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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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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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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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Boost Your Internet Marketing with Carefully Crafted Industry Outreach

Your best plan of action is to present truly newsworthy information clearly, concisely and honestly

Press releases are great things. They get your news out, they provide useful links back to your website, they give your company an extra chance to get ranked on Page 1 of the search engines.

Press release distribution services are great things too. They provide a permanent home for your press release and distribute your news to thousands of publications and news sites in a cost-effective manner.

But all great things really do come to end, and, while mass-distributed press releases provide a lot of useful benefits, there’ll be certain times when you want to take your Internet marketing a step further.

A case in point is when you have news of major interest to your industry. Online press release services don’t always have an option for distribution to industry-specific publications, and those that do often charge a prohibitive fee for the privilege of using their targeted delivery.

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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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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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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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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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4 Tips for Industrial Marketing on Pinterest

Pinterest. It’s not just for crafters anymore.

Manufacturers – including major corporations like GE and IBM – are incorporating the photo-curating website into their Internet marketing to improve their branding, funnel more traffic to their websites and boost their search engine optimization efforts.

A little planning and forethought can go a long way toward creating a successful corporate Pinterest account. Keep these tips in mind to get the most out of your efforts on Pinterest:

Sharing insights from other industry leaders is one of the best ways to build your audience’s trust

1. Showcase your products, first and foremost. Post as many product images as you can, but don’t just throw everything up there – cherry-pick the very best images that truly illustrate your products at their best. And remember to link each image to the corresponding product page on your website.

Example: Provia Products’ doors, windows, siding and manufactured stone

2. Offer business resources. Like any good marketing channel, Pinterest works best when it provides a tangible benefit to your target audience. White papers and how-to guides can be promoted via Pinterest, simply by uploading a cover image of the paper or guide and then linking to the appropriate file.

Example: Machine specs for centerless grinders from Total Grinding Solutions

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Pilot Fish celebrates 20th anniversary of Internet marketing excellence

We were there at
the forefront and
continue to offer
our clients SEO
expertise derived
from many years of
practical experience.

My, how time flies when you’re having fun!  Pilot Fish is celebrating the 20th anniversary of our parent company, Polysort LLC, founded in 1995 as the first online portal for the plastics and rubber industry.

I’m proud to say that I was one of the portal’s founding members, along with other former staffers from trade publication Plastics News.

We felt that the Internet was the perfect medium to build an industry resource that, in comparison to print, would free us from the limitations of deadlines and space. 

It also created the need for a different business model than reliance on advertising revenue.

Very few companies had websites in 1995, so helping plastics and rubber companies build their online presence became our revenue model,which exists to this day.

Our original site, www.polysort.com, continues to provide an extensive directory of plastics and rubber companies, including raw material companies, machinery companies, processors and related services.

Pilot Fish became our website development and SEO arm, providing Internet marketing services not only to plastics and rubber companies, but also to other industrial businesses in a variety of markets, including medical, packaging, woodworking, construction products, chemical, machinery and more.    

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How much should industrial companies spend for online marketing?

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.

 

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