search_engine_optimisation.pngWhat’s the point in a website that looks amazing, which is primed to generate leads, if no one can find it? With the first position in google receiving approximately 33% of the clicks , it is every marketer’s goal – or it should be – to have their website rank number one. The more traffic you can bring to your website, the greater your opportunity for increasing the number of leads your website generates. But it’s not just about the volume of leads, the quality of them is key too; and this means putting in the effort to ensure that you are attracting more of the ‘right’ people to your website.

However, with Google’s real estate in such high demand it has become their job to make manipulating the results difficult, whilst penalising those who attempt it – meaning that the ‘rules, regulations, and algorithms' which police google results are constantly evolving and updating. With such fierce competition, a dedicated SEO strategy which works in compliance with these guidelines is essential for reaching the first page of search engine results and generating a high level of website traffic which can be converted into highly qualified leads.

At a foundational level, the goals of a basic SEO strategy should be to optimise a website in a way which builds a reputation of relevance and trust. This will denote its rank within a query, whilst providing a high standard of visitor satisfaction and content quality. There are so many ways in which this can be achieved, and it would be difficult to illustrate them all in this post and the interplay that they have with each other.  But we’ve considered some of the basics that should always be considered for a sound starting point in an SEO strategy:

1. User experience

“Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.”

- Google

Despite the multitude of algorithms and technical elements that work behind the scenes to determine a page ranking, SEO is in many ways an art rather than a science. And this is particularly evident in Google’s emphasis on user experience as a contributing influence, as there is no one metric that can be used to determine the quality of experience your visitors have. Here are a couple of considerations to refine your user experience:

 a. Understand who you want to visit your site

The first step in optimising your website experience is to determine who you are creating an experience for, as this will have one of the greatest impacts on the rest of your strategy. The most efficient way to do this is to consider your buyer personas and the experiences they require in order to find, visit and convert on your website.

 b. Make sure your website performs technically

One of the key factors reviewed by search engines in terms of user experience is how well it performs technically. This means that your strategy should include a process for continual maintenance. Critical to this is the elimination of broken links and missing pages with the appropriate re-directs, allowing Google to crawl your site correctly. Nobody likes to be kept waiting and research shows that website visitors are only willing to wait mere seconds for a page to load. Page load times play a significant role in getting your traffic onto your site and giving them the experience they need to convert. With over half of all digital traffic coming from mobile traffic, one of the most recent adaptations to the algorithm now penalises websites not optimised for mobile.

c. Relevance and quality

Key to generating leads is having the appropriate people find and visit your website and in turn, find it useful. This means that overall your website should be optimised for your buyer personas so as to provide a desirable experience and offer high quality content.  When reviewing each individual page, it becomes important to consider the purpose of each page and its relevance to each visitor’s goal. When your prospects are thrilled by the experience they’ve had on your site, they are much more inclined to share and redistribute your content, which is perhaps one of the most valuable SEO contributions. User experience’s greatest impact to SEO is through the increase it creates in organic sharing and distribution.

 

2. Keyword research 

Your keywords are the bread and butter of any SEO strategy and are critical to the optimisation of every website page. Keyword research should be used to understand the types of queries your buyer personas enter into search engines. This demonstrates how you can best align your pages as being the most relevant and authoritative in answering the needs and challenges of your personas.

Long-tail keywords are key to generating large volumes of specific and relevant traffic to your website, and can be determined by considering the challenges of your buyer personas which can be answered by your product or service. In addition to these primary keywords, you should include elements which contextualise your website and subject matter.  This enables google to better understand the value you can offer, and best rank your site for the most appropriate queries. To do this accurately, you must consider your visitors’ intent and needs as they enter search terms into Google, which can vary as they move though the buyer’s journey.

 

3. Keyword placement 

Knowing which keyword phrases to use is only the first step - how you incorporate them throughout your site is critical. SEO masters all have differing opinions on the best practices for creating content which is best optimised for search engines, but there are a few basic principles which can be agreed upon:

a. Content length

Content length is a widely debated subject with some arguing the longer the better and others short and sweet. Ultimately, this can be decided by considering the user experience you are trying to achieve. If your visitors are in search of a detailed step-by-step guide, they will surely be disappointed by a page containing only a paragraph; while the reverse could also prove to be true.

b. Keyword optimisation

Each content piece should ideally be optimised for only one or two long-tail key words. This means that these should ideally be present in the content, page title, page URL, and image alt-tags. When optimising a page for SEO, marketers must be sure not to overuse these phrases, as search engines penalise what they consider to be “Keyword Stuffing”.

 

4. Authority 

When you optimise your website for specific keywords, you are telling search engines about the keywords you would ‘like’ to rank for. However, without Google being able to perceive you as a credible source for information, it is unlikely that you will reach very high in search results.

a. Off-page optimisation

High traffic volumes and third-parties linking to your website as a credible information source demonstrate to search engines that your website contains relevant and educational content that matches your keywords, therefore giving you authority on that subject matter and improving your rankings.

Outwith your direct control, these optimisation methods are considered to be off-page. With little influence over these factors, websites have been known to try and take shortcuts to achieve a higher level of authority. While these “spammy” approaches to generating inbound links and increased traffic volumes may work in the short term, it is inevitable that Google will catch on – penalising your website with poor rankings over the longer term making it incredible difficule to generate the website traffic needed to convert qualified leads.

Increased traffic volumes of visitors seeking your credible information mean that you and your website move closer to achieving a position of thought leadership within your industry sector – benefiting your lead generation efforts in the long run.

b. Quality content

A blog provides marketers with the ideal opportunity to create high quality content which, when optimised correctly, provides increased keyword ranking opportunities. What’s more, when you create interesting content of superb value, people will naturally want to reference it – increasing the number of inbound links your website has and reinforcing your position as a thought leader.

 

5. Monitoring results 

There is no magic wand which when waved boosts your website up the rankings and into top position. However, there are a variety of tools – ranging in price – which can be accessed online that can be used to create a successful SEO strategy no matter your level of knowledge or experience. Google themselves offer several analytical tools which provide a variety of insights into the performance of your website and the areas which can be improved.

A successful SEO strategy is one which takes into consideration the long-term goals of your website, and only by working diligently can enough SEO juice be accumulated to demonstrate accomplishment. Being that it is an instance of slow and steady wins the race, monitoring and keeping track of results is essential. There is no one-way of monitoring the changing performance of your website, and regardless of which metrics you choose to measure a well-documented file of the changes made and how each of these impact search engine results, website traffic volumes and leads converted should be maintained.

It is impossible to escape the forces of Google’s algorithms, therefore a constant focus on SEO is key for any B2B organisation. Failiing to optimise your website for search engines and lead generation is business suicide, as if you don’t your competition will be. So, in the race to the top of search engine rankings, all hands must be on deck and must be prepared for the long haul.

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Make sure your website is primed to convert your traffic into qualified leads with our 10-step checklist: 

Our checklist provides 10 key steps to guide you in your redesign, transforming your website from a silo to a lead generation machine for long term success.

Download the checklist