Our Sales Coach takes a pretty hard line—any business that doesn’t have a sales strategy is pretty much dead in the water. Not hard to agree with that position!
So if you’re in the B2B category of business, here’s an interesting statistic for you: according to the Content Marketing Institute’s recent 2013 Benchmarks, Budget, and Trends—North America Report 91% of B2B respondents are now using content to soft sell.
This strategic approach is supported by Demand Gen Report’s Content Preferences Survey results that report that 80% of business decision-makers prefer to receive information about a company in a series of content versus traditional marketing tactics.
Therefore, generating content that is of value to prospects is one angle that you need to consider and build into your overall marketing strategy. However, with the plethora of informational noise that social media inundates us with, I would argue that SEO is a vital piece of your Content Marketing Strategy as well. And that’s what we’re going to talk about here.
What’s the point of creating some really great content pieces for your website, emails, newsletters, downloads or blog, if you’re not optimizing your articles and website content for the search engines?
SEO Tip #1 TITLE TAGS
- Use a Targeted Keyword or PhraseMaximum length: 70 characters
- Place the Keyword at the beginning of your Title whenever possible
- Write a title tag that is interesting and invites a click through
SEO TIP #2 DESCRIPTION TAGS
- Maximum length: 150 to 160 characters
- Be as specific as possible about what the reader will learn. Don’t mislead the reader to click through to information that is not there
- Use keywords to explain content in a way that would highlight the value of the information. Talk about results.
SEO TIP #3 CONTENT KEYWORDS
“Who’s the storyteller in your family? We all have at least one. Growing up, my dad’s mom, “Grammie,” was the storyteller in our family. She worked as a waitress at Howard Johnson’s on the PA Turnpike for over 35 years. A widow at a young age, with a limited education and three small boys to raise, she saw her life of service at the restaurant as a true adventure. I loved going to her house and hearing tales about the customers and how they touched her world. She could make any situation sound outrageously funny!
My husband’s father is a retired general surgeon and he can entertain for hours about his patients. His best stories are about the characters he would encounter on emergency room rotation. The ER is a great laboratory of humanity and the predicaments they can create.”What it is: Focus keyword and related keywords that are used throughout the text to inform the reader.
- Keywords should be located throughout your copy, especially in the first paragraph
- Good SEO means that your keyword density is 4-7% of your overall copy, including different keyword variations (plural, noun form, verb form, etc)
- Avoid keyword “stuffing.” Search bots are programmed to identify this and it will hurt your on-page search ranking
SEO TIP #4 H TAGSWhat it is: H tags are hierarchical tags that divide your content into headings and sub-headings. Notice how I am using 3 consistent sub-headings:
What it is:
- Headings and sub-headings allow readers to scan first to see if the article is of value to them
- Headings and sub-headings break the content into chunks, which can be less intimidating to a reader who has limited time
- Headings and sub-headings help the writer keep on topic too 😉
[True confession—I don’t use H tags as consistently as I ought]
SEO TIP #5 TEXT STYLESWhat it is: The use of bolding, underlining, italics and bullets throughout the text. See this entire post for examples 🙂
- Bolding and italics should be used for emphasis, to alert the reader to important keywords or content
- Bullets aid “scanning,” which is becoming a more prevalent way to take in and process large amounts of data; especially for those with limited time
SEO TIP #6 URL/SLUG
- Include the web address, date (if appropriate) and second-tier benefit keywords (no more than 3-5 words)
- Use hyphens to separate words
- Never use spaces, underscores or capital letters
SEO TIP #7 ALT TAGSWhat it is: The image description for easy reference
- Should include relevant targeted keywords
- Should be descriptive of the image content
- Use hyphens
SEO TIP #8 IMAGE URL FILENAME
- Save your image with targeted keywords before uploading to your CMS (Content Management System)
- Keep the image title short: 3-5 decriptors
SEO TIP #9 IMAGE SIZEWhat it is: Your image dimensions
- Use hi-res images as much as possible
- Test image size against load time. Slower load time can hurt your SEO
- Compare 1024 (w) X 680 (h) vs 460 (w) X 320 (h)
SEO TIP #10 ANCHOR TEXTWhat it is: The visible, clickable text in a hyperlink
- Use targeted keywords when possible
- Link to other pages on your website to boost rankings
- Link offsite when appropriate
- Set links to open a new window
- Link back to the root category using targeted keywords
On page SEO can be a challenge—especially if you don’t know HTML code. Being familiar with terminology and best practices is half the battle!