Friday, 10 November 2017 - 5 minute read

What Google wants, Google gets

Making your b2b site rank in Google means - one - consistently creating meaningful high quality content that sets out to make a real difference for your audience. And - two - playing nice with all of Google’s technical and quantitative requirements.

You need 5 buildings blocks to make this work.
Get those right, and all else will follow.

No compromises and no surprises, please

But before we start: take a look at a regular search engine result page (SERP).

The answers you get might look like a qualitative selection, and they can be. But for SEO, it’s good to remember that the list of websites Google presents to you is still the result of a quantitative analysis.

So however good your content is: you’ll have to add a lot of quantitative elements to make Google find and love your hard work. Any compromise will affect your ranking.

Okay? Let’s get to work. We’ve got a lot to do.


SEO block 1: your story is what gets you b2b leads

Search engine optimisation is a means, not a goal. Better SEO ranking should lead to more visitors, leading to, well, more and better leads.

This makes your 'story' crucial. It’s why people would find and come to your site in the first place. Your approach should be to publish content that sets out

  • to genuinely help your audience
  • in a way that is unique for your brand
  • and that no one else is doing

Maintaining and managing an SEO-driven b2b content platform then involves:

  • deep market analysis
    how can you really help your audience with their challenges and goals?
  • content strategy
    a plan to produce, publish and maintain your unique content
  • working like a magazine
    with a creative editor team, different media, a ‘reader first’ mentality
  • specific writing and editing skills
    brand identity, for web on mobile/desktop, for social media
  • being in it for the long haul with volume
    a new post per week would be ideal
  • at least asking yourself this question
    would I be willing to go for a non-branded content plan?

SEO block 2: a natural keyword strategy

Despite clickbait claims that keywords and SEO should be dead: they’re not.

You still need keywords to let Google know what your pages are all about, and to come up as answer to relevant search queries.

Better even: keywords are not dead, the're even more alive than ever because you’ve been given more room: you have more freedom in how you use your keyword phrases on your pages - though you should still work within a solid keyword frame.

The good news is: we’re in B2B. The whole world is not massively looking for self-regulating cable technology, just to name one product (sorry, Pentair).

This means it’s rather unlikely we would we targeting high-volume and high-competition keyword phrases. In B2B, we’re in the long tail of search, like we call it. So, more chance of success for us.

Build a keyword strategy around your most important, relevant search phrases and target them in your best blog posts: they’re your corner stone content. Those are your lead generators.

Other related keyword-sensitive blogposts should circle around them and link to those corner stones. The results are different thematic clusters, each with a highly magnetic post in the middle.

This is how you tackle your internal link building strategy.

Now for some classic SEO. Make sure you put your keywords in all the proper places, like in your:

  • metadata
  • tags in links and pics
  • headlines (H1) and sub headings (h2…)
  • phrases in bold

Remember to keep it natural: you don’t have to use the search phrases you come up with literally in your copy, and don’t overdo it in terms of volume.

Google is smart enough to figure out from natural writing with natural keyword variation and density what your content is all about.

People hardly use natural language in search bars, right? And forced SEO writing is bad writing. It alienates and scares people (yes, it does).


SEO block 3: social media and the L-word

Relevant links from sites Google considers valuable (newspapers, academics, official institutes…) is what makes your site rank. It improves your domain and page authority, which you need to give your site search credibility.

The more fine links coming in, the better: so you need a solid link building strategy. Gone are the days, though, where you email or – god forbid – pay to get links happening.

If your content is really good, like you set out to do, it should help your PR to make waves and make it known to your audience. This should give you proper links in the long run.

Social is another way to get known, build a reputation for high value content and get links to your site in the end. If your colleagues are active on social media, make sure they help you to get the message out there.

How? See block 4.


SEO block 4: the right set of tools

This kind of long-term SEO effort makes absolutely no sense without data. You have to be able to properly measure what you’re are doing, what works, what doesn’t, where you have to optimize and what your ROI is.

You need objective tools for that. For example:

  • SEO scoring and strategy tool
    SEOmoz is quite brilliant
  • Google analytics
    and an expert who knows his way around the data
  • a lead generation tool
    like Hubspot to optimize for visitor behaviour, data capturing and lead generation
  • an internal social media ‘enhancement’ tool
    like Smarp or Social Seeder to help your colleagues spread the word

SEO block 5: technical requirements

Quite boring, yes. The SEO tech checklist goes on and on. But don’t play by the rules and your content won’t rank. Just to name a few:

  • a website that works on mobile devices
  • decent server response time (< 500 ms)
  • separate title and meta data on each page
  • decent and customizable url structure
  • a well-built website with neat code

Surprise! Be prepared to start with paid search

Well, this is hardly a surprise, isn’t it? Since Google no longer provides you with the exact keywords people find your page with when they’re logged in into Google, you’ll have to pay to get additional insight.

Paid search (SEA) gives you an idea of phrases that do well, despite the fact that they’re more likely to work better when more ‘exact’, so close to your product and used by people already considering or deciding to buy.

Getting more reach on social media by paying for ads and sponsored updates is needed in most cases too, unless you have already built a solid social presence.

SEO is the way to go for you?

Maintaining your own b2b content platform?
In about half a day our very own Content Cook can show you how to write, blog and publish for better rankings. Sounds good? Contact us

You want us to plan, write and publish your b2b content?
See our work in b2b content strategies and SEO:

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