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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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4 Simple Content Marketing Tips to Boost Your SEO

Produce fresh, useful content that appeals to customers and prospects.

With 2019 well under way, now is a great time to review your SEO practices and plan to take some new steps in the right direction when it comes to content marketing.

New, fresh content continues to remain a top priority when it comes to ranking well on the search engines. Google, in fact, rewards pages that display expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.

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Review Your Website to Ensure SEO Success in the New Year

A poorly maintained site usually won’t rank well on Google.

2018 is nearly over, and we all have our own lists of things we’d like to complete before the end of the year.

One task that should definitely be on your list is a quick review of your website.

Let’s be clear: mistakes on your website matter. An old phone number or malfunctioning contact form could keep you from acquiring a new customer, while inaccurate information and broken links can lead new prospects to decide you’re not a vendor they feel comfortable with.

Broken links and inaccuracies matter to Google as well – a poorly maintained site usually won’t rank as well in Google’s search results.

So what’s a concerned site owner to do? Here’s a simple checklist of 10 items to review on your website to make sure your site is in good shape:

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6 Linking Tactics – and a Bonus Tip – for Better B2B SEO

Content marketing & link-building can provide a powerful one-two punch for your B2B SEO.

One easily forgotten element in the battle to improve search rankings is simple linking.

Here are some easy ways to increase the number of links to your website:

  1. Content marketing is the key here: Write new, useful content every month – no one will link to an old, outdated website that has nothing new to offer. This content can include:
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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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367 Hits

Google Algorithm Changes Stir Things Up

Remain focused on building great content.

Google is up to its old tricks, unleashing several algorithm changes since the beginning of the year.

One of the most important is also one of the ones we’ve known about the longest: Google’s move to a mobile-first index. Although it’s been talking about this change since 2016, Google only began testing mobile-first indexing on a few, select sites in October.

And then on March 26 Google announced that it was officially moving larger batches of websites to mobile-first indexing. Basically, if there’s a mobile version and a desktop version of a website, Google is going to display the mobile version in its search engine results, which is what people will see whether using their mobile devices or desktop computers. Eventually, Google will have one index that favors mobile-friendly websites.

If you have a well-optimized website that works on mobile devices, you should be in the clear. 

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Putting Your B2B SEO to Work on an International Stage

Clients who’ve implemented properly optimized foreign-language websites have received increased leads.

It’s great to have a well-designed website, properly optimized according to B2B SEO best practices. But, if your company targets markets outside of the U.S. and Canada, a well-designed, well-optimized English-language website might not be enough.

You’ll usually find the best success globally when you design your marketing efforts with your international audiences in mind. It might sound daunting, but the good news is that the basics of B2B SEO work well in any language, if you keep in mind the following tips:

Use the right domain name.

If you’ve got deep pockets, you can buy a language-specific domain name for each country you market to and host each website in that specific country. This requires a lot of resources – including hiring and maintaining a web-editing staff in each country – and demands an incredible amount of oversight to make sure that each website remains up-to-date.

An option that’s more time- and cost-efficient while still being highly effective, is to create separate sections within your own website to target each country. Each section should be labeled with the abbreviation for that country, such as yourdomain.com/mx for a website targeting Mexico or yourdomain.com/de for a website designed for prospective customers in Germany.

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B2B SEO Tips for Content Marketing

Any content marketing piece that is posted online should be optimized with a couple of your best search terms.

First of all, if you’re creating and posting new content anywhere online about your corporate website, let me extend to you an earnest, well-deserved congratulations on your content marketing efforts.

Whether you’re posting on sites like LinkedIn and YouTube or adding new content like case studies, news releases and blogs to your own website, every bit of content marketing will help your B2B SEO. We’ve found that our clients who regularly add content see the most improvements in their search engine rankings.

But …

You’re leaving a lot on the table if you’re not implementing basic B2B SEO tactics with each new piece of content to perform well on the search engines.

Why go to the trouble of creating content and then not giving it every chance to be found in online searches? It’s like creating a great radio commercial and never mentioning your company’s name – a lot of your hard work and your company’s resources spent without generating any new business.

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576 Hits

B2B SEO Expertise Required to Combat Google Analytics Woes

We've expanded the online tools we use to compile site statistics for our clients, no longer relying solely on the figures Google decides to present.

The SEO high jinx over at Google continue to mount, with our B2B SEO clients consistently reporting irregularities in their Google Analytics reports.

We documented last year how changes in Google’s methodology of tracking and reporting site statistics were leading some site owners to think their sites were losing traffic and SEO rankings – even though Google claimed the actual traffic was consistent and that the only change was in how the figures were reported.

Since then, some B2B website owners continue to report increases in the number of terms that Google ranks their sites for but a decrease in the traffic they receive from Google, which isn’t logical. Traditionally, a site that ranks more frequently on the first page of Google will see an increase in its search traffic.

In other instances, the web addresses for individual pages are recorded inaccurately in Google Analytics, with no indication if the accompanying statistics are for the real web page or if the figures are as wrong as the web addresses are.

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565 Hits

Start 2018 Off Strong with Keyword & Competitor Research Designed to Boost Your Website's B2B SEO

If you’re looking to take full advantage of every business opportunity that 2018 presents, you’ll need a website up to the task.

With 2017 quickly rolling to a close, it’s a good time to look ahead and think about how to start your 2018 B2B SEO program on the right foot.

One of the best things you can do, both from an SEO perspective and a business perspective, is to perform a complete keyword and competitor analysis for your website.

Keyword & Competitor Research is foundational to any SEO project. It provides you the information you need to determine the best universe of keywords for which you should optimize your site and how much work in off-page SEO and content marketing you’ll need to overtake your competitors on Page 1 of Google.

If you haven’t taken a good look at your search terms or your online competitors for a few years, this is a great time to do so. Newer software tools that provide access to more detailed keyword research data and updated analysis of how Google ranks sites, can change your B2B SEO approach in a way that increases site traffic and leads.

For example, for years, the search term “body bags” was my favorite example of why keyword research is so important. It’s a term that came up several years ago when we did some SEO for a police supply company that distributed body bags and very confidently used only that term to describe that specific line of products.

But a thorough keyword research project showed that the search engines thought “body bags” were only a style of women’s purse; it turned out that “cadaver bags” was the term that the search engine recognized as describing the client’s product – and was the term that many of their potential customers used in searching for that product.

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B2B SEO Goes Beyond Search Engines to Generate Sales Leads

Check your website against these questions, and you’ll find ways to improve your site’s usefulness, and, eventually, the number of qualified leads your site generates

 

When you’re working on SEO for your corporate website, it often feels like there’s only one goal: Getting that coveted #1 spot on Google’s search results.

But that’s just one goal (although an essential one) on the way to what’s generally the main motivation for most B2B websites: Increasing the number of qualified leads the site owner receives.

And the most thoroughly planned and carefully crafted B2B SEO won’t mean a darn thing if it lands search engine users on a website that’s poorly designed and executed.

To capitalize on your B2B SEO success, you need a website that captures the attention of your site visitors and gives them what they need. The best way to do this is to create a website that lets visitors quickly find what they want – not a website that looks glitzy or provides the latest gimmicks. At the end of the day, you’ll generate more qualified leads from site visitors who are wowed not by how fancy your website looks but by how easy your website is to use.

Heather Kyle’s recent blog post provided some great ideas about how content legibility can improve visitor experience and increase the likelihood of visitors contacting you for more information.

The following questions focus more broadly on your site visitors’ experience with your entire website and how that affects your ability to generate leads. It’s a handy list to use the next time you’re redesigning your corporate website.

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660 Hits

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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1188 Hits

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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819 Hits

6 technical SEO tips to get the most value out of your company’s blog

The critical first step is to make sure your blog is built with SEO in mind from the very start

From an SEO standpoint, blogs have been a “thing” for a while now. It seems like everybody talks about how great they are for easily creating new content for your website, generating good backlinks, drawing in more site visitors, improving search engine positioning.

Those are all important things, especially for B2B SEO. But most people only talk about content when they talk about companies starting their own blogs. Writing and promoting a blog post that’s equally attractive to site visitors and search engines alike is actually the last step in the process.

The critical first step is to make sure your blog is built with SEO in mind from the very start, and that requires a bit of technical savvy. To that end, here are a few tips to make sure your company’s website includes an SEO-friendly blog:

  1. The URL/website address should start with: https://www.yoursitehere.com/blog.

    Even though the search engines are getting better at recognizing when a blog is part of a larger website, the “.com/blog” construction is still best because it explicitly shows the blog is part of your site. Less-than-desirable options would be:
    • https://blog.yoursitehere.com (which can sometimes be mistaken for a separate website)
    • https://yourblog.somethirdpartywebsite.com (which is part of the host’s website instead of yours, substantially decreasing the SEO benefit of creating a blog)
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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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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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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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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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1000 Hits

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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