Here at Plezi, we’re always interested in new SEO tips for B2B businesses. With all the uncertainty that we are seeing at present, it cannot be denied that brand, offer and product is where you should concentrate your efforts, in order to have an impact.
With this in mind, the recent changes with Google Bert, the innumerable challenges facing B2B business currently and the behemoth that is Google itself, we asked Kaspar Szymanski from the SearchBrothers his thoughts. An expert in SEO, a former senior member of the famed Google Search Quality team and among the select few ex-Googlers with extensive policy driving, webspam hunting and webmaster outreach expertise. We fired a few questions at him to get his opinion on tips to optimise SEO and how to help B2B with their marketing strategy.
What are the key ingredients for getting B2B SEO right?
Data! Fresh, accurate data aggregated and analyzed in sufficient quantities is the key to any successful SEO plan. This is but one reason why any website B2B or otherwise requires an annual SEO audit. Website audits are comparable to regular maintenance cycles, just as they are scheduled and performed on a car. In this regard, server log data tends to play a pivotal role for large websites.
Currently, most website operators do not collect and preserve their server logs, which is unfortunate as these are a treasure trove of information for SEO. This is why next to regular audits, collecting and preserving all server logs is the one single step any B2B site owner can take today in order to grow their rankings tomorrow.
What is the best way businesses can start with little resources?
Cutting edge SEO is data-driven, hence it is expensive. With limited resources, the focus must be on the one key essential, which is improving the product or services offered. This has initially very little to do with SEO, yet over time it can impact Google Search visibility. It is important to keep in mind that Google tends to show preference in its rankings for sites that are popular with users. There’s little chance for continuous ranking success with a poor product or service, even if the website is well optimized for Google.
On the other hand, there are countless examples of superb services with shaunty websites and poor SEO signals. The quality of the service, it’s respective unique selling proposition outweighs most SEO shortcomings. That is why with only a limited budget all resources must be committed to focusing on product improvement.
How to stand out with so much other (internet) noise?
The only way to stand out in an already crowded and competitive niche is by offering a unique selling proposition. One or more features that are superior to the competitors.
A unique selling proposition can translate to the best price, the largest selection of goods, the most compelling customer service or the largest community of like-minded enthusiasts. Ideally, it is a combination of several of these competitive advantages that convince users to choose a particular service over all their competitors.
What is your opinion of the last Google updates and how it affects SEO strategies?
Which updates are we talking about now? Please bear in mind chances are there was an algorithm update or release in the time the reader has been reading this interview. Few people realize that Google releases on average nine updates per day, every day. Most go unnoticed, certainly by the public, often even by the interested SEO industry. Some, however, are not merely noticed but become known and occasionally even feared. Algorithms such as Panda, Penguin, Phantom, Medic or Bert are among these named and famed Google Algorithms.
They represent but a fraction of all the changes Google introduces as they improve their service. They all serve a purpose and -in my personal opinion- they tend to do a great job for the most part. However no algorithm is perfect and Search, on a global scale and across languages and markets, is tremendously complex. Which is why Google keeps maintaining an expert team of employees who apply manual spam actions or penalties whenever spammy signals go undetected and slip through the cracks.
What do you think about how Google cannibalizes traffic from editors?
Over time Google has transitioned from a mere information provider to a role closer resembling information publishing at times. This seems to be the case when AMP technology is embraced. Or when Google OneBox’ are displayed for particular queries. Or when flight connections are prominently shown in the 1st position, beating all airline, flight comparison search engines and travel agencies. The reasoning for all these developments is in-line with Google’s overall business strategy, which is first and foremost keeping their users happy. Publishers understandably see the matter in a different light, however, the term cannibalization implies that third parties have an inherent right to free, organic Google traffic.
Which of course isn’t the case, since Google is a private entity with may or may not direct traffic to third party websites. The problem isn’t Google evolving and changing but site operators perception of how Search ought to be. In reality organic, converting Google traffic must be seen as a potentially temporary business advantage, yet never as the business foundation.
Is the end of Google coming? Are people slowly moving to alternatives?
The demise of Google as a dominant force in Search is both inevitable and likely in a far-away future. It is certain that Google will not remain the only viable Search option for most users simply because history teaches us that no company remains dominant forever. At the same time the entry barriers to challenge Google and to provide a substantially better Search experience which over time might convince users to change their daily Search habits, are enormous.
Only a handful of companies have both the resources and the technology required to mount a serious attempt. It remains to hope they will take on the challenge since even if they do not defeat Google, more competition will be beneficial to all users.
Thanks to Kaspar for his input. If you too have any thoughts, please drop us a comment.