I recently worked on two website projects – one for a technology company and one for a medical diagnostic company. In both cases, the same oversights existed when I came on board.
1. A content focus on their technologies and products vs. what their customers might want to know (a topic we’ll address in a future post).
2. Three mistakes that – if fixed – could improve not only their overall content but also their website’s SEO.
B2B websites of all sizes are not immune to mistakes.
As someone who writes corporate website copy and blog posts for B2B clients, I see these gaps every day.
It’s not uncommon for business websites to forget to do these 3 simple things to improve their SEO. You might be surprised to learn that the same simple errors are often found on sites ranging in size from the smallest businesses to the largest corporations.
First things first – these three items are not big secrets. They aren’t even particularly impressive hints or how-tos. They just happen to be three extremely common mistakes (or perhaps oversights) of far too many business-to-business websites.
Basic B2B Website Fixes
In some cases, these three items are missed on corporate websites because of a miscommunication between the marketing department and the website designer. In other cases, there is a lack of understanding of what is needed.
And unless your job is web copywriting, I really wouldn’t expect anyone to know that these things are key to a successful website and its SEO.
What are they?
- Page Titles
- Meta Descriptions
Two of these (the page titles and meta descriptions) are content found in the “backend” area of your website – the dashboard or coding behind the beautiful text and photo layout the business reader sees and consumes. All three of these elements influence how search engines view your website.
1. Page Title or Title Tag
A page title is the first line of text that shows up in search results. It’s also the text the browser tab displays when the visitor clicks through to your B2B web page. You’ll also see this title tag show up in the previews on social media when you link to a web page.
The title tag is the first item anyone searching for you company will see in the search results – and it is the first opportunity you have to start influencing your web visitor.
As I mentioned, the Page Title is the first opportunity you have to start influencing your web visitor. So you should make it count with a very short call to action that answers a customer’s pain point or deep desire. It should also include an appropriate keyword or key phrase that allows the search engine to understand what your webpage is about – and rank it appropriately in search results.
Both Google and your reader want and need to know what they’ll find on your web page.
You have 50 – 60 characters (including spaces) available and you need to make them count. If you’d like to learn more about how to create a Title Tag, I’d recommend visiting Moz.com’s article. If you have no desire to write them yourself, I’m always happy to help.
Adding a page title or title tag is one quick way to help improve your web page’s SEO.
2. Meta Descriptions or Search Snippets
Many B2B marketing directors have never heard of a meta description. If you want to have any hope of controlling what Google (or any other search engine) supplies as the search snippet (and as a business marketer you should) under the page title in search results, you’ll need to create a strong meta description.
A search snippet or meta description is the text that shows up underneath the page title/title tag in search results. If you don’t supply a meta description that accurately describes the information on your web page, the search engine will create a search snippet for you.
Sometimes it works … and sometimes it doesn’t, like this:
This is your second opportunity in the search results to influence a potential site visitor.
You want searchers to immediately understand exactly what your web page says. Even more important, is ensuring that the search engine returns the right result for the searcher.
You’ll want to sharpen your ad writing skills before you sit down to write your web page’s description.
This copy is what will drive potential web visitors to click through to your website. Just as when writing a title tag, you’ll want to tap the emotions of your customer, use targeted keywords (without keyword stuffing) and ensure you’ve got a strong call to action to encourage click-throughs.
Check out this great example of a concise meta description:
Be sure to craft individual persuasive meta descriptions for each one of your B2B website’s pages. I’ve see one technology company use the same title tag and meta description for every page of their site. In a case like this, Google could penalize a website for duplicate content – and that is never a positive move for any website.
Using the same content for every page title and description won’t help visitors decide whether the pages will have the information they want. And you do want them to know you’ve got the answers to their questions, don’t you?
Remember, Google generally displays 150 – 160 characters (including spaces) from a meta description in search results.
It’s always a shock to me when a business (no matter what the size) tells me, “No, we don’t have any keyword research for our website.” Or “No, we don’t really need any keyword research.”
And then – when I ask them for the list of words that they know their customers use to search for them – the company has no answer.
Keywords. Key phrases. Long tail keywords.
Knowing the key words and phrases your target audience uses to search for information about your products and services is critical to your B2B website’s SEO success. It’s essential to your overall marketing efforts. And your content marketing efforts won’t work well without that specific knowledge.
Keywords are a big topic and I’ll scratch the surface here by saying how important it is to do your key word research.
This is not a step to ignore.
Choosing the best keywords and incorporating them into your B2B web copy is an art and a science. You need to understand your customer, what drives them and how they search. You need to know how your competition is targeting the marketplace. You’ll want to know the keyword’s popularity, frequency of searches, level of competition and what long-tail combinations to use.
Yes, this takes work.
Yes, you need to do it.
Writing content for the reader and not the search engine is critically important but knowing what language to use is even more important to ensure that you make a connection with your customer.
If you have questions about writing page titles, meta descriptions or how to do keyword research correctly, let me know!