By this point, you probably have a basic understanding of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process by which you ensure that your website ranks high in search engine results.
As you may have noticed, SEO is a bit of a marketing buzzword these days. You’ve probably heard that if you’re not doing it, you’re missing out – and, honestly, you probably are. That’s because, if you’re not doing SEO, you’re not being found online. And that’s not good.
Get this: every second, there are 2.3 million searches on Google. That’s a ridiculous number! What it means is this: when people search for information, they search online. SEO is how you can make sure they find you. That’s why understanding how SEO works is so important.
In this post, we’ll focus on the basics of how SEO works for B2B firms. These are essential as a base for practicing SEO well. Then, in Part 2, we’ll delve into some of the best SEO techniques for B2B firms to put to use.
Ready? Let’s get started with 3 essential SEO principles.
Search Engines Were Made for Users.
When delving into SEO, it’s important to understand that, by improving your search results, you’re attempting to improve web viewers’ experiences online.
Like any subject, SEO is best understood not in isolation, but within the context of its origin.
For our subject, that origin was the wild landscape of the early internet – before the days of search engines like Google, if you can believe such a time existed. We’re talking early 90’s, at the very beginning of the public web boom. Back then, to find something online, you either had to know its web address or find a link to it on another site. Consequently, much of the internet was difficult to access, and this made the user experience disorganized and confusing.
Search engines were the solution to this problem. The idea behind search engines, of course, is to help viewers find what they’re searching for online. With that in mind, you should approach SEO with the idea that, by ranking high, you are helping viewers find what they want.
So it’s not just about getting found, after all – it’s about getting found by the people who are looking for you.
That’s because search engines evolved to present users with what they wanted to see. Taking a look at the evolution of search engines is fun, but what really matters is the development of a simple concept: reputable sites are the most worthwhile.
Site reputation is an important SEO factor.
The idea behind those early search engines was that, if there were an abundance of links pointing to a specific site, then that site must be worthwhile. This meant that search engines would bump these sites to the front of the queue for search results.
As a general principle, this makes sense, and it’s still true even today. Consider how many sites link to a site like Starbucks, for example, versus how many link to your local coffee shop. Consequently, when people search for coffee, Starbucks comes up more quickly based on its reputation.
There are many factors that impact your SEO ranking.
Today, Google’s search engine has evolved to the point where determining exactly how it works is nearly impossible. There are simply too many factors (including some like individual search history, location, and device) influencing rankings to be completely sure about how ranking will appear for any given search. And Google’s algorithm is constantly being updated to give different weight to different things.
If it sounds confusing, don’t worry: there are still factors that we know are important, even if their importance isn’t always completely quantifiable. These factors can be broken into two general categories: on-page SEO, and off-page SEO. On-page SEO factors are determined by the content and structure of your website. Off-page factors are dependent upon what other sites say about yours.
Here are three factors to keep in mind for each category.
On-Page SEO Factors
- Quality of content: How well written is the content on your site? Is there a substantial amount of useful text and HTML to ensure that your viewers find your site helpful?
- Site accessibility to search engines: Can search engines “crawl” your site easily? Is it easy for them to index the pages and URLs of your site?
- Page Titles: Are your pages titled with relevant SEO tags?
Off-Page SEO Factors
- Quality of backlinks: Are the sites that link to yours reputable and trusted?
- Authority of your site: Based on sites and social sharing linking to your site, is your site an authority and trusted voice on its subject matter?
- Location (country): Is your site relevant to the location of the searcher?
For more factors, and for an estimate of their weight in determining rankings, check out the periodic table of SEO factors. It’s pretty helpful, if a bit overwhelming.
So, those are your three SEO essential principles. Remember, even in a B2B sales setting, your prospects are searching for information before they make a purchase decision, and increasingly, they’re searching online. SEO is the means to get your company found.
In our next post, we’ll take a look at three SEO techniques B2B businesses can use to improve their rankings.
Want to be found? Let us know. At New North, as a digital marketing company in Frederick, MD, we partner with B2B firms to connect them to the right customers. Get in touch with us online, or at 240.575.5887 for SEO services in Maryland or around the country.
Jon is an inbound strategist with a passion for helping clients take the mystery out of their marketing. His goal is to write about digital marketing using as little jargon as possible. He’s watched a few too many Pittsburgh sporting events.