I’ve spent the past two decades running various directory sites which, in turn, lead me to researching and analysing any number of B2B company websites. And, while this article is directed primarily at small to medium enterprises, I found the same problems over and over again.
To give you the most bang for your buck or return on investment you need to love and coddle your digital presence. Sending it out to play in the big wide internet with no support is pointless and does not do your company any favours.
Most companies these days do have a website and acknowledge the need for one. However, it’s hard not to feel that a company meeting was held (back in the day), the decision to get a website designed was made, and the website was uploaded. And there it sits … no love, no attention and no more time spent on it.
Why? Most companies would have spent a good portion of their marketing budget to develop the website at some stage, so why not use it to your best advantage?
And then, a few years later social media became a buzzword, another company meeting was held, and it was decided to start a Facebook page, maybe an Instagram page, definitely a LinkedIn page, and possibly a Twitter account. Another company meeting was held, a decision was made on which social media platforms to use and somebody in the company was tasked with setting these up. And there they sit … no love, no attention and no time spent on them.
With the numerous free tools and guides at our disposal these days, there’s no excuse not to spend time on your digital assets. And the rewards will be worth it – I can almost guarantee that your website visits will increase and, if your website is well designed and your product is useful, you will get more phone calls, emails and forms completed.
So, let’s go through all the things you could be doing:
YOUR WEBSITE AND THE BASICS OF OPTIMISING IT
It’s more than likely you got a professional website development company to design and set up your website. And they probably told you it’s SEO (Search Engine Optimised) friendly. BUT, to optimise your website well and to ensure that it appears on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), you need to check on the SEO basics in the list below. Most web developers will have done a few of these but not all – mainly due to the time it takes to do all of this properly. And you were probably worrying about the cost already and certainly didn’t need to hear that a whole lot of extra hours were needed.
Your meta title:
This is what you see at the top of your browser when looking at a web page – you’ll see your company URL usually followed by /page title. It’s also the title used on the Search Engine Results Pages when you do a search.
Why is it important? It tells the user exactly what your page is about, it’s a call to action for the user to click on your page amongst all the results served up, and – if you’ve done keyword research properly – it’s an opportunity to work keywords into your title in a natural way.
Try to keep your title to 70 characters or less to ensure the whole title is seen on most devices.
Make sure that every page on your website has a different title – so many websites have the same title on numerous pages or, worse, are just titled Home, Page 1, Contact, Page 6, etc. Would you click on a result that said Page 6?
Your meta description:
The words that appear below your title on the Search Engine Results Pages. This short description tells the web crawler what the page is all about, but it also acts as a call to action.
Craft your meta description to include keywords and to encourage users to click on your result amongst all the results displayed once they search.
Your meta description must sound natural (i.e. written by a human) and interesting to the searcher, while including a call to action. You want the user to click on your page after all.
Stick to 155 characters or so to ensure your whole meta description appears in the search results.
Use headings in your page structure. You use the tags <H1>, <H2>, etc and these also represent opportunities. If you can, work keywords into the headings in a natural and human way.
Don’t use all H1 headers, or all H3 headers – pretend you’re writing a book with a title (H1), chapters (H2) and categories within the chapters (H3). You might even have sub-categories within the categories in each chapter – use H4 and so on then.
All of this helps the crawler to understand what the most important parts of your page are and what the content is that they cover.
It’s also easy on the eye for the reader. They are immediately drawn to the headers and can decide whether they want to read further.
And then, of course, your actual content is important. Without good content you can optimise away but you won’t get decent results – you’ll end up with a horrible bounce rate (the higher your bounce rate, the higher the indication that readers are not interested in your content. More on this later.)
You can’t write? Well, there are lots of freelance editors out there. Get one of your subject experts (this could be a sales rep, the founder of the company or the marketing manager) to ‘write’ your page without worrying about the spelling, the grammar and the like. Then give it to a copy editor to rewrite but with all the salient facts brought up by your expert.
Besides structuring your page correctly, you should also make use of bolds, italics and bullets to draw attention to important points. Remember that the reader is likely to scan the page before reading it in depth so make it as easy as possible for them to quickly gauge what the page is about and decide whether to continue reading.
I cannot say how often I see hundreds of images uploaded to a website with the filename IMG179932043525.jpg. Why is this wrong? Well, Google has image search and you want your company or a specific page to come up in the image search results. The problem is that right now (although things are changing) Google is unable to determine what this image is.
But what about if you’d named the image Dog-on-Piazza-Stepping-Stones? Well then, it’s quite likely that someone searching for Piazza Stepping Stones might have had your image served up as a search result. And then, when they clicked on it, they would have gone to your page on Piazza Stepping Stones (and maybe even have placed an order!)
To make image search work even better, start adding Alt-txt to your images – this explains what your image is all about and helps Google decide whether it’s worth adding your image to the search results. It also reinforces the subject matter on the page your image is loaded on, making Google more likely to return your page as a search result if it ties into the user’s query. So, keeping to our example above, try Brown Piazza Stepping Stones with dog sleeping.
You need to constantly update your website. If you have a new product, add a new product page. If a telephone number has changed, then change it on your website. Check your contacts still work at the company and that their details are correct.
The more you update your website, the more often Google will come back to index it. You want people to know about a new product you’ve launched? Make sure you have a website that is indexed regularly.
Then that dreaded News Page. It can work well, or it can completely backfire. Back in 2012 it might have seemed like a good idea to add a News Page and doubtless someone was tasked with putting some news articles together for the page. So, it looked good then. And now? What people see is a company that hasn’t added anything to their News Pages for the past seven years. If you cannot keep adding to your News Page, then rather take it down – it does nothing for your company image. It is amazing how many large organisations have a news page on their website that is never updated.
However, your News Page is also a great opportunity to tell readers about your company and its products. If you constantly update it and ensure that each article is well optimised, you have a goldmine in extra content that could be returned on the Search Engine Results Pages. Do you want to be seen as a company that has not changed since 2012 or do you want to be seen as innovative, fresh, and always active?
There’s so much more you can do to optimise your website, but these tasks are more complex. Link building, internal linking between pages on your website, site maps, submitting to Google, website structure, sales funnels and the customer journey, and rigorous keyword research all make a difference but might be better left to the experts. There are many SEO companies out there that can help you, Evergreen Media being one of them. But click here to continue reading about the other website optimisation options you should be considering, as well as making more effective use of your digital assets.