Many people have a “set it and forget it” approach when it comes to SEO. But if you have a good site (in terms of organic search), you should be taking advantage of it—especially during these tough economic times.
SEO remains one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies, especially over the long haul. If your site and the pages on it have historically responded well to desired search terms, you should be tweaking your site to speak to the changing market. Here are seven inexpensive strategies to help you win during these challenging times.
Understand the changing landscape
Have the needs of your prospects and customers changed during the downturn? Are there products or a segment of you business more suited to these times than before? Do you need to change how you position some of your offerings? Are the keywords used by your prospects changing? What words are your prospects including now including in their searches that they didn’t include before? The primary words used in queries may be the same, but the long tail of those queries may be different. Does your site speak to the changing long tail?
Tweak existing content
Likely, there are many pages on your site that should be modified to speak to these tough economic times and the changing long tail. Adjust and expand the copy to ensure it resonates well with your prospects’ concerns, and also with search engines when those prospects search for solutions using long-tail terms that reflect those concerns. For some hints on optimizing page content, see Copywriting Tips for B2B SEO.
Beef up relevant content
In addition to tweaking existing pages, you should consider adding more optimized pages to your site’s architecture. Perhaps there are products or services you haven’t strongly promoted but now are in strong demand. There may be some offerings you previously only mentioned in a passing sentence or two that now deserve an organic landing page or perhaps several pages. There are a lot of ways you can quickly add more optimized content to your B2B website, including product/service pages, case studies, white papers, etc.
Manage your landing pages
What would happen if you increased your site’s traffic by 10% or converted just 5% more of your site’s traffic? Chances are you have a lot of potential traffic that isn’t converting, both on your site and in the SERPs. Make sure you understand and manage your site’s landing pages. First, know what your search engine results look like for each desired search term.
Drive traffic to your channel partners
Many B2B products and services are sold through channel partners, like distributors and reps. During tough economic times, these partners often pull back in terms of marketing investment, further exacerbating the crunch you may already be feeling. You may not be able to force them to spend money or take action, but you can do your part to drive more qualified traffic to channel partners. It’s probably one of the least expensive and smartest things you can do. Again, when creating or revising pages for channel partners, keep in mind the long tail and how it might be changing in your industry.
Establish thought leadership
People still buy during tough economic times. It’s just that every purchase or investment undergoes far more scrutiny. Fear of making the wrong decision (risk) is a primary motivator in B2B purchase decisions. Thought leaders are perceived experts. Businesses want to hire experts. Experts get paid more, and they get recruited from further away. Why? Because in going with an expert, the perceived risk is lower. One of the least costly ways to begin to establish thought leadership is through blogging. Done right, B2B blogging can both greatly enhance your perceived expertise and offer a way to get found for desired and changing search terms.
Build your links
Quality links drive traffic and enhance the perceived credibility of your site, both in terms of prospects’ perceptions and in terms of search engines’ perceptions. For advice here, I’ll turn to a couple of Eriks. Erik Ward’s recent article on building links during a recession is good advice. And Erik-Jan Bulthuis recently had a great article on B2B link building.