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When a press release service is actually a dis-service

There is no backdoor channel

 

It’s a buyer beware world out there, and B2B SEO is no different.

One of the easiest traps to fall into relates directly to one of the oldest tools of corporate communication: press releases.

Despite having originated at the dawn of the last century, press releases remain a great way for companies to:

  • Provide important company updates
  • Increase name recognition
  • Establish brand leadership
  • Support their Internet marketing efforts

First of all, a press release properly optimized for the search engines is a great addition to the website of any company looking to promote itself. Useful, well-written copy crafted to appeal to your target audience and to the search engines will always enhance your corporate website’s SEO.

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What is https, and why should you care?

Whether or not you know what https is, an interesting piece of news floated down the SEO pipeline this week when Moz reported that half of Google’s Page 1 rankings begin with https.

Regardless of your level of awareness, you – or at least your company’s website and search engine rankings – could end up being affected by the move toward https.

So what is https? When you see those five little letters at the beginning of a web address instead of the plain “http,” that means the website is secured with extra coding. This additional level of security means that hackers can’t intercept the personal data entered by a visitor to that site.

Awareness of https began growing beyond typical online retailers like Amazon in late 2014 when Google announced that https would be included as a factor in its ranking algorithms.

We’ve been tracking the https development ever since. Our research shows that it’s basically a secondary factor, which is in line with the findings of other SEO experts. Https does not have the same influence as the content-related factors that help Pilot Fish clients rank so well on the search engines.

Our experience also is consistent with the Moz report. The growth in secure sites seems to be more of an issue of increased compliance on the part of website owners as opposed to increased enforcement on the part of Google.

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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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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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Like Trade Shows, SEO Only Works if You’re There

The virtual trade show is Google, and SEO works to position your site in the main aisle.

While discussing 2017 marketing budget planning with a prospective client, he asked me to help him come up with a compelling argument to present his management for why search engine optimization (SEO) for Google is so important.

The answer came to me while meeting with a company at a tradeshow recently. 

“What would your boss say if you suggested that your company not exhibit at any tradeshows?” I asked.  The answer seemed pretty obvious.  “We have to be here.  All our competitors are here, our customers expect us to be here, and we generate new leads among prospective customers.”

The follow-up question, for those who manage trade shows for their companies, also seemed fairly obvious: “Does it make a difference where your booth is at the show?  What if it were in that far corner in the back, would that impact the number of leads you get?”

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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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Another Google Algorithm Update is Here

Don’t panic. … Be patient.

Another Google Algorithm Update … But What Does that Mean for You?

Another Google algorithm update has landed in the web’s lap, with many industry observers reporting a change in the core algorithm without any clear evidence of the final effect on B2B SEO.

Unlike the Google algorithm turmoil from earlier this summer, this change seems to be of the one- and-done variety. After the initial flurry of activity observed a few days ago, it appears that the Google is allowing its ranking algorithms to do their thing without any more tinkering than usual.

When directly questioned about what kind of Google algorithm change occurred, one of Google’s webmaster trends analysts said there definitely had not been a Penguin update.

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Tools to help chart the sometimes rough seas of B2B SEO

Armed with that knowledge, you’re in a better position to avoid knee-jerk reactions and make the right SEO decisions.

In Angela’s recent blog about possible causes for drops in search engine rankings, she mentioned one B2B SEO factor that none of us have any control over – fluctuations in the search engines’ algorithms.

The search engines are usually pretty tight-lipped about how and when they alter their rules for ranking websites, but there are a number of reputable companies out there now that track such changes.

Their basic reports are free, and they provide some historical data to put current incidents in perspective. Most of the companies also offer for-fee tracking services, which aren’t covered in this review.

Here’s a brief rundown of the most popular trackers:

AccuRanker – monitors 28,000 randomly selected keywords globally; provides an overall “Google mood indicator” (today’s was grumpy) and allows site visitors to filter results based on country and type of device.

Algaroo – follows 17,000 search terms on Google; also offers email alerts for major changes and disruptions.

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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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Internet Changes Challenge Sites to be Better

If you are not adhering to best practices or if your site is not up to date on the latest requirements, then your site will be penalized.

 “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change” - Heraclitus


Well, isn’t that the truth? When looking back over the years, change has certainly been the only constant in every aspect of the web and Internet marketing. Not only has there been continuous change in appearance, technology, SEO practices and device platforms, but many of these developments have happened relatively quickly.  

Sometimes, keeping up with these changes can become overwhelming because successful Internet marketing is such a moving target, which often leads to additional costs and time investments. But, one thing that has been proven over time is that through all of this change, good things have happened. Internet marketing has evolved for the better and has become an invaluable and necessary tool for conducting business.

So, what are some of these changes? What are the benefits? And, why is it so important to embrace change?

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Avoid These 12 Mistakes to Ensure B2B SEO Success for Your Company

All too often, web site owners are their own worst enemies when it comes to SEO

Last week’s blog post related an incident when a client pointed out a minor fluctuation in its rankings for a specific search term and asked “Who’s beating us?”

In that instance, the answer was “Nobody’s beating you.”

But … honestly … sometimes the answer is “You’re beating you.”

All too often, web site owners are their own worst enemies when it comes to SEO and lead generation.  A site owner’s inaction and poor decisions can hurt search rankings much more than any competitor’s aggressive SEO plan.

Here are the top mistakes to avoid so you can become your company’s SEO hero – not its downfall.

Discounting the importance of a corporate web site or Internet marketing in general. Gone, gone, gone are the days when a good print ad and a hearty handshake would gain your company new customers. As documented in previous blog posts, today’s industrial buyers rely on vendors’ web sites to provide the information they need to make critical purchase decisions.

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4 questions that will show whether your B2B SEO is doomed to fail

Trying to get a site to move one or two positions up in the search results for a specific term can be a daunting task.

Recently, a B2B SEO client wrote us with this concern: “I just saw that we’re now at No. 2 on Google for [a specific keyword] instead of our usual No. 1 position. Who’s beating us?”

The answer, very simply, is: “There might not be anybody beating you.”

A recent change of one or two positions likely doesn’t signify any serious flaw in a comprehensive B2B SEO program. Fluctuations – big or small – frequently aren’t a sign of imminent doom. They’re the result of any number of experiments the search engines run on a regular basis. Movements up or down one morning could easily be reversed the next day or even that afternoon.

It’s easiest to assess changes in search engine rankings if you have a historical record to compare the changes against. A good analytics package (like those offered for free by Google and Bing) and a good B2B SEO company to help analyze the data are the strongest foundation for creating that record.

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Navigating the wild world of SEO

Search engine optimization just keeps getting more interesting – and more complicated.

A new report by Moz, a Seattle-based SEO tools provider, highlights this current state of affairs all too well: the report documents more than 35 different ways a web page could be displayed on page 1 of Google – not including paid advertising or market-specific features like menus, lyrics or sports scores.

These organic displays range from a simple, old-school listing, like this:

basic listing example - industrial seo specialists

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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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