5 B2B Website Best Practices to Help Your Company Get Found Online
Most B2B marketers today realize that their company’s website is an essential piece of their online marketing strategy. Every B2B company needs an online presence to reach buyers in the Internet age.
But, a great website isn’t so great if no one visits it. That’s why your website needs to not just exist, it needs to become an inbound marketing machine that attracts visitors, educates them and convinces them to buy.
To make the most of your website, you need to know how to help your company get found online. This process begins with search engine optimization (SEO), an absolute must-have for any website, but it takes hard work to reach page 1 of Google. In the remainder of this post, we’ll share 5 B2B website best practices that you can use to increase your company’s organic search engine rankings.
Building Inbound Links
Every website on the Internet has the goal of reaching the #1 position in search engine rankings. However, there is only one top spot per keyword phrase and not everyone can make it. So what gets a first place ranking? Off-page SEO is the most important factor to increase your ranking results.
Off-Page SEO is about building inbound links, essentially getting other quality websites to link back to you. Search engines call this authority or “link juice.” The more inbound links you have, the more important your site must be, thus the higher you’ll rank.
Link building, when done right, isn’t easy since adding links to other websites is out of your control. Here are some tips to build inbound links:
- Create high-quality, educational or entertaining content. If people like your content, they will naturally want to link to it.
- Submit your website to online directories. This is an easy way to start.
- Write guest posts for other blogs. This is a win-win for both parties. People will want extra (quality) content from others and in exchange, it’s a great way to build inbound links.
- Research link building opportunities with other websites. Always check the authority of the websites before you ask them to link to your website using a tool such as Open Site Explorer.
- And never borrow, beg, barter, bribe or buy links.
While off-page SEO is hugely important, don’t forget about on-page SEO. This consists of placing your most important keywords within the content of your pages. These on-page elements include headlines, sub-headlines, body content, image tags and links. On-page SEO is also referred to as “keyword density.”
It’s very common for businesses to do too little on-page optimization or too much (keyword stuffing). While it’s important to include your keyword as many times as necessary within a page, you don’t want to go overboard with it either. For on-page SEO done right:
- Pick a primary keyword for each page and focus on optimizing that page for that word. If you oversaturate a page with too many keywords, the page will lose its importance and authority because search engines won’t have a clear idea of what the page is about. This is very common on homepages in particular, where too many keywords are used.
- Place your primary keyword in your headline and sub-headline. These areas of content have greater weight to search engines.
- Include the keyword in the body content, but don’t use it out of context. Make sure it is relevant to the rest of your content. Search engines also give greater weight to text that is bolded.
- Include the keyword in the name of images (e.g., mykeyword.jpg) or in the ALT tag.
- Include the keywords in the page URL and keep the URL clean.
- Write for humans first, search engines second. Always prepare your content for your audience and then look to optimize it for search. Content written in the other order won’t read naturally and your visitors will recognize it.
Title Tag and Meta Tags
While this may not be the sexiest component of SEO, it is a definite must-have. A meta tag is a line of code that is contained in the background of a web page. Search engines look at meta tags to learn more about what the page is about.
Meta tags don’t quite have the level of SEO importance as they used to, but are still very important. In years past, websites abused meta tags to increase their rankings by including far too many keywords. Now search engines are smarter and give more weight to inbound links and page content for ranking instead. However, they still play an important role in an SEO strategy. Make sure to use them on all of your pages.
Most website editors and content management systems enable you to easily edit meta tags without coding knowledge. If you don’t have an editor, you can simply open a web page file (ending in .htm, .html, .asp or .php) in Notepad or a plain text editor and you will see the meta tags near the top of the document.
The general incentive behind an XML sitemap is to help search engine crawlers (or “spiders”) sift through your pages more efficiently. An XML sitemap is simply an .xml file containing a listing of all your pages and when they were updated. It’s a lot like a subway map. It shows the structure of your website and where your pages reside.
Creating a sitemap is easy. You can find sitemap generators online that will create the .xml file for you. Once you get the .xml file, simply upload it to the root directory of your website (e.g., www. website.com/sitemap.xml). If your website is updated regularly, update your .xml file at least once a month so search engines have the freshest data.
Adding an XML sitemap is a component that is commonly overlooked. While it may not be the deciding factor in improving your SEO rankings, it will certainly help.
We’ve all clicked on a website link that ended up being broken. Typically, you’ll see a “404 message” or “Page Not Found.” Many times, this occurs when a page is moved to a new URL and the old link has not been directed to the new page. Think about the lost opportunity when your customers or potential buyers want information that they can’t locate. If you choose to move a page on your website, be sure that you use a permanent 301 redirect, a method used to change an old URL to a new one.
In addition to keeping visitors happy when navigating your website, permanent 301 redirects are also important for SEO. When users and search engines can’t find a new page, you’ll lose any SEO status the old page once had. To keep the SEO juice following to new pages, set up a 301 redirect for pages that you have moved so search engines know where to find them.