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A recognized expert in industrial SEO and Internet marketing, Angela has spoken at numerous industry trade shows and conferences.She joined Pilot Fish in 1995 from Crain Communications Inc., where she was a founding assistant managing editor of Plastics News and the founding managing editor of Waste News.

SEO Linkbuilding: Look for Backlinks Within Your Industry

Google uses backlinks as a measurement of your site’s authority within its industry

No doubt you’ve seen this on Google: A website on the first page of results that looks terrible, doesn’t seem to have much useful info and, yet, performs really well on the search engine. You might be even more frustrated because you’ve already spent a considerable amount of time optimizing your own site for SEO and wonder whether those efforts are wasted.

It’s easy to get caught up in all the details that go into optimizing one’s website. There are many content-related factors and technical SEO considerations. But, that’s not the end of it. One-half of Google’s algorithm, about 100 different factors, relate to what we call Off-Page SEO – the number and quality of backlinks to your site from third-party links.

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165 Hits

Does SEO Work for Industrial Businesses?

If you’ve spent any time interviewing search engine optimization (SEO) firms, one of the things you’ll find is that the reputable ones will tell you “we can’t guarantee specific results in Google.”

While that phrase provides an honest assessment of our, or anyone’s ability to control Google, it also does the SEO industry a disservice because, quite frankly, SEO works.

SEO has been around for 22 years, since Google launched in 1998, and it’s still the most effective way to get qualified website traffic. In fact, we’re hearing from more and more clients that their websites have become their #1 lead generator since implementing SEO.

At the same time, SEO has become harder and more complicated with every update to Google’s algorithm. But the good SEO firms are ones that have developed a process they know works based on years of experience working on client websites. They also have the ability to track Google changes and adapt their clients’ SEO to meet current standards.

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207 Hits

2020 SEO: Brush up on the Game of Monopoly

When it comes to implementing search engine optimization for 2020, I tell clients that it’s like the game of Monopoly.

First, Google itself is a monopoly among search engines, with an 88% market share for all searches conducted in the United States, and a 92% market share for searches worldwide as of January 2020(1). For the industrial clients with which we work, that’s fairly significant, along with the knowledge that 89% of technical professionals – their customers -- say they use search engines as a source of information for work, with 77% saying they use the Internet to find equipment, components, services and suppliers.(2)

So, there’s no escaping the impact that Google has on your business, whether your website is optimized or not.

Companies that have gone all in with SEO are likely the ones benefiting from Google’s domination; those that have not (unless they’re branded giants in their own right) are likely suffering and wondering why the Internet doesn’t work for them.

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Pilot Fish celebrates 25th 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 25 years in the Internet marketing industry, through our affiliated business Polysort.com, which was founded in 1995 as the first online portal for the plastics and rubber industry.

And, my, how things have changed over the last 25 years!  When we started Polysort.com, it was the Wild, Wild West back then, and we cut our teeth teaching plastics and rubber companies how to setup email accounts and build their first websites. 

Very few companies had websites in 1995, so helping plastics and rubber companies build their online presence became our primary business,which is just a part of our mission today.

With the launch of Google in 1998 and its subsequent growth, search engine optimization become a must-have for every industrial company's marketing toolkit. That's where Pilot Fish stepped in.  

As inquiries increased from non-polymer businesses and the need for SEO grew, 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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Elements of a Successful SEO strategy

Wondering what it really takes to execute a successful B2B SEO strategy?   Based on more than 25 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 the best overall universe of 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 Content Marketing, SEO Tweaking and Results 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 and 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 both on your site and through content marketing  to build backlinks and entice prospects to return to your site.  Pilot Fish can provide you an ongoing SEO strategy for improving and maintaining your site's ability to increase site traffic and generate qualified leads.

For a free site analysis or a customized quote for your B2B website, contact the SEO experts at Pilot Fish or call 877-799-9994 ext. 2102. 

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2731 Hits

Are you Giving Your Top Salesperson the Tools She Needs?

Investing in SEO is akin to giving your best salesperson everything they need to be a top performer.

Are you Giving Your Top Salesperson the Tools She Needs?

If you own your business or manage the sales organization, you’re likely in tune with the specific things your sales team needs to be effective for your company:

  • Access to leads or contact list, a phone, email, maybe a car, and a good CRM to track results;
  • Appropriate supporting sales literature and training on how your products and services benefit your customers;
  • A marketing strategy and organizational support for the quoting and sales process;
  • Incentivizing compensation;
  • An environment that encourages productive independence, with accountability to the company to meet organizational goals;
  • Personal benefits, like sick pay, vacation time and a 401K, that help your employees feel valued and empowered to be the best at what they do.

But, what if, in providing all these things to your sales organization, you were ignoring the vital needs of someone who could be your top producer?

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Why Have My Search Rankings Dropped?

Given Google’s newer emphasis on user intent, it becomes very difficult for a single site to dominate the top rankings across a broad set of keywords.

On March 12, Google announced what it called a “broad core algorithm update,” the sixth major change to the search engine’s algorithm in the last year. Unfortunately for everyone, that’s about as specific Google got in describing the impact of “Update Florida 2,” as it has been named.

As with prior changes, Google’s advice in managing this new update is to continue with standard, accepted SEO practices.  But, for sites that have noticed their traffic on the downhill lately or in the last couple of years, a better explanation is in order.

How SEO Started

In the early days of Google, earning Page 1 rankings on the search engine was as easy as incorporating the right keywords into your meta tags and content. Companies that jumped on the SEO bandwagon early got tremendous advantage, dominating rankings within their business segments.

Over time, Google modified the algorithm to make capturing the prized top rankings more difficult, adding backlinks and myriad other ranking signals.

Today, we know that the Google algorithm incorporates more than 200 ranking factors, about half of which are related to on-page SEO and the other half to backlinking and content marketing.

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Industrial, B2B Companies Must Adjust Mindset to Succeed at SEO

Effective B2B SEO means building your site from the ground up with higher rankings in mind and continuing with an ongoing content marketing and backlink building strategy.

We don’t do social media. We don’t need a blog. We don’t know anything about backlinks. We don’t have any videos or PowerPoint presentations we can use. We don’t have time to talk about new content for our site. We don’t want to change the way we do things.

“We don’t” and “we can’t” are the biggest reasons why industrial and other B2B companies fail in search engine optimization (SEO). With Google using more than 200 factors to rank websites (half related to site structure and content and the other half to content marketing and backlinks), and an ever-evolving algorithm that’s updated multiple times a year, there’s one thing that’s certain, SEO for industrial businesses requires a big commitment and a commitment to change.

It’s not enough to build a site that’s responsive and that utilizes Yoast or other SEO plugins. Effective B2B SEO means building your site from the ground up (programming, navigation and content) with higher rankings in mind and continuing with an ongoing content marketing and backlink building strategy that supports the work you’ve done to optimize your site. 

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4 Important SEO Tasks When Converting to HTTPS

Converting your site to HTTPS will create some work that needs to be done to ensure that Google is giving you credit for all the SEO work you’ve previously done.

If Google saying it would prioritize HTTPS sites in its search results didn’t get you to convert your site to the secured protocol, then perhaps the European Union’s new GDPR privacy law will.

As part of the privacy law, the GDPR requires that transmission of private data be done in a secure manner.  For websites with contact forms, that means converting your site to HTTPS to encrypt those transmissions.  You can read more about the GDPR privacy law requirements here, but the real purpose of this article is to remind you of the other things you’ll need to do once you’ve converted your site to HTTPS.

Converting your site to HTTPS will create some work that needs to be done to ensure that Google is giving you credit for all the SEO work you’ve previously done.  Below are four important tasks to do before you can consider your HTTPS site conversion complete:   

#1:  Verify that your HTTP site is set to permanently redirect to the HTTPS domain.  If you type in your web address starting with just www, it should automatically redirect in your browser to the HTTPS site.  If not, talk to your web programmers about correcting this issue.

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764 Hits

GDPR, Your Website & Your Company

The penalty for violations is just over $23 million or 4 percent of your global revenue for the year, whichever is higher.

You’ve surely seen a lot more emails coming into both your work and personal email accounts from companies providing you with their updated privacy policies or asking for permission to continue contacting you.

That increase isn’t a fluke or a coincidence – it’s a direct result of the GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation, which was passed by the European Union in 2016 and goes into effect May 25, 2018.

And, yes, the regulation likely pertains to your company.

And, yes, this is serious business. The penalty for violations is 20 million euros (just over $23 million, based on exchange rates earlier this week) or 4 percent of your global revenue for the year, whichever is higher.

A GDPR Primer

The regulation’s goal is straightforward – to give individuals living with the EU full control over how any of their information is used by any company.

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2017 Google Algorithm Changes Cause Consternation

If you’ve remained on the right side of Google in your SEO practices, then you should see improvement year-over-year.  If you don’t, be honest about the effort you’ve put into SEO and get an action plan in place to correct that.

For folks who keep a close eye on their Google Analytics, the past several months have been an exercise in angst and futility.  Google has been actively updating its algorithm and Google Analytics tracking software this year, causing many to believe that their sites are losing traffic and SEO rankings.

Google keeps pretty quiet about the updates it executes, the effects and why.  So, it’s been up to SEO firms like Pilot Fish to try to sort through these changes to provide some clarity to its clients.

As part of our SEO programs, Pilot Fish provides its clients with quarterly SEO reports that help track site traffic and progress in earning and maintaining strong positions for important keywords.  That reporting, plus information gathered by others in our industry, helped to identify a number of changes that were taking place at the search engine giant.

In a nutshell, Google has made major search engine updates almost every month this year:

Google 2017 Search Engine Updates

January 10, 2017

February 1, 2017

February 6, 2017

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1660 Hits

Why Buy American Makes Sense for U.S. Websites and SEO

A big disadvantage to working with foreign developers is the inability to easily communicate your objectives for the site so that you’re assured of receiving what you want.

We’ve come across several situations recently where we’ve been asked to host, edit or optimize foreign-built websites and have gained enough experience from these situations to advise our clients, “Just say NO, when it comes to having your website built overseas.”

In some cases, the clients have yielded to corporate pressure to find the cheapest web developer, and ended up working with a U.S.-based firm whose developers reside in India, Malaysia, Poland or Ukraine.

At other times, we’re working with the U.S. affiliate of a foreign conglomerate, oftentimes a German, French, Italian or Japanese company, that insisted that the U.S. division have their website built in the motherland.

Either way, in each case, the resulting headaches were enough that we and our clients agreed that when it comes to website development and SEO, it’s always best to buy American. Here are the most common issues we’ve seen:

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1422 Hits

Google video helps business owners get into the SEO game

When seeking a better website ranking on Google, it can seem that you and your SEO company are in a great battle with a giant monster, like David and Goliath. As the much smaller warrior in this scenario, your business is looking for whatever vulnerability or weakness can provide you an edge, so that your website is victorious in its quest for higher search engine rankings.

An SEO firm is the weapon you use, but rather than being a simple slingshot, it operates more like a Swiss army knife, capable of producing multiple tools to help you slay the beast.

So, why then, has Google posted a YouTube video on how to find a reputable SEO company?  Isn’t that like Goliath telling David, “Shoot me in the eye, right here!”

In reality, the quest for better SEO rankings is less like David and Goliath, and more like an athletic contest.

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1424 Hits

How to preserve SEO rankings when changing domains

Dumping an old name for something more catchy that has no Internet history is just about the worst thing you can do SEO-wise.

Domain name changes, when you change your website URL from www.abc.com to www.xyz.com, are often required when a company goes through an ownership change, or sometimes to take advantage of a business opportunity.

Other times it can be that a long-desired domain has suddenly become available, or your business has changed its focus and is re-branding as the first step of a new course.

In any case, a decision to change a longstanding domain is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly as it will require significant effort to market the new domain and potentially cause some temporary confusion among customers and prospects until the new name takes hold.  At the same time, there’s another area of concern when it comes to domain changes: search engine optimization.    

If your company is used to seeing its website listed on the first page of Google for terms that are important in driving qualified site traffic to your website, you’ll need to take extra steps to ensure a smooth transition of your website from its old URL to the new one to prevent disruption of your SEO.

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Striking a Blow against Hackers and Cybercrime

By 2020, we'll need 1.5 million more information security professionals.

You can always count on Pilot Fish for some useful B2B SEO tips, insightful commentary on Google updates or user-friendly website design strategies.

But we’re interrupting our regularly scheduled programming today to talk about something a little farther afield yet still important: cybersecurity and the need to recruit more women to fill rolls in that industry.

Pilot Fish is a woman-owned business, but encouraging women to enter cybersecurity isn’t a stance of political correctness. It’s been predicted that by the year 2020 (just three years from now), the world will need 1.5 million more information security professionals, and simple statistics dictate that men won’t be able to fill all of those positions.

Since it’s unlikely that the flora and fauna of our world will be taught to code by then, women are going to have to fill the gap. To that end, ESET is offering a $5,000 scholarship to a woman who’s pursuing a college-level degree and desires to join the cybersecurity field.

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1220 Hits

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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2700 Hits

SEO Basics for Finding the Best Web Design or SEO Company

It’s important to know what you don’t know before you hire a website developer or SEO firm to work on your website

I recently decided to put to use some of the SEO software tools we regularly utilize when working on keyword research for our clients’ sites or when optimizing their websites for SEO.

I typed in what I thought are basic SEO questions that a lot of business owners regularly wonder about when faced with the prospect of trying to improve their website’s rankings on Google:

  • “What is search engine optimization?”  
  • “What does ‘SEO’ mean?”
  • “How does SEO work?”
  • “What’s the definition of SEO?”
  • “How do I choose the best SEO company?”

I was amazed at the number of keyword combinations surrounding “search engine optimization” or “SEO” – tens of thousands of Internet users type in more than 10,000 different queries each month to get info on these types of questions or to learn how to implement SEO.

And, it’s not surprising. SEO, especially when it comes to optimizing a website for Google, has become extremely complicated in the last several years. Google now uses 200 factors to rank websites, and continues to modify its algorithm to weed out spammy sites and generate the best possible results for its search engine users.  Last Fall, Google announced that its search engine algorithm now incorporates what it calls “RankBrain,” the use of artificial intelligence to help sort through the billions of web pages to determine how websites should be prioritized and ranked.  It’s so complicated that even Google engineers admit they don’t really understand it.

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1591 Hits

Why Have My Google Search Rankings Dropped?

We’re in a summer of tremendous Google algorithm flux and the result is that many websites have recently dropped in the search rankings.

For a marketing manager, there’s almost nothing worse than checking your company’s Google Analytics only to find that your site traffic and Google search rankings have dropped.

Panic ensues as you scramble for explanations, causes and remedies. 

In today’s marketing climate, businesses have become ever more reliant on strong search engine rankings to drive site traffic, leads and new business as more traditional forms of marketing take a back seat among a fully plugged-in younger generation of buyers.

Who doesn’t love the self-serve nature of the Internet, where (non-spam) leads generated from your website are typically not only highly qualified, but also very serious buyers, as they’ve already done the work of investigating your company and products before filling out that contact form.

So finding that steady flow of new business opportunities shrink to a trickle as your site’s visibility on Google drops can induce sheer terror as you come to the realization that you’re not as much in control of your destiny as you thought you were.

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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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1548 Hits

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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2118 Hits