Words Carefully
If you want to be one of the popular kids, you've got to use the right lingo. Here are a few words that typically grab attention and boost SEO rankings:
- How to (fill in the blank)
In addition, when creating your titles, it's best to score it with Coschedule's Headline Analyzer, found here. CoSchedule has studied what makes the best headlines and has created an algorithm to help. Aim for a ranking of 70 or above on its analyzer.
SEO Tip #5: Don't Forget About Local
With about 60% of internet search queries conducted from mobile devices, it's easy to see why it's crucial to optimize your website for mobile.
It may be easy to forget that your site doesn't just reach people across the world, but also in your own backyard. Searchers aren't just looking for "B2B PR firms."They're also looking for "B2B PR firms in Connecticut" (as in the case of Marx Communications).
To that end, make sure that your site is optimized for mobile so that Google will favor you in local search.
SEO Tip #6: Tap Into PR Tactics
Did you know that PR can help to bolster your SEO?
Consider for a moment that a major part of SEO is building links (called backlinks) between your site and other, high-authority sites. For example, news media sites and popular blogs have built up a level of authority that is important for SEO. When they link to your site, it's a nod of approval, which is gold in Google's eyes.
But how can you get a link from such high-authority sites?
You may even be mentioned on other sites without knowing it. To ensure you're not missing out on any brand mentions, set up a Google Alert to notify you any time your brand is mentioned. When you receive an alert, reach out to the site who mentioned you to thank them and ask for a link back to your website. Many will happily do this when you ask.
SEO Tip #7: Guest Post
In keeping with the previous tip, another way to get more backlinks is to guest post.
Carefully research a site in your industry that accepts guest posts. You might ask yourself...
- What kinds of posts do they publish?
- What kinds of posts get the most likes and shares from their audience?
- Can you create a similar post that their audience will love?
- Does the site have a high domain authority (Google values it)?
Many sites will offer to link back to your site, often with a brief bio of you, which boosts your website's SEO ranking.
SEO Tip #8: Participate in an Event
Events are a key part of any PR strategy -- but they can also help you to boost SEO. It's a great example of how you can use PR in SEO.
Most industry events, when planned well, attract a lot of attention from the media and influencers. Both of these groups, through their work, inevitably generate back links.
For example, let's say you host an event. Before the event, influencers and others with speaking roles at the event likely will promote it on their websites with links to your site. To encourage this further, create content for them to link to, such as blog posts and special announcements.
Similarly, you can score some SEO juice if you plan to speak at an industry event. As a speaker, you may be quoted or even featured when people summarize the highlights of the event. To increase the SEO benefits, make your website and content prominent either during your speech or in event handouts and other materials
SEO Tip #10: Use Social Media
While social media's direct impact on SEO is relatively small, let's consider the big picture of your B2B PR and SEO strategy. Most people, when they first hear about a brand, will look it up on social media for more information. Your brand, like any other, needs a solid social media profile for people to get a good impression of your company.
What does social media do for your SEO? Unfortunately, there's no link between your social media presence or social posts and your rank on Google. But that doesn't mean that it's useless -- far from it. For example, brands ranked highly on Google have an impressive social media presence.
If the content you post on social media is relevant to a search query and has enough engagement, it will be indexed by search engines.
Another reason that makes social media valuable is that it revolves around people. Take the time to learn more about your audience on social media. That will help you to create better content that suits your audience. It's this kind of content that gets the best results on search engines.
It certainly can be difficult keeping up with all of the changes in SEO best practices. If you find this to be painfully true, consider hiring a B2B SEO agency that can keep track of these best practices for you. PR agencies can also help.
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