Content Optimization: How to Optimize Existing Content

Wouldn’t it be nice if your content was set it and forget it? Technically, I guess it could be, but you’d be remiss not to optimize old content. Why? Because everything changes- SEO rankings and trends, competitors coming in and out and all up in your space, your own products and strategies… 

So, here is a step-by-step process on how to optimize existing content. Don’t go about this all willy-nilly. I promise that if you put a little thought and strategy into a plan, your optimization process will go much smoother with better results.

Optimize existing content

Start with Strategy

Before you begin, think about how (or if) your marketing strategy has changed. Have your personas changed or do you know more about them since you first published? Have you honed in on a specific niche or decided that your niche was actually too small? If you know your objectives well, this step will be easy. You may need to do a little research into your strategy docs, but you won’t otherwise need to do anything concrete here.

Now you need to plan out what content you will be optimizing and how you will be optimizing it. What’s the goal of the content? Conversions? Traffic? Let’s look at CTAs, landing pages, and blogs specifically.

Turn your website into a lead machine. Get our free guide. 

Optimizing Existing CTAs

The goal of a CTA is a click. Therefore, look at your all-time click rates for all of your CTAs. According to Niel Patel, a good click-through rate of a CTA is about 3%. You can either optimize all of your CTAs below 3% or you can start with a chunk of the lower performing ones. How to proceed with your optimization plan will depend on the answers to the following questions:

Questions to Ask on CTA Performance:

  • Location:
    Where is the CTA located? Do I need to add it to more places? Is it getting exposure on those pages or is it buried in the noise of other content? Is it still relevant to those pages?
  • Design:
    How’s the creative? Is it similar to other CTAs? Are those CTAs performing?
  • Root Cause:
    Continuing off the previous bullet, do I think it’s the CTA design or is it what I’m offering that’s ineffective? Do I need to rephrase? Ie- Schedule Your Free Consult vs Contact Us & Start for free.
  • A/B Testing:
    Do I already have A/B testing setup? If so, consider replacing the lower performing of the two and leaving the other as is. If you don’t have A/B testing set up, decide whether you want to replace the CTA entirely or add an option B. (Hint: we think A/B testing is the bee’s knees!) Know that A/B testing will take longer to get meaningful results for smaller audiences.

Optimizing Existing Landing Page Content 

Traffic to your landing pages (LPs) will mostly be addressed in your CTA optimization with the exception of any LPs you have linked in your site’s navigation- like contact us. So, let’s focus on optimizing landing pages for conversion, as that is their main goal. Pull analytics on your landing page views, conversions, and conversion rates. According to WordSteam, the average landing page converts at around 2.35%, but your conversion targets should be 10% or higher. 

Optimizing your landing pages is going to focus on your content and the form + CTA. 

Questions to Ask When Optimizing Landing Page Content:

  • Copy:
    Are you clearly describing your offer? Try rephrasing and/or rewriting your headlines and bullet points. Don’t forget about keywords.
  • Relevance:
    Is your offer still relevant? Optimizing won’t fix the problem, but you might be able to get away with reframing the offer until you’re able to replace it.
  • Image:
    Do you have an image? Is it generic or does it depict what you’re offering? Check your alt tags while you’re at it.

Questions to Ask When Optimizing a Landing Page Form:

  • Form Length:
    Are you asking too much? The amount of requested information should be an equal ask to the value of your offer. A super valuable piece of content will have a higher tolerance for a longer form. Conversely, an overly long form will turn people away if your offer isn’t uber valuable.
  • Form Button:
    Does your button match the offer? Consider making buttons like ‘submit’ into something more specific.

Additionally, heat mapping can be a valuable tool for landing page optimization.  There are several free tools available on the market. With heat mapping, you can see how actual users are engaging with your landing pages. These can give you direct insights into what’s preventing conversion from occurring. Here are some more tips on building a landing page that converts.

Optimizing Existing Blog Content

For blog optimization, we’re going to look at a few different things in combination: internal links, keywords, traffic, and conversions. 

Blog Internal Link Optimization:

Pull out your handy-dandy content audit workbook for this section. The content audit is a document that lists the title, description, type, and URL for each piece of inbound content you have. Having this document will be an easy way to reference all of your blogs and offers in one place. If you don’t have one, pull up your blog listing page and CTA dashboard within your CRM. 

Read through your old blogs and add hyperlinks to your new content where relevant. Same with your CTAs.

Questions to Ask on Optimizing Blog Content:

  • Offers/CTAs:
    Do I have a new, more relevant offer to add to this blog? Before you replace an existing CTA, check if it’s working first. Is a smart CTA a good option where CTAs are working?
  • Blog Links:
    Do I have new, relevant blogs to hyperlink?
  • Bonus:
    Are my external links all working?

Blog Traffic and Conversion Optimization:

One of the main goals of blogging is to draw in organic traffic and the other is for your blogs to lead to engagement and conversion. Break out your analytics again to look at those stats. 

  1. Pull a list of the top converting blogs and plan to optimize for better traffic. 
  2. Take the top trafficked blogs and plan to optimize for conversion.

Questions to Ask When Optimizing Blog Traffic:

  • Quantity:
    How much traffic are my blogs getting? Where is it coming from? Has traffic increased over time? This is a sign that it’s starting to pick up steam with SEO. Give it a little push. Has traffic decreased over time? This might be a sign your content is outdated or that your persona’s keywords have shifted to other topics.
  • Keywords:
    How was this blog optimized for SEO initially? Could the keywords use a heavier hand? Sprinkle them in. But also consider if your keywords or phrases changed since this was published. If so, make the appropriate updates to match your new strategy. Here are some tips on finding keywords.

Questions to Ask When Optimizing Blog Conversions: 

  • Opportunities for Conversion:
    Where are your conversion opportunities placed within your blogs? Make sure you have one within the top ⅓ of the blog and then about every 300 words after.
  • Relevance:
    Are the CTAs in your blogs performing on other pages? Use this as an indication of relevance and placement. Switch CTAs out if indicated (reference your content audit workbook again!).

Monitor Your Content Optimization Strategy

After you’ve optimized your existing content, keep an eye on it. With any luck, your updates will pay off. However, it is possible they could have a reserve effect. If you set up A/B testing or smart CTAs anywhere, you’ll want to monitor those and potentially make additional optimizations based on your results.

inbound campaign checklist

Key Takeaways on Optimizing Existing Content

  • Make a plan before you start. Consider your keywords, persona, and goals for each content type.
  • Add new content into the old: find places in blogs to hyperlink to new content and replace old CTAs with more relevant offers if they exist.
  • Consider your keyword strategy and search rankings- add key terms into your content to generate more traffic. 

2019 MnSearch Summit Team Takeaways

Self-proclaimed SEO Geeks from far and wide gathered in St. Paul at the 2019 MnSearch Summit, including the Lake One Team. A non-profit organization founded for and by search marketing geeks, MnSearch aims to speak directly to the search marketing professional and raise the standards and awareness of search in Minnesota.

Didn’t attend the conference? We’ve got you covered in the best TLDR summary of the summit; our key takeaways.

2019 MnSearch Summit

Rachael’s MnSearch Favs

I’ve attended conferences in the past where keynotes were snoozefests and sessions turned out to be not very relevant to my role. However, as a MnSearch first-timer, I’m thrilled to say, that was not the case with the Summit. Here are my top 3 takeaways from the day. 

#1. SEO is a Long-game

I attended the Search Presence Intelligence session with Stephan Bajaio and he opened the session with an analogy comparing Paid Media and SEO to day trading and a 401k. It’s relatable and easy to understand which is precisely why it makes my list. 

Here’s why that analogy makes sense:

  1. SEO is long-game just like retirement.
  2. Your odds of retiring off of day trading alone isn’t very high and neither is achieving all of your digital marketing goals with paid media alone. 

In our work as digital marketers, our clients’ SEO knowledge ranges from beginner to advanced and this analogy is a great one to add to our toolbox when explaining the law that is Google to clients.

#2. Tie PR Activities to Branded Keywords

Often times when reviewing organic keywords and traffic, we pull out the brand-related terms because we are focused on additional keyword terms and phrases related to the buyer’s journey, product offering, etc. However, Will Scott brought up a great point about using branded keyword traffic patterns to help attribute PR efforts.

Of course, we all know that when it comes to PR, merging offline media mentions, mentions without linkage, and other digital efforts can get a little messy and sometimes difficult to attribute. But Will Scott said something impactful. When using branded keyword traffic (or insert any metric here) if there is a significant enough of a correlation in the data, then you can infer causation. So for example, if you are quoted on the local tv news talking about a brand offering and you see a significant spike in direct traffic for that time frame and on the topic of the mention – you can infer causation. Because likely what’s happening is that a user is hearing your brand/offer and typing it directly into Google.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about UTM parameters, but in the event that a custom link wasn’t placed or it’s not part of the deal, a branded terms breakout is a helpful tip. 

#3. Personas Simplified 

Personas. You either love them or you hate them. If you don’t buy into the naming, the persona stories, etc. Kevin Indig had a super simple way of explaining personas and getting down to the nitty-gritty in 3 sentences (or less, depending on your phrasing ;))

I am a ……
Who wants to ….
So I can …..

For example: I am an HR Recruiter who wants to attract and retain top talent to my company so I can reduce turnover and fill open positions quickly with quality candidates.

The above is the bare bones. At Lake One, we prefer to go a little deeper with our personas to fully understand their pain and questions, but for those who can get lost in the weeds, start with the easy guide.

Danielle’s MnSearch Favs

#1. Google Your Company and Specific Pages

It’s hard to attribute this takeaway to any one speaker. Almost every single one touched on it in some way or fashion. You should be Googling your company, and not just for the reasons you think like rankings. Run searches on your individual blog posts to look at your meta descriptions and how your post appears in the results. 

By doing so, you’ll see what your posts and pages look like in the search results. There might be something awry in how it displays. An abbreviation from “do not” to “do”, for example, can turn an intelligent blog to utter nonsense at first glance in the results. 

Also, by searching for your specific pages, you can see if your results appear anywhere else in the results that is not a standard blue weblink. You might have gotten the Snippet position, showed up in the map pack, or potentially even lost your #1 seat to a barrage of other knowledge graphs and Google answers. The best way to find this out is to run the searches yourself. 

And don’t forget to do it on mobile too! 

#2. Intent Rules the Roost

As marketers, it’s easy to get caught up in keyword volume and the opportunity therein. So it was nice to have a refresher on search intent with Jenny Halasz. Search intent is the difference between searching “Cardiology” and “Cardiologist.” 

Cardiology = Intent to find answers on the topic: the profession, procedures, or definitions. Results will likely be pages similar to WebMD.
Cardiologist = Intent to find a medical professional “near me”. Results will likely be a map pack and clinics/specific doctors. 

So, when ideating for your keyword targets, make sure to take intent into consideration. Your results will be more relevant and have a higher possibility of ranking when you’re matched with the answer the user hopes to find. 

Furthermore, we also learned about considering Google’s intent. In almost every session I attended, the speakers addressed how Google is shifting from being a search engine to an answer engine. Their intent is to provide an answer to the user as soon as they can without navigating off of the SERP page. For marketers, that means creating content that serves this purpose

#3. Make Conversions Easy

The last breakout session I attended was with Roger Dooley, author of FRICTION. He talked about removing friction from the buyer’s journey at every step. In short, the easier it is to convert, the more likely people are to do it. Furthermore, when something can be done easier than the other options available, loyalty is built. An example of this is 1 click buying through Amazon or having to sign into a lengthy registration page to buy the same thing from another retailer.

The inbound way usually has an offer (eBook, checklist, webinar, guide…) gated behind a form. We trade contact information for access to our content. So before you blow up your forms with every little nice-to-have piece of information, think about the UX. Do you really *need* to know company size and revenue and favorite color in that awareness ebook form? Probably not. Scrap it and remove the friction to converting. Read more on that, here.

Ryan’s MnSearch Favs

Sometimes “Advanced SEO” means focus on the essentials

Portent CEO Ian Laurie ran a session on advanced SEO. Rather then a bunch of techno mumbo jumbo he pointed out that being advanced often means focusing on the essentials. He outlined 8 principles of advanced SEO. These were my faves: 

#1. Just Fix It

rel= canonical, 301, 302 redirects, url exclusions and so on often are band-aids for seo hot messes. Or, as Ian puts it – abstractions. Essentially they’re an attempt to tell Google: 

via GIPHY

Instead, Ian argues JUST FIX IT. Novel idea – right? 

#2. Find a Source of Truth

We all like to consider ourselves data-driven marketers. We come bearing our tools and data ready to wield insights and put together strategies. Ian points out that when it comes to search, some of the tools don’t quite measure up. When trying to diagnose major problems, you can’t argue against the source of truth. He shared some great methods at reviewing log files. More on that here.

#3. Look at The SERPs

Lastly, you just can’t beat looking at how actual search results are showing up. With how rich the results are now between links and snippets, taking some time to look to see what kind of information Google is actually choosing to share for your query can help inform your overall strategy. 

To be honest, throughout several sessions the “Look at the SERPs” was a constant and present reminder. 

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Must-Have Digital Marketing Technology to Facilitate SEO

When looking at the entire digital marketing technology landscape (all 7,040 options according to Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic), you have a lot of choices.

marketing technology for SEO

So when building your B2B search engine marketing tech stack, where do you start? With our article of course. Here are some of the must-have marketing tools for your B2B SEO stack.

But First, Strategy

We do need to preface this post with a word of caution and Intercom says it well, “a tool is not a strategy”. They go on to say, “you can compare different software packages by their features, but that’s like marrying someone based on their dating profile. The real value marketing software offers is in the strategy and approach it enables.”

So with that being said, start with the strategy and follow with technology. Don’t get lost swimming in the martech ocean of options.

Tech that Attracts & Optimizes

HubSpot’s new Flywheel is the latest and greatest model when it comes to how people think about their businesses. (Curious about the Flywheel? Learn more here). The Flywheel is broken down into three stages: Attract, Engage, and Delight. For this post, we’ll focus on tools that help attract visitors and as a little bonus, many of the tools serve a dual purpose with the ability to help curate data for later optimizations. Technology BOGO.

Marketing Automation Software

Marketing automation software. The mothership. The big Kahuna. It’s almost impossible to talk about digital marketing technology without at least mentioning it. So what exactly is marketing automation? According to HubSpot, marketing automation is defined as the following:

Marketing Automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions such as emails, social, and other website actions.

In addition to the tasks noted above, most marketing automation software has additional features that can help to attract website visitors, which brings us to HubSpot.

HubSpot

HubSpot is inbound marketing, sales, and service software that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Although that definition is somewhat technical, HubSpot really can be a one-stop shop.

At Lake One, we’re big fans of HubSpot and not to mention, we’re also a HubSpot Gold Agency. However, admittedly, HubSpot is an investment in time and in most cases, money. Pricing varies from free to paid based on different services and Hubs.

Want to know what other marketing tools make our favs list? Find out here.

Why we love it: We love HubSpot for its multi-use features that allow our marketing activities to stay connected in one platform. A few of our HubSpot favorites that further B2B SEO efforts are:

  • Landing pages: HubSpot makes it easy to create and duplicate landing pages that are optimized for conversion.
  • Forms: Forms are a must when it comes to capitalizing on the traffic you drive (whether paid or organic) to your website
  • Reporting: Although this doesn’t directly impact SEO, it sure does when it comes to optimization and measuring the effectiveness of your efforts. You can see where traffic is coming from and how visitors are converting (or not converting) on your site.

If you are hesitant to make the leap and purchase marketing automation software, rest assured that there are other tools out there to help you with your SEO objectives. Read on dear reader, read on.

Analytics Tools

If you’re an avid Lake One blog reader, you know we love data-driven decision making. The same rules apply for B2B SEO and especially, keyword research.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a well-known tool for backlinks and SEO analysis. You can audit your website, research competitors, and explore keywords and content. For keywords specifically, you can see top questions, new keywords, and keyword suggestions.

marketing technology

Why we love it: Among other things, Ahrefs gives you insight into how many backlinks it would take to rank on Google’s page one. We can plan our goals and outreach efforts accordingly with their additional insight.

For more Keyword Research Tools, read our blog.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics gives you a birds-eye view of your organic traffic but also allows you to drill-down into specifics like channel or by segment such as audience, behavior, and conversion reports for your organic traffic segment.

Why we love it: It’s a time-tested, reliable source- it’s the Granddad of web analytics. We also love that we can set up goals to track traffic as it moves through specific funnels as a means to monitor how audiences navigate through the site.

For more info on GA, check out this article by Medium.

Content Creation Tools

When it comes to B2B SEO, content creation is inevitable. You must be doing it. Here are a few of our favorite content creation tools.

WordPress

WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS) which accounts for both entire websites and stand-alone blogs.

Why we love it: We’ve found it to be easy to use and really allows for concentrated SEO efforts through plug-ins like Yoast.

Unbounce

Unbounce is a platform that allows you to quickly create, launch, and test-high converting landing pages, popups, and sticky bars without developers.

Why we love it: If you decide to go sans HubSpot or another marketing automation software with landing page capabilities, this is the next best thing. You can easily create customized landing pages and have insights into the data for optimization.

Digital Outreach

Digital outreach and backlink building are critical, yet manual, components of SEO. If done right, outreach should be personalized and tailored to each opportunity. As you can imagine, when it takes several earned backlinks to make an impact on B2B SEO, digital outreach can be time-consuming.

BuzzStream

BuzzStream helps automate some of the outreach processes through researching influencers, managing your relationships, and conducting outreach that’s personalized yet efficient all in one single platform.

Why we love it: Especially as our team continues to grow, it’s critical we have outreach housed in a visible platform for the team at large to access. It takes outreach out of the depths of our inbox and puts it in front of our team.

How to Pick the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Company

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t mistake tools as a strategy. Lead with a strategy and tools and technology should follow.
  • Marketing Automation Software like HubSpot is awesome, but not necessary to achieve your B2B SEO goals.
  • Content tools that help you easily create and optimize landing pages are a must.
  • No matter what tools you use, you can’t forget about the linkage! Digital Outreach can be time-consuming, but critical.

B2B SEO Do’s and Don’ts

B2B SEO is important if you want your site to be found through organic search. We can all agree on that. The “how” of it can be kind of fuzzy, though. Thousands of experts all say different things. While we let the big dogs in the marketing space duke it out over whose theory is the best, our experience and success have led to these B2B SEO do’s and don’ts.

B2B SEO Do’s and Don’ts

 

On the Topic of Your Audience…

DO: Write for your Persona

Your persona is the fictional representation of your target audience. In B2B, it’s important to write for and support the persona who you know is likely to do the research. While the CEO might execute a buying decision, the human resources manager might be the one researching your company. If that’s true, gear your content and SEO strategy to their needs. Find the keywords the HR person is likely to use to find you.

Once your SEO starts bringing in leads, are you ready to handle them? Make sure your sales and marketing teams are aligned. Download the guide.

DO NOT: Write Only for Google

If you’re just writing for Google, you’re not writing for your persona. Google is a means to end; it is how your customer will find you- not your persona and not your buyer. So, how is your persona trying to find you? Leverage Google in that way. Use it to understand your personas and what problems they are actively seeking solutions to solve. By structuring your SEO around answering those questions, you’re naturally appeasing both your audience and the search powers that be.

On the Topic of Strategy…

DO: Have a Strategy

As with most things, having a strategy will typically lead to better outcomes than not. A B2B SEO strategy will help you formulate the structure of your content, allow you to be precise and measured, and direct you toward a specific end goal. How do you create a strategy? We’re glad you asked.

DO: Your Research

There are so many (free) SEO research tools out there that you’d be pretty remiss not to do research to create a strategy. By digging into the search volume for certain terms/phrases, you can find niche areas for quick wins. These wins are usually lower volume but have less competition. For example, while something like “Marketing tips” has thousands of searches every month, unless your HubSpot or Forbes, you’re probably not going to start ranking for that search volume. By researching, you can probably find a niche to fit into your strategy. Something like, “Marketing tips for the construction industry” might turn up as low volume, low competition and is, therefore, a much more attainable goal to try and rank for on page one.

Let research guide your strategy and build your SEO content plan around it. Here are some tips on how to find your B2B SEO keywords.

DO NOT: Toss Around Keywords For the Sake of Having Them

If you have a strategy, fully vetted by research, use it wisely. Those keywords are precious. Sprinkling them over every piece of content like a three-year-old with a shaker bottle of glitter can actually hurt your case. Google is onto that game these days. And they don’t like it. Google will actually lower your rating for the unethical treatment of keywords. Let your keywords build the content that your personas want, and write for humans. Nobody wants to read a blog when obvious keywords are literally in every sentence.

B2B SEO Do's and Don'ts

On the Topic of Relevancy…

DO: Build Links

Link-building is one of the best ways to build relevancy to your site. Having links in and out of your website (known as backlinks) tells Google that you’re legitimate. In general, the larger and more credible your backlink source is, the more beneficial it is to you. For instance, a backlink from Neil Patel is going to help your site’s ranking a great deal more than BillyBobsMarketingBarginShop.com who gets 10 site visits a month (mostly from his mom). This is simply because Neil’s site has more authority- Google ‘knows’ the site. Google does not know Billy Bob yet.

So how do you generate backlinks? Reach out to sites to do guest blogs, list your site in related indexes and registries, ask your partners/vendors to include a link to your site somewhere on theirs, etc. Feel free to get creative and put your brand out there. Here are some additional ideas for building a backlink strategy.

DO: Make Sure Your Content is a Match

Another thing that gives your website authority is how relevant users (and Google) find it. Google wants to know that your content is what it says it is. They favor sites that answer the question the user was looking for initially. They look at bounce rates, entrances, time on page, etc. to determine this. This holds true for landing pages, ads, and backlinks, so make sure that if you’re trying to rank for “B2B SEO Do’s and Don’ts” that your content is actually going to answer the question of things to do and not to do when it comes to B2B SEO. If your content doesn’t match or answer the question the user was searching for, they are likely going to bounce off your site immediately. That behavior will ultimately hurt your ranking.  

DO NOT: Generalize Everything

Continuing off those last two points, don’t keep your SEO at a generalized, high level if you can help it. It takes time and effort to write the content that carries out your SEO strategy, so high-level, most important keywords/phrases are the best place to start. But once that has legs, get into the nitty-gritty and what your persona wants. Enter: the pillar page. Pillar pages are long-form pieces of content that dive into the details of specific content verticals. These pages answer several frequently searched questions on related topics in one keyword-packed, helpful place. These pages are an opportunity to not only be an authority on a subject to your persona but to also culminate your strategy.

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Key Takeaways for B2B SEO Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Write for your persona: the person likely doing research to find you
  • Have a strategy and let research dictate it
  • Your strategy should include answering the questions your persona is searching 
  • Build relevancy and authority on your site through backlinks and related content

3 B2B SEO Myths

It’s easy to find advice on SEO. Not surprisingly, the companies that are best at it are able to get their pages to rank highly. When you do a search for B2B SEO, you’ll get a ton of results to sift through. You may notice rather quickly that you will see different guidance from one page to the next. It can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. Here are three B2B SEO myths we’ve debunked to set the record straight.

B2B SEO Myths

Myth: B2B SEO Needs to Target Top-Level Executives Only

Truth: Executives often appoint other people to perform research for potential purchases and then present detailed options.

Executives are busy people. They probably don’t have time to spend hours sifting through features, calling for pricing, and comparing products. So, they tend to assign someone else to do that work and bring back information for the best options.

Looking for agency help with your B2B strategy? Here’s how to pick a good one.

The decision-making process within B2B companies typically involves a few players. There are decision-makers (usually the executives) and then there are influencers (no, not like the ones on Instagram). An influencer within a decision-making process is a person that is involved in the research phase, like an admin assistant or lower level manager, and although they may not make the final decision on their own, they have a lot of power to influence by providing specific recommendations and suggestions.

Really, your B2B SEO efforts should target the influencers that would be doing the actual searching for your product or solution rather than just the executives that are most likely involved later in the decision making process.

Myth: Mobile Isn’t as Important for B2B as it is for B2C

Truth: 50% of B2B search queries are made on mobile, and this percentage will grow to 70% by 2020.

B2B SEO Myths

Being mobile friendly is important in all industries—it’s the largest source of traffic in nearly all of them.

Unfortunately, many B2B websites are behind the times in design and SEO, even for the desktop, but especially for mobile. A large percentage of B2B sites either have clunky mobile sites or don’t have a mobile version at all.

Most executives and many mid-level managers have company-issued smartphones or tablets and they regularly use them to conduct business, especially if they are on the move a lot. Not just for calls, but also for online research and sometimes even to make purchases for the company.

If your B2B company doesn’t offer a user-friendly mobile site, you may be missing out on business from modern workers that prefer to use their mobile devices and tablets while on the go. [Click here to read more about why B2B SEO is important in the first place.]

Myth: I Just Need a Ton of Content, As Quickly As Possible

Truth: Content for B2B SEO strategy should focus on quality, not quantity.

Content is an extremely important piece of the SEO puzzle, and there are many rumors and untruths around what works and doesn’t. Some believe loading up a ton of mediocre content packed with keywords is all it takes to win. This tactic may have worked one point in time, but random keyword explosions all over your website isn’t a winning strategy anymore. [Read tips on selecting your targeted keywords here.]

B2C relies on making quick, personal connections and triggering emotional responses to get people to purchase on the spot. The goal of an SEO content strategy is usually to rank highly and get in front of as many eyes as possible to raise the likelihood of people making a purchase.

B2B is less personal because the product will typically be utilized by a company instead of a specific individual. SEO is less about getting in front of as many eyes as possible and more about really trying to find the specific sets of eyes that need your product or service the most. Keep in mind that B2B isn’t an overnight win, for B2C or B2B.

How to Pick the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Company
With the extended length and complexity of many B2B sales cycles, the focus for content should be to provide a ton of value and educate your searchers on how your product or service will solve problems for their company. The primary goal of your B2B SEO content strategy should be to build trust in order to generate and nurture leads to eventually speak to your sales team.

How to Raise Your SEO from the Dead

If SEO isn’t constantly a part of your ongoing marketing strategy, it’s easy to fall behind. It’s a little like grades or credit scores. It takes some time to build up to where you’d like to be, but it sure is easy to lose ground quickly when you aren’t focused.

If you find yourself coming back to your SEO and realizing that it has died a swift death while the rest of the internet moved on, don’t worry. There are ways to bring it back to life without starting over completely. Here are our tips on how to do an SEO refresh.

SEO Refresh

Resuscitate Your Old Pages & Articles

Chances are, if you’ve had a blog for a few years, you’ve written about some similar topics quite a few times. When a recycled topic starts trending again, take a look back through your blog to find relevant articles.

[Wondering why SEO is important in the first place? Here’s the answer.]

Instead of dedicating the time to writing a fresh, new article, go back through a couple of the older ones and bring them up to date.

  • Add some current keywords
  • Update your headlines
  • Replace any broken links
  • Make sure your spelling and grammar are perfect
  • Update any statistics
  • Republish as new

Google likes fresh content, and people are more likely to click on articles with recent publication dates.

If you want to get more specific with this strategy, you can find the blogs that were high converting but haven’t seen much traffic lately. Aim to refresh those from an SEO standpoint first. Also, take a look at which of your blogs are receiving the most traffic, but have low conversion rates, and build them up with fresh, new conversion opportunities.

This strategy can also work for your older website pages, especially landing pages. Keep in mind that SEO is about the long game, too.

Revive Your Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the top factors that Google considers in ranking. If it’s been a while since anyone has considered your site an authority on a topic, there are ways to remind them. [Don’t have a backlink strategy? Try these easy to tackles tips.

seo refresh

Do some guest blogging

Guest blogging may take a little time as you’ll need to create your outreach targets, pitch to those people, and the write the accompanying articles should you get a bite on your pitch. In addition to the SEO-boosting backlinks, you’ll get with guest posting, you’ll also be creating relationships and building brand recognition.

If you’re not sure where to start, a quick Google search with your keyword plus “guest posts” or “submit an article” should give you a few options. You can also look at some of the most popular blogs in your niche, see the thought leaders that are contributing there, and locate their profiles to see all of the sites to which they’ve contributed.

Create a timely infographic

Part of your job as a marketer is to understand what issues or topics are trending within your industry. A great way to get noticed quickly is to create an eye-catching infographic about a popular topic.

You’ll need to make sure it is relevant and valuable, including accurate and up-to-date statistics. It will also need to be visually attractive so make sure you have a good designer put it all together with an appealing color scheme and graphics.

Next, you’ll need to get it out into the world. Of course, get it up on your website and share it on all of your social media channels. Also, submit it to infographic directories and do some outreach to sites that have shared similar infographics before or sites that are considered authorities in your niche (they’ll definitely want to share content that is relevant to currently trending topics). Follow these tips on identifying your keywords and topics.

Repurpose Your Existing Content

Get creative about how many different ways you can utilize a single piece of content. For example, a great blog article or white paper can also be turned into a podcast simply by reading the article. You could make the podcast even more interesting by pulling out snippets of the article and interviewing an expert on the topic.

An article could also be turned into a slideshow presentation and uploaded onto LinkedIn or Slideshare. You could turn an infographic into an article or vice versa. Another idea is to grab some of your best-trafficked articles or content, do some keyword research, and create easily-shareable social media graphics with high-performing keywords, informative snippets, and eye-catching creative.

With blog series or long-form articles on a specific topic, consider compiling the information together to create a webinar series. Generate buzz, present live, and record it. Then, turn that recording into a downloadable lead magnet to generate even more contacts.

How to Pick the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Company

Repurposing options are pretty limitless and can be fun and allow your team to test their creativity and innovation. If you already have great content, repurposing it can save you a ton of time while also allowing you to quickly build up your pool of updated, fresh content.

 

Tips for Identifying B2B SEO Keywords

If ‘Content is king’, SEO is most definitely queen.

The SEO landscape is ever changing; however, the need for traffic and for your company to rank on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is not.

According to MOZ, SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. And do you know what goes hand-in-hand with SEO? Keywords. Keywords are at the very core of SEO. They are defined as words and phrases that people type into search engines in order to find the answers to their questions.

Keywords are a critical component for SEO strategy because they play a significant role in helping your website rank on SERPs. Higher rankings equal more traffic to your website and ultimately, more conversions. Here are tips for identifying B2B SEO keywords.

Identifying B2B SEO Keywords

The Long and Short of It

There are several variations of keywords combinations, and not all keywords are created equal. The type of keyword you select depends solely on your goals, the buyer you want to attract, and the results you want to achieve.

[Wondering why B2B SEO is important in the first place? Click here.]

There are two main types of keywords:

Short/Header Keywords: Short keywords are just that, short words that typically describe a category. For example, SEO. Short keywords can be flashy and shiny from a volume perspective, but they tend to be lofty goals and often requires deep pockets to make any headway against the competition.

Long Tail Keywords: Long tail keywords are longer searches and can often contain more intent. Long tail keywords typically have lower volume than some of the short keywords, but they can pack a powerful punch when it comes to competition. Space is less crowded.

Short Keyword: SEO

Long Tail Keyword: How do I identify keywords for B2B SEO?

Think About Your Buyer Personas

Before we get too in the weeds on types of keywords, volume, and difficulty, we need to take a step back and think, “Who are my buyers and how are they searching?. Buyer personas are at the heart of inbound and should be a driving force in your B2B SEO strategy. Buyer personas, according to HubSpot, are a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

[For a refresher on Inbound marketing, here are the basics]

Part of defining your buyer personas are thinking about their pain points, how they are searching, what they are searching for, and when. The buyer’s journey, is the process buyers go through to become aware of their problem or pain, consider and evaluate solutions, and decide to purchase a new product or service.

Meeting your buyers where they are at in the buyer’s journey with keywords that align to how they search is the ultimate goal. In order to do that, break it down by stage.

Awareness

In the awareness stage, the buyer knows they have a problem, but they may not be able to put a name to their pain yet so search terms in the awareness stage are often questions.

Keyword Example: How do I get my company to rank on Google? How do I get more visitors to my website?

B2B SEO Keywords

Consideration

In the consideration stage, the buyer is aware they have a problem and has begun to consider solutions to the problem.

Keyword Example: SEO Solutions, Options for improving SEO, How to build a B2B SEO strategy

Decision

In the decision stage, the buyer is looking for a solution and likely ready to buy. Here they are comparing solutions, reading reviews, and making the decision of who to buy from.

Keyword Example: B2B SEO agencies near me, Best B2B SEO agency

Put yourself in your buyers’ shoes, familiarize yourself with your persona stories. From there, let the research begin. For more information on aligning keywords with your buyer’s journey, check out this article.

[SEO results won’t happen overnight. Here’s why.]

Keyword Tools

Third-party keyword research tools are essential when it comes to selecting keywords. The tools can help us learn about keyword volume, keyword difficulty, and help us to discover new keyword opportunities.

There are several keyword research tools in the marketplace, but here are a few favorites.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a tool widely known for backlinks and SEO analysis. Their Keywords Explorer provides relevant keyword ideas and traffic estimations and in particular. The tool also provides estimates on how many backlinks you need to obtain in order to rank for a given term.

Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere is one of Ryan’s favorites. It’s a free browser add-on that shows search volume, cost-per-click, and competition data when you visit a SERP. Plus, unlike Ahrefs, it’s free! Can’t beat that.

Moz

It’s hard to talk about SEO and not mention MOZ. MOZ is a widely popular SEO tool that allows you to do in-depth keyword research and SERP analysis through researching volume, quality, and competitive analysis. In addition to the tool, they offer training and great tips for leveraging local search.

[Check out some more of our favorite tools!]

Keyword Inspiration

Okay, so you’re in tune with your buyers, you are thinking about tools, but what’s next? You need to generate a B2B SEO keyword list before you can start honing in on your targets. Here are a few of our recommendations for keyword inspiration outside of running searches in the tools mentioned above.

Current Rankings

Especially if you are embarking on a new B2B SEO effort, do a temperature check and see where you are at with your current rankings. What terms are you ranking for? Are they relevant? Are there terms that you would like to rank higher for? If so, add them to your list and do a deep dive on the stats to understand what it will take to move the needle.

Competitors

Check out what the competition is doing. What are they writing about? What phrases are they using? As we mentioned above, keyword research can help you do some digging to see what’s happening behind the scenes but don’t discount paying your competitors site a visit and seeing what you can gleam yourself. There’s something to be said for a little digital sleuthing.

B2B SEO Keywords

Google Searches

One of the most obvious, but most likely to be missed suggestion with all of the tools and data at our disposal, is literally a Google search. Try googling a keyword you are interested in and review the suggested search terms at the bottom of the SERP page for ideas.

Also, see who comes up in the SERPs. What topics are they writing about? It can give you an idea of what content is already ranking towards the top in answer to your buyers’ queries.

Keyword Selection

Keyword selection is both an art and a science and involves choosing quality keywords. Keyword quality is often talked about by describing both the search volume and the difficulty of the keyword.

Keyword Search Volume: Search volume is the number of people searching for the keyword for a given set of time. Most platforms aggregate the volume number monthly.

Keyword Difficulty: Keyword difficulty is a numerical score which indicates how hard it would be to rank in the top position on the SERPS for the keyword term or phrase.

As a rule of thumb, you should select higher volume, lower difficulty keywords that still align with your buyer personas and content strategy.

Looking for help with your B2B SEO Strategy? Request a consult.

REQUEST A CONSULTATION

Key Takeaways:

  • Bring it back to the personas – as with all things inbound, they should be at the heart of your strategy.
  • Do your research and leverage third-party tools to help you aggregate data around volume, difficulty, and opportunity.
  • Look outside the keyword research tools for keyword inspiration from your current rankings, competitors and real-time Google searches.

Why B2B SEO is Important

According to Google, “71% of B2B decision makers start the decision-making process with a general web search.” That stat in and of itself should be enough for you to want to amp up your B2B SEO strategy. In case it’s not though, here are a few reasons why B2B SEO is important for your organization.

B2B SEO is Important

Your Customers are Human

It can be easy to dehumanize your B2B customers and think of them as a business entity. However, the truth is, the connection you need to make is a human one. Connect with the people that are influencing and making decisions within your target companies. Whether it be SEO, content marketing, or closing a sale, the aim should always be to reach and make an impact on individuals, not companies.

B2B SEO isn’t set it and forget it, nor is it a quick fix. Read why.

And we humans really like to search for things online. 81% of B2B purchase cycles start with a web search. As more and more tech-raised millennials and Gen Z-ers move into those roles, that number will continue to climb.

Your Industry Is Ready for B2B SEO

If you’re lucky, you may be in an industry that’s still pretty sleepy with their digital presence. Examples of this are industries related to blue-collar work or manufacturing. In general, they are just now beginning to embark on their digital journeys, dusting off websites from the early 2000s and revamping social pages. Because of this though, there’s a tremendous opportunity to start ranking now. Quickly.

If you’re one of only a handful of companies in your space pursuing an SEO strategy, you’re basically being given the gift of a home-field advantage when the competition didn’t show up.

On the flipside of that, your industry might be on top of their B2B SEO game already. In that case, a B2B SEO strategy and strong digital presence are critical to either staying relevant to be found or be left in the dust. This is one time when saying “everybody else is doing it!” really means you should be, too.

Mobile B2B Searches are Increasing

The vast majority of us are running around with miniature computers in our pockets, and we turn to them when we need information. Google has reported that 50% of B2B search queries today are made on smartphones. That figure is expected to grow to 70% by 2020. [HubSpot agrees. Download the 2018 State of Inbound report to learn more.]

B2B SEO Importance

Because of this, Google serves mobile search results differently than they do desktop results. To start, they put a larger emphasis on location and Google Places results than anything else. Furthermore, people tend to use mobile search differently than on a desktop, so Google adapts their algorithm to match. A mobile search is typically abbreviated phrases and/or uses fewer words than a desktop search. For example, a desktop search may be, “How to reduce employee absenteeism in the corporate setting”. A similar mobile search could be pared down to just, “reducing corp absenteeism”.

There are many tools that will show you what people are actually using to find your site on each device. Knowing this information can help you tailor your strategy appropriately and optimize for each vertical successfully. The bottom line is that if you aren’t showing up when people turn to their phones to find you, your competition will be winning those sales.

SEO-Aligned Content Will Convert Leads

Within the inbound scope, content marketing serves two main purposes: 1) To inform, educate, and move users through the buyer’s journey ultimately converting them to a qualified lead, and 2) to drive traffic through keywords and phrases.

You might have the best, most informative, converting content ever created. But it won’t convert a single lead unless your audience is able to find it. B2B SEO allows users to discover your content. Furthermore, “SEO-aligned content marketers drive 54% more revenue growth year-over-year.” This is because a B2B SEO aligned content strategy will inherently create relevant content. You’ll naturally be speaking to and answering the keywords and phrases your users are searching if you’re aligned. Let the content work in each phase of the conversion funnel, and be ready for your leads when they’re ready to convert. 

Why B2B SEO is a Long Game

There are a lot of opinions and misinformation around B2B Search Engine Optimization (SEO). There are people who will swear they’ve figured out the latest and greatest trick and can get any page to rank #1 in a couple of days. Then there are countless articles that lay out the best ways to bypass the rules and get ahead quickly. The problem with this kind of information is that it simply isn’t true. In order to really win, in a consistent and sustainable way, you have to be willing to commit to B2B SEO for the long haul. Here’s why.

how long does B2B SEO take

B2B SEO Cheating Doesn’t Work (for Long)

Google hires geniuses from all over the world. If you think you can outsmart Google geniuses and algorithms, you are probably wrong. There was a time when companies could pay for links or stuff a bunch of white keywords in white space on a page, and for a second, tricks like that might have given them a boost.

A solid B2B SEO plan is part of the modern marketing philosophy. Learn more in our post.

However, Google stays ahead of the cheats these days. They keep their algorithms top secret and change them almost constantly. It is, of course, possible to understand some of the basic caveats of how to rank on Google, but ultimately, it’s a game where the rules constantly change. 

The best way to rank on Google is to become an authority in your particular niche. Create amazingly valuable content on fast, easy-to-navigate pages. Get the attention of others and build real connections to other highly ranked pages through links.

High Quality, Valuable Content Takes Time to Create

Content is valuable and helpful on its own, but pairing it with B2B SEO efforts can allow it to get out in front of a wider audience and to be discovered by more than just your biggest fans. Because of this, a lot of companies have jumped on the “content is king” bandwagon and decided to cannonball into the content marketing pool. However, many businesses look for a quick fix. They have untrained people whip up (or even plagiarize) a bunch of short articles for cheap and wonder why it doesn’t move the needle.

These tools can help you up your SEO and content game. Check ’em out.

Writing for SEO takes training, talent, and focus plus a little science and math. And while you might have excellent writers ready to churn out blog after blog, they may not have the appropriate skills when it comes to writing for SEO.

Content is one of those areas where you’ll get out what you’re willing to put in. If you want to pay $10 per article, chances are you aren’t going to get great writing, much less content that will be truly valuable.

If you’re willing to invest time and capital in a writer who can learn your business and properly convey your value prop with well-researched, informative content, you might be able to get somewhere.

How Long does B2B SEO Take

The writer is just one example. The same goes for video content, design, podcasts, etc. Don’t expect expert output from novice talent.

B2B SEO Optimization Doesn’t Happen Overnight

B2B SEO optimization in and of itself can take a bit of time. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll have a lot of learning to do. Even if you bring in a professional, there will need to be a full sweep of your site and content. Some things may need to be completely re-written, some will just need to be optimized, new items will need to be created. There are a lot of little details that go into SEO that simply take time to get through.

How to Pick the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Company

Time to “win” really depends.

The one thing that many different authorities on the topic tend to agree on is that it typically takes between 4-6 months to see results fromB2B SEO. The reality is no site is exactly the same (or they shouldn’t be anyways because that is against the rules) so it’s nearly impossible to predict exactly how long it might take to reach your particular SEO goals. The best hope to hold onto is that once you do start to see results, they tend to continue to grow moving forward as long as you keep making fresh content and continuing to optimize.

4 Link-Building Tips Startups Can Implement Without a Computer Science Degree

Launching a company can be tough. Not only do you have to hire a staff to run the company, raise funds from investors, manage logistics and run a team, you also need to market your company and the product or service that you offer so that you can build a reputation and generate revenue. One of most powerful ways to do that is via the internet.

startup linkbuilding tips

Online marketing is an essential piece of the promotional puzzle for any company that wants to succeed today, and it includes many components: digital display advertising, paid search ads, content marketing and blogging, and more. One of the most important types of online marketing for startups is search engine marketing — or SEO. By optimizing your site for search, you can ensure that your website ranks high in search results and comes up close to the top, which means that internet users will be more likely to discover and click on it.

Mastering the art of SEO is complicated. Search engines like Google use a complicated algorithm in order to determine rankings. However, one of the most important parts of achieving a good SEO score is link building.

When other reputable sites link back to your blog, it proves that your content is high-quality and valuable. Thus, Google determines that you’re worthy of a better ranking, and shows you to searchers earlier.

It might feel hard to get links out on the web if you have a brand new company. However, there are some link-building tips that can be very useful for startups, so you can start building a reputation on the web — both via other sites who link to yours and via search engines.

Here are four link building tactics you can roll out without a phd.  

Reach Out to Influencers in Your Niche

One of the most powerful tools for promoting a product or service today is an influencer. Influencers are people with large social media or online followings, so when they share information about your company, it gets seen by many people. Reach out to influencers in your niche and ask them if you can give them money or free products or services in exchange for their promotion. If you’re able to find an influencer to partner with you to promote your product, you can get them to link to your website via their social media pages or website. That will give their followers the chance to check you out while building the number of links you have.

Start a Blog

Beyond your own website, start a blog where you post high-quality content regularly. You can include links to your site and products in the blog, which will help increase the number of links that exist on the web. Blogging itself — if your blogs are posted on your website — also helps boost your SEO score since high-quality written content plays into your ranking, too.

Answer Forum Questions About Your Area of Expertise

answer questions on forums to build links

There are many places online where people post questions, look for answers or have discussions. Find some of these resources, then answer questions that are relevant to your expertise or industry. In your answer, include a link to your site so people can check out more about what you do or know. That way, you prove yourself to be a knowledgeable and valuable thought leader while also increasing the number of links to your site on the web. Some good places to execute this tactic include Reddit, Quora or Craigslist Forums.

Talk to Other Local Businesses in Your Area or Potential Partner Businesses

If you have a brick-and-mortar presence, approach other businesses in your area and see if they would be willing to do a partnership with your company. Then, your companies can post about each other on the web. By partnering with a company to do a cross-promotion, you get to be exposed to their followers and customers while also successfully link building. If you only have an online presence, you can do the same thing with a company that’s compatible with yours; for example, if you offer a product, you may want to approach a company that makes a different product that can be used in tandem with yours. (e.g., a bicycle company could approach a helmet company for a partnership). In order to encourage another company to partner with yours, you may come up with an idea for a joint discount or deal that customers of either or both companies can enjoy.

Running a new business is difficult, and one of the most challenging parts is getting the word out about that business. Luckily, marketing a startup has become easier than ever thanks to the internet and tools like search engines. If you learn to master the art of SEO and understand how to link build, you can ensure you have a great score on engines like Google and Bing, which means that the people searching will discover you, become your customers and hopefully help spread the word about you to other potential customers, too!