For a business to business (B2B) industrial website and overall online presence to be effective, three things must be accomplished. The website must attract the right kind of traffic. Of that traffic, the good traffic must be converted into leads. And those leads must be nurtured through the buying process.
What’s the Purpose of a Website in the First Place?
Five, 10, even 15 years ago, a website was nothing more than a digitized version of a company sales brochure. Sure, it might have played music upon a visitor landing on the site and maybe even served up some sort of Flash animation that visitors loved (can you sense the sarcasm?), but ultimately the website answered who, what, where, when, why, and how…and that was about it.
Today, however, things are much different. And so are visitors’ expectations. Consumers of the web (an umbrella that we all find ourselves huddled under) expect to learn anything they want, at any time of day, at nothing more than a click of a mouse. Because of this, your website can be (but only if you let it and properly equip it) your company’s single best salesman.
After all, a website works 24/7; you have the ability to control its pitch, and it certainly doesn’t run up a pricey tab at that hotel bar in Houston. Not to mention it can serve up that perfect piece of content to that perfect potential client at the perfect time — when they’re searching for it!
Now, are we suggesting that you say goodbye to your sales team? No. Of course not. That’d be insane. Instead, what we’re suggesting is that you start giving your sales team better leads to work with, and your website can do just that.
But first, you have to have the traffic.
Traffic Sources and Why Organic Is Our Favorite
There are six main ways to get traffic to your website: organic, referral, social, email, paid, and direct. But for this blog post, we’re only going to focus on one of them: organic search traffic. It’s our favorite, and we believe it to be the best type of traffic for a healthy sales pipeline. For us, and for all of our clients, organic search traffic is the single largest generator of qualified leads.
Organic search traffic accounts for visitors coming from any of the major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. These are the users that are asking “questions” into their search bar and are clicking based on what the search engine serves up as the answer. To us, and many forward-thinking marketers, this is the “Holy Grail” of site traffic because we can give these searchers what they’re looking for at the exact time they’re looking for it. We can scratch their itch, so to speak. These are people who are looking in Google for a solution to a problem they have and are trying to find a way to ease the pain.
These are the people that eventually turn into customers!
How to Get Organic Traffic 101
So, you’re convinced that organic search traffic is important (that wasn’t hard!), but now you want to know how to get it. This is where content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) come into play.
In the modern marketing world, “content” seems to be everyone’s favorite seven-letter word. And we’re on board with that. But what is content? And why is it important? The short answer is: it’s what’s on your website. Content includes the base-level pages like about, projects, and services. But it also includes the pages that a lot of companies ignore, such as case studies, frequently asked questions (FAQs) and, perhaps most importantly, blog posts.
Actively contributing relevant, well-written content to your site is arguably the single best marketing action you can do. By having a strong B2B blogging strategy in place and by creating lots of good and relevant content, the search engines will have more and more material to serve those who are looking for answers to their questions.
Think about it in terms of fishing. If you go to a pond, cast out one line, and wait for the bobber to go under, you have a chance of catching a fish. But, if you go to the same pond, and cast out 100 lines all around the pond, you have a much better chance of success. It’s the same deal in content marketing. The more content you have, the better chance you have of landing those visitors to your website. The more visitors you have to your website, the more that can convert into leads.
Here’s the deal, though — the content must be strong. It must be well-written and relevant, and it must answer the questions the visitor is asking.
SEO is about getting discovered by qualified searchers in Google, Bing, Yahoo, or other search engines, which in turn generates website traffic. But when these visitors reach your website, read your content, and fail to be engaged, they leave. If the content isn’t compelling, well-written, and purpose-driven, you miss your opportunity. In short, good SEO doesn’t excuse bad content.
According to research from Google, business buyers do not contact suppliers directly until 57 percent of the purchase process is complete. That means for almost two-thirds of the buying process, your customer is “doing their homework,” devouring anything they can, and educating themselves as much as possible…before ever picking up the phone.
In theory, this should make for a shorter sales cycle — but you have to be in the consideration set in the first place. And if you’re not satisfying their search needs, you’re not going to get a shot at the account in the first place.
Nuts and Bolts, Keywords and Title Tags
Let’s say you’re a duck hunter like me. You shoot a Benelli Super Black Eagle, and you’re looking for an after-market choke tube. You turn to Google. Which page would you rather land on?
- A gun shop’s home page, or
- That same gun shop’s product page for the exact choke you’re looking to buy.
Probably the latter, right? If you land on the home page of the gun shop, you still need to navigate through all sorts of other pages to find the one you’re looking for. But if you land directly on the section dedicated to choke tubes that fit a Benelli Super Black Eagle, you’re much closer to buying.
Think about SEO for your company the same way — on a page-by-page level. Each page should be optimized for the content on that specific page.
Now, I’m not going to dive into keyword research as that’s a pretty large undertaking, but I do want to explain a few basics of keyword targeting. The concept is actually really simple. You want to choose a keyword to focus on for each different page of your website. Then you’ll want to optimize each page accordingly. For a given page, that keyword should be relevant to the content on your page, searched frequently, and not be overly competitive (meaning they’re not difficult to rank). There are both free and paid tools that can help you gather this information. Once you learn to do it, you’ll find it’s far from brain surgery.
Once you have your keyword strategy in place, there are a handful of components that you can control on any given page of your website to help you rank better in a search for your targeted keyword. Those include the URL, the page title tag, the headline text, the body copy text, and image tags. Additionally, you’ll want to consider the page’s meta description, as this is what accompanies the page link in a Google search.
Wasn’t That Easy?
Alright, maybe it’s not as simple as we think it is. But we can tell you, it does indeed work. And it works well at that.
About the Author
Jon Franko is a partner at Gorilla 76, a marketing firm that helps B2B industrial companies generate website traffic, qualified business leads, and paying customers using their website and other online media. For more information, contact: Gorilla 76, (314) 332-1020, www.gorilla76.com
More articles from Jon Franko:
"Generating Business Online: Turning Website Visitors Into Leads"
"Generating Business Online: Nurturing Your Leads"