How to Optimize your Website for SEO, as featured in FOCUS
Every day too many business leaders, in the B2B technology space in particular, are pushing inbound leads to their competition by ignoring Search Engine Optimization, or “free /organic” search.
There are many misconceptions around SEO that make it an usavory component of many B2B lead generation strategies. To name a few:
- SEO is only important to B2C companies, who depend on high-volume lead flow.
- It takes too long, too much time, too much in consulting fees, to rise up the ranks.
- I don’t want to “ruin” my content by “writing for the search engines.”
I’d like to address each of these concerns from the flip side, and provide you with a few easy ways to take a bite out of SEO.
Your First Consideration: Is SEO important to my business?
SEO is important to any business that needs to reduce the cost of their leads, increase the volume of their leads, and/or increase the return on their leads. Imagine making just one sale from a prospect who found you via SEO. What would that be worth? Now imagine doing that a few times a year. It doesn’t take much for companies with complex B2B sales cycles to justify an SEO strategy. Take a look at your competition in free search results. Can you afford to give away leads to the resulting firms?
5 Initial Steps to SEO Results for B2B Websites
- Review your website’s home page. How many times does your primary keyword (meaning, what you provide for a living) occur? Shoot for “several” mentions. Maybe 3% if you are not already there. Some consultants argue that the lion’s share of your search engine readiness (up to 90%) is determined by your home page. You also want to conduct a keyword analysis, but not today, we’re keeping it simple.
- Do a competitive comparison. Search on terms that you believe are important to you, and see who shows up. Check out the language they use on their homepage. How do you compare?
- Accept a free consultation from an SEO pro near you. See what kind of potential they think you have for new rankings. They will also share “easy wins” that you can address yourself, or for which you can use them.
- Consider a blog if you don’t already have one. Keep it SEO-friendly from the start. Create focused content related to one topic. Yes, blogging can be outsourced, if you simply don’t have time.
- Is your keyword in your domain name(s)? This is important, but we’ll leave this for another day.
Writing for readers IS writing for search engines
Clear, descriptive, focused content related to your keyword/topic is good for every person and every search engine. There is actually no such thing as “SEO copy”. But you do want to take every opportunity to create as much relevant copy as you can for your readers, and that includes your “crawlers”.
Back in the old days, some writers overdid keyword mentions, making clunky copy, like “this is a student loan site that specializes in student loans for kids and parents who need student loans.” The belief that “SEO copy” ruins “normal copy” started there and persists among some business leaders.
The Bottom Line
Most, if not all, companies that wish to make the most of their website, and increase the odds of receiving inbound leads, will benefit from a formal SEO strategy. Follow the steps above, confer with an expert, and decide on the next steps that make sense for your firm.
Kathy Tito Dunlay
President and Founder, New England Sales & Marketing