A website’s navigation is a roadmap to finding pertinent information, a product of interest, contact information, a form, a site’s shopping cart, or all of the above. But, whatever it is we, as visitors, are looking for, we want to find it as quickly and as easily as possible, no matter where it is we have entered a particular website. If we suddenly become lost or frustrated due to an insufficient navigational structure, we are most likely going to leave the site we are visiting to head to a site that is easier to maneuver.
The same is true for our own website. We want to be able to navigate, and more importantly, we want our customers to be able to navigate with ease and we want them to find exactly what they are looking for in a timely manner.
Do you think your current website has an efficient and effective navigational structure? Or, do you think users could be getting lost and frustrated? Here is a list of some of the basic navigation guidelines that might be helpful in answering these questions.
Your website navigation menus should perform and function in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.
Although this is pretty standard by now, I think it’s worth mentioning. It is very important to keep your navigation consistent on all pages of your website. That includes menu placement, color, size and functionality. There might be some minor variations in the placement of the navigation, for example, a menu might have a slight shift in placement from the homepage to the sublevel pages, but these changes should be seamless and intuitive to the user.
Keep your overall navigation as clean, clear and as simple as possible. Having too many buttons can be overwhelming, so having fewer buttons and keeping your button names short and concise is important from a usability standpoint.
Although your buttons should be simple and easy to read, they can still have some personality to them. There is still a lot that can be done using subtle colors, borders and rollovers without over-doing it. Your menus should work as accents and nicely complement the rest of your website.
In order for users to be able to easily read menu items it’s important to do the following:
Use a font that is easy to read
Choose a point size for the font that is large enough to read
Be sure there is enough contrast between the button name and the button background
Allow enough spacing between each button so the buttons are not crowded
In your text-based buttons, choose a type font that is a web-safe font (not all fonts are)
This seems self-explanatory, but be sure all of your links are working at all times. Pages come and go, but when pages go, be sure the navigation button gets deleted as well. This way, you won’t have a button linking to a dead page.
On the other hand, one thing you can run into, especially with older sites, is adding more and more pages and, consequently, more and more buttons over time. Eventually, if you’re not careful in rethinking the organization of your navigation, your menu bar can accumulate too many buttons, which again, can be overwhelming for users.
Usability Have someone who is not familiar with your website click around and test your current navigational structure. Ask them how easy or hard it is to navigate to find information, products, etc. Ask them to assess your site in each of the areas listed above.
Efficiency Your website navigation menus should perform and function in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.
Hopefully your navigational structure is working as effectively as it should, but if you need any help or further assistance, contact Pilot Fish for ideas on how to improve your site navigation.
Halloween is just around the corner and Google has a few tricks or treats up their sleeve that might leave you screaming. In case you’re confused on what’s what, here’s a quick breakdown of the latest algorithm updates from Google for the Fall of 2014.
Panda: This is the algorithm relating to low-quality content. If you took shortcuts in developing content, or it’s thin, every time Google updates Panda you need to look out. The last update took place on September 23rd and affected 3% to 5% of web site results, which is considerable compared to past updates. Be the king of the kingdom this Halloween and treat yourself to a healthy spoonful of content.
If you took shortcuts in developing content, or it’s thin, every time Google updates Panda you need to look out.
Penguin: This algorithm judges link building techniques. If you automate your link building process too much you’re on thin ice. The last update took place on October 18th. This refresh impacted about 1% or web results. Building links isn’t easy, and you won’t be able to trick Google with any of your shortcuts these days.
Pigeon: This algorithm controls local results. If your business has a local or regional focus, look out for that fast flying bird some call a dove. Did you know they can fly as fast as 60 MPH? The last update took place on October 17th.
Pirate: Here we’re talking copyright infringement. The last update called Pirate Update 2 took place on October 24th. This mainly effects Torrent sites, so if you are using Google to find free TV shows, movies, and music it’s going to be harder to find them in the search results.
Beware of the 4 P’s this Halloween. If you think your site has been affected by any of these updates, look into your analytics to confirm. Trick or treat anyone?
Remember the days of the animated cursor? You know, when the little sparkly stars would follow your cursor around the page. Wheeeeeeee …… this is fuuunnnn!! It’s like a magic wand!! That was soooo cool, wasn’t it? Yeah, maybe for about five seconds. Then, the proverbial “magic” was gone. Those sparkly little stars became very annoying VERY quickly. “Abracadabra!!! How do I make these awful stars disappear??”
Or, how about the cursor that was shaped like a football or an animal or had an adorable little face? “Hey, check this out, my cursor has cute little eyeballs and TEETH. Awwww! Neato.” Well, soon that novelty, too, wore off and now it was time to do some serious browsing. “Hmmm, how do I get back to my plain old arrow cursor? Send out the search parties. I want him back!”
Oh yeah, and then, there was the time when Flash first came on the scene. You remember that time, right? It seemed that every website you visited was spinning, blinking, moving all over the place. “Hey, I just want to click on that button, but I can’t seem to catch it. Ugh, I’m getting dizzy. I think I’m about to lose my lunch.”
The latest and greatest bells and whistles might not always be what’s best for your customers.
Yeah, I’m exaggerating. A little bit. But, the truth is, from time to time, we are all guilty of being sucked in by the awe of new technologies. You might think these bells and whistles are “cutting edge”, but it’s important not to jump the gun and, just because something looks new or different, doesn’t mean you should put it into your website.
What could go wrong, you ask? Well, a number of things. If a technology is brand new, chances are, it’s not fully supported by all of the popular browsers or widely-used versions of those browsers. You wouldn’t want 75% of your visitors to come to a broken website, or, to be so annoyed by your website that they have to leave, would you? I didn’t think so. And, don’t forget the possibility that new technology could be damaging your SEO efforts.
So, the lesson is, the latest and greatest bells and whistles might not always be what’s best for your customers or for your business as a whole. Before strapping your website with the latest cursor with eyeballs and teeth, (no matter how cute he is), be sure to check with your web developers and SEO experts who have already done the latest research for you.
Hey, you never know, the technology you are wanting could be completely feasible. Just remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Because search engine users are self-selecting prospects, SEO is the most cost-effective way to reach prospective customers (you already know that they're looking for your product). For companies that have global business markets, optimizing web sites for customers in their native language is a no-brainer.
The site's Spanish-speaking audience has grown considerably. In the website’s first month, more than 10% of site visitors were from countries where Spanish is the dominant language.
Speaking to a prospect in his or her native tongue is a sign of respect and indicates competence in being able to do business in other countries.
The foreign search engine landscape is similar to what we see here in the United States. Google now offers search engines covering more than 100 languages or dialects. In addition, most languages also are served by a number of local search engines.
For companies seeking to reach prospects in foreign markets via foreign search engines, the SEO requirements are the same as what one would do to optimize an English-language site:
Develop optimized content in that language
Optimize meta tags
Build incoming links to the foreign language pages
Bonus points in prospect outreach for ensuring that the names of folders, pages and images are written in the appropriate language – nothing says “we cut corners and ignore details” like a website address that reads http://www.yourdomain.com/spanish/about-us.html instead of http://www.yourdomain.com/es/quienes-somos.html.
Pilot Fish recently completed a project to develop and optimize a Spanish-language site for a long-time client. Within one month of launching the new site, the client had earned first page placement on multiple Spanish-language search engines, including:
Google Costa Rica
Additionally, the site's Spanish-speaking audience has grown considerably. In the website’s first month, more than 10% of site visitors were from countries where Spanish is the dominant language. That compares to an average of 1.8% for sites that do not have Spanish-language pages.
With just one investment in a professionally optimized Spanish-language site, this client expanded its visibility and marketing capability globally.
And a word to the wise: many content management systems now offer built-in translation capabilities, which can be great for plain-vanilla, consumer-oriented sites. But manufacturers need to ensure their success by following these recommendations:
Have someone who speaks the language and is familiar with your industry review the translation to make sure your industry’s terminology is properly rendered.
Seek an Internet marketing professional’s assessment of the CMS’s translation function to make sure that all of the most important SEO and user-friendly components will be translated.
More and more companies are opting to use a Content Management System (CMS), like Joomla, DotNetNuke or WordPress, when they redesign their site so that they can can add, edit and delete content on the fly.
But, before you jump in with both feet, it’s important to make a decision about whether you will use an open source CMS or a proprietary system. Here’s where we can help.
It may not work with cooks and kitchens, but having many programmers who understand the underlying source code for your site is a good thing.
Open Source vs. Proprietary CMS – what’s the difference?
Site Ownership – an Open Source CMS is one that has been developed with input from many programmers across the web-o-sphere with ownership of the code provided in the public domain. A proprietary CMS is one that a specific web design firm has developed on their own with which they will build your site. The key question to ask your prospective developer is “who will own the source code for your web site” if you choose to move your site to another web host. An Open Source CMS like DotNetNuke, Joomla or WordPpress can easily be moved to other web hosts – you will own rights to your entire site. But you might not own the underlying code for a site built in a Proprietary CMS, thus making it difficult or impossible to move should your web developer fall out of favor.
Ease of Maintenance – As you know, Internet technology changes pretty fast (are we on IE 100.12 yet?) and with many different types of browsers in use, making sure your site functions properly in all of them can be a challenge. Open Source CMS has the advantage of constantly being updated, with many developers contributing so that the technology will work appropriately in any new browsing environment. With proprietary code, it’s up to your developer whether they update the code so that your site works across all platforms.
Many Hands – It may not work with cooks and kitchens, but having many programmers who understand the underlying source code for your site is a good thing. With an Open Source CMS there are many developers who can assist you with site edits and updates should you dispatch your current developer. That usually isn’t the case with a Proprietary CMS – the company that built it is generally the only one that can manage it without a huge learning curve by a different team.
Many Apps – One of the nicest advantages of using an Open Source CMS is that you can have your site built using applications already developed by someone else. For sites that have a lot of different features and functionality, this can yield a big cost savings compared with doing a custom build. Oftentimes with Open Source CMS, there are multiple modules available for the same function, but with different bells and whistles so that your developer can pick the ones best for your site. A Proprietary CMS usually won’t have as many module options.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Open Source CMS developers have keyed into the importance of sites ranking well on search engines, so each of the platforms offers special SEO modules that get your site started on the right foot. As for Proprietary CMS platforms, depending on who built it and when, they may not provide the tools you’ll need to optimize your site properly.
Pilot Fish offers site development and maintenance in several Open Source CMS platforms, including Joomla,WordPress and DotNetNuke. We also can evaluate your existing proprietary CMS to determine whether we can host and/or update it for you.
I've been on the sales end of industrial marketing for the past 15 years. I've sold various products including website design, SEO, banner ads, Google Adwords and industry directories. Still, when it gets down to advertising, many manufacturing or industrial businesses appear to be in the dark about what's an appropriate figure to spend on marketing to generate continued growth.
Some VPs and marketing managers I speak with on a daily basis are still surprised about the price of marketing. Some understand the value in marketing, while others are completely blown away by the cost.
I thought I would share with you what I've found other businesses are spending, to help you determine what you should be doing to better compete in your market. Typically, advertising budgets are tied to a sales ratio. Margin-driven businesses tend to spend a larger amount on advertising. Volume-driven businesses tend to spend a lesser amount on advertising.
A good rule of thumb is that at least 15% of your total annual marketing budget should be allocated to online marketing.
I find that the typical B2B industrial or manufacturing business tends to spend anywhere between 2-6% of sales revenue on marketing. Industrial companies looking to maintain their current market position will likely spend on the lower end of the scale. Those that are looking to grow their position in the market will be on the upper end of the spectrum.
We all know that trade shows and advertising in trade journals make up a significant part of the marketing dollar for many manufacturing businesses. Year after year companies choose the same exact marketing buys without a clear idea of how well those methods work. The Internet has turned everything upside down. Buyers aren't waiting for the next trade show to get information about equipment or services they need. They're looking for that information online.
The Buyersphere Report 2013, an annual report that tracks B2B buyer behavior, reported that 47% of industrial buyers use supplier websites to get product information, 29% used a search engine, compared to 28% that use an industry specific intermediary.
So, have industrial businesses adjusted to this increased emphasis to online product/service research? If you ask me, for the most part the answer is NO.
A good rule of thumb is that at least 15% of your total annual marketing budget should be allocated to online marketing. This includes items like ongoing website development, SEO, web-based PR tactics, blogs, video development via YouTube, and various social media strategies. Some B2B surveys like the one published by the Content Marketing Institute report that businesses are spending as much as 33% percent of their marketing dollars for online marketing content.
Those are the ones that are 100% bought in to the value of online industrial marketing. On the other hand, I still see crazy spending at every manufacturing trade show I attend for elaborate trade show booths, massive capital machinery on display, and countless numbers of employees standing around happy to speak with anyone walking by. I see it again every time I pick up an industrial trade magazine with those full page 4-color ads. Who's reading the print version these days?
Even more interesting is to look at the online marketing efforts for many of those companies. Most have dated websites with flash-driven images, broken links all over, data sheets from 2004 and little to no effort on search engine optimization (SEO).
With three-quarters of the industrial buyer market saying they use Internet first to do their product research, doesn't it make sense to re-think how your company is allocating its annual marketing budget?
For a FREE evaluation of your website's performance and opportunities to improve lead generation, contact John Inama at 877-799-9994 ext. 2104 or fill out our form.
Did you know that colors are proven to leave a lasting first impression and can subliminally affect your customers’ impression of your business? It’s true! Picture this:
... A vibrant, green forest.
... A pure, white, picturesque snow scene.
... A bright red sunset.
... A clear blue sky.
When thinking of these colorful scenes what emotions did you feel? Calmness? Intensity? Joy? Relaxation? How would you feel if these scenes were presented in a different color? Or in black and white? Just as colors in nature can evoke emotional responses, so can the colors of your website.
This invites the question: Is your website sending the right message? What are you trying to convey? Loyalty? Reliability? Perhaps your company is environmentally friendly and you’d like to spread that message. Or maybe all of the above apply to your company.
Successful color schemes play a large role in how your customers perceive your business identity and will create an overall positive experience for your customers.
To help you decide whether your website is relaying the right message, let’s first take a look at some of the most popular colors used in marketing, their meanings and what messages they are traditionally known to relay. Keep in mind, it is important to have the right balance and combination of colors in your website design in order to deliver an accurate message and elicit the intended response.
Red – The color red is very easily detected by the human eye. It represents action, determination and strength. It demands attention and stimulates buying.
If used in excess, red can be very overpowering to a page. It will provoke a sense of fear and give the user a feeling of anxiety.
Blue – Blue is a color favorite and, because it represents loyalty, dependability and stability, is one of the most popular colors used in marketing. It also gives the viewer a calm feeling and stimulates productivity.
In excess, blue can cause feelings of depression and gloom or loss of appetite.
Yellow – Yellow is very vibrant, easily seen by the eye and attracts attention. It symbolizes wealth, happiness and energy. It mentally stimulates customers, spurs attention and encourages communication.
In excess or coupled with black, yellow implies danger and leave users feeling alarmed.
White – White is an expression of purity, simplicity and cleanliness. A good balance of white space will promote mental clarity leading the eye around the page and giving the mind a place to rest.
Too much white can leave a page looking vacant and boring and cause visitors to quickly lose interest in the page.
Green – The color green provides a strong representation of nature, durability and reliability. It gives visitors a feeling of relaxation and alleviates anxiety.
Choosing the wrong shade or using green in excess could imply wealth in a negative or pretentious manner.
Orange– Orange is another vibrant color. It conveys a feeling of energy, creativity and cheer. It stimulates activity and is known to remain in one’s long-term memory.
In excess, orange could make products seem inexpensive, which, depending on your intentions, could be a positive or negative. Shades of orange should be chosen carefully because they often clash with other colors.
Brown – Like green, brown symbolizes nature. It implies that a company is genuine and reliable and increases customer confidence.
Light shades of brown in excess could cause feelings of depression or sadness.
Gray – Shades of gray give the impression that your company is conservative, traditional and serious.
Having too much gray can leave a page looking flat and uninteresting and could decrease buying or customer interaction.
Black – Black is a color of sophistication, power and mystery.
In excess, black could mean evil, despair and symbolizes death. Used as a background, it’s also often hard on the eyes.
Now that you know what each color symbolizes, it’s time consider what message your website’s colors are relaying to your visitors. Is it accurate or is it time for a new website design?
Remember: Successful color schemes play a large role in how your customers perceive your business identity and will create an overall positive experience for your customers. Colors can help to strengthen your brand, establish tone and create a positive impact that will inevitably lead to more business. A good website designer will consider your overall image and help you select the right colors to convey your company’s message.
To learn more about what your website design is saying about your company or to talk about a redesign, contact Pilot Fish at 877-799-9994 ext. 2104.
Those two words together conjure images of crazy teens failing at dumb stunts, goofy loners hamming it up and just plain nonsense.
But while the rest of the world squanders its time on silliness, a growing number of manufacturers are taking advantage of the amazing SEO power that online videos provide.
Here's a quick snapshot of industry-related action on YouTube.com, the ubiquitous video-sharing website:
GE has 300+ videos posted on the site; IBM has more than 1,800 clips there; Siemens AG, 4,600 and counting.
As with any SEO element, it's important to follow the right steps to achieve the best results.
Looking for an easy visual on quality improvement techniques? YouTube offers 18,700 videos to meet your needs. Process control and automation? 63,300 clips. Even the National Association of Manufacturers posts videos on YouTube.
And it’s not just associations and huge corporations posting those videos. Smaller companies also are reaping the SEO and marketing benefits of online videos, including:
A greatly increased chance of generating a first-page Google ranking on search terms important to your company.
The ability to see search engine results within days of posting.
The capacity to reach potential customers who are visually oriented rather than text-oriented.
The opportunity to visually demonstrate your expertise to prospects.
As with any SEO element, it's important to follow the right steps to achieve the best results:
Demonstrate something - how a machine works, how you handle quality control, how an end product meets certain requirements.
Post the video on your site, not just on YouTube.
Create a channel – a YouTube home page of sorts – for your company, where all of your videos can be listed.
Optimize each video posting and your channel by including search terms important to your customers and prospects, along with links back to your company’s website.
And don't feel that you have to have a professionally created video to rank well on the search engines. A carefully thought-out, "home-made" video can perform just as well. Plus, it often provides a greater sense of authenticity for viewers than a slick, professional video can.
Pilot Fish has helped a number of clients with their video SEO efforts. For more information on how your company can harness the power of online videos, contact Pilot Fishat 877-799-9994 ext. 2104.
We still talk to prospects who believe that search engine optimization is as simple as just “updating the meta keywords.” The truth is, the meta keywords tag has not been in use by Google for quite some time.
So, why the continued confusion about keywords if Google doesn’t recognize the meta keywords tag?
Google doesn’t use the meta keywords tag, but it does use keywords to help identify a web site’s relevance to a user’s search. The search engine looks for keywords in the page content, the URL, the title tag, and descriptions tag as it ranks your web site against those of competitors. How often and where you use keywords and the quality of the keywords is critical. The best quality keywords are those that are most commonly used by Internet users searching for your products or services.
A well-designed SEO program starts with keyword research to determine the best keywords for your business.
A well-designed SEO program starts with keyword research to determine the best keywords for your business. Although you may feel you know your industry well enough to identify the keywords, chances are there are some terms to which you mistakenly would give too much importance and other important terms you might not think to use at all.
A keyword research project will define the best set of keywords on which to focus and then provide the road map for implementing a successful SEO strategy. This will include making improvements to the other meta tags that do hold some importance to the way a site is interpreted by search engines, creating site content that is meaningful to both the site visitors and search engines, and developing a successful inbound link strategy that will help prove your website’s case to the search engines for its importance in your market or industry.
According to Wikipedia, the term “expert” is defined as someone who “has a prolonged or intense experience through practice and education in a particular field.” That intense experience is what Pilot Fish brings to the table, having worked in the industrial sector dating back to 1995.
Being able to identify and implement effective industrial marketing trends is essential to a successful strategy.
p> Our expertise with industrial companies didn’t happen overnight. Our team has devoted time and energy to get to know many industries by attending industrial trade shows, conferences, plant tours, and more. When working with industrial segments, we feel comfortable being able to talk the talk, translating technical detail into a cogent website that delivers an effective and clear message to your web site visitors.
Our industrial marketing teams are led by trained journalism professionals with experience at industrial publications. We know how to work with your market and deliver an industrial marketing message that is appropriate to your target audience and that also works for search engines.
Being able to identify and implement effective industrial marketing trends is essential to a successful strategy. Online marketing channels that work for consumer sites don’t necessary equate to success for industrial businesses. Marketing online via directories, social media and content marketing needs to be handled differently to effectively grow online traffic and deliver your message.
We know square pegs don’t fit in round holes; working with a marketing partner that doesn’t understand your industry or your company’s needs doesn’t work either. Making the decision to partner with an SEO firm that can develop an appropriate industrial marketing strategy for your company is the fastest route to a successful website.
Contact Pilot Fish or call 877-799-9994 ext. 2104 for assistance with your industrial marketing.
We are a big believer that industrial SEO should be treated differently from a standard one-size-fits-all SEO approach. For most industrial or B2B companies, a visitor to a website doesn’t result in an immediate sale. It’s more of a nurturing process that involves educating the audience with technical content, managing how much information you provide, and getting the user to take action.
Optimizing an industrial website, while employing some of the same techniques, is different enough from consumer SEO that if you can find an industrial SEO specialist (like Pilot Fish), you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to find out how they can help you.
Here’s what differentiates industrial SEO specialists from consumer SEO companies:
Working with an SEO firm with industrial expertise enables you to jump-start a successful SEO program that appropriately leverages your company’s strengths to reach prospective customers.
Expertise in working with Industrial Content
Writing industrial copy tends to be more technically sophisticated, working with data sheets, machinery specs, or case studies. The ability to supply high quality technical information to an engineer is much different than selling pizza to a consumer. Poorly written content or inaccurate information can destroy a company’s ability to turn website visitors into off-line prospects. Having a content writer that is familiar with your industrial audience ensures that the information you deliver satisfies those needs and delivers content with the right tone and context.
Link building techniques tailored for industrial SEO
We all should know by now that back links send signals to search engines to help establish your online credibility. The more quality sites that link back to your site, the easier it is for you to rank well. Link building in 2014 is all about positioning great content to naturally build links. Developing high quality content requires a skill set not often found at the average SEO firm. Finding an SEO company that caters to industrial clients by employing skilled technical writers significantly improves your website’s chance of securing high quality back links for improved search engine performance.
A well-qualified industrial SEO firm can also help you identify high-quality link opportunities that exist within your industry. Working with an SEO firm with industrial expertise enables you to jump-start a successful SEO program that appropriately leverages your company’s strengths to reach prospective customers.
Pilot Fish’s skilled search engine team has worked with manufacturing companies for the past 19 years. Our expertise with industrial companies sets us apart from other firms that make you pay for their learning curve.
Contact Pilot Fish or call 877-799-9994 ext. 2104 for help with your industrial SEO efforts.
If you’re not certain why an industrial SEO firm would write about Pandas and Hummingbirds, then you don’t need to read any further. Just pick up the phone and call us at 877-799-9994 ext. 2104 or fill out our contact form, because you need our help – STAT!
Panda and Hummingbird refer to two major changes to the way Google ranks websites, which could have impacted your site’s search engine performance if you haven’t been keeping up with this. You can read more about these here, but the upshot is that Google prefers sites that have good, strong content.
It might not seem logical, but a website that's well-written for human consumption with a little SEO help usually also is well-received by search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
So, what does "well-written" mean? Here are some tips to good SEO copywriting for the search engines and your site visitors.
When done properly, your SEO copywriting efforts will yield long-term results in the way of better rankings on the search engines and increased opportunity to reach new potential customers.
SEO Copywriting Tips - How to Write Great Website Content
Keyword research: It’s difficult to create SEO content if you don’t know what your customers and prospects are looking for. SEO copywriting should leverage the keyword terms that you know are most popular among the audience you're trying to reach. SEO keyword research tip: There are online tools available that can help you determine the right keywords for your company.
One topic per page: If your company makes 5 different products, devote at least one page per topic.
Details, details: Good SEO copywriting covers each topic in enough detail that the site visitor can determine whether to contact you for more information. From an SEO standpoint, the more detail you provide on each topic, the more easily the search engines will be able to determine the relevance of your site to that keyword. SEO copywriting tip:Your content should demonstrate that your company is the expert in its industry.
Kill the sales brochure: Internet users don't appreciate going to your website to find little more than a sales brochure. Avoid flowery language; it usually signifies a page that's light on content and heavy on sales pitch, which the search engines won't rank well. SEO copywriting tip: Good SEO copywriting will focus on objective facts about your company's products and services, with a call-to-action for more information.
Create a content hierarchy: The more detail, the better, but be considerate of your site visitors' time. Good SEO copywriting separates content into multiple pages and creates a hierarchy for your pages with the most important information first, least important last. The most important pages you'll want on your navigation bar, with lesser pages linking off those. Make sure you include a site map, though, that lists all your website's pages.
Keyword density: In order for search engines to be able to rank your pages for a particular keyword, that keyword has to be used on your page. At the same time, the more often you use it, the more relevant the page will seem. SEO copywriting tip: Don't go overboard with keywords. Writing should sound natural to the human visitors you're trying to reach. Search engines can penalize you for "overoptimizing" by using the keyword too often (known as keyword stuffing or spamming). You want your site to sell you as an expert not as a scam artist.
Types of Content Writing to Consider for Your Company Website
Part of the SEO content writing process is project planning. It's important to take the time to consider what information people would want to know about your company. Here are some types of content well received by Internet visitors and search engines:
Product details, including features/benefits, specifications, data sheets, diagrams, flow-charts, video demonstrations and photos (with alt tags, see below)
Technical tips, product troubleshooting guides, user manuals
Customer testimonials, case studies
Product selection guides, comparative information
Advice on Adding PDFs to your Site
Search engines have become more sophisticated in being able to index varying file types. PDFs work fine for information that site visitors might want to print out and keep. But, if you use PDFs, make sure they open in a separate browser. Also, add a link to your home page somewhere on each PDF; otherwise, site visitors that enter your site from a search engine via the PDF won't have navigation to take them to the rest of your site.
Where to Get Ideas for Good SEO Content
Type your top keywords into Google and see what sites and pages come up on the first or second page of results. This will give you a good idea of some of the content that search engines like. More specifically, take a look at:
Industry portal sites
Industry magazine sites
See what types of content they provide that your site could emulate (not copy). One thing you'll notice among the types of sites listed above -- generally they're being recognized on search engines as experts on their topic -- you want your site to be acknowledged that way too, with a top ranking on the search engines.
Other On-Page SEO Copywriting Tips
Once your content is written, it's time to place it on the page. Here are some additional details you'll need to be concerned with to complete the SEO copywriting process:
Title tags: Make sure each title tag is unique and complements the content of that page. For instance, if your page is about "SEO copywriting tips", then your title tag might be "SEO Copywriting Tips | SEO Expert Pilot Fish."
Description tags: Likewise, you'll want each page description tag to be unique and complementary to the page it describes. This is the information that many of the search engines use to display a description of your page.
Keyword tags: Most search engines have stopped using the keyword tag, but we feel it's a useful tool to help you organize your site content. If you followed the advice above regarding one topic per page, then your keyword tag would be pretty short and limited to that topic. When you do your keyword research, you’ll likely find synonyms or related terms you want to include. In general, limit your SEO copywriting to about five keywords per page.
Alt tags: You can use the meta alt tag to help search engines interpret what your nav buttons and images are about. Search engines can't "see" images, so unless you specifically tell them, that information will be ignored. If you have an image that depicts your product, use the alt tag to label it in as detailed manner as possible.
Internal linking: If you have multiple pages on your site about the same topic, incorporate internal links to help site visitors and search engines find the related content.
I've created quite a to-do list of SEO copywriting tips, but when done properly, your SEO copywriting efforts will yield long-term results in the way of better rankings on the search engines and increased opportunity to reach new potential customers.
Wondering what it really takes to execute a successful B2B SEO strategy? Based on more than 20 years of experience in website development and SEO, here’s what the SEO experts at Pilot Fish recommend:
1. Keyword Research and Competitor Analysis
Before you start redesigning or optimizing your website, it’s important to know what the target is. Keyword research helps determine not only the most popular terms used to find businesses like yours but also similar terms that can generate additional site traffic. Reviewing what your competitors are doing from an SEO standpoint helps gauge how competitive the search environment is for your industry, thereby providing information on what effort will be needed for your site to earn higher placement on the search engines.
2. SEO Copywriting or Content Writing
Once you know which keywords your site must focus on to attract the most site visitors, it's time to put that information into action on your website pages. Pilot Fish employs skilled B2B SEO copywriting experts who, prior to working here, developed strong content writing skills as journalists at respected print trade publications. Our SEO copywriting specialists will work with you to identify the most appropriate content for your site and then work their magic to develop content that addresses what search engines and your site visitors are looking for.
3. SEO Link Building or Off-page SEO
Because search engines evaluate the number and type of incoming links to your site as a way of determining your site's importance vs. your competitors', it's important to incorporate an incoming link strategy into your search engine optimization plans. Pilot Fish SEO specialists will work with you to identify the best strategy for your business.
4. Ongoing Maintenance and Measurement
Because search engines routinely alter the way they rank sites and your competitors are likely to revise and improve their own sites over time, it's critical that you or your SEO firm periodically review your search engine optimization to make sure your site's still performing. Additionally, it's important to continue adding valuable content so that site visitors will return. Pilot Fish can provide you an ongoing SEO strategy for maintaining your site's performance.
Sometimes the success of a project isn’t necessarily measured by the goals set so much as it is by satisfying the boss’ expectations. The best way to develop a successful B2B SEO strategy is to do a good job of planning ahead of time, get your management team and SEO firm on the same page, and set realistic expections for your organic SEO marketing project.
It’s not uncommon for a company to tell its SEO firm that the goal is “to perform better on the search engines.” Unfortunately, without more clear definition of what better performance means, the project may head off in a direction different from what company management expected.
There are four key areas to define before beginning an SEO marketing program:
It’s important to understand how competitive your target terms are and what the likely outcome will be.
Keywords: Most businesses feel they understand their products, services and customers well enough to hand their B2B SEO firm a list of target keywords. The problem with this approach is that management may have an unrealistic expectation for how quickly or easily their company can begin performing on some of the most competitive keyword terms and also might overlook other similar terms that could generate as much or more quality traffic. Keyword research will help define the scope of your project by identifying which terms must be viewed as long-term SEO marketing goals vs. terms for which your company can more easily attain success in the shorter term. Having strategies for a mix of long-term and short-term keyword goals will help satisfy your management that the SEO strategy is on track.
Timeline: Is your boss on the same page as you and your SEO firm with regard to how long the project will take and how soon you might expect results? Long-term to you might mean a year or two, but could mean one month to your boss. There are no guarantees with regard to how long it will take to perform on a given term, but it’s important to understand how competitive your target terms are and what the likely outcome will be. Be sure you’re on the same page with regard to the effort that will be required to improve your site’s website rankings.
Strategy: What plan has your B2B SEO firm put in place to achieve your SEO goals? Will your site require a significant amount of work on the website? If so, is your IT staff aware of the changes that will be needed? Many SEO marketing programs are unnecessarily disrupted by IT personnel who don’t appreciate other people in the company and, especially, outside parties, messing with their systems. It’s important that IT personnel hear from executive management at the outset of the project that this is a marketing activity and that they’ll be needed to support it in order for the company to reach its goals.
Measurement: How will the project’s success be measured and on what timeline? Is your boss looking for a specific increase in sales or is the measurement of the project’s success based on improved website rankings for specific keywords? Google Analytics does a fine job of helping businesses track the improvement in their site’s SEO performance by showing the terms by which your site currently is performing and what average page position your website appears for that term on Google. Over time, you can use this to see changes in your site’s position for the keywords you are targeting. Make sure that you, your management team, IT staff and SEO firm are all in agreement with regard to how the SEO marketing program will be evaluated to ensure that the strategies you’ve developed support those goals.
Organic SEO is a highly effective B2B marketing strategy when businesses work together with their SEO firms to identify realistic goals and timelines and appropriate SEO marketing strategies that line up with those goals.
Contact Pilot Fish for assistance with your SEO marketing project or call 877-799-9994 ext. 2104.
Most people familiar with search engine optimization recognize that ranking higher on Google involves two main factors: 1) On-page optimization, including keyword-rich content and relevant SEO tags and 2) Off-page SEO, meaning links from other websites back to your website.
For years we’ve spent countless hours educating companies in the manufacturing sector on how the search engine algorithm works to help our clients achieve better rankings. The easy part has always been explaining the on-page factors of optimization centered on keyword-rich content and relevant meta tags. In the early days, if you did that well, the results followed. But over time, more and more website developers and SEO companies figured out the secret sauce to rank, making it easy for spammy sites to earn high positions, which hurt the quality of search results.
If you don’t have good quality sites linking back to your site, you won’t rank for competitive search phrases that could drive a significant amount of traffic to your site.
Fearing that spammy results were hurting the integrity of search results and frustrating users, Google made a big change to the algorithm, adding inbound links from other websites as a factor affecting your site’s ranking. It’s now been that way for several years.
But educating clients on off-page optimization is tough. I’ve heard it hundreds of times: “We never did this before, why now?” Even worse, try talking about building links to company management, where most are Baby Boomers or early Generation Xers, and the first response is a blank face. Then comes the skepticism and disbelief, and off-page SEO doesn’t get approved in the budget.
To achieve rankings today, off-page SEO is a must. Bottom line, if you don’t have good quality sites linking back to your site, you won’t rank for competitive search phrases that could drive a significant amount of traffic to your site.
For those off-page SEO non-believers, check out the video we’ve embedded here that comes straight from Matt Cutts, a Google engineer who serves as the public face for all things related to search.
Now that you’ve watched the video, it’s time to be an off-page SEO believer and let the linking begin. So how do you do that? That’s another can of worms.
Although most of our clients are manufacturers or other businesses operating in the industrial space, we find a huge range of attitudes among them in how they value their websites.
Some treat it as a nuisance – throw it up there and forget about it until it comes time to talk about budgets and why the marketing isn’t working. “Maybe we can cut some cost on that website.” You mean, the one you haven’t updated in five years or ever optimized?
No matter what industry or business you operate in, there are only 10 spots on Page One of Google – you can’t expect to get to the top without making the necessary effort.
p> Meanwhile, others consider it as an important element to their overall marketing, a complement to their tradeshow or print advertising programs. Or, better yet, their website is the vehicle they use to continue procuring prospects after their tradeshows or print ads have come and gone. These are the companies that regularly identify things that need to be updated or ask questions and take the recommended action to improve performance. And, yes, these are the companies that see consistent or growing site traffic and sales leads, and resulting new business.
One type of customer will question a minimal hosting fee, while the other will look at a $1,000 change on their site and say “Hey, if it gets me one customer, it’s worth it.”
And, generally, these attitudes play out the same way when it comes to industrial SEO.
The ones who really don’t value the contribution their websites can make to their overall marketing and sales efforts are the ones who don’t understand or accept that SEO is not a one-and-done type of program.
The companies that really want or expect their websites to be lead generators understand you have to make the full commitment to SEO. After all, no matter what industry or business you operate in, there are only 10 spots (usually) on Page One of Google – you can’t expect to get to the top without making the necessary effort.
And, whether you decide to make that commitment or not, your competitors may already have.
For a free evaluation of your website to determine what it needs to become an effective lead-generating tool, contact Pilot Fish at 877-799-9994 ext. 2104.
“How do I improve my website’s SEO?” Talk about a loaded question! But, it’s one we hear multiple times every day.
Many companies that have recently come to realize that SEO is a necessity fail to understand the complexity of it, largely because the target keeps moving. Unless you’re immersed in SEO research on a day-to-day basis like we are, it’s difficult to comprehend everything that’s required. Some elements of SEO that worked five or 10 years ago don’t work today or, at worst, can cause your site to be penalized. Other factors that are important require a more nuanced approach to be successful.
If it were easy and cheap, everyone would do it, and how would Google know who to rank on their first page?
Unfortunately, at the end of the day, there’s no out-of-the-box solution that will guarantee SEO success for every business. Why is that? For starters, there are too many website variables that Google uses to formulate its algorithm – more than 200 of them. A recent article outlines what the SEO community believes to be the SEO factors Google measures.
Every SEO project we undertake is unique to that customer. We first review the client’s site to determine what elements are missing or done incorrectly. We look at whether the business has determined which keywords they should use and whether those keywords really are the right ones based on how Google interprets that term and the competitive environment. We analyze their inbound links – where they get links from and the quality of those links – compared to the links that better performing sites have. We review the company’s online marketing initiatives – what other things they are doing besides the website. (See Pilot Fish's full-service SEO strategy.)
We then prepare an SEO recommendation that usually requires work on the client’s website, plus attention to link building and content marketing that will promote their site across the Internet and provide good quality back links. The execution of each project is unique to the client, based on the industry they’re in, and the condition of their site (how much help they need).
It sounds like a lot of work (it is), and it’s not inexpensive. But, then again, if it were easy and cheap, everyone would do it, and how would Google know who to rank on their first page?
Would you like someone to review your website to see how to improve your SEO? Contact us or call 877-799-9994 ext. 2104.