Before you can take your SEO to the next level, you need to know where you are now and what to do next. In a recent article for MarketingLand.com, e-commerce consultant Danielle Savin presented four building blocks that B2B brands can use to improve organic search performance.
Crawlability: lay your SEO foundation – To appear in search results, your site must be found by search engines. That means if you’re starting from the ground up or have never engaged in SEO, your first task is making your site visible to search engine crawlers. One common problem here is also an easy fix: your site’s robots.txt file. Brands often neglect this little file, but adding instructions to it tells crawlers which pages you want indexed and which you don’t.
You will also want to show crawlers your site structure for better indexing. To do that, you may need to update and expand your sitemap or build one from scratch. The ideal sitemap for SEO crawlability includes all of your site’s categories, subcategories and product pages. If you’re wondering how long it will take to map or update your site’s thousands of product pages, services like Screaming Frog can generate a sitemap you can link to in your robots.txt file. After you update robots.text, submit it to Google and other search engines so they can re-crawl your site as soon as possible.
Content optimization: leverage your existing assets – This requires making better use of your current assets to improve your rank for specific keywords. You can use Google Keyword Planner to develop a list of target keywords based on volume and ROI. Then, use the list to enhance your meta tags and content, starting with your top-level pages and working down through your categories and subcategories, and finally ending with product pages.
Offsite: build links and brand engagement – You don’t have to wait until all your existing content is optimized to start link building and enhancing social influencer relationships. However, the more complete your content-optimization process is, the more SEO benefits you’ll see from your link-building and influencer efforts.
The most efficient way to find possible links is with a tool like SEMrush that shows you where your competition’s backlinks originate. That tool displays a list of potential sites to reach out to with link requests. Narrow that list to high-quality sites with good traffic and a strong social media presence. Don’t expect a huge response to your outreach — a 10 to 15 percent response rate is good for link-building campaigns.
Finding the right influencers requires research, too. You need to know your product and your audience. You also need to identify the social media users who’ve built a following by posting about your industry or niche and then learn who their audience is.
Content creation: expand into knowledge topics – If your company is mature in its SEO program, you can focus on content creation at a whole new level. At this stage, your content should expand beyond describing your products and services to answering consumer questions related to what you sell. Deciding what topics to focus on requires keyword and competitor research.
Use a tool like SEMrush to do a content gap analysis based on your products, segment, market and relevant search phrases. By doing this analysis, you can typically generate somewhere between 750 and 6,000 keywords that you can use to create non-promotional content. The next step is to segment your new list of keywords and analyze how you perform for those phrases versus how your competition performs. This sifting can take anywhere from a few days to a full month. The time you spend on this is an investment that leads to a content road map for your SEO program. For example, you can prioritize the keywords where you have a competitive opportunity and make them the focus of your content creation program over the coming year.