The increasing virtualisation of how organisations interact means search engine optimisation (SEO) is more important than ever. When the internet is the first port of call for the organisations and executives you’re trying to reach, it’s important to rank highly in online search results. Ideally, on page one. This means how you write – and especially your SEO strategy – is critical.
Search engines work by ‘crawling’ the internet looking for content, indexing and storing it, and then ranking it by what will best answer a searcher’s enquiry. The most relevant results are listed on the first page of the search results.
It sounds simple but SEO is incredibly complex and constantly changing as search engines such as Google introduce new algorithms to rank web pages.
If you have time on your hands, you can find lots of great resources online covering every aspect of business-to-business (B2B) SEO, from best practices to how to use SEO to generate high-quality leads. However, the main thing to remember is that SEO these days involves more than just liberally sprinkling keywords throughout your text. It is also about relevance and credibility.
Understanding traditional SEO strategies
Traditional SEO strategies are still important for maximising traffic to your website, and you shouldn’t neglect them when writing for SEO.
Target the right keywords
Keywords are words or phrases that help search engines identify the purpose of a web page and rank it. Try to use keywords in headings and body copy where it feels natural. However, don’t overdo it, as this will make text seem clunky and search engines will see it as ‘keyword stuffing’.
When thinking about keywords to use, think about what readers would search for if they were looking for your piece online. To maximise your chance of appearing in a search, it pays to target the keywords that people most often use when they search. Tools such as Google Ads Keyword Planner and Moz’s Keyword Explorer make it easy to search for relevant keywords and assess their popularity.
Lots of organisations do keywords well. For example, accounting firm Hawksford has mastered the art of using keywords naturally throughout its GuideMeSingapore website, helping to establish it as an authority on setting up a business in Singapore, and propelling it to page one of Google’s search ranking. Philadelphia-based digital agency From The Future put its own advice to good use, concentrating keywords in headings and subheads, where they have the most impact, and throughout the body copy where appropriate.
Consider also using long-tail keywords. These are longer, more specific keyword phrases customers are likely to use when zeroing in on a product. For example, software company GroupDocs dramatically improved its Google ranking for its GroupDocs.Comparison for Cloud application by targeting long-tail keywords instead of more generic ones.
Use meta descriptions wisely
Meta descriptions are short snippets of information about the contents of web pages, which are often displayed in search results. They help users find relevant content and resources, and can influence click rates.
Meta descriptions should describe the contents of each page clearly and concisely, using significant keywords. However, don’t be afraid to be creative – this is an opportunity to ‘sell’ your content to searchers. We’ve found some great examples.
Aim to make descriptions 155 characters or less, to avoid them being shortened in search listings. And don’t reuse descriptions, even if the content of two web pages is similar. Meta descriptions should be different for every page.
Add external and internal links
Google has confirmed that links are one of the top two things it looks at for SEO, along with the quality of a website’s content.
Relevant links to and from other websites (known as external links) are critical for helping establish the credibility of your content. Search engines tend to treat these like votes in a popularity contest.
If you want to increase the number of links to your website, you can trust in the quality of your content to do the trick, or you can go looking for links. When distributor Cisco-Eagle wanted to increase inbound links to its website, it hired marketing firm KoMarketing to research the warehouse automation industry and find potential linking partners. KoMarketing did this by looking at industry blogs, publications, social media and Cisco-Eagle’s customer base. It then contacted companies on the list with ideas for guest blog posts that Cisco-Eagle’s team could provide. The hard work paid off when the Cisco-Eagle website had 1,500 inbound links within 18 months.
Meanwhile, lots of internal links pointing to a page act like a signpost that tells Google the page is important. Internal links also aid website navigation and improve the user experience. Even better, adding internal links is one of the simplest things you can do to improve your SEO.
Ensure content is relevant
Search engines such as Google assess which websites in their indexes are most likely to meet a user’s requirements. This means it’s critical to ensure your content is relevant to the topic. If the topic is the work, health and safety implications of having a significant part of your workforce working remotely, don’t be tempted to segue into performance management. Save that for another piece instead.
Start by auditing the existing content on your website. Is it informative, accurate, useful, up to date, well written and interesting? Does it sell your products or services? Are you telling website visitors what they need to know?
This is also a good time to revisit your old blog posts, white papers and other thought leadership content. Do they attract consistent traffic to your website?
Hunter Branch, founder of SEO blog Rank Tree, suggests unpublishing blog posts that don’t attract traffic. For each post, ask yourself whether it has good keyword opportunities it’s not ranking for, or unique insights or actionable steps that you could expand on. If the answer is yes, then consider updating and expanding the piece with new content, including new sections based on long-tail keywords. You might only end up with a fraction of the content you started with, but that’s okay – quality over quantity is the key here.
This type of content strategy might seem like a lot of work, but it can really pay off. Cybersecurity software company Corero Network Security increased traffic to its blog by 164 per cent year on year after auditing its blogs, optimising existing content and creating a series of new blog posts based on keyword opportunities discovered during the audit. The company’s SEO writers also added new content for the resources section of its website, including a glossary and frequently asked questions section.
Several online tools can help SEO writers identify relevant topics and flesh them out. One of our favourites is MarketMuse, which uses artificial intelligence to help determine the topics most likely to succeed on your website. It also generates ‘content briefs’, which include detailed information on sub-topics to cover, related questions to answer, keywords to include and the word count to aim for.
Establish the credibility of your content
Search engines favour credible websites. This is where links come in. But it is also important to establish credibility through the quality of your content. You can do this by including reliable facts, metrics and expert opinions to provide context and authority. Provide sources as links or footnotes. When writing, present facts clearly, use plain English, and steer clear of jargon where possible.
Think about infographics and tables you could use. These are great for summarising important data, showing trends and explaining timelines. Digital agency Beutler Ink’s website has lots of clever examples of ways to convey information visually.
Also, pull out interesting facts or quotes to highlight them and break up large chunks of copy. Add links to additional content such as white papers, videos and case studies.
Featuring testimonials from current and former clients can also help to build trust and credibility with potential clients, as can signing up for an independent review platform like Trustpilot.
Once you are happy with the SEO of your content, don’t stop there. Search engines love fresh content. The more frequently you update your website with new content, the more often search engines are likely to visit the site. Updating your website often with quality content also presents more opportunities to establish yourself as an authority on your topic and add more keywords.
Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to writing for SEO, but ensuring your content is fit for purpose, relevant and credible will go a long way to improving your search ranking.
Editor Group’s SEO writers can write SEO-friendly content from scratch or edit your existing content with SEO in mind. Contact us to discuss how we can help.