A recent report by Ascend2 found that search engine optimisation (SEO) is the fourth most effective online tactic used for lead generation, preceded only by email marketing, content marketing and company website. However, the same report also found that SEO is the third most difficult online tactic to execute for lead generation purposes.
These two statistics clearly illustrate the quandary in which many B2B marketers find themselves – we know it works, but we wish it was easier. Many organisations must be using SEO tactics in order for it to have proven its effectiveness at lead generation. However, the scale of its difficulty compared to other tactics suggests that many marketers do not find it straightforward.
SEO - simplified
In order to get the most from your SEO, first it’s necessary to go back to basics and identify what SEO actually is. Search engine optimisation is simply a way of notifying search engines about the content and imagery on your pages so they can categorise them by relevance for the people using their product. The idea is that when someone types a relevant pain point, product or service in to a search engine such as Google, you want a link to your pages to appear as high as possible on page one of the results.
In order to feature as highly as possible for one of these search phrases entered by your prospects, it’s important that the content and imagery used on your pages is highly relevant to the phrase. So, the starting point of any SEO campaign is prospect research. If the information wasn’t uncovered whilst creating B2B buyer personas, now is the time to find out what your prospects are entering into search engines. What keywords, phrases and questions are your prospects using?
With this data you can now start optimising your text for the search engines.
Search engine mentality
You’re no doubt aware that search engines use a variety of data as part of their algorithm to help determine the positions of the links in their results; however this advice will focus on the on-page elements such as meta text and ALT tags.
Firstly, it’s important to understand that search engines ‘crawl’ webpages to gather information and categorise the pages. However, they do not read the pages as we do and therefore rely on particular text such as the page title, meta text, headline, and ALT text (text that explains images). Search engines like Google love to crawl new content and will therefore visit webpages more frequently if they are updated regularly. Given that main website text rarely changes, regular blog posts are an excellent opportunity to keep Google interested in your content. Given that your blog will be hosted on the same domain as your website and your posts will drive prospects to your landing pages, blogs are a hugely powerful weapon in the SEO arsenal.
Be relevant to your prospects
Now that you know the typical keywords and phrases your prospects will be searching for, and the locations on the page to notify the search engines of the content (title, meta text, headline, images); now’s the time to start writing. Choose a keyword and write interesting and engaging content (such as blogs) on this topic regularly. Try to keep the text focused directly on the topic in question and avoid metaphors. By writing thought leadership content, your posts and pages should attract links from other sites and industry leaders, plus Likes and shares on social media. All of this engagement counts in the search engine algorithms meaning that they recognise your post is relevant to this particular keyword or phrase and therefore feature you higher on the search engine results pages.
Whether you’re writing a blog post, a website page or a landing page, always remember that if the page will be available online, then you need to optimise it for the search engines using the steps above.
SEO is one of the top lead generation tactics in B2B marketing, however it’s unlikely to work on its own. The savvy marketers know that in order to generate the best leads, sales and revenue in today’s modern world, it’s all about the multi-channel approach. To find out how you can generate enviable ROI with your lead generation activity…