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Why does effective B2B SEO need killer content?

Why does effective B2B SEO need killer content?

When B2B sector professionals start a procurement programme or searching for information on the Internet, they generally know exactly what they’re looking for and will apply very precise search terms to find what they’re looking for.

And for you to rank highly in their B2B search returns, your website needs to be pin-sharp in terms of on-page SEO-focused content. That means your content needs to be written by someone wearing two hats: SEO specialist and subject matter expert (SME).

Are you seen as an authority?

This critical need for clear, concise content will make the difference between visibility and complete obscurity, and of equal importance a clear display of sector knowledge in your website content will set you apart from your competitors as an industry authority.

So industry focused content makes you not only visible to searchers, but also demonstrates know-how and industry expertise that will lead to engagement and through careful dialogue, conversion and sales.

Saving money or wasting time?

The fact is that all too often marketers think they can write on-page SEO content that will deliver visibility. From my experience this is not the case. Because while most marketers understand their company’s products or services, they generally only think they understand SEO.

And conversely, the vast majority of SEO specialists won’t have a decent grip on client enterprise subject matter, so won’t readily deliver the effective on-page SEO that will deliver the level of search returns you need for the SEO work to be meaningful or valuable.

Economical with the truth?

Yes, as a marketer it’s easy to fool yourself you’re saving money by creating content yourself, when in reality you’re just wasting your time. It’s also easy to blind yourself to the small and seemingly insignificant inaccuracies in your SEO specialist’s content.

But the competitive landscape your business faces out there is actually a jungle. And like all jungles, there are competitive predators just waiting for you to make the slightest mistake so they can wipe you out, and make you invisible.

What is the true value of content?

So SEO, visibility and authority are critical to your online survival. Savvy B2B marketers understand this and focus closely on developing robust web content that improves visibility sufficiently to allow for the authority needed to compete in today’s markets.

After all, just calculate what 30x more visitors to your website would mean to your revenue, associated margin and your bottom line, and I think you’ll see how important visibility, authority, engagement and sales closure can be.

This critical need for clear, concise content will make the difference between visibility and complete obscurity, and of equal importance a clear display of sector knowledge in your website content will set you apart from your competitors as an industry authority.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

5 things you really must know before you ever attempt SEO

5 things you really must know before you ever attempt SEO

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is often seen as some kind of must-have mystery by many client-side marketers, who tend not to have the time or inclination to study, assess and fully engage with this critical tool in their market visibility, acquisition and development armoury.

And rather than engage with the finer points of SEO, and gain a true insight into prospect and buyer wants, needs and their use of language to find what they need, they prefer to pass SEO development to their digital agency, in the hope that magic will make it all work.

Here’s five things you need to know:

01. Exactly what is SEO?

SEO is purely a technical term digital marketers use for making your website visible for the words or phrases people – your prospects or customers – will use when they are looking for your products or services on the internet. The closer your on-site SEO term is to the searcher’s term, the higher your website will be in the ranking.

Therefore, while you will know your company’s products and services inside out, this means you will think about them in an entirely different way from those who are looking for them and are going to be using them, and means your search language may be totally different from theirs, and there is the disconnect.

02. How does SEO fit with customer language?

What this means is that while you may use your own in-house corporate language to describe your products or services in your website’s SEO, your prospective customers may be searching for you using a totally different search term.

Here’s an example: your top-of-the-range sweet/candy product line is called ‘Mint Imperial’ so naturally you use this brand name throughout your website to guide as many people as possible to finding your range of sweet/candy products online.

03. It’s your brand, not their search term

But what if these mint-craving searchers have never heard of your products and are not yet loyal customers but just want a mint-hit now? Then your carefully crafted brand is never going to be on their radar and they’re never going to find you or help increase your sales volumes.

Why? Because rather than searching for something they’ve never heard of, these mint desperadoes are going to be using the terms they understand to get what they want; including terms such as ‘mint sweets’, ‘mint sweeties’, ‘suckie mints’ and ‘mint candy’.

04. It’s their search term, not your brand – or is it?

The point is that if you research, learn and know what mint-crazed searchers use as search terms you can build this into both your on-page SEO content and meta data to drive people who don’t already know your brand directly to your website and your famed Mint Imperial.

Once you have done this you can start their sales journey and help them understand that your product – the fantastic Mint Imperial – is the only mint they will ever need.

05. Using SEO for continuous sales pipeline development

If this customer savvy SEO strategy is regularly updated to include new search terms as they arise and deliver terms that compete with and surpass competitor SEO, it will deliver a continuous stream of new mint-munchers to your website, sales pipeline/funnel and revenue stream.

What is key to SEO is two-fold: knowing exactly what search terms potential customers use when searching for products like yours, and precisely where to place key search phrases in your on-page content to gain the highest search visibility.

So, rather than a must-have mystery or weird, inexact science SEO can, in the right hands, deliver solid sales pipeline performance with long-term and effective return on marketing investment.

SEO is purely a technical term digital marketers use for making your website visible

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Video: the fast-track to online customer engagement

Video: the fast-track to online customer engagement

With more than 80% of senior executives saying they now watch more online video than they did a year ago, and according to Forbes, 75% of executives are watching work-related video on a weekly basis, this communications channel has risen to a stellar level in recent times.

And until recently, video was seen as a ‘nice to have’ channel but with research showing that using the word ‘video’ in an email subject line increases open rates by 19%, click through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%, it’s now impossible to ignore.

Strategic social media and SEO benefits

If you then consider that over the past year, Facebook video viewership grew from four billion views per day to eight billion, then video in a FMCG and B2B context not only makes sense, but becomes central to both prospect and customer engagement.

Video also now has a massive impact on search engine optimisation and online visibility, with rich media such as video being favoured by search engine algorithms, and with Google’s ownership of YouTube, video has become almost explosive in terms of channel growth.

Slick delivery drives engagement

But even with such huge opportunities for market development, many smaller enterprises often take big risks to save money through making video presentations internally. But caution should be exercised here because without professional-standard equipment and appropriate lighting, video can go from potentially very engaging to just plain annoying.

Cheap equipment can cause system or extraneous noise to be present on the audio channels, and bad lighting or inappropriate camera angles can render video productions mediocre – and that will reflect badly on your brand and any potential MROI.

Strategy-focused story-lining

While these quality issues need to be avoided, so quality in strategic story development and market messaging are also critical to a successful outcome. Scripting needs to be done professionally to ensure crystal clarity and optimum pace in message delivery.

If you are wise, and engage your digital agency to develop your story-lines and scripts, they will want to understand your brand strategy and build on this in the video story to drive brand strategy as an integral part of your marketing plan.

Joining the strategic dots

Given the compelling statistics at the top of this post, it is plain to see that if you integrate video into your marketing strategy, you are driving your brand message though an extremely powerful communications channel.

And if you have stuck to the guiding principles laid down here and delivered information quickly, engagingly and in a memorable way, there is little reason why your video work shouldn’t thrive on your brand-site, and even YouTube, and go beyond this to achieve viral success.

And until recently, video was seen as a ‘nice to have’ channel but with research showing that using the word ‘video’ in an email subject line increases open rates by 19%, click through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%, it’s now impossible to ignore.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Multi-language B2B market development: beyond words

Multi-language B2B market development: beyond words

The European Union (EU) is the world’s largest economy, towering over the US, China and India respectively by quite a long way, and its growing commercial integration makes it a great and highly accessible marketplace.

But by US standards, the EU is the new kid on the Federal block, emerging in the 1950s and over 160 years later than our American cousins. So there’s a long way to go to reach US levels of integration in commerce and governance, and even further to go in unifying business culture.

24 languages, one B2B market

And while the most widely spoken language in the EU is English, which is understood by 51% of adults, there are 24 official EU languages, but in practice only two – English and French – are in wide general use.

But unlike our closest rival in the super-economy league table – the US – where there are just two languages, with the most widely used being American English and Spanish the second most common language, spoken by approximately 35 million people, the EU presents some unique complexities.

Not just lost in translation

At first sight, it may seem that translating your website into some or all 24 languages may ensure deeper federal market penetration, but the reality is that language itself is just one barrier to these markets.

The other issue – and an equally significant one – is business culture. In short, what will engage and persuade in one regional business culture will not necessarily deliver the same market penetration and performance in another.

In-depth research is key

What this means is in order to communicate effectively with EU B2B target markets, a clear understanding of the business culture is key. And that covers everything from how products are sourced, selected and purchased, to how they are utilised locally.

When this is understood, then developing a close understanding of effective in-region marketing strategies, and how these may be applied needs careful consideration and implementation. Here, in-depth market research will save a lot of time and money.

Streamlined regional prioritisation

This in-depth market research will give you a clear insight into your target EU markets, and there will be considerable differences in both strategic approach and communications campaign format, which could, in theory mean 24 versions of the same communication.

The simple fact is that this would become prohibitively time consuming and expensive very quickly, so from this research needs to come some detailed strategic market analysis, including phased prioritisation of the most lucrative regions.

Re-interpretation rather than translation

With this phased regional prioritisation in place and using your regional market research, you can now start to assess communications for the selected regions, and while the initial communications should be developed in English, this will need to be re-interpreted rather than translated for in-region use.

Content development in English – the most common EU language – is important as it allows each translator to work from a common text in a language he or she will most likely be fully fluent with. And content re-interpretation rather than translation also offers other communications opportunities.

It’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it

Content re-interpretation allows local, in-region translators to interpret marketing communications in way that resonates with the local market, channelling and guiding prospects and customers, and fully optimising engagement in all local markets.

This re-interpretation means that using the central core messages and brand values developed in the English language version content can be precisely targeted to maximise market impact and penetration in specific regions.

Multi-language SEO

Local language search engine optimisation (SEO) will be critical to optimising regional website visibility and therefore should be implemented as a part of the local content re-interpretation programme.

This process will call heavily on the re-interpreted content which, if developed properly, will contain all relevant phrasing in the on-page content, and this can be very simply applied to metadata.

Lucrative and diverse markets

When entering lucrative but highly diverse markets like the EU, guidance from a digital marketing agency with not only local but pan-European experience is essential.

Formulating a strategic EU market development plan and partnering with an experienced agency in prospective high value markets such as Europe offers great potential for solid long-term business growth.

At first sight, it may seem that translating your website into some or all 24 languages may ensure deeper federal market penetration, but the reality is that language itself is just one barrier to these markets.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

Is SEO still critical to B2B website visibility?

Is SEO still critical to B2B website visibility?

SEO – search engine optimisation – has been a constantly evolving search return performance methodology which is generally implemented as part of website content strategy and development to optimise website visibility.

Put simply, key words, then key phrases, then content structure, and now incoming links and social media association have all played their role over time in gaining and maintaining buoyant website search rankings and site visibility.

Is B2B SEO still relevant?

The simple answer is yes, and to ensure effective website visibility in the crowded markets of today, your search terms need to be absolutely current, relevant and mainstream, even with specialist B2B audiences, who may be searching highly specific products or services.

And, given the potentially highly focused nature of B2B SEO on-page language, it is wise to get help from your digital agency if they have SEO expertise, as at the very basic level search terms will need careful research and review ahead of any on-page content development.

But is SEO really the end of the website visibility story? In my opinion, no it isn’t.

Can you drive traffic in inbound marketing?

While the smart digital marketing money is on inbound marketing, with searchers discovering you, your brand values and sincere approach to customer support, you still need visibility to make all this happen.

Otherwise, for all intents and purposes, you won’t exist unless your SEO on your website is absolutely stellar.

What this means is that – counterintuitive as it may seem – certain forms of Internet advertising are critical in optimising SEO effectiveness as it also drives inbound traffic, allowing your site to offer links to other useful information, both internally and externally, and attract more inbound linking from visitors.

You need to get out more

This internal and external linking is very effective in SEO and the more traffic that can be driven through this route, the greater improvement and effectiveness there will be in your website SEO and search visibility. Traffic is very important in the SEO equation.

But for visibility it’s win-win, because as well as increasing search rankings, you’re also visible through the advertising itself, and this visibility can be further optimised on multiple levels by selecting other relevant marketing channels.

Optimised inbound marketing

Remember, this is still all about SEO and we’re still coming at this from an inbound marketing perspective, but what we are now doing is turbo-charging SEO through a greater Internet advertising presence.

And to further turbo-charge SEO, other relevant channels can be employed, such as – but not necessarily exclusively – pay per click (PPC) and retargeting are just two examples.

Success means joined up thinking

But, as with everything, there is of course a health warning , for good sleep buy ambien online . Because, while there is no doubt that SEO can be driven very powerfully through the resultant effects of such channels as PPC and retargeting, you need a very robust, coherent and cohesive marketing communications strategy to deliver it.

So, this methodology needs to be planned and implemented carefully across selected channels with a high level of marketing agility and dexterity to join outbound, inbound and SEO dots.

If you take this route as part of a compelling, engaging and cohesive marketing campaign, you will have developed very powerful brand awareness with a top brand, product or service visibility.

Remember, this is still all about SEO and we’re still coming at this from an inbound marketing perspective, but what we are now doing is turbo-charging SEO through a greater Internet advertising presence.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom

A five-point B2B digital marketing strategy for engagement and visibility in 2016

A five-point B2B digital marketing strategy for engagement and visibility in 2016

With a recent survey indicating that 77% of companies increased their digital marketing budgets – up from 71% on the previous year – and trends indicating further rapid growth in 2016, competition for B2B visibility is increasing significantly.

And what this means in terms of gaining competitive high ground in crowded B2B markets is the application of stand-out techniques in both new and existing B2B marketing channels. So what do these stand-outs look like in developing market share in 2016?

01.  More sophisticated content marketing strategies

In B2B marketing content is key. That is because B2B audiences do detailed online research, and have a good grasp of their chosen subject at the outset of that research, so are very demanding and discerning recipients when served relevant content.

This means that your 2016 content strategy must offer a clearly defined storyline over the entire year with detailed, accurate technical information that is directly aligned with the commercial reasons for considering and purchasing your products and services.

02.  Driving content marketing with marketing automation

More sophisticated and engaging content marketing will deliver significantly greater prospect and customer engagement if it is communicated to recipients through an organised marketing communications system that offers this as part of the prospect or customer sales journey.

This means that the content now has a dynamic, and is therefore explicitly designed to lead the prospect or customer to a sale – and as prospects are categorised according to their level of interest, so the served content may be segmented and streamed to reflect interests and aspirations.

03.  Lead conversion optimisation

Simply put, lead generation – driving prospects and customers to content on your website – is an important part of market development and revenue generation but converting leads to sales, and then retaining those leads as loyal customers is a whole different story.

Client-side marketers with clear strategic vision will aim to build on lead conversion performance and take it to the next level through creating content that continues to deliver prospect and customer engagement and nurtures leads, creating solid prospect relationships.

04.  Personalisation and interactive communications

The use of a more sophisticated content marketing strategy, introducing a marketing automation platform, and optimising lead conversions – if appropriately implemented by your digital vendors – will generate a considerable amount to prospect and customer personal data.

This valuable data will tell you a lot about your prospects and customers and allow you to build highly accurate buyer personas, meaning you will know enough about them to communicate in a more personal way, meeting their needs for information and guidance on the sales journey.

05.  Social media and search optimisation

LinkedIn has grown massively in recent years as a B2B networking tool, and if you are a B2B services business, your prospects are likely using LinkedIn to research and identify potential consultants and vendors.

But even if your prospects and customers are not significant social media users, Google uses social signals in algorithms for calculating search engine rankings and therefore social media will be used to boost rankings and therefore search visibility.

Reaching out and driving B2B prospect interactions

This five point strategy will allow you to develop, nurture, engage and convert prospects and customers in the year ahead. But first you’re going to need to find them. Will online advertising do that?

Well no, because ad-blocking is still a major obstacle here and as an issue, blocking is likely to become more of a significant barrier in the year ahead.

The best options for attracting leads in 2016 will be – in order of effectiveness – native advertising; LinkedIn, and Facebook Click to Website ads with call-to-action buttons; Google Customer Match which allows you to upload a list of contacts and target them through search. This feature is also available on Facebook and Twitter, and is effectively making search and social work more like email marketing.

Key to survival for 2016

But what is really going to matter in the year ahead is quality. Starting with the quality of your marketing strategy; through the quality of your marketing content, to the quality of your prospect engagement and customer retention and loyalty performance.

Because whatever else 2016 will be in the digital space, the most confident prediction I have for you is that B2B markets will be very crowded indeed.

In B2B marketing content is key. That is because B2B audiences do detailed online research, and have a good grasp of their chosen subject at the outset of that research, so are very demanding and discerning recipients when served relevant content.

written by Will Yates,
Client Services Director at Novacom