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No Time to Stall When it Comes to B2B Web Redesign

You should feel a serious sense of urgency to get your website and your B2B SEO in shape

Despite continued uncertainty about industry-related federal policies, news out this month from the Institute for Supply Management indicates that manufacturing continues to grow.

In fact, the institute reported that U.S. manufacturing expanded in February at its fastest pace since August 2014. And it doesn’t look like a fluke. The February increase extends a six-month trend of improving numbers.

But what does this have to do with B2B SEO and website design? Plenty.

As the scene continues to heat up, manufacturers – including your customers and prospects – are going to be looking for the goods and services they need to keep up with the growing demand. Does your company have a website and internet marketing program set to capitalize on these trends?


This is a good time to take a long, hard look at your corporate website to find an answer to that question. For starters, does your site:

  • Provide the right message to prospects and clients?
  • Offer accurate, up-to-date information on products and services?
  • List your company’s address, phone number and email clearly and correctly?
  • Include contact forms that work – and go to the right people?

Lastly, would you want to do business with a company that has a website like this?

If you can answer yes to all of those questions, good for you. Your next step is to see if you’ve got the proper SEO in place to bring in new, qualified prospects. Again, a few simple questions will do the trick. Do you know:

  • The number of visitors that reach your website via the search engines?
  • The most important search terms (and phrases) that prospects use to find your products and services?
  •  Your current search engine ranking for each of those terms?

Is each page of your website optimized to rank well on one or more of those terms?

And, again, if the answer is yes to all of those questions, good for you.  Now, you can gear up your content marketing and link building to keep your website ranking well and pulling in new leads.

Ahhh, there’s the rub. Do you have a content marketing and link building program in place? Do you know the most effective strategies to successfully develop such a program?

Don’t feel bad if the answer is “no” to this or to any of the earlier questions. With company employees spread thin and wearing many hats, it’s easy to forget about SEO and internet marketing.

While you don’t need to feel bad, you do need to feel a serious sense of urgency to get your website and your B2B SEO in shape to take advantage of the potential for increased demand.

Not only is manufacturing growing, but so is the number of B2B marketers relying on the search engines as a source of new leads. According to the 2017 State of B2B Digital Marketing Report, 63 percent of survey participants indicated that organic search topped their lists as a leading channel for revenue growth.

You can bet those respondents are getting their corporate websites and SEO plans in order. And your company will need to as well or get left in the dust by those better prepared to capitalize on improving manufacturing conditions.

The most effective way to not get left behind is to find a B2B SEO and website company that can help you create the right Internet marketing program to reach your prospects. You’ll want to look for a company that has a proven track record, experience in your industry and the knack for listening to and meeting your needs, not pigeon-holing you into a one-size-fits-all approach.

If you’re ready to build a website and B2B SEO program geared to your company’s success, contact Pilot Fish today by submitting this simple form or by calling 877-799-9994 ext. 2102.

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A Better User Experience = Better B2B SEO

Pages with infinite scroll present a fatal flaw when it comes to B2B SEO.

As we’ve mentioned from time to time, this is not your father’s B2B SEO.

Search engine algorithms and SEO practices have changed dramatically over the years, and “just” having good content is no longer enough.

One of the major changes is the fact that the way people interact with your website now affects how the site itself is ranked by the search engines.

Search engines, Google in particular, have begun using “engagement” as a secondary factor that influences a page’s search engine ranking for any specific term.

Search engines usually measure engagement by how long a search engine user stays on a particular page. If someone clicks on a link and then clicks immediately back to the list of results, the search engines assume the page didn’t provide the required information and view that page as having lower engagement. If someone clicks on a link and stays on the page before returning to the search engine, that page is seen as being more useful and having better engagement.

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More B2B SEO Tips to Give Your Website a Competitive Edge

SEO is one of the most cost-effective tools in industrial marketing.

Our previous blog post outlined 7 B2B SEO tips for 2017, and we thought we’d take this week to provide some additional ideas on how your company can hone its search engine optimization to increase rankings, boost site traffic and increase qualified leads.

SEO is one of the most cost-effective tools in industrial marketing, and the following tips can help you get the best return possible on your internet marketing investment.

Be Friendly and Responsive

Google’s decision to give ranking priority to websites that show up well on mobile devices is a curse – and a blessing. Making sure your site is responsive and that it operates properly on all types of devices is just one more task added to the ever-growing list of demands for companies. But it also can be a great way to differentiate your website from your competitors’ and gain an edge over those companies that haven’t yet gone mobile-friendly with their websites.

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Getting Your 2017 B2B SEO Off on the Right Foot

We’re nearly a full month into the new year, but there’s still plenty of time to consider SEO goals for your B2B website, as well as the best ways to achieve those goals. To that end, here are some best practices to put into place to get the most out of your B2B SEO this year:

Take the time to learn what your audience wants & provide it in carefully optimized, well-crafted content.

Focus on Your Audience

In a 2016 B2B Buyer’s Survey conducted by Demand Gen Report, 69 percent of B2B buyers said that content that speaks directly to their needs is the most influential aspect of a company website. To get the most value out of your SEO content, don’t just provide generalizations – learn the pain points of your intended audience and address those directly.

Prioritize Quality

In theory, every new web page is a chance to bring in new site visitors, but simply creating a lot of new pages doesn’t ensure your message will hit its target. One well-optimized, well-written page will do more to increase traffic and leads than a dozen poorly executed pages added to your B2B website just to increase page count.

Expand Your Research

B2B keyword research is about more than just individual words or short terms. Look for broader themes to create content around. Take the time to learn what information your target audience wants and provide that in carefully optimized, well-crafted content.  Google rewards this approach, and your site visitors will, too.


Answer the Question

More and more, Google is giving ranking preference to content that answers the questions that real people ask. Once you know the topics that interest your target audience, you can develop content that answers their most urgent questions.

Visualize Success

Words aren’t the only way to gain the attention of Google and potential customers – videos and infographics both have serious value as B2B SEO tools. Videos and infographics that provide useful, interesting information continue to rank well on Google and also provide another way to showcase your company’s strengths.

Stay Informed

You need to know the rules to play the game. Keeping up-to-date with current search engine practices and with the latest B2B SEO news will only enhance your ability to rank well and to attract additional qualified leads. Being uninformed = being benched. And you can’t score if you’re stuck on the bench.

Be Adaptable

Changes happen quickly, both in B2B SEO and in the business world at large. A certain amount of flexibility – and a willingness to try new tactics – will help your SEO, your website and your business stay on track.

Following B2B SEO best practices and keeping your website moving in the right direction can be a tall order. If you’d like some help staying on track, contact Pilot Fish today. We have the expertise to help you succeed.

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“SEO Basics?” Video Helps Simplify Finding the Right B2B SEO for Your Company

B2B SEO, like all forms of search engine optimization, has become increasingly complex

We’re excited to unveil “SEO Basics?” – our newest video, which you can find at the top of our SEO Experts page.

The video lists a number of important questions to consider when a company is selecting a B2B SEO firm. These considerations include a wide range of topics, such as:

  • Project goals
  • Staff capabilities.
  • Budget


A key emphasis in the video is that B2B SEO, like all forms of search engine optimization, has become increasingly complex, requiring expert skills and up-to-the-minute knowledge of ever-changing search engine practices.

Not only does the video contain some great B2B SEO advice, but it’s also a live demonstration of one of the basic industrial marketing strategies that we recommend to all of our clients: Get the most use possible out of every content piece your team creates.

Our “SEO Basics?” video actually started life out in August as a blog post titled “SEO Basics for Finding the Best Web Design or SEO Company.”

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Google’s Move to Mobile-First Rankings Affects 2017 SEO Strategy

Mobile-friendliness is now part of Google’s complex SEO algorithm

It’s a mobile-first world now – whether you actually use your own phone for web searches or not – and your B2B website needs to adjust to today’s reality if you hope for SEO success in 2017.

When the Internet was new, there were only desktop computers, and so all the search engines viewed and ranked websites based on how they looked and operated on a desktop computer.

But now, with most Google searches being performed on mobile devices, Google has decided to begin viewing websites from a mobile perspective, meaning all searches, even those performed on desktop computers, will return results that prioritize sites built in responsive design. 

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10 Tips to Ensure the Proper Care & Feeding of Your Corporate Website

Using the wrong terms for SEO is like throwing a blanket over your website

In many ways, a corporate website is just like a copier, a delivery truck, machinery or any other corporate asset.

A major difference, however, is that those physical assets often are on a regular maintenance schedule, while companies rarely think about routine maintenance for their websites. Unfortunately, these often overlooked tasks can be crucial to a site owner’s corporate reputation and lead generation.

Good website maintenance doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. In fact, you can begin with a simple check of your site to make sure these key areas are still accurate:


  1. Your corporate address, email address and phone number
  2. Your product information and list of services
  3.  Any references to staff members or email addresses
  4. Facilities and equipment lists
  5. Images – look for old facilities, discontinued products and former employees
  6. Tagline or motto
  7. Maps/directions to your facility
  8. Your contact form – are the qualifying questions still pertinent?
  9. Submit the form. Does it go to the right person?
  10. Search terms – is your site targeting the right keywords?

Especially if it’s been years since your last reviewed your search terms, keyword research can be useful to discover whether search engine users are still searching for the terms your site was originally optimized for. Using the wrong terms for search engine optimization is essentially the same as throwing a blanket over your website: Qualified prospects aren’t going to be able to find it.

Another issue that requires serious consideration: Is your website mobile-friendly? With Google's announcement that it will begin giving priority to pages that display well on cell phones and tablets, this has become a major concern for any company that wants its website found in Google search results.

The final question can be the most interesting: What’s missing from your site?

Search engines and site visitors have become more sophisticated over time and often expect more than just the brochure-style website that once was the industry standard.

Something as simple as a site map or as useful as a resource section providing tips, documentation and pertinent information can make a big difference in how your site is ranked on the search engines – and how your company is perceived by potential customers.

An annual site review is sufficient – and the end of the year is a great time for a review. Anything that’s inaccurate should be easily fixed by a qualified website developer, who also should be able to help add new sections to your website.

Once you’ve completed this internal clean-up, take the opportunity to turn your attention to the external elements that can affect your website’s search engine positioning and overall availability to prospective clients.

Press releases, social media posts and links from reputable websites within your market are other great ways to gain favorable attention from the search engines and from qualified site visitors. These often can be relatively low-effort and low-cost methods of increasing links and interest in your site.

A reputable optimization companycan help lay out the best plan to keep your company’s external web marketing efforts in tune with your needs and the needs of Internet users.

In the end, the same basic tenet covers websites that covers your company’s other important assets: Be kind to your website, and it will be kind to you.

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Which Google Stats Should You Track to Boost Your Website’s Performance?

The stat many people focus on – average Google rank – doesn’t tell you if your website is actually delivering results.

Our clients ask a lot of good questions, but one question that isn’t asked often enough is which Google stats should be tracked.

This question is really the key to understanding Google Analytics, and it’s particularly timely, considering that the long-awaited Penguin 4.0 – the Google update that works to cut down on spammy websites in the search results – arrived right at the end of September.

Now that the update is here, how do you know if it affected your site? Really, how do you even know if your site is performing as it should? The answers to both of these questions can be found in your Google Analytics reports.

Understanding Google Analytics can seem daunting because this powerful tool provides nearly unending amounts of data.  Complicating matters is that the stat many people focus on – average Google rank – doesn’t tell you if your website is actually delivering results. Site owners who truly care about generating qualified leads and sales through their websites know the number of site visitors and the number of click-throughs from Google to specific pages are better indicators of a website’s true performance.

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9 Blogging Tips for B2B SEO Success

A good source of topics is your customer service or sales staff.

We’re always encouraging our clients to create and regularly post to blogs for their B2B websites. Blogs are a great way to keep a site updated and fresh, which is an important factor in how the search engines rank websites.

But just because it’s a great idea, that doesn’t mean that it’s also easy to implement. One of the biggest obstacles our clients cite is not having anything to write about.

Good topics for corporate blogs are actually everywhere – you just need to know where to find them. Here are some suggestions to get the ball rolling:

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How to Understand What’s Truly New in SEO

No good industrial marketer would ever guarantee Page 1 rankings or specific increases in traffic or leads.

If you’re a company owner or marketing director who cares about online sales leads, you’re probably past the “what is search engine optimization” phase and well into a “what’s new in SEO” mode.

And what’s new in SEO seems to be an unending plethora of updates and hints and guesses (especially about Google), as illustrated by some recent headlines:

Google drops mobile-friendly label, keeps mobile-friendly ranking algorithm

Google testing new sitelink format in its carousel

Google tries dropping the estimated number of results from its search results pages

Html5 not a Google ranking factor

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Industrial Marketing Just Got More Complex

The best industrial marketing plans incorporate social media outreach in support of SEO.

Social media is no longer the darling of just teenagers and celebrities. Industrial buyers – of all ages – are actually putting LinkedIn and its ilk to good use in their professional lives, giving B2B marketers another tool and another challenge to reach their target audiences.

Social media’s increased popularity among industrial buyers is one of many findings in a report recently released by IEEE Engineering360. “2016 Social Media Use in the Industrial Sector” is based on answers from 850 survey respondents who work in the industrial and research fields.

A good majority of the survey participants began their professional lives before the dawn of the Internet: 68% of the respondents said they were over age 49, 18% were 35-49 and 10% were 18-35 (4% chose not to give their age).

Regardless of age, 82% of all respondents reported using social media for up to two hours per week for work purposes, without a material difference in responses from the different age groups.

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In B2B SEO, Any Backlink Isn’t Necessarily a Good Backlink

Backlinks are the dinner bell that draws site visitors in.

If you read any SEO websites on a regular basis (not that you have to, that’s one of the things we do for you), but, if you do read any SEO sites or newsletters, you’ll notice that there are often two camps – “Content is what counts!” vs. “Backlinks are obligatory!”

In the end, really, both camps are correct: Good, strong content, properly optimized for both search engines and site visitors, sets the table for a successful website.

But you’re not going to get the gang around the table, gobbling all the good things you’ve set out for them, without backlinks.

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The 1 Big Reason You Should Care About B2B SEO

The objective is to ... ensure your company’s success, today and for the foreseeable future

Pilot Fish has posted a number of blogs recently about how to ensure SEO success and how to stay relevant in today’s industrial marketing landscape, but there’s one key topic we haven’t touched on:

Why should you care?

And there’s only one real answer to that question:

Because you want to make money.

There’s always a lot of talk about B2B SEO this or search engine rankings that, and it’s easy to lose sight of our final destination on this sometimes crazy journey of industrial marketing.

The end game isn’t just to rank well on the search engines. It isn’t to line up a row of shiny B2B SEO trophies on your mantel. It isn’t even to say “nanny nanny boo-boo” to your competitors whose websites don’t rank as well as yours (although that is fun).

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Optimize Your News for Maximum Effect

Blogs provide a great opportunity to share information about your company and drive qualified traffic to your website.

So, there’s something different happening at your company – maybe you’re exhibiting at a specific trade show or launching a new product.

Your company has already expended significant resources to get to this point, possibly a new booth for the trade show or definitely a lot of research and product development for the launch.

It only makes sense to wring the greatest possible value from those expenditures by promoting these events on your website and through social media and news sites.

 Effective promotion of news like trade show exhibits and product launches allows your company to:

  • Increase the return on its expenditures
  •  Improve your website’s performance on the search engines
  •  Drive additional qualified traffic to your website
  • Generate high-quality leads for your sales staff

News promotion can seem like a daunting task to companies that don’t have marketing departments or advertising agencies. But here’s a simple list to follow to get the job done in a way that's both efficient and beneficial on several different levels.

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Is it Better to Have a Blog or a News Section?

A blog can can be used for a wide range of information, including press releases, trade show schedules and feature articles about the company’s products and services.

There’s a question we’re regularly asked by our industrial and B2B website design clients when discussing content marketing opportunities: Should we add a blog or post news to a news releases section?  Which one is better for SEO?

My answer typically is to choose a blog as it’s more versatile than a news section, is easier for non-experienced website users to update and provides as much if not more SEO value.

When we review websites during our sales process, it’s not unusual to find that the news on an industrial website’s news section is dated.  Oftentimes, there are very few press releases posted and it’s common to see the latest one is a couple years old.

Most businesses, especially small to mid-sized manufacturers, don’t have regular events that they or we’d call news and don’t have a person whose main priority is content development and marketing for the website.  So, it can become a challenge to keep a news section fresh with regularly posted items.

By contrast, a blog offers the opportunity to post anything a business wants to, without specifically having to label it as news.  A blog can be used for a variety of announcements, topics and articles, including press releases with actual company news, trade show schedules and feature articles about the company’s products and services.

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Content Marketing for Engineers: The Converging Needs of Buyers and Sellers

Marketing surveys of industrial buyers and sellers show that content marketing is the key to bringing them together online.

There’s good news for industrial companies using their websites to generate leads. Two recent marketing research reports of buyers and two surveying sellers show a convergence in what industrial sellers want to happen with their websites and what industrial buyers look for when using the web for business-related buying. The common thread: Content.

What Sellers Want

In an Engineering.com survey of more than 100 engineering marketers, 44.4% of the companies surveyed said the biggest marketing challenge of 2016 is “needing more leads.”  Other challenges cited included:

When asked what their top marketing priorities are for 2016, 61% of the industrial companies said “lead generation” and 55% said “branding/awareness.”

Similarly, the Ascend2 2016 State of Digital Marketing report found that for 58% of the company’s surveyed, the most important digital goal this year is “increased lead generation,” followed by 48% who said “increase conversion rate,” and 44% who said “improve brand awareness.”

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Solidify Your Brand with Professional Social Media Sites

No matter which platform you are on, casual or not, meaningful content can be overlooked if your brand identity is weak.

We all know that having a professional appearance is an important part of a marketing strategy that can help build credibility and trust with customers while distinguishing a company from its competitors. This aspect of branding should resonate throughout all areas of marketing, including social media. Establishing continuity across all marketing platforms is challenging, but can be accomplished with the proper use of professional photography, color and consistency in style.

It seems that many companies are on board with maximizing the appearance of their social media sites, but it is surprising that there are still some companies out there that aren’t taking advantage of such a considerable opportunity for fully and suitably promoting their brand. Although social media is often a conversational, casual and informal platform, it does hold a very significant weight in current marketing strategies that should not be taken lightly, and the appearance of these sites should not be neglected.

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Play the Percentages to Improve SEO & Digital Marketing Effectiveness

 

Hiring the right provider is just the first step in the right direction.

Hot off the presses this month is a new study of digital marketing trends across a wide range of sectors.

The results are telling:

  • Nearly half (41%) of the 275 respondents characterized the state of their organization’s digital marketing as below average compared to their competitors
  • 71% said their digital marketing effectiveness was either increasing only marginally or actually decreasing
  • 40% and 35%, respectively, cited the lack of skills/training and the lack of an effective strategy as major obstacles to their digital marketing efforts
  • 45% reported SEO was one of the most difficult digital marketing strategies to execute

Those figures all point to one fact: there are a lot of companies out there in need of digital marketing assistance.

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Why Cheap Website Hosting Costs More than You Think

Companies that choose the cheapest hosting providers can expect to pay for those savings in the form of lost potential business.

As a company that provides full-service web site design, development and search engine optimization services, it’s not uncommon for industrial businesses that have asked for a quote to want proceed with the core services we offer but scoff at website hosting.

After all, a buck is a buck, and if a company can save $20 or $30 a month by hosting it with a cheap national provider, why wouldn’t they do that?

From our 20 years of experience of saving clients from themselves, here’s a few reasons why:

1. Site Security and Maintenance – Hosting your site with an inexpensive hosting provider really only works if you have your own experienced, internal technical staff to keep up with the regular requirements of site software updates, security patches and other maintenance issues.

Sites built with common open-source Content Management Systems like WordPress and Joomla, regularly need to be checked for updates that fix bugs and protect sites from newly discovered vulnerabilities. A cheap hosting provider won't track notices issued by trade publications or software companies warning of possible issues that could impact your website (like this: http://www.thesempost.com/wordpress-plugin-admin-backdoor/) or provide technical assistance to keep your site up-to-date with the latest versions of your website or blog software.

Additionally, site performance issues caused by incompatibilities between the site’s CMS and server software can become a big headache to troubleshoot and fix since you won’t have access to or knowledge of the exact setup of the server your site is on. This can lead to many hours of a valuable technician’s time, which eats up any expected cost savings.

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20 Years and 20 Insights in Internet Marketing

To mark the 20th anniversary of my career in the Internet marketing industry, I thought I’d share 20 insights about website design and search engine optimization for industrial businesses:

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