You’re a B2B business and you want to build your brand, thought leadership & ultimately drive some leads online. Then some kid out of college or over paid consultant told you the answer to all your problems is SEO. So you found some keywords, wrote some content and your traffic graph looks like this:
Trust me, I get it.
I’ve spent a lot of time working with B2B companies on digital strategy (I also run V9’s marketing, so I’m in the trenches with you), and realized there are a few pitfalls that we all seem to fall into.
So…if your traffic graph isn’t getting that lovely up & to the right trend you are looking for, here are the 10 most common mistakes B2Bs make that are killing your SEO program…
1. You’re focusing on high level messaging.
For example V9 isn’t a “strategic optimization consulting firm that helps connect your brand to the ecosphere of potential” – we’re an SEO company. Get it?
Agencies, marketers and consultants alike often focus on being experts and simply need to take a step back. Instead, they should focus on plain speak, simplifying their language and good authorization. One great tip I like to share is to speak to the company’s customers. Ask them what the company is good at and listen to the common language responses for inspiration. Bottom line: Simplify, people!
2. You think the purpose of your website it to talk about your company.
Wrong! The purpose of your website is to get your users to the information they care about. If the bulk of a website’s content discusses the company’s history, achievements and contact details, you’ve got some work to do. We especially see this a lot with manufacturing businesses – you’ve got to dig deep and give informational content about your products & services, and tips for your audience.
Try shifting the focus to what the company can do for the customers and what services are offered. Setting up a blog on the website is a great way to provide useful, ongoing content to the company’s audience.
3. Your content is all about what you aspire to be, not what you actually are.
Startups are especially fond of trying to boil the ocean all at once and offer everything to everybody. They’re in hyper growth mode and basically are in a “we could do that” frame of mind. From an SEO and marketing perspective, it’s more helpful to focus on a niche and promote what you’re actually good at doing and building from there.
Here’s a quick tip: Keep in mind, SEO rankings won’t typically support things that a business doesn’t actually do. Use a program like SEMRush to see what Google thinks the business is good at, then tweak your messaging from there.
4. You’re ignoring your mobile audience.
This is an especially big sin for service based B2Bs. We have a tendency to think that if you don’t have any mobile traffic, that you don’t need to worry about mobile when it comes to developing their website. I won’t cram a bunch of relevant mobile usage stats down your throat (but just know there are a ton and I totally could). However, I will say that if you don’t have a mobile friendly site & aren’t getting mobile traffic, it isn’t because you don’t have customers searching on mobile, it’s because Google is unlikely to rank you in mobile search (I know, shocking).
Also, even if you aren’t focused on mobile, you are likely focused on email. And remember, when you send out an email and it’s being opened & clicked through on a mobile device (which the majority are), the email landing page needs to be mobile friendly or your email ROI will plummet.
5. Your blog is not on your website.
Having an off-site blog or separate thought leadership website is all too common for some businesses, especially in the financial services industry. Having a blog on a company’s website actually strengthens the brand, is critical for SEO and brings users into the top of the sales funnel by offering them tips, how-to information or more insight into what a company does. Honestly, I could probably write an entire book on the benefits of onsite blogging for SEO…so suffice it to say, it’s helpful.
Tip: Make sure your blog lives on a subdirectory, e.g. website.com/blog & ideally each post should be under that director (so /blog/awesomepost ) – this makes it easier to track your blog performance in Google Analytics.
6. You’re not tracking conversions and looking at the analytics.
Companies that don’t generate a lot of business leads online tend to overlook the numbers. To me, the importance of a conversion tract in analytics is not only to see what’s converting and how traffic is doing. Google has now started doing multi-channel attribution which means that they will follow the journey that leads to filling out a web form.
A business can learn a lot by seeing where a possible customer leaves the website, and when they finally do submit a name and email on a form. It’s really, really helpful to know how different channels are participating and driving that lead (and by the way this something marketers clamored-for for years..so it’s kinda a big deal).
7. You’re putting out low quality content.
Years ago there used to be this idea that churning out mass amounts of content was the best thing you could do for your website. Thankfully, Google prefers quality over quantity these days. The old mindset, quite honestly, is a complete waste of money and it’s a real obstruction for SEO programs. Focus on relevant, well-crafted articles that are sharable and insightful. Period.
8. You’re not giving enough away to your audience.
Many B2Bs worry about giving away what’s in their secret sauce, and then nobody will hire them to do what they do. That’s an outdated way to think of online marketing. Instead businesses should focus on giving as much helpful information as possible, and they will receive positive feedback and future customers in return.
The most powerful content programs give tips, trends, industry news, how-tos, advice, lists of tools, etc.
9. You think the IT department can handle SEO.
We see this happen a lot. Since the IT department handles the back end of the website, it’s easy to ask them to also handle the SEO, rather than turning to the marketing department. Remember, your website is a marketing platform. An IT person might be really good at fixing technical problems on the site, but that doesn’t mean they will be effective at driving your online marketing strategy. In fact, most IT guys & developers don’t have a marketing background and probably aren’t who you want to rely your marketing strategy on.
10. You post duplicate or licensed content.
When a company is trying to grow fast, it’s tempting to buy canned content. Unfortunately, when you do that the uniqueness of your website goes down the drain. Often these articles link back to news aggregates and draw readers away from the businesses website — which means you’re sending potential customers away! Instead, focus on producing original content to rank higher in Google.
Do you see yourself making any of these mistakes? I’d love to hear about your greatest challenges when it comes to implementing an SEO program – let me know if I missed a big one!