Many B2B content marketers spend most of their time producing blog posts, white papers, eBooks and other inbound morsels designed to attract their target audience.
We’re basically digital fishermen*, but without the occupational hazards of real fishermen.
Fishing for visitors is what we’re supposed to be doing on a daily basis.
However, there are some fishing holes that most B2B marketing departments neglect. With the proper attention, these untapped waters will reward your company with
food revenue for years.
But First, A Little Reminder Of Why We’re Doing Content In The First Place
The beautiful thing about posting textual and image content to your domain is that once it’s up, it will forever attract search engine users. It just takes that initial effort to get your content up and your work is basically done.
This is one of the reasons why blog posts work so well. If you look at the traffic of any blog that’s been consistently pumping out content for a couple years, you usually see the same trend:
Now when that same concept is applied in the right place on your main website, it can do wonders….
Most B2B Websites Follow The Same Structure
One reason why it’s easy to talk about this strategy is that most B2B websites have similar website structures.
It usually looks something like this:
So what’s missing?
Well, it has to do with that first webpage on the left called “Features.” The mistake that most B2B companies make is that they bunch all their features on one webpage. The problem with doing that is it hurts your ability to attract search engine traffic for each of your features (and/or services).
A Quick SEO Lesson
Let’s take a step back and review some SEO fundamentals real quick.
Every properly created webpage has something called a title tag in its source code. The source code is the code a web browser “reads” to figure out how to display all the text, styling, images and videos to you the viewer.
And usually, at the top of the source code is the title tag. Here’s what it looks like:
Search engines basically read this first and say to themselves, “Hey! This must be what this page is about!” It turns out that the title tag carries a lot of weight when the search engines are going about their indexing business.
They also go on and read the rest of the webpage to get an even better idea of what that page is about. Think of the title tag as the key component in helping the search engines get your content indexed for the right queries.
As a matter of fact, they’ll pull your title right from your webpage and slap it on their search results page.
Here’s the title tag from http://www.outbrain.com/amplify:
And here is the webpage listed in the Google results:
Let’s go back to your typical B2B “Features” webpage. As a search engine, what are you supposed to do with a title tag like this?
How about a human visitor? What does that do for them?
It might be a better idea to serve visitors with results like ones below (let’s assume you’re in the explainer video space). Therefore, you’re home page might have the following title tag:
The idea is that concise language that pertains to what you do is in the home page title tag. It tells the search engines what your company is about and helps to frame the rest of the site SEO-wise.
For your feature page it’s not the end of the world if your title tag is this:
The reason why is because you’re going to create new webpages for all your specific features:
You can make a more specific title tag for your features page, just be sure you’re not duplicating what’s on your home page title tag.
Finally, you’re going to want to link to all these specific feature pages from your main features page.
Most companies tend to lump this content all on to one page. It’s best to break down this content into separate webpages to attract search engine visitors to individual pages.
Think of them as individual landing pages. The beauty of this strategy is that search engine traffic generally converts better when targeted visitors land on a webpage that matches their search intent.
Taking This Strategy Further
Not only can you break down all your features into specific webpages, you should also consider doing the same thing for all your services and use cases.
Running with the explainer video brand example, let’s assume they also make custom explainer videos. We can put this webpage under “Services.”
Let’s also say we do narrations for commercials and non-animated video commercials:
Each service now has a dedicated webpage with a customized (non-generic) title tag. Now we’re set up to attract the perfect target audience to our individual service landing pages.
See how simple it is?
You just need to build these pages once, and targeted traffic will flow to these pages from the day they’re published to the day you delete the page. This is the most fundamental inbound marketing strategy there is. Most people will jump straight into blogging and neglect this part. Do this first!
This will allow you to link to your own service pages as you’re blogging and it lets other people link to them as well. If you continue to put these pages on the back burner, the more opportunity you lose as you operate your website.
Finally, Have A FAQ Section (Not Just A FAQ Page)
FAQ sections are probably the most underutilized B2B inbound marketing assets ever.
The biggest mistake most companies make is (again) that they lump all their FAQ content on one page. By creating individual webpages for each FAQ question, you’re creating numerous opportunities for targeted searches. It’s not that one FAQ page will not attract this traffic, it’s just more likely you’ll rank better for the search question if you have a dedicated page for it.
For each of these FAQ pages, make sure that you thoroughly answer the question. Provide as much detail and resources as you can – it will improve the SEO of the page. Include informative images such as charts, infographics, screenshots and even videos if you have them available.
What About Blog Content That Serves A FAQ Content?
It’s really common to have FAQ content overlap with blog content. And there is nothing wrong with that. You can simply link to blog posts that answer FAQ questions well. You can even host all your FAQ content in your blog. It just comes down to a design decision.
A Slight Warning About Common FAQ Pages
Survey Your Visitors!
The easiest way to build more FAQ content is to survey your website visitors. By asking your visitors what they need help with or what questions they have, you can quickly build a content marketing plan to address those needs. Chances are you’ll pick up a lot of search traffic that has the same questions!
A common trend now is to take a mobile first approach to web design. And with good reason. In many cases, almost half of your visitors will come from mobile.
So what do web designers do these days? They cut down on the home page copy.
I get it. You want to minimize the amount of clutter and really put a concise focus on your homepage messaging.
But the problem is, that’s one of the worst things you can do for your website SEO.
Google loves information. They also really love home ages – perhaps more than the other pages on your site. The home page is the first page Google hits when their bot visits your site. It sets the precedent as to what the rest of your website is about.
Therefore, your home page is really important in terms of SEO. As a matter of fact, the more copy you have describing what you do on your home page, chances are you’ll perform better in the search engines.
Do you see the dilemma?
Do you have a huge home page, that’s full of descriptive copy to do better in the search engines? Or do you make a slick, minimalist design to convert your mobile users?
Some of you will say, “Just serve up two different pages based on the visitor’s device type.” But even that is frowned upon by Google. The rule of thumb these days is stick to a responsive website design.
You can have a home page with lots of textual content and still have a responsive design – it will just be really long! So you’ll probably want to make sure your most important call to action is right at the very top of the page.
When In Doubt, Test it!
Actually, you should always be testing your website. Every change you make to your site can affect business conversions. Whatever you do, don’t haphazardly add or remove elements from your website without testing the changes.
Be sure you can track your conversions all the way through your website funnel. Meaning, don’t just test to see which home page variants wins. See which home page variant actually produces more business (you’ll need to set up analytics for this).
If you can prove that a very copy rich home page can still convert your visitors into real business AND improve your SEO, stick to that approach. If your short and concise copy home page performs better in terms of absolute business conversions, well then you know what works best for your situation J.
*I realize the word “fishermen” doesn’t sound politically correct, but it appears the world hasn’t come up with a better term yet. The word “fishers” is apparently one such substitution, but it just doesn’t read well for your typical English reader.