Category Archives: SEO / Search

Keywords in practice: SEO for b2b marketing

So, anyone dabbling in the area of SEO knows that selecting the right keywords is an important, but first step in designing a kick-ass b2b search engine marketing strategy, right? (If not, here’s a useful primer)

There is a lot of duff SEO advice online. Get back to basics and use the right keywords optimally around your site. This is a digital fundamental. Here are some quick steps to making sure they help your site rise to the top in search engine results.

Using keywords in practice

It is widely acknowledged that the first 200 words on any web page (especially the home page) are generally the most important on your website. Make sure the keywords for your page are placed in the first few sentences and also in the first heading (h1) tag on the page.

Much of this is covered in the SEO chapter of ‘Brilliant B2B Digital Marketing’ , where I use global compressor manufacturer Atlas Copco and compressed gases supplier BOC to illustrate this technique to promote keyword positioning on compressors, mining and construction.

 

Headings and subheadings

Place your primary keywords in your headings and sub-headings as these areas of content are perceived to carry greater weight in search engine ranking algorithms.

Use key phrases not just keywords

Sometimes if there are words with more than one meaning, it makes sense to use additional words to clarify the intended meaning. To help the search engine bot establish the meaning, use a ~keyword search in Google’s search bar. The results will have the words in bold that the search engine believes are most related to that word. This turns keywords into key phrases or ‘long tail’ to use the common name.

Think about about your own search experience. To navigate an increasingly irrelevant landscape, Internet users are using three words to refine their search so your SEO should follow suit.

Keyword density and distribution

You don’t want to use keywords too much in your displayed ‘on-page’ content, but you do want to make sure they are used at least twice in the body copy as an absolute minimum. Reference needs to be natural and within context. A keyword in every sentence looks forced. Ask your copywriters to use synonyms.

Optimising your meta data

1. Keep meta descriptions short.

If your meta description is longer than 150 characters, search engines may omit some of it. Keep the summary brief and loaded with your most relevant and important keywords to give readers a sense of what they’ll find on the page. To save you counting, the BOC example below is 58 words long.

2. Develop unique meta descriptions.

Keep in mind that the purpose of the meta description is to set the visitor’s expectations about what can be found on that page. This makes meta descriptions for every page a requirement.

 

 

3. Page in a sentance

Write a sentence that encapsulates what the page is about and what it will offer the visitor rather than providing a list of arbitrary keywords. The messaging in the search results are often the first experience of the brand.

4. Reuse elements

Reuse elements throughout the page in links, anchor text and other titles and tags. This increases relevance in the eyes of human and search engine visitors.

5. Order meta data in priority to suit search engines.

Although it is widely held that Google places a low rank on certain elements of meta data, it is good practice to order data in the meta of a web page in the order Title > Description > Keywords.

Applying a diligent approach to your on page SEO gives you a firm foundation to kick on with your online marketing promotion before you spend on link building, pay per click and other forms of advertising.

 

How to ensure you use the most relevant SEO keywords in your B2B marketing

Rightly or wrongly, the Internet is still built on text based code. So making sure your site is optimised with the right text customers are using to inform their search is a critical part of your digital marketing strategy.

Keyword based SEO is critical as it drives your messaging, content and success in search marketing. It’s important that there is a relationship between how your site is written and what browsers are looking for but it is very common for businesses to either do too little or too much which leads to keyword stuffing.

Keyword research isn’t a dark art. Do your homework.

 

Keyword research involves mapping what your customers and prospects are looking for and what you can offer them. There is an abundance of data available within the Google suite of webmaster tools even before you need to access more sophisticated software. You can still access the Adwords Keyword Planner tool which offers insight into which words and phrases are used more frequently than others as well as the relative competition in trying to rank top on them.

As a result, keyword research can be an involved and complicated process especially if you are promoting a number of elements simultaneously. In b2b terms, think about focusing on the following:

1. Focus of the page. Are you providing information or overtly selling? This plays on the position and mindset of the visitor in relation to the buying cycle. The words, language and tone change markedly from informational pages to product selling pages.

2. Pick a primary keyword for each page. Consider using a small number of keywords across your website to start. Using too many on a page will dilute the impact of individual words and mean the page has little authority when assessed by search engines.

3. Assess the competition. What are the competition doing with keywords and are some more prevalent than others? A simple right click and View Source will display the company’s keywords included in their meta data. Consider, though, that they may have the mood very wrong and also competitors vying for rankings for the same keyword phrase.

4. Use a keyword analysis tool. Free tools like the Google Adwords Keyword Planner tool are perfect for initial research and help to establish the relative relevance and value of keywords, giving an indication of searches over time and regionally (global vs local). Make sure you use ‘exact’ matching to give you better, more refined results.

 

Q: How do you ensure you are using the right SEO keywords? Share your tips and tricks below.

Image: Crystal ball image 

Digital marketing trends in mobile, social content and search [infographic]

Posted originally on visual.ly by DCI, I thought this infographic updating us on the latest trends in mobile, social, content and search was worth a share.

Whether you’re a digital native or a digital newbie, it offers some interesting statistics (admittedly most US based) on the “key tools and technologies that will define the digital marketing landscape this year”.

The infographic looks at overall use across B2B and B2C and how tools are being used to help ensure marketers make the most of mobile marketing, social media, content marketing and author rank, to deliver high quality content across a range of platforms and devices.

I think, for one, modern marketers are dead in the water if they don’t start embracing responsive design and really building user experience into their marketing.

What do you think?

 

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B2B SEO – the ferrari parked in the garage

The number of consultancy discussions I have about b2b websites not designed with search engine optimisation in mind leaves me hopping mad.

It seems inconceivable to me that SEO isn’t a fundamental element of the website design process. Yet, there are still scores of company sites that have been designed,  built and launched without due consideration for their online visibility.

Why on earth invest time, money and effort in something and then not let it flourish? To me, it’s tantamount to buying a ferrari and keeping it in the garage – not driving it, showing it off, enjoying it.

As commercially-minded marketers, we need to remember how important search engines are in reaching prospects and customers. In previous posts, I’ve discussed how professional buyers are using the Internet to search for suppliers at all stages of the buying process.

It is no longer desirable, it is essential, not least because of competition from global inter-connectedness. Your business doesn’t compete in your city or county any more – your competition is coming from savvy businesses much further afield.

It’s a word game.

Content remains king in SEO. But whilst the amount of content grows exponentially, the quality deteriorates. Browsers now have unparalleled and unlimited choice and no time to waste. The trick to getting and staying found lies in relevance and frequency.

So, in preview, to a series of upcoming posts on the SEO and B2B websites, here is a primer on some of the big picture thinking around why thinking and investing in SEO is imperative.

Think:

1. Relevance. Picking the right words is key. Not what you think customers are using but what they are using. Use the Adwords tool and interrogate it. Visit competitor websites and View>Source to check their meta data. (Future posts will explain some of this). It’s also important to consider combinations and longer tail search to avoid competition and get to the heart of what they want.

 

2. Timeliness. Website content ages quickly. It might be that your company has entered new sectors and markets or left some behind. You may have new products or services to promote, or legislative changes to share. Or there may be a requirement to communicate with other stakeholder groups such as distributors, agents and investors, as well as customers and prospects. All these opportunities give rise to the concept of ‘content in context’ and an opportunity to review how you promote and optimise this content.

3. Consistency / accuracy. Uniform use of keywords on page and in code is critical to success in SEO and returning in search results. Simple things like spelling and grammar can have a big impact too.

4. Engaging. Good performance in SEO can also be achieved by use of more interactive or ‘sticky’ content. Video, for example, not only offers a powerful way to demonstrate product features and benefits, and bring a corporate entity to life, if hosted on YouTube or Vimeo and on your website it can dramatically improve site visibility, ranking and inbound traffic.

5. Connected. It’s important that all links within your site are checked regularly, particularly as the site grows. Updating or removing content leaves the site at risk of being littered with errors and broken links.

Ready, to take that Ferrari of yours for a drive?

 

Image: http://hdwallpapers4desktop.com

Four reasons why Google+ might be THE B2B social media marketing platform

I picked the little graphic up below from the excellent Social Media B2B blog and thought it was worth sharing.

Lots of people clamoured to join and test Google+ in 2011 but it didn’t really reach the critical levels enjoyed by other breakthrough social sites.

That said, the feeling in some quarters now is that Google+ will inevitably grow to be a highly credible business marketing, networking and collaboration tool in 2013 and beyond.

If you are in any doubt, Google is behind the world’s most used search engine, as well as web advertising and website analytics and of course the highly successful Android operating system. Google has ingeniously developed Google+ functionality to have a beneficial effect on social and search optimisation. Observe your search results and you’ll see +’d content from people you may know.

And with opportunities to build specific networks (Circles) and create meaningful dialogue with them (Hangouts), it is a network that goes way beyond its competitors.

I’m thinking about using Google+ for invitation only Hangouts for clients / customers to talk about market insights, provide training or to discuss new products and service offers.

If you haven’t tried it yet, watch the demo videos here and join today. You can connect with me here.

Links worth a click #17

Some informed viewing for you this week.

First up, Coca Cola’s approach to social media in video form. Sure it’s big budget, but there are smart lessons in here. Love how they’ve used the word liquid which is a creative way of linking their strategy to their products. How could you do something similar?

Second, a video showing how Google search continues to evolve to the personal needs of the user.

Finally, the latest user data from Linkedin (for January 2012) shows how the platform continues to add users around the world. Some interesting intelligence for presentations.



 

Links worth a click #16

Some informed reading to kickstart your week. Better late than never!

First up, a beginners guide to setting goals in Google Analytics.

If you’re in the client service game, getting to know your client is critical to long term business success. Here are ten useful tips.

Are you working with your social media super influencers?

If like me you’re writing a blog, here are some tips  on building a blog that might be bought for big money in the future. 

Is Google+ credible competition for Facebook? The numbers speak for themselves.

Finally, 17 great examples of content visualisation in action (that’s infographics to the layman).

Links worth a click #15

A week with some great online content, tips and tricks.

PowerPoint as content: PowerPoint gets a hard press, in and out of meetings. But, used correctly, it can be turned into social media gold. Have a quick read of this blog post and see what ideas it sparks for you and your customers.

Business blogging: Here’s a piece for those amongst you managing or considering blogs, a list of ten great things to include in your thinking.

Some useful advice next on designing paid search (pay per click) campaigns that deliver.

Apparently, it’s no longer six degrees of separation when it comes to human relationships. According to Facebook, its 800m users give you access to anyone in the world (if they are on Facebook) in only 4 hops.

Using video? You should be. And it should be optimised. Here are some tips on how to optimise online video, with a natural focus on YouTube.

More next week. Happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping weekend!

Links worth a click #14

In the week where Richard Branson got his hands on Northern Rock, and Tesco and Asda fought in the digital space (Tesco with new AR and Asda with a transactional and price comparison iPhone app), here are some of the other interesting digital marketing related things that caught me eye.

Love this from the Twitter blog. They tracked who was talking about 11.11.11 on 11 November 2011. It’s an interesting animation showing the reach of Twitter, the power of hashtags and trends and how they can go global – all in thirty seconds of animation.

If you are considering, or are already running your own Linkedin groups, you might like to know that there is now an analytics dashboard for group managers, released this week. Offers some great demographics of your members.

Another day another infographic. This one provides some quotable statistics on who is using Facebook and Twitter. Gender, age, income, location and frequency, there will be a stat in here for everyone.

It’s getting increasingly difficult to find objective search results from Google now we’re all logged in. A new tool, hidden away in the search menu called Verbatim might just be able to help you find what you want rather than what Google or your friends think you want.

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Links worth a click #13

In the week where the Greeks held the Euro to ransom, Google rolled out new Gmail  and Groupon raised $700 from its IPO, here are some of the other interesting digital marketing related things that caught me eye.

First up, Google – or rather your Facebook comments, with news that some comments will be indexed by the search giant.  Do you see this sort of development as Alarming or great for your visibility?

Next, an infographic on the differences between outbound and inbound marketing. Infographics can be brilliant in distilling down complex arguments, processes and statistics and is used well in this example looking at why blogs, videos and white papers are going to give you more credibility than cold calling ever will.

If you use email marketing as part of your communications mix, you might to think again after reading this piece about how decisions are made within 3, 5 and 7 seconds.

And finally, if you’re a creative type looking to do something different with your website or blog, consider using your smart phone as a catch all content-generation device. This blog post from Social Media Examiner shows the way with five tips to create audio and video content on your iPhone.

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