Learn About Rankings From An SEO Specialist
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is as tough to master as it is imperative to your online sales and marketing success.
Why? Because the factors that take you to the top of search engines have this tendency to change — usually around that time you finally get a handle on the old way of doing things.
There are some aspects of SEO that remain true, however, and any company that expects to find some measure of success online should already be well aware of them.
- You need a fully functional website with a variety of rich content and different types of media.
- You need links coming to your website from outside sources, like articles, blog posts, press releases, directories, etc. In a perfect world, you want websites linking back to yours with relevant content.
- You need a well maintained social media presence, which should include pages and feeds on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc. as well as streaming media social platforms like YouTube.
- You need a good online reputation, with many five-star ratings and thumbs-up reviews across any relevant review sites, including Google Business and Google Maps, YellowBook, Yelp, etc.
The Fight For The Top Spot
For a while, a firm grip on the above would be enough to help you climb the rankings, but getting to the top spot is another matter. As most companies, particularly those in the B2B world already know, SEO is rife with competition.
The fight to be ranked for highly valued keywords is a process that requires consistent effort, over a period of time, varying greatly based on just how hard your competition is fighting for top rank for those very same keywords and what kind of content and strategy they bring with them.
Whether or not you beat out your toughest SEO competitors depends on how well you establish and maintain your online presence through the following factors:
Relevancy: You achieve relevancy when your website is structured properly, is easy to navigate, and all of your individual pages are arranged in a logical fashion. Your website must first and foremost be useful to your visitors, whether they're seeking basic information, they'd like to contact you, get a quote, or make a purchase.
The content on your website now plays one of the biggest roles in how your website is ranked. We'll discuss this in detail shortly.
Social Influence: You achieve social influence through utilization of various social media platforms and user engagements. You should be regularly broadcasting messages and sharing content in order to inspire likes, shares, comments, reviews, and other interactions.
Brand: You establish brand by informing and confirming your authority. Search engines and site visitors want to see that you're active online as a major player in the markets you serve. The consistency with which you publish your content and the social buzz that results is essential in the branding process.
By doing so you will achieve higher rankings, establish trust with Google and shield your company from any type of penalties. We accomplish this by creating a syndication network for your company. Your syndication network is designed to build your brand online.
The Latest And Greatest Challenge In SEO
The factors already covered still play a critical role in how your website is regarded and ranked by search engines and how your viewers will come to find and engage with your company, but there is something that even the most experienced SEO professionals are now scrambling to deal with.
RankBrain is presenting a major challenge to the optimization process.
What is RankBrain?
RankBrain is an algorithm learning AI system that Google has used since 2015. They have called it the third most important factor in their ranking algorithm — with links and content being the other two.
RankBrain uses internet users' search behaviors to determine what results they display for a specific keyword, and the order in which they are displayed. Google engineers once played an active role in this process but now RankBrain has taken over in attempting to deliver the most relevant, most desired results to the internet user.
RankBrain interprets what an internet user wants even if it's not exactly what they've typed into a search bar. It is able to anticipate the type of content a user will value based on related keywords and common search behaviors, as if it knows what that user is thinking.
How does it manage to do this? It pays careful attention to the way users have responded to specific search results and how they interact with website content.
Before this feature was implemented, Google would determine which content belonged at the top of a search engine results page (SERP) by accounting for factors like the number of links coming from high domain websites, quality of content and balance of keywords, and other attributes that SEO specialists build on when optimizing a website.
What Your Website Visitors Really Want
High authority inbound links and well-crafted content still matter, but RankBrain is looking for other factors and determining rankings accordingly.
It's no longer enough to optimize your content and gain inbound links for the keywords that you value most; you have to anticipate what your desired website visitors are really looking for when they search, because that's what RankBrain is doing for the billion searches that are completed through Google every day.
Instead of trying to match specific keywords to content, RankBrain's aim is to understand what an internet user really means and what they want when they type in a word or phrase. It then wants to present results with maxim relevancy.
RankBrain is trying to grasp concepts on a more sophisticated level — one that goes further than crawling high authority links and webpage content for specific terms. It manages to do this by carefully tracking and evaluating internet user behaviors.
Once an internet user enters a keyword or phrase into Google's search bar, RankBrain pays close attention to what happens after that user clicks on the top organic search result.
When determining how websites should be ranked, RankBrain looks for the following user experience signals:
Organic Click-Through Rates: This is how frequently an internet user clicks on a website link that's shown on a SERP for a specific keyword or phrase. A top organic (non-sponsored) result will receive the most clicks, and Google likes it that way.
Dwell Time: This is the length of time an internet user spends on a website or a specific page before they hit the back button or click away to another page. You want a longer dwell time for the pages you are targeting. This means an internet user has found content that is relevant to their search and there is enough of it to keep them engaged. A high dwell time tells Google that there is valuable, relevant content on a page.
Bounce Rates: This is how frequent an internet user clicks through to a website, deems the content as irrelevant or uninteresting, and uses the back button or other commands to navigate away from that page or website. A high bounce rate tells Google that a page isn't of value to most internet users and rankings will drop significantly as a result, which is detrimental to SEO efforts.
These experience signals play a big role in how RankBrain functions and how a website is ranked. To better understand how that works, let's look at a few different search scenarios for a specific type of query.
You've got an ant problem in your kitchen. It's becoming a major nuisance, so you Google "Get rid of ants".
Search Scenario 1: You click on the first listing that pops up. The results say, "How To Quickly And Permanently Get Rid Of Ants In Your Kitchen." linking to a website called Best Bug Busters, but you quickly see it's just a few lines of mostly promotional text on a site for a professional exterminator. Since you don't want to spend much money and you're confident you can take care of this problem yourself, you hit the back button and return to the search results.
Search Scenario 2: You click on the second listing. This one says "Ten Ways You Can Get Rid Of Ants And Other Common Pests." linking to a website called Easy Ant Control. This sounds more like what you're looking for, but when you get there, you see it's a sponsored slideshow of brand name sprays and ant traps you've already tried without lasting success. Once you've spent about 20 or 30 seconds clicking through several of the slides, you hit the back button again.
Search Scenario 3: You click on the third listing. This one says "Common Causes Of Ant Infestations And How To Prevent Them" linking to a website call DIY Solutions And Repairs. This time you see a full page of content with plenty images and a couple of videos that show you common ways ants get into a house and how to seal them out. There are even some tips and recipes for nontoxic ant repellents you can make yourself. Since this content is relevant to your problem and useful, you take your time reading the text and watching the videos. No need to hit that back button.
Each of these scenarios is very informative to RankBrain and its mission to better understand search behaviors.
Let's say a lot of internet users with an ant infestation followed the same pattern described above. RankBrain would then conclude that the first and second results weren't as good as the third.
Even though you typed in "Get rid of ants" and the first two websites contained that exact phrase, they didn't amount to the best type of content for users searching that term. Through RankBrain tracking the click-throughs, dwell time, and bounce-outs described above, Google learns that the third website should probably be listed first and it's going to adjust its rankings accordingly.
This is why your website content and user experience it provides now matters more than ever in SEO.
Creating SEO Content That Ranks And Resonates
You need to create SEO content that makes an internet user want to stay on a page and engage with your website for as long as possible, thus increasing your website's dwell time.
You don't want visitors to quickly conclude that your content isn't useful or relevant to their search, which will cause them to hit the back button, thus increasing your bounce rate.
Your rankings depend on how well your content satisfies an internet user. If it's relevant and informative, causing them to stick around and engage, Google will bump you up — past those competitors who haven't created content that meets with your quality level.
Conversely, if enough internet users seek better, more relevant content by backing out of your website, Google's going to drop you in the rankings and favor other websites that maintain the interest of visitors.
Now you're probably wondering what you need to do to ensure your website visitors stick around more often than they bounce out.
The good news is, you have a lot of options based on your type of business, and when you're selling to B2B companies, there are many ways to craft content that will be useful to your site visitors and highly favorable to rankings.
How SEO Works For B2B Companies
When B2B customers search for a key phrase, they may enter a specific product or service by name or they may type in a concern or problem. They're likely to be very choosy about their sources and do a lot of research.
That's because the B2B buyers are typically making a larger investment and taking a greater risk in a product or service than the average B2C buyer.
B2B buyers take a lot of time to consider a purchase. It could take weeks, months, or maybe even a year or two to complete the process of identifying what they need, finding the potential suppliers and finally make the decision to contact one and buy from them.
And during that process, which is commonly called the purchasing journey or buyer's journey, whomever initiates the search will be likely to consult with a team of associates and managers before they decide what's best for their company. There will be a lot of back and forth and a lot of questions and concerns that need to be addressed among that purchasing team.
If there is ample information about the product or service they're considering, and it's organized in a way that all members of the purchasing team will find relevant and accessible, their purchasing journey is likely to be that much faster and easier.
If they are considering several possible sellers and one clearly appears to be more knowledgeable and accommodating to their potential buyers' needs and research process, that's going to go a long way in inspiring trust. It's also likely to keep potential buyers returning to their website and spending considerable time engaging during each visit.
Image the dwell time you'd gain if one of your optimized pages managed to provide comprehensive information on your expertise, how your offering works, and how it would benefit a buyer? What if that page also answered many common questions and helped your website visitor become a more informed potential buyer who felt good about talking to and purchasing from you?
What if, in addition to helpful text content, your optimized page included rich media like images and video to keep them on your website longer? What if you gave them more features to engage with, including a comprehensive catalog, RFQ features, and more?
What if you used your website pages to address the varied needs and concerns of the different types of buyers who comprise one purchasing team? What if your content served as a resource to make life easier for prospects at multiple stages of the purchasing process — from those who are just starting out to those who are just one step away from requesting a quote or contacting you to place an order?
Think of how that would impact your SEO rankings now that RankBrain is in full effect and driving what internet users see when they search for keywords and phrases. If you did all of these things better than the competition, you'd dominate the fight to get to the top of the search engines.
Creating relevant, comprehensive, and valuable content for your website is imperative for any company that wants to be competitive in capturing the attention of prospects. Even if you've experienced moderate success in your rankings by optimizing your website through tried and tested professional SEO methods, that's no longer enough.
Why not? Because, as you could see from the example above, the way internet users interact with your website now plays a critical role in whether or not you're at the top of a SERP and whether or not RankBrain sees that your content measures up to what internet users want.
Moving Forward With What You've Learned
RankBrain's role in the SEO process doesn't mean that everything you've done to optimize your website gets thrown out the window. Every high authority link that leads back to your website, every page of well crafted, keyword focused content, and all of your hard work sending out social signals, creating online videos, and maintaining your website catalog still matters and will still greatly benefit you as you move forward with your new SEO knowledge.
To succeed in your SEO marketing efforts, you still need to:
- Meet search engine standards and ensure your website is functioning properly at all times
- Acquire links from high authority websites to boost your own domain authority
- Keep your content current and update your website on a regular basis
- Utilize a range of different media, including images and video, to create the right impression and aid visitors in their purchase research and decision-making process
- Give your visitors multiple ways to engage with your company based on what they want, whether it's to get a quote, make a purchase, schedule a meeting, get more info, etc.
- Nurture leads and retarget your past visitors to encourage return visits and continued interactions with your company
Unless you are an SEO specialist, or you employ someone whose sole job is to stay on top of your website, your keywords, and your rankings, it's almost impossible to implement and maintain a successful optimization strategy alongside or as an afterthought to your other management, marketing, and sales practices.
If you choose to forego this aspect of internet marketing or put in on the back-burner and stick with whatever you have — and still hope to somehow gain new customers and increase your revenue — you'll soon find yourself with a steep hill to climb — one that gets steeper and higher by the day.
That's because your competitors are gaining ground and taking advantage of new SEO factors. They're already using content crafting strategies that take them to top of the rankings and make them harder to beat.
If you prefer to be on the other side of that scenario and be the company that climbs to the top of a SERP and stays there to capture the majority of traffic — much to the frustration of large and small competitors — then you require the dedicated services of an SEO specialist.
Choosing Professional SEO Services
An SEO specialist isn't necessarily an individual. To implement and maintain everything that needs to happen to climb to the top of a SERP for multiple keywords, fight to stay there, and reclaim your place at the top when needed, you're usually going to need a team of professional SEO experts in your corner.
Most companies, understandably, do not have the resources to hire their own professional in-house SEO team. Instead, they may rely on supplemental internet marketing services that their website hosting providers offer, which can include a few different SEO add-ons.
If they want more customized and capable SEO professional services, that's more responsive to individual strategies and businesses, then they turn to a boutique Internet marketing agency like us.
Our SEO Proposal
When a B2B company first contacts us for SEO help, we provide a unique SEO proposal that's catered to their company, their offerings, the form and function of their current website, their keywords, their competition, and other factors.
Our capabilities are diverse and our offerings are fully customizable, but here is an overview of basic services we provide as an SEO specialist.
Onsite SEO Services
Site Health Services: Your very first step in any smart SEO strategy is a fully functional, well-maintained website. Our site health services are devoted to robust, logical website architecture that search engines view favorably as part of their ranking standards.
These services also ensure that your pages and content are organized and easy to navigate, and free of errors and bugs that will result in search engine penalties and other ranking detriments.
Monthly site evaluations, performance indicators, and a series of tests are all implemented to verify that your website is healthy and contributing to high SEO rankings, not working against them.
Content Crafting Services: We have always focused on getting our clients ranked for their most profitable keywords by using white hat, quality-driven content development services. As discussed, it's now more important than ever that your content resonates with your website visitors, keeps them interested, and encourages them to engage with your company.
That is the type of content we create for our clients. Graphic design, video production, optimized content building, e-commerce and RFQ catalog creation, email marketing and lead nurturing campaigns are just a few of the services we provide to help our clients deliver a unique message to their most valued prospects and leads.
We help you target groups of closely related keywords and develop content that will rank your website and help you perform more competitively in the search engines. Our strategies are designed to be effective and long-term so that you rise to the top and stay there, keyword by keyword.
Offsite SEO Services
We work with independent bloggers to create offsite blog posts that link to your company's website or blog. This increases the number of high-quality links that lead to your website and blog. This service also drives traffic to your website and increases its domain authority.
Offsite SEO is implemented through offsite blog posts that are then promoted. This action serves to provide inbound links that will direct potential customers to your website from other sites online. This process also signals strong authority indicators to search engines.
When you want to be ranked for competitive key phrases, you must have a wide diversity of inbound links to gain top rankings. Search engine algorithms use these links to determine that your site should be ranked.
That's part of the reason why the greater number of high-quality links you can get leading back to your website amounts to better ability to stay competitive in your search engine rankings, especially for popular keyphrases.
This is just an overview of what we can do.
When you speak with us, we can discuss your individual needs before we work up a detailed SEO proposal for your company.
What You Need To Know
Before you schedule a consultation with us, it's important that you understand our disclaimer:
ROIGROUP is a boutique marketing agency that serves clients in competitive markets. A significant amount of work is required to gain and maintain dominance in these markets.
This work must be done on a consistent basis for a long period of time. That is a simple, hard fact of successful internet marketing. Rankings cannot be forced. Success cannot be achieved with anything other than white hat SEO techniques.
This means you must build a large variety of content on and off your network of websites in order to drive traffic. Once that content is built, it must be promoted using many different procedures, campaigns, and types of media.
This is part of the reason why we are very selective in the clients with whom we choose to work. We use an interview process to ensure that expectations are managed on both sides.
We work exclusively with clients in B2B markets who have a minimum monthly marketing budget of $2500.00 with a yearly commitment. The larger the monthly marketing budget a client can provide, the more work we dedicate to that company's online market dominance.
In competitive markets, your company is competing for the same space with industry giants that have massive budgets and extensive resources to devote to their internet marketing strategy. This is why it takes constant building and promotion to compete.
Search engines want to see a website grow over time, with consistency, and you must cater your marketing approach to that factor. Additionally, the more you promote your company, and the more traffic you drive to your website, the stronger and higher your rankings.
If you would like to see if this is possible for your company, then contact us and schedule a consultation.
Use the form below to get started.