SEO and B2B Marketing Content: A Primer
By Yeager Marketing
SEO. Everyone’s talking about it, but not many people are doing it.
And even fewer are doing it well. That’s a problem considering:
63k searches are performed on Google every second*
39% of all global e-commerce traffic comes from search
93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine
80% of users ignore paid ads in search results
50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020
58% of searches come from mobile
97% of page one results have at least one image on the page
46% of all Google searches are local
Take a second to let those numbers sink in.
The need for SEO is undeniable. So how can content marketers get maximum benefit from it?
What is SEO?
First of all, what is SEO? When we asked Ron Weber, the Agile Digital Lab Owner and Global SEM Strategist for Teradata Corporation that question he told us, “…SEO is the practice of making your site attractive to the search engines by producing great content, and making sure your site is technically sound so that both the users and the robots can get through your site pretty easily.” Makes sense, right?
The Basics: SEO, Paid Search and Organic Search
What’s the difference between Paid Search and Organic Search? Paid search is a form of digital marketing where search engines such as Google and Bing allow advertisers to show ads on their search engine results pages (SERPs). Paid search works on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning advertisers don’t pay until someone clicks on their ad.
Organic search, on the other hand, refers to unpaid search results. Unlike paid search results (pay-per-click advertising), organic search results are based on their relevance to user search queries, links and domain authority, and other organic ranking factors.
How SEO Impacts Content
“Search still matters in 2020. It matters to searchers and it matters to business.”
–Ron Weber, Agile Digital Lab Owner and Global SEM Strategist, Teradata Corporation
Simply put, SEO has a significant impact on marketing content and neglecting it is a mistake. The first step in creating SEO-friendly content is determining who the target is. With a blog post, for example, ask who the reader is (or should be), and think in specific terms: “This blog post needs to show up on top of the first page of search results when a Chief Human Resources Officer or VP of Talent Acquisition searches for ‘best enterprise talent acquisition software’.”
If a is written for an internal audience, for use in an employee newsletter or intranet site, it doesn’t necessarily need SEO, but if it’s repurposed for an external audience—blog, social—it will. Rather than re-engineering the post, save time and make SEO a primary consideration for all content produced.
What are Keywords and How Should They be Used?
Keywords are the cornerstone of SEO for B2B marketing content (or any web content). A keyword describes the content within a post, article, landing or other web page. When users search for that keyword, phrase, or question in Google, Bing, or Yahoo the search engines, having crawled your page content, will include it in the SERP, assuming certain guidelines are followed.
Search algorithms are always evolving, but a few key rules to follow are:
- Use a Browser Title with no more than 60 characters
- Include a Meta Description of 160 characters or less
- Incorporate the primary keyword into the H1 Title
- Expand the body of the post or page to at least 600 words
- Use a primary keyword 3-4 times, and a secondary keyword 1-2 times (per 600 words on page)
- Take advantage of H2 and H3 headlines with keywords
- Include 3-5 crosslinks(links within the site) per every 600 words
- Name images used within the piece using the keyword(s)
Keep it Human in Spite of the Algorithm
Yes, an algorithm drives Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), but the content must be written for humans. According to Weber, “Keywords still matter, but it’s really about usability; writing for your user first.”
Maintain a user-focused tone in all B2B marketing content, using unbranded keywords that the humans in the target audience or segment(s) will use when searching. One trick is to think in terms of questions people ask themselves (or the web) when searching: “What is a cloud consumption model? Who are the top hybrid cloud providers?” Take some time to research and test drive seo keyword tools, too. There are many to choose from, and some of the most trusted are free. Google Keyword Planner requires an AdWords account for access (no cost), and given the volume of search cycled through Google it makes sense to use it. Others—Moz Keyword Explorer, Soovle, SEMrush—have fans and offer a variety of unique features that can help fine-tune SEO efforts.
SEO is Both an Art and a Science
Rising to the top of SERPs isn’t easy given the volume of content being produced—in March 2019, more than 4.4 million blog posts were published every day.** Writing for SEO does require a slight shift in thinking from traditional writing, but ROI on search optimized content makes it worth the effort.
If you haven’t already, take a few minutes to listen to the latest episode of our Top 3 for Tech Marketers [LINK] podcast to hear more of what Ron Weber shared about SEO best practices.