The Internet changed B2B buying behavior from a vendor-driven push process to a buyer-driven pull process. Now B2B buyers are industry experts who know how to find and compare information about competing technologies and offerings. Vendors are brought into the process much later, after the initial short listing.
The transformation of B2B buying behavior changed B2B marketing. Today, vendors with a strong Thought Leadership position succeed in sales by gaining buyer preference and attracting more RFP invitations. High quality content delivered through all possible channels has become the main vehicle for B2B marketers aiming to become perceived as Thought Leaders.
Quality is critical for Thought Leadership content, and there are two aspects to it. The message must be easy to understand and it must convince readers’ instantly. But, before that, the content must rank among the top few by the search engines. When B2B buyers search content using keywords, only the vendors among the first few on the search results page will be considered.
Here are six tips for creating compelling content and getting highly ranked by the search engines and stamping your Thought Leadership position on the market.
1. Only Publish Unique and Relevant Quality Content
Always create content that is interesting, unique and relevant to your audience and your website. When creating content, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- – Is this relevant and interesting to my target audience?
- – Is this relevant to my website and the industry?
- – Is this unique, can duplicate content be found online somewhere else?
- – Is my content shareworthy, will it get backlinks and social media shares?
- – Does this add value to both my target audience and the website?
Creating irrelevant, duplicate content can significantly hamper search engine performance and rank your pages lower in the search results. Go through your website content from time to time and delete content that could weaken your position in search engines. Less is more, when it comes to content. Only publish high quality and relevant content.
2. Design Keywords Based on the Location and Target Audience
When you are searching for something online, you go to Google and type keywords related to what you are looking for. It makes sense, right? Well, that is the basis for the whole SEO game.
Knowing you target audience and the keywords you should be targeting to reach your audience is vital for creating a successful SEO strategy. Google AdWords Keyword Planner can be used to find the right keywords for your content and location of your target market. Make sure you are not only going for the keywords with the highest competition – using long-tail keywords and Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords, words or phrases that are semantically related to each other, has been proven to be very successful.
You should maximize the use of the keywords especially in the introduction (the first 150 words) and conclusion (the last 100 words) segments of the body text, on the titles and headers and the meta descriptions of the articles and blog posts.
3. Use Descriptive and Attractive Titles and Headers
Using the right content descriptive keywords in titles and headers is vital for optimizing the content. Creating unique, attractive and descriptive titles and headers does not only make your target audience want to read your content, but also enables the search engines to understand what the content is about.
The right title and header tags are extremely important for establishing a structure for the content in the eyes of search engines. Titles are shown in the search results as the page title and should not be longer than 70 characters, including spaces. Optimal titles are approximately 55-60 characters long with descriptive keywords placed first. The header tags (H1-H6) are used in the body of the text and establish the structure of the text. In general, the search engine crawlers give more weight to titles than headers.
4. Optimize Meta Descriptions
As for your content and its title and headers, the meta description of your content should be unique and descriptive enriched with the right keywords. A good meta description attract visitors to your page and increases your click-through-rate (CTR), thus boosting the ranking. A bad meta description is misleading and increases bounce rate, so make sure it always describes the content well!
Meta descriptions can be up to 320 characters, but descriptions with around 150-170 words have been found most successful. If you notice that Google is not displaying your meta description in the search results but uses a snippet from the text instead, it is a hint that the meta description is not good enough and should be modified to meet the criteria of a high quality meta description.
5. Create Descriptive URLs
The URL addresses of your website’s pages are playing a role in its SEO ranking. For all the pages on your website, the URL should be descriptive and contain the right keywords for the page’s content and consist of approximately three to five words. Even though stuffing URLs with keywords might be tempting, avoid it to optimize URLs for both humans and search engines.
6. Internal and External Linking
Internal and external linking also play a role in the creation of SEO friendly content. Internal links should always open in the same window to maximize the average time spent on your webpage. The internal links within your website engage your audience and make them stay on your website longer and enables you to guide visitors to the pages you want them to visit.
External links to other websites should always open in a new window to avoid visitors leaving your website, help search engines understand what your website or a page is about and linking to trustworthy websites with good URL Ratings, Domain Ratings and Backlink Profiles increase the credibility of your website in the eyes of search engines. However, external links are a two-way street – bad external links can lower your ranking on search engines.
The websites you link to can see that you give them a backlink and might return the favor by linking back to your site or content you publish. Backlinks from high-authority sites pointing to your website are invaluable and can improve your ranking significantly.
When linking, the anchor of the link should be descriptive of what is behind the link to make the linking more powerful and understandable for both humans and search engines.
About the Author: Anna Loimusalo works as the social media marketing, search engine optimization and marketing automation specialist at Grip Marketing and PR Agency. Anna has gained a solid proficiency in search engine optimization through working in international digital marketing companies. Alongside her work, Anna is completing her master’s degree in information and service management at Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland.