SEO for B2B services and products: How to get started?

the start of my very own stock photo collection for presentations

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to provide some free consulting on how I would start SEO for a new B2B services or products company.

Here are my notes:

wooden tetris

#Sandra’s advice on how to start

There are different kinds of web visitors. Try to find groups and segments, and the info that they are looking for.

These include:

  • Existing clients
  • Potential clients
  • Job seekers
  • Investors / stakeholders
  • Journalists

Learn as much as you can about your web visitors, clients and potential clients.

  • What are their interests?
  • What do they read?
  • What are their work goals? What do they need to achieve?
  • What are trends and changes affecting the industry?
  • What are the challenges?
  • How do clients select a product/service?
  • What are the painpoints?
  • What happens when a project fails?
  • How long is the evaluation time before a product/service is purchased?

Build a persona description for each important web visitor group. This will help you create web pages and blog posts tailored to this type of web visitor.

Interview clients (if you are allowed to) and client-facing staff (if you are not).

Analyse the websites of competitors.

Remember, products and services that achieve a similar solution to yours are also competitors. I encountered technology companies that argued there’s no competition for their new service. Many times they ignored substitutes.

dieser weg

#Factors influencing SEO (cross-clicks, anchor texts?)

Follow best practices for on-page SEO.

Remember that page titles and meta descriptions are the very first texts that a web visitor will see in the SERPs. Prepare these two with care.

For any web page, these elements remain important:

  • Page title
  • Heading 1
  • Heading 2
  • Internal links within the main body of the text
  • Backlinks from relevant, high quality websites with good anchor text

Follow the tips in this article on RankBrain:

  • 301 redirects for missing pages
  • rel=canonical tags for duplicate content
  • optimize structured data and alternative tags
  • resolve any broken links

Publishing long paragraphs without headings, bullet lists, images is a recipe for failure. Many people scan thru a web page before they dig in.

“(…) readers spend less than 10 seconds on a webpage before moving away. So you need to ensure your readers do not have to make an effort to read your content.”

Remember that Google is looking at many additional factors. It measures engagement.

tree detail

#Keyword research

Think in topics.

Consider search intent. Are search words informational or transactional? Always check the SERPs to see what kind of results display.

Voice search is changing how keyword research has been done in the past couple of years. Expect more 3-word phrases, more questions, more variants as people search by speaking to Cortana, Alexa, and Google Voice Search.

Vespa speedometer

#Content/Inbound marketing

Content should be “useful” for your clients, help them achieve their work goals faster, educate them.

Who cares if you are the world leader? Can you solve my business problem? Are you a reliable provider? This is more relevant to me.

Here’s a good test:

  • Is it useful?
  • Is it aligned (with both reader needs and business goals)?
  • Is it unique?

Regular blog posts:

  • Blog as often as you can without comprising on quality.
  • Produce short, useful videos (20 to 30 seconds long).
  • Share your slide decks.

You need both: Quality and quantity.

If you can: Try two new blog posts per week. Higher frequency helps you find what will stick faster.

“Create Diverse, Easily Consumed Content”

hintergärten

#Platforms (B2B) – target, content, frequency

Find out what your competitors are doing (special industry platforms?, Twitter? Linkedin? Whatsup groups? Chatbots?)

Linkedin is probably the best B2B social media platform of the moment.

Build communities of people interested in your service.

Promote your content on social media.

fischer netz am rhein

#Measurement and evaluation

Tools I use regularly include:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • Ryte.org
  • SEMRush
  • Linkdex
  • Brightedge

Measure the number of leads to try and find what kind of pages or marketing activity will convert better.

Find out how many sessions you need to convert a web visitor into a lead.

Get a tool like OpenInbound.com or Leadberry.com to see the customer journey on your site.

WordPress plugin for OpenInbound:

OpenInbound

Drupal module for OpenInbound:
https://www.drupal.org/project/openinbound
Measure usability with Hotjar or Crazy Egg.

pattern to be used as a background for slides or a website?

#References on internet marketing for further studying

I read a huge amount of SEO news. Regular reads include:

Moz.com
Backlinko.com
Searchengineland.com

Be careful, even wary, of case studies, success stories, sweeping generalizations, easy fixes.

reminds me of Karl Valentin's explanation: "Wann ist ein Fremder unter Fremden"

#Consider the interdisciplinary nature of SEO

Technical aspects, content, interaction design, usability, marketing strategy need to play together.

Build a small, agile team.

O’sinta sinta maiko

End of September is anniversary time. When I remember packing my Mazda 323 and driving over the alps to Lugano. Moving from Germany to Switzerland.

#uxcampch 2017 – Some notes

I attended last Saturday’s #uxcampch in Zürich.

First talk was on designing screens for HbbTV. 10 Foot UI. Samuel Raymann talked about his project at SRG and designing for TV sets. I liked this project report about design challenges.

Next, I joined a discussion on digital education. Difficult to summarize in a couple of words. Apparently, even in 2017, there are tonnes of teachers that don’t use digital resources and apps in their teaching plans. At the same time, many students are distracted by very elaborate, leading edge, commercial apps. Educational software publishers could benefit from UX methodology and agile processes. And one attendee suggested UX designers should consider enter the teaching profession.

Then, there was a session on virtual reality. One hololens and 120 attendees. And very shaky videos as we watched people try out the headset. Conclusion: User interaction is not quite there yet. The hand gestures are quite difficult to learn, it seems.

I felt this session shows what is happening. Enthusiasts, gamers, early adopters are embracing virtual reality, augmented reality faster than ever before. While at the same time the digital divide is increasing (c.f. educational system). Many of us, normal folks, will be consumers of elaborate marketing and manipulation machines that we don’t know how to program.

One thing to note is: voice control will become more widespread.

In many ways the VR session reminded me of shaky holiday videos from long ago. But it’s coming into our daily lives in a big way.

Other sessions of note:

Making privacy useable

Conversational Design

On design sprints

Big thank you to the organizers.

The fast track to DIY images

For all my creative photography friends, here’s an article by Moz on how images boost conversion. And a list of tools.

The sample images displayed in the Moz article aren’t very inspiring but the tools look useful.

My toolset? I use Canva and Photoshop at the day job and Pixelmator on my MacBook at home.

Barcamp Bodensee 2016

Last Saturday I attended Barcamp Bodensee in Konstanz.

barcamp bodensee

Here are some brief notes and thoughts on sessions that I attended:

Ask a digital teen
Barcamp attendees asked a 15 year old what apps and web services he uses. Youtube, Gaming, TeamSpeak, Discord app, some Whatsapp, Google Calendar. No TV. No Facebook. His school doesn’t allow the use of smartphones on the school grounds.

Digital strategy for non-profit organizations
Digital strategy means finding a way to connect CMS and CRM and accounting and payment apps and processes. CiviCRM was recommended; if offers connectors for WordPress and Drupal. There’s an association called “Software für Engagierte” (in German only). QuickBook, Collmex were mentioned for accounting purposes.

Getting Things Done
A certified GTD trainer offered an intro to David Allen’s method. Mind like water. Some very useful tips. For example, to do lists aren’t enough. Lists need to be sorted and categorized. Actionable items and next steps instead of just listing the project. Tasks that take less than 2 minutes should be taken care of immediately. Cos it takes more time to get back to these mini-tasks. Related links:

http://www.taskinator.de/

http://www.next-action.de/

Intro to Snapchat
Useful intro to a social network that is growing fast. The speaker encouraged us to sign up to learn how influencers are using Snapchat for storytelling.

 

Messaging
Messaging apps are probably going to change in 2016, c.f. Facebook’s recent announcement. E.g. possibility to order services and buy products via chat like in Asian chat apps, Line and WeChat. We went off on a tangent and collected a comprehensive list of messaging apps….

all the messaging apps that we could think of

I’ve learnt a lot at barcamps in the past and recommend attending one or two if you can. The same content will cost you $$$ at a commercial conference and lots more nerves. Barcamps are fun and way more relaxing.

Snapshots

Some photos from my Flickr stream:

grenzen überwinden

I’ve got this theory that fresh green colour soothes the eyes and helps to relax.

stream   fencing

I saw 2 cats. Both look somewhat unamused. And ready to pounce on any intruders.

katze

katze

Saturday was sunny and warm. I like this snapshot, taken with my Moto 3 G:

elisabethenkirche in the evening sun

Museum Unterlinden in Colmar

On my daily bicycle commute, I kept noticing art posters, labelled Le nouvel Unterlinden. Today, I saw a Designboom article, shared by someone in my community, discussing the newly renovated museum in Colmar.

Connection made.

Advertising works. Both print and online.

It’s February already

I listened to the latest episode of The Big Web Show this weekend. The topic was interaction architecture. Here’s a tweet pointing to the show:

On Sunday evening, I saw this tweet, which describes exactly what happened to our content/our attention.

Maybe a good candidate for my Twitter Poetry collection?

Best snapshot of 2015?

Here is an attempt to find my best snapshot per month for 2015.

January 2015

michiru

February 2015

#wettstein bridge after the #fasnacht cortege on wednesday evening

March 2015

ein brunnen in basel

April 2015

Vespa speedometer

May 2015

Chichewa for English speakers by Nathaniel Maxson

June 2015

naturbad riehen

July 2015

das leben ist besser wenn du lachst

August 2015

the view from my hotel room

September 2015

wassermelone

October 2015

belchen, schwarzwald

November 2015

Fish and chips

December 2015

beautiful puppy

The method:
I quickly scanned through my photos on a per month basis and selected a photo based on number of views or memories or both.

History:
See past summaries for 2014 and 2013 and 2012 and 2010.