Today, the typical user of the internet starts on a search engine to look up information on a particular topic. Every second there is around 70,000 searches on Google alone. Once a search begins, the ranking competition starts where both paid ads and organic results return. Being on the first page is everything as the majority of the time, the user will not go past the first page. In our on-demand culture, the information that we desire has to be found almost instantaneously, or we move on.
It is time for B2B companies to revise their website and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies to change with the times. In this digital age, having a strong online presence is expected, but the days of creating a website and having it be successful without updates are gone. Now, companies need to focus on being found for their capabilities and key differentiators with current, relevant website content.
Companies are asking, “How do we improve our search ranking? “What steps should we take to develop a strategy?” “Can we increase our SEO without spending thousands of dollars?” Before discussing these common questions, let’s focus on what SEO is and the role that search engines play.
What is SEO?
According to Moz, “SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” Simply put, better rankings equal more traffic, which can lead to the potential of more leads and sales. Search engines are the gateway to information, with its purpose of being to provide users with relevant pages to find the information they are looking for as quick as possible.
Once a search term is submitted by a user, the search engine sifts through thousands of results searching for keywords. In just milliseconds, the results are ranked by relevance based on the algorithm created by the specific search engine. As search engines like Google increase their search experience, it only becomes more difficult for other websites to rank as highly for results. This happens because Google is making it easier to get information without having to click on a website. For example, if searching when the Packers play the Vikings, Google will populate the information automatically at the top of the search results page without having to leave Google.
How to Research Keywords?
Before getting into the best practices of SEO and strategies to raise keyword rankings, let’s explore keywords and specifically:
- How to research them.
- What to look for when
- How those results will affect SEO strategy.
- Considerations in keyword ranking and difficulty to rank.
Keyword research is a vital part of the process to see what you are ranking for. Begin by analyzing the keywords that the website is ranking for by utilizing the tools offered by Moz, SEMrush, or SpyFu. As you research, look at the total number of keywords and specific keywords. While the total number of keywords that are ranking is important, it is quality over quantity. For example, a company might find that they are ranking for a keyword that is a service they do not offer.
Once you establish what you are ranking for, begin searching for keywords that you do not rank for and would like to. When assessing keywords, focus on the current ranking position that you have and the difficulty to rank. To show an example, there are more than 18,000 searches for the keyword “injection molding” per month. The difficulty to rank for injection molding is 60. Keyword difficulty is ranked on a scale of 0-100, with the higher the number equaling higher difficulty. As you begin creating an SEO strategy, start by targeting relevant keywords that have lower difficulty rankings, generally from 30-40. For some keywords, despite their higher difficulty to rank, it is still advised to build a strategy to rank for them if they are key to your business. As the plans for SEO strategy continue to develop, brainstorm multiple ways to increase the keywords ranking. Specifically, look at different blog topics or white papers that can be focused on the keywords you are trying to boost. Additionally, updating your website or making a specific landing page build around that topic can help boost rankings. One element that is vital to a successful SEO strategy is patience, as it takes time to see results.
How to Get Ranked on Page One?
Now that keywords and SEO strategy is coming together, how do you get ranked on page one? It all begins with your website. To rank for a wide range of keywords, search engines have to have the opportunity to find content, meaning your site has to be filled with a rich amount of content. Use Google Analytics to optimize the web pages and see which of the pages are performing best. Check the metadata and tags and add alt text for photos if they are incomplete. These changes will not look like your website has changed to the user, but these background adjustments could have a huge payoff.
As the review of your website continues, revisit your page content, menu bar and headers. For menu bars, make sure that each drop down is focused on a keyword. When revising headers, review that each one describes the content on the page accurately. This sounds simple, but it can be easily and oftentimes overlooked. Without this, Google might be unable to find the content that it strategically searches for, resulting in a missed opportunity for increased visibility and ranking.
Understand that Google and other search engines are ranking results based on relevant content. To be more relevant, the webpage has to be richer with information but not stuffed with keywords to fill space. Keyword stuffing refers to loading a webpage with keywords or numbers in an attempt to manipulate a website’s ranking in search results. To avoid this and as a general rule of thumb, the keyword should occupy 1-3% of the total content on that page. For example, if a blog post is 1,000 words, the targeted keyword should be highlighted 10 to 30 times. Going over this mark increases the chance that a search engine will mark it as spam.
Will a Blog Increase Website SEO?
The best-ranking websites have extremely large resource centers that give useful information to the audience and are released on a consistent schedule. It takes time and work, but adding a blog is a great first step in getting a website to rank well.
Google ranks new content higher, as it is seen as more relevant. One way to produce new content consistently is by utilizing blogs to support high-ranking pages. Writing blogs topics based on high-performing webpages adds supporting content that will continue to help increase ranking position.
Blogs also provide an opportunity to establish new keywords or increase current keywords. If there was a recently a new piece of new equipment added to your facility and wrote a blog about how it will increase production, plus with a link to your capabilities page, the blog will potentially increase the rankings while boosting credibility.
The long shelf life of blogs and the ability to repurpose content make them useful in continuously optimizing a website’s SEO. Past blogs can be re-optimized by updating the keywords. Updating blog content is an easy way to increase traffic as search engines sees it as new content, making it more relevant.
Building a Strong Media Library
In addition to blogs, a dense media library is an opportunity to increase content. Website visitors will remember a great media library, one filled with photos, videos and downloadable content to help further establish credibility. Photos are an easy way to add visual content while highlighting your company. Videos are valuable content because YouTube is the second largest search engine. Google owns YouTube, therefore together they dominate as the top search engines. The attention spans of audiences are shortening, and videos are a great way to attract users to stay on a website longer. Including downloadable content, such as marketing reports, case studies or white papers, offers an additional way to drive lead generation by capturing an email to receive the content. Detailed white papers and case studies are an opportunity to expand on knowledge, helping build a reputation of being an information source from audiences.
Final Considerations in SEO
Developing strong SEO and having high-ranking keywords is not easy. It takes time to create a strategy and patience to see results. Successful SEO requires consistent monitoring – it cannot be created then left without updates. SEO is a roller coaster with peaks and valleys based on what competitors are doing to rank for the same keywords. One month may bring an increase over the competition, while the next brings a decrease because a competitor posted a new video and blog about a specific keyword. At the end of the day, seeing results with targeted keyword rankings and overall SEO takes time. While waiting, remember quality keywords over quantity. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.