SEO & Design for B2B Websites (Webinar)

Recently, Bop Design partnered with Lorman to host a webinar on SEO and Design for B2B Websites. During the SEO webinar, presenter Jeremy Durant discussed:

  • The Purpose of SEO
  • Why Is SEO Important?
  • SEO & Website Design
  • 2016 B2B Website Trends & How SEO Is Impacted
  • The end user case for SEO

Watch the webinar recording below or read the transcription of the SEO webinar to learn the basics of SEO & design for B2B websites.

Webinar Transcript:

James: Welcome to today’s live webinar titled SEO and Design for B2B websites. Today’s program is sponsored and presented to you by Bop Design. At this time, I’d like to turn the call over to your presenter Jeremy Durant. Mr. Durant, please go ahead.

Jeremy: Thank you, James and thank you, Lorman for hosting this and thank you, everyone for your time today. Today we’re going to discuss how search engine optimization and website design work together for your business development efforts. My name is Jeremy Durant, I’m the co-founder of Bop Design. We’re a marketing agency solely focused on B2B firms. We work with clients across North America. We’re based in southern California but we rely primarily on inbound marketing for all of our lead generation.

Companies from all over north America do find us and the reason we do focus on B2B firms is the B2B client acquisition process is much different than B2C. Typically, B2B is less transactional, longer sales cycle, multiple decision makers, and a higher price product per service. The website plays a much different role. Because it’s a longer sales cycle, relying on inbound marketing and the website to nurture that lead from a general inquiry when you’re first generating that lead to a committed long-term relationship.

In the lead generation and lead nurturing process, the website is constantly being referred to nurture a lead along. Today, we’re going to discuss how SEO is involved in the B2B branding website design and content marketing process. Here’s the agenda. I planned for about 35 to 45 minutes here with the agenda, start to finish and I’ve allocated 15 to 20 minutes for Q&A and let’s get right into it here with chapter one, the purpose of SEO.

The Purpose of SEO

What is the goal of search engine optimization? According to Search Engine Land, SEO is defined as the process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial or natural results on search engines. I want to warn you guys though, and many of you guys may already know this, SEO is far from free and in many ways it requires more time, money, resources than paid search advertising. However, the resources allocated to SEO are typically well-spent since 90% of the time, a searchable click on the organic result in the search listings versus a paid ad.

Creating a Keyword Strategy

Really when you’re starting with SEO, you want your website to be optimized, it needs to start with a keyword strategy. You need to really come up with a wishlist of keyword phrases that you think your ideal client is searching for. What are your clients using? What terms are they using to find your product or service? Once you have an idea of that keyword wishlist and those keywords you want to go after, then you need to then utilize a tool like Moz or Google Keyword Planner that maybe some of you guys are already using to determine how many times a particular keyword is searched for and what’s the competition for that keyword.

The last thing you want to be doing when you have clients that absolutely think, “Oh, this is the keyword that our clients are searching for.” All of a sudden we look in the keyword report and there’s no search traffic for that keyword. The last thing you want to be doing is targeting keywords that no one is searching for. With the keyword strategy, you’re looking for keyword searches, keywords that may not be searched for that often but your ideal client is searching for them.

You may find a keyword that is only searched for 30 times a month but it’s such a niche keyword or it’s such a specific keyword that it’s really only your ideal client could possibly be searching for it. Niche industry specific, geo-targeted keywords are typically a good start since they’ll be less competitive and you’ll rise in the rankings quicker because the competition is not that high. It’s a good idea when you’re thinking of keywords to not come up with 30 or 50 of them but for a keyword wishlist start with ten or less keywords.

This way you’re not spreading yourself too thin with what keywords you are going after and when you focus on less keyword phrases and spread those out through your website, five to ten keywords, there’s a better likelihood of you ranking in a shorter time.

4 Top Priorities for SEO on a Website

With your website itself, there are really four key components for SEO. You want to integrate your keyword phrases into the first thing, the website copy. Number two, the page title. Number three, the h1 tag and number four, the URL structure. Those are the four top priorities with SEO on a website.

Keep in mind that just because you do this keyword strategy and you launch your website, you have let’s say a 40-page website and you’ve integrated the keywords into those four areas, that’s not all that needs to be done. Keep in mind that SEO is like staying in shape physically. You can’t just, “Hey, I’m in shape.” And then quit. You really need to keep at it and you can’t just integrate the keywords into your website and that’s it.

Really at the end of the day, you need to be constantly adding content keyword rich content to your website. The way you’re going to do that, and really the centerpiece of your SEO strategy going forward, is typically going to be your blog of resources or news page.

SEO, Your Blog & Editorial Calendar

The blog section is a place where you can really add all the time, add new keyword-rich content that’s relevant and helpful to your target market. For instance, if you set up a plan and you plan on blogging four times a month, that’s 48 pages of keyword rich content a year that Google can crawl and index for. It’s really important to remember with a company blog, it’s important to have an editorial calendar. The editorial calendar is really your plan. It will include blog topics that you plan on blogging about centered around the targeted keyword phrases. This is going to be your ongoing SEO content marketing plan.

On-Page VS Off-Page SEO

What I want to talk about now is on-page versus off-page SEO. These are really the two parts of any SEO strategy.

On-page SEO is ensuring the right keywords are integrated correctly on your website. The focus should be on the four components that I’ve talked about. Number one, the website copy, number two the page title, number three the h1 tag and number four the URL structure. On-page is focused just on the website itself. It always should be the foundation and the top priority. Before you even jump to off-page SEO, you need to make sure your on-page SEO strategy is finalized because if that’s not finalized, you’d be doing all of these off-page SEO tactics in vain.

Off-page SEO, on the other hand is about your website being linked to authoritative websites. Google’s algorithm measures your website and its authority when it’s linked to by other authoritative websites. What you want with off-page SEO is you want your company’s content being posted on websites with a high domain authority. You can find what a high domain or low domain authority is using the tool like Moz.

As you’re approaching these websites with high domain authority, this all comes back to continuously creating keyword rich content and that editorial calendar. You’re going to have these blog topics centered around these keywords and then what you want to do is you have this plan, you already know these blogs that you’re going to create and then you want to approach these appropriate high domain authority websites about publishing this content.

Guest Blogging

This is where guest blogging comes in. You may have heard that guest blogging is dead and that’s been a very trendy topic as of late but guest blogging is not dead, no matter how much you hear about it. It’s very much alive and the reason you’ve heard this is because people were really cheating the system and paying for guest blogging links and guest blogging on very spammy sites. Google has really cracked down on that so this really needs to be honest guest blogging that you’re actually approaching websites that do fit your target audience, have complimentary services, they feature industry things like that.

Google is really just trying to keep you honest. The number one priority of off-page SEO is having your company’s content being published on that high domain authority website and then what you want is a back link pointing to your website. In that back link, you typically want to have a target keyword that you’re going after but keep in mind that you don’t want every one of those back links to have an embedded keyword.

Sometimes you want to actually have your brand name or company name. It’s very important to diversify the back links coming to your site just so it doesn’t look spammy. Now, back to the editorial calendar because you already now have a plan on the content you’ll be creating. With off-page SEO, the goal is to pitch that content to the high domain authority website. What you want to do is when you’re creating this content and these high domain authority websites that you want to go after, you want to create a list, as I said, of industry related complimentary services.

Places where your target audience is going to be but they also have a high domain authority. The pitch should always be focused when you’re pitching a high domain authority website, the pitch should always focus on that website’s readership and that your thought leadership content will be helpful to that website’s visitors. This isn’t about just getting a back link, it’s very much about pitching and selling to that website that this would be of interest to their leadership.

When a guest blog gets accepted, it’s a win-win. Not only you’re getting the content in front of your ideal prospects because they are reading things on that website, you’re also getting that valuable back link for off-page SEO. It’s important, you’ve got to remember this, if your guest blog does get accepted, it’s important that you don’t also put that blog on your website. That is not good for SEO. It’s basically duplicate content. If a guest blog gets accepted, just have it on that high domain authority website and don’t republish it on your website. You’re creating all this content and you’re getting a lot of on-page or off-page SEO benefits from it but I also want to remind you that there’s all these other channels that you can share this content from and you can get some off-page SEO benefit.

Social Media

One of the first ones you really want to think about is social media channels where your ideal clients could be. Social media helps with off-page SEO and really getting your content in front of more prospects. You really want to amplify this content on all channels where your target market will be. For on-page and off-page SEO, the editorial calendar is the structure with the blog being the foundation for all the content. Just like physical exercise, you need to be disciplined and set aside time to create this content.

I strongly urge everyone with their calendar to set side half hour to an hour each week in their calendar to be creating content because if you don’t set aside the time just like exercise, it’s not going to get done. At larger organizations, any company that’s above ten plus employees especially if you’re 50+, 100+, 200+, there needs to be an internal content curator that’s really managing all the content marketing that’s going on and all the blogs that are created for consistent voice, for quality control, making sure that they’re compliant with the brand. Just to really make sure you’re controlling the content that’s going out and is really in charge of that ongoing keyword SEO strategy.

As a reminder, for any inbound marketing strategy, constant output of content is critical for not only driving organic traffic to the website but keeping visitors on the site. It’s not just about getting organic traffic but the more helpful relevant content you have on the website, the longer a visitor is going to stay and the longer they stay on the website, the more likely they are to convert.

Why Is SEO important?

Why is SEO important? According to Media Post, organic search drives 51% of all visitors to B2B and B2C websites. Actually with Bop Design clients, this is much higher. We typically see 60 to 75% of website traffic coming from organic search and organic search is the traffic … Again the traffic coming to the website that’s prompting the most conversions is much more than referral traffic and much more than paid search traffic. Organic searches are where we’re getting the highest quality leads for ourselves and our clients.

According to Freely, 81% of B2B buying cycle starts with an online search and 90% of buyers say when they are ready, they’ll find you. This is why inbound content marketing is so popular for B2B firms. It’s much easier, you’re already better positioned when a company finds you versus you finding a company. There’s this psychological thing where you’re playing a little bit harder to get when they find you, they consume your content and are ready to discuss with you.

Quantity and quality of website content helps your website be found. It also keeps those visitors on the website once again where they’re more likely to convert. According to CEB, B2B buyers are 57 to 70% through their buying research before ever making first contact with the vendor. This is why web design and content are so critical. Your website is essentially your 24/7 sales team. It’s really selling your firm when your sales team is not around.

You don’t even know when it’s selling. You’re not even sure when an ideal client is actually on your site and your website is making that first impression about your brand or your organization. When a B2B firm presents a poor website experience, it’s very tough to identify the opportunity cause of a poor website. How many prospects did not contact you because your website or content was so poor? You’ve got to remember that.

Time is now, you want to make sure that you’re putting the best face forward to your target market. Because a website should focus on buyers, it’s important with the SEO strategy to focus on buying terms with your content that you’re creating. These are key words that indicate a website searcher is ready to buy. For example I’ll use Bop Design as an example. We want to focus on a keyword phrase like B2B web design or San Diego web design or Los Angeles web design because that indicates someone is probably looking to hire a website design firm that’s located in San Diego or located in Los Angeles or focused on B2B. On the other hand, a keyword phrase like what is responsive web design indicates that search is nearly performing a general search just about responsive design that can be for academic purposes. It’s probably not looking to buy.

SEO & Website Design

Chapter three, SEO and website design. Now we’re going to discuss the importance of website designers and SEO experts working together working in tandem so that a website is an effective lead generation tool. As we said, SEO specialists and web designers must collaborate on website builds.

With any web design project, it’s advisable that the website design and SEO strategy are done by the same agency, you really don’t want to piecemeal SEO copyrighting, website design, development with separate consultants. There really needs to be a cohesive strategy where everyone is working together with those standard operating procedures. The problem is when you piecemeal it, you’re trying to project manage it and there’s really not that cohesiveness. The right hand really doesn’t know what the left hand is doing as much. You don’t want the client project-managing it because they may have a marketing director and the client may have gone through two to three websites in their career but in the agency, an agency like Bop Design for instance, has done 200+ websites in the history of Bop Design.

We know best practices and we know standard operating procedures to create a website from start to finish. This is typically why the agency model makes sense. Take this with a grain of salt because of course I’m owner and co-founder of a website design agency, but this is, in my humble opinion, why the agency model makes sense.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design. You want your website to be a lead generation tool, driving organic traffic, your website better be responsive. If it is not now, it better be soon. Google has essentially said that responsive websites have search engine priority. Really when you think of Google, they want to serve the best website experience to its searchers and because responsive websites display optimally on all devices so they display optimally on a laptop, a desktop, a smartphone, a tablet. By definition, that is the best user experience.

Google wants to serve up those best user experiences to people searching for a product or service. Keep in mind, before responsive, companies typically had two websites. You may be at a company right now that still has two websites or just one website that’s a desktop version but there are a lot of companies that have two websites. One that was a desktop website and one that was a condensed mobile version of a website.

The problem with that from an SEO standpoint is there would be duplicate content on the mobile version, which is not good as we’ve discussed for SEO. Because responsive design enhances the user experiences, this typically means your website bounce rate is going to go down and because the website is displaying better on mobile devices like a tablet or a smartphone, visitors typically aren’t going to bounce.

They’ll not just visit one page and bounce off because it’s not loading right or they have to zoom in, zoom out. They’re going to stay on longer and it’s a better user experience. This is really where Google is coming from and this is why responsive has priority on search engines. Google wants to rank those websites most relevant to search and bounce rate can be an indicator if it’s not relevant.

If bounce rate is high, Google will interpret this as the website not being relevant and drop it in the rankings. Please keep in mind that Google has denied using bounce rate as part of that their algorithm but there’s increasing evidence and increasing consensus among SEO’s that bounce rate is becoming a factor.


We are going to go to metadata. Metadata are snippets of text that describe a page’s content. They’re in the website code, not in the website copy. For SEO, the most important component of metadata is the page title tag that’s found at the to of the browser. That’s the number one thing with metadata for SEO. That’s the top priority. You want to embed the target keyword phrase that you’re going after in each page title. Basically it’s telling Google what that particular page is about.

The other thing you really want to think about and it’s not directly related to SEO but it’s the meta description and given when a meta description is the preview that you see, the two to three sentence in the search engine results, they really preview what your page is about. It has no impact on search engine optimization, however, it has major impact on click through rate. Keep in mind with SEO, the number one goal here is lead generation.

This is what we’re trying to do, develop a business here, identify sales leads. You could be ranking for particular keyword but if that meta description is not engaging, they’re not going to click on that particular result so you’re not even driving them to your website hoping that they convert.

Website Structure

Site structure. A website needs to be very easy for Google to crawl and index for keywords. This is why site structure is so critical for SEO. Site structure ensures that search engines know what your website focuses on and index it for those keywords. It cannot be from a site hierarchy standpoint, it can’t be hard or difficult for Google to crawl and index because you’re never going to rank for anything. Also, keep in mind, from the user experience standpoint, the website has to have that intuitive site structure because that’s going to help in terms of a visitor finding what they need to look for, helping with conversion back to lead generation.

The better the user experience, the longer the visitor is going to remain on your website and the longer they remain on your website, the more likely they are to convert. Back to bounce rate again, Google notices when people are staying on the site longer, the lower bounce rate and higher pages per visit so that’s going to help in terms of SEO.

When you guys are thinking about site structure with a new website and you want to implement a search engine friendly site structure, we recommend using an application like SlickPlan, S-L-I-C-K plan that we actually use here at Bop Design. It helps our clients plan their website’s sitemap structure and user flow. It’s helping not only with probability but then convertibility once somebody is on the site. Make sure that the pages you create for each section of your website are using those page titles for the target keywords. I still see plenty of websites that have all their services on one page. Keep in mind then that the page title for that page is going to be services.

It’s telling you the search engine, the keyword that’s going to be embedded there is services. It’s not telling a search engine anything. You want to make sure that your services pages are fairly granular and implement a content hierarchy where the most products or services are lifted at the top of the sitemap. For instance, if you’re an accounting firm, you want to have your services section up at the top and you’d have services, let’s say like tax planning, bookkeeping, financial accounting, services that people are actually looking for.

Typically what you want to do again is you make those industry related or geo-targeted because that’s going to help you rank quicker. Boston accounting firm, Boston tax planning or let’s say you specialize in manufacturing. Tax planning for manufacturing companies, bookkeeping for manufacturing, and things like that. Those longer tailed keyword phrases are really going to help you score some quick wins from an SEO standpoint.

Usability and SEO

Next is usability with SEO. If your website displays an intuitive user interface, that’s going to keep the bounce rate down. Once again we’re back to bounce rate. People want to explore your website and remain on it. No matter how big your website is, you want your web visitors to find what they’re looking for within two clicks and this is applicable for a 20-page website to a 2,000 page website. Two clicks.

If they come to the home page, they should be able to find what they’re looking for within two clicks. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, they’re going to bounce off and go somewhere else. It needs to be very usable and that’s going to prompt conversion the more usable the website is. Also, make sure to use Google Webmaster Tools to look for any dead links on your website. These could be somebody you made a search for something and there’s an old webpage that’s in a Google search result and they click on it and says, “page not found.” It’s a 404 error.

You need to make sure that all old pages that were crawled by Google are redirecting to new pages because there’s something that definitely stifles convertibility, its dead links on a website. Keep in mind, the overall objective of SEO is lead generation so website usability is all about that visitor taking that desire to action. You want to make sure you think of all your different ideal customer profiles, ideal customer personas, the very people that you’re selling to and really channel them to the appropriate area of the website and prompt conversion, you want them to contact you and start a conversation.

Bounce Rate and Navigation

Bounce rate and navigation. As stated, Google has denied using bounce rate to rank websites but there is growing evidence that bounce rate may be a factor in Google’s closely guarded algorithm. They’re not going to tell you if bounce rate is a factor partly because then that there’s an opportunity there for SEOs, web designers to cheat the system. No matter what Google’s algorithm is, it’s a really a little point.

It doesn’t really matter because when it comes to lead generation, which is the main focus of SEO, decreasing bounce rate is key. The lower the bounce rate is, typically the higher your conversions are and that’s the whole point of SEO. User-friendly website navigation will help lower that bounce rate and navigation not only helps users navigate the website easily but also helps search engines crawl website and index for the keywords.

With navigation and SEO, internal linking is one of the easiest ways for visitors to navigate to another page. Definitely if you’re not using internal linking right now, that’s a great way to more on-page SEO opportunities. Internal links should include the anchor text that you’re targeting. I’m sorry, the anchor text with the keyword phrase that you’re targeting and basically that’s going to help in terms of rising the rankings for that keyword.

The other thing on an on-page SEO standpoint with navigation bread crumbs will help with the visitor journey. With bread crumbs, navigation really tracks that visitor journey from start to finish. If you don’t have that, this is another good on-page SEO opportunity that basically they can track … first off, it’s great from the usability standpoint because they can track their journey but at the same time it helps from an internal linking standpoint, helping with on-page SEO.

B2B Website Trends and SEO

Chapter four, we’re going to talk about B2B website trends that we are predicting here in 2016 and beyond and how SEO is impacted. One of the first trends you’re going to start seeing with B2B websites is minimalist website design. The SEO impact here is the SEO strategy must be well-defined before the design is created. In the age of information overload where people are bombarded all over the place with messages and information, it’s time really to get back to basics.

That’s the minimalistic website design. B2B firms are actually starting to say more with less. A lot of the ones that are really the trendsetters, because really they’re saying more with less, are keeping your attention and not overloading them with information. B2B websites are actually moving away from the complex intricate designs to more minimalistic designs that highlight a few elements. These are a fewer number of pages and the design visuals information architecture are all constructed to only have the essentials.

The entire web design is now really focused on the sales funnel and only provides the type of navigation needed to get more potential clients into that funnel. Once again, back to lead generation, lead nurturing and utilizing your website to just really guide that prospect through the sales funnel process.

Also, the other thing with minimalist website design you’ll start seeing is a lot more of flat web design as the new trend. Flat website design instead of using any 3D imagery, it utilizes 2D images because basically on 2D devices, like phones, it’s more compatible for responsive design and this also comes down to website speed. Keep in mind now with SEO, you want a fast website that loads very quickly and Google is looking at that from an SEO factor, from a ranking factor so when you’re using a flat web design, your website is going to load much quicker and it’s going to help from an SEO standpoint and the usability standpoint.

People don’t want to go to a website to take five to ten seconds to load. They want it to look very quickly and go to pages very seamlessly because if it does not load quickly, they’re going to bounce off and go somewhere else. Another big trend is streamlined navigation. The impact of this is the SEO strategy must be consistent with the user experience and informed by the user’s needs. The visitors will … I’m sorry, the big thing here is in 2016, it will be the year of streamline navigation menus.

Only the absolute necessities are featured on the top page of the navigation so this is where a keyword strategy or you may have three core services areas right at the top of the navigation, only calling attention to those two to three service or product lines. A website won’t include anything about the company itself in the main navigation. Once again, this is about trying to get keyword traffic to the website and prompting conversion.

The focus is the main product or service and getting people into the sales processes quickly and efficiently as possible. Any additional information about the company or the other products will actually be listed on the footer or the bottom of the website. It’s very much now what can you do for me. They don’t want to hear about how special your company is. It’s very much lead with products and services because that’s going to drive the organic traffic and then really make sure that the about us, the team bios things like that are very much in the background.

Another big trend is interactive content. This has been trending for a long time now but you’re going to see it more and more in the future here with B2B websites. The SEO benefit is if you have more interactive content, visitors are going to stay on the website longer and find the website more interesting and engaging – that’s all great for SEO.

A website design in 2016 must allow for various types of content to be hosted on the website. We’re talking about whitepapers, guides, eBooks, webinars, infographics, things that are really not only opportunities to interact with but opportunities to generate leads. You’re really generating conversions from this interactive content. You want some to be gated and some not to be gated. I never want to go to a website where everything is gated. I typically like to have, at least from a balanced standpoint with interactive content, with gated versus un-gated typically about 60% un-gated with your most premium content, the other 40%, being gated.

People get really annoyed with everything being gated and keep in mind that busy people, if you’re targeting business decision makers as a B2B firm, they know the drill and they’re very scared off if they fill out a form. They’re going to be pounded for the next two to three weeks by a sales person. You don’t want people to jump through too many hoops to access your best content, but your most premium content, it’s typically a good practice to still have that gated.

If it’s proprietary content, have some sort of qualifying process before you provide that content to someone. The other thing in terms of interactive content is you’re going to start seeing things like maps on websites that change when somebody clicks over them or mouses over them, timelines where there’s popup information if the user moves from dates, along dates and history. These unique visuals are going to once again keep users on the website longer, allows them to interact, helps them learn about your company, and guides them through that sales funnel quicker.

It’s a great thing, it may not be as much a lead generation tool or conversion tool but a lead nurturing tool that your sales team can point to that interactive content as they’re nurturing your lead along from that general inquiry to that qualified lead.

Once again, it’s really back to lead generation and sales. This here you’re going to see with all websites and in B2B websites in particular here is less code to achieve better functionality. The benefit of this is the less code really enhances the experience on non-desktop devices. Minimalism is impacting the back end development, as well as the front end as we’ve discussed, and app and web developers are making an effort to use less code to achieve that better functionality and with more and more users accessing websites through mobile devices – specifically if you have a smartphone or a tablet, website speed again is a major issue.

The more minimal the code is on the back end, the quicker that website is going to load. If it doesn’t load quickly, they’re going to go somewhere else. I definitely encourage everyone if they have not already, if they’re concerned about their website speed, you can just type in to Google “website speed tool” and find various tools out there to measure your website speed and how that compares to other websites – basically other websites and see what percentile you’re in.

The End User Case

Now we’re going to go to chapter four here, the end user case, this really would wrap everything up here with I want to remind everybody that at the end of the day, the whole focus should be on the end user. Everything we’re talking about here is about making the user’s buying journey as easy and seamless as possible. Keep in mind, Google is creating these rules not to be difficult, but really to guide website designers and digital marketers to serve up the best content and design for searchers.

Really if you’re consistently focused on the end user by creating that relevant content and that engaging design, that’s going to position your company as a thought leader, an innovative brand, an innovator in the industry, and you’ll be much better in terms of generating leads for your website.

Actually, one last one here is the mobile first design in terms of other trend. These slides are a little bit out of order but basically just one trend here to discuss is one other trend that seem to be missing but somehow it’s here again is the mobile design first. The benefit of that is keep in mind, there’s a philosophy here now that you design for mobile users first and desktop secondary. There used to be where it’s still with a lot of responsive design – you’re designing for desktop version and responsive design, the mobile and the smartphone and the tablet are just an afterthought. Now you really want to look at it. If you get more than 50% of your visitors through mobile, you want to make sure that you’re looking at mobile first design because you need to cater to the majority of your users. That’s once again going to help with that website speed. This is a little out of order here with the trends but that was one other trend to illustrate.

We really do practice what we preach in terms of implementing on-page and off-page SEO strategies for ourselves and providing various gated and ungated conversion tools on our website.

SEO Q&A Sessions

Now I’d like to open it up to any question. Yes, in terms of interactive content, there are, we actually have, if you go to our website in terms of example interactive content, there is actually a blog that is very consistent with what I presented today in terms of web design trends and we actually do citations in there of websites that have interactive content.

Somebody asked here what’s considered a higher problematic bounce rate. That very much depends on the industry and, keep in mind, bounce rate is not always just considered a bad thing just by definition. Keep in mind, if you can find, if you go to one website page and find the information you’re looking for and get it very quickly, that’s going to be considered a bounce if you don’t go to any other pages but that’s a successful website visit. It’s very hard to say with the industry, different industries and different B2B industries, what is a good bounce rate. We get a very high bounce rate with people that go to our blog because they read that one blog entry and then they bounce off from there. They’re not going to other pages on the site. That’s not necessarily bad. We’ll see in terms of numbers, once you start approaching let’s say just B2B firms as a high watermark, I would say 75% in terms of a bounce rate is something you definitely want to keep under but I would not be alarmed typically the more traffic you have coming towards a website. Typically your bounce rate is going to be higher but keep in mind, it’s all dependent on the type of business you’re in but I think 75% that’s where you should really be alarmed but as you’re getting more and more traffic, you start seeing your bounce rate go from 40% to 60%. I wouldn’t be that alarmed because you’re typically getting more traffic to your site.

Let’s look here at some other questions in terms of … there was somebody here about the average time length for website redesign implementation from start to finish. We do about 35 websites a year. On average, a website is a 14 to 16 week process and if you email me I’m more than happy to provide you with a sample project schedule that has all the different steps and falls in the number of business days allocated for each step. Keep in mind with a website design process, it’s very much dependent on timely client feedback. This isn’t like we can just take an order for a website and just design and be done, to hit that 14 to 16 week process, we need to be getting feedback from the client in terms of the design, the content and really the first 75% of a website project is all subjective, it’s all the design in content. Once we go into development, it’s very objective and that’s typically a three week process but really, we’ve had websites that have gone up in ten weeks. We’ve had websites that have taken ten months. It’s all dependent on that time with client feedback and with number of revision rounds. With all the subjective stuff from the content to the design, if you have excessive revision rounds, that’s going to push out that time length, but in general, doing this now seven years and 200+ websites, 14 to 16 week process is typically the average.

Somebody asked here about identifying again the key places for on-page SEO. Really to keep it very simple, the website copy needs to have the keywords integrated into it. You need to have the keywords that match the page title. The h1 tag which is the first heading on every page. You have your page in that first heading. It needs to have those keywords integrated in and they all need to be consistent and then the URL structure. The actual website address or URL structure with that keyword integrated in. Those are the four. Sometimes I feel like SEOs, there’s a lot of other things that you could do from an on-page SEO standpoint but in general, to keep it very simple, those are the four top priorities and I do feel like sometimes SEO people can make it a little too complicated but to just keep it simple here, those are the four.

There’s a good question here about simplistic websites. This is a tough thing with the balance. Keep in mind if you have a simplistic website, you don’t want to choose simplistic because, keep in mind, that can mean less content. Really what we are looking for is leads from a design standpoint. You really have your three core offerings as the centerpiece on the homepage itself and how the strong content hierarchy, where those three core products or services, are up at the top of the hierarchy. All that other content that’s really helping with the on-page SEO and the traffic, the organic traffic are really on the background just is more from a user experience standpoint that that’s what we’re talking about that simplistic design where you really don’t … it really dilutes your brand when you’re like everything to everyone. Think to yourself – what are those three core products or services that are typically your initial engagement with the client and focus that with your content hierarchy and your design particularly with the home page design that that’s the sole focus there then have all those ancillary products or services in the background a little bit. That’s what we’re really talking about from the simplistic design standpoint – that it’s just very clear how a client initially engages with you and what they hire you for that initial product or service.

How do you balance separate services pages for a very large website, without making it too big and within budget. Keep in mind, if you have a large website, just think about your initial engagements. If some of these are more follow-on services and you have a limited budget, it would be ideal if you have all of these in the background on your website from the design standpoint and built in to the sitemap . But let’s say it first you don’t, you have a very limited budget and you really need to manage scope and basically you want to make sure the number of pages is to a minimum. I would have those lead, those lead services, those initial engagement services at the forefront and just focus on those. Keep in mind if you have a content management system like WordPress. For instance, Bop Design here is a WordPress shop, we want our website to be easily managed by a non-technical person, a marketing or sales person. Keep in mind, you can always add those later but make sure you build that and make sure whatever design agency you hire, build that into the site structure to the sitemap even if they’re not focusing that on that at the beginning but that it’s going to … that website is going to be easily scalable that you guys can have that content later overtime versus paying for the agency to do that. That’s going to help in terms of budget.

I see somebody here with an unknown about a company made up of many subsidiaries, we work with a lot of B2B firms that have a lot of different business units. With gathering ten keywords per subsidiary or ten keywords for the entire company, I would go with the strategy here of your primary keyword phrases and your secondary keyword phrases. The primary keyword phrases are going to be those general keyword phrases that really summarize the entire organization and what you’re going to do with those is those are really going to be on the home page and on the about page things like that, the more general pages of the website and then what I would do is keep that per subsidiary. Do the ten keywords or the primary keyword phrases per subsidiary. Do two to three max per subsidiary for those secondary keyword phrases. Those are going to go on the subsidiary pages. Basically you want that balanced there. If you have more content so keep this in mind, if I’m using that ten keyword max rule primarily for let’s say a website of 100 pages but this can exponentially grow. If you have a thousand page website with these ten subsidiaries, then you can definitely do with a thousand page website have 100 keywords you’re targeting. We just find a lot of clients want to have, if they have a 100-page website, they want to go after a hundred keyword phrases and then the problem is there that your keyword strategy is just too spread out and you’re not going to make headway and get to page one for any of those keyword phrases.

Some other questions are coming in here. One was starting with SEO and what should my main priority be. Main priority is always going to be the on-page SEO. Off-page SEO comes secondary. On-page SEO is typically not going to get you into the top three search results for almost any keyword phrase except some branded keyword phrases but on-page SEO needs to be done before any off-page. Off-page is going to help with getting you from page three to page one but on-page, where we have a priority, it comes back to the keyword strategy itself. Getting that keyword wishlist and make sure you’re implementing those keywords in the page title of the copy, URL structure, and in the h1 tag. Sometimes we have clients that do have some difficulty with the h1 tag. The h1 tag is going to be that first heading on a particular page. Sometimes clients have issues with it because it doesn’t seem to flow naturally with the content right below. You really want to balance that too. You want to make sure that this is the challenge with the websites. You have to balance the brand messaging with the SEO objectives. If you just focus particularly on brand messaging, some of they keywords may come through but you’re going to luck out if you rank for some of them and if you focus just on SEO strategy, typically the website is not going to read that well. If it’s not reading well, people aren’t going to stay on the website long. They’re typically going to go, “Oh, this is just for driving the best organic traffic there but you’re not going to be prompting conversion because it’s not a strong credibility piece.”

In terms of what you should include, somebody just asked here, “What should I include in the meta description?” Keep in mind you want to look at your meta description. If you guys have ever done any Google AdWords, you obviously have the title of your ad and then typically what you have is the ad copy. You want to really look at your meta description the same way. A lot of times what you can do is to test various meta descriptions with AdWords copy. You may AB test, ABC test various meta descriptions and look through click through rates if you’re doing some AdWords. Utilize the various messaging that you think could be promising from a meta description standpoint in your AdWords copy. That’s a thing that’s going to help in terms of really helping with click through rate and making sure your meta descriptions are effective.

Another one that just came in here is what’s the minimum number of blogs we need to add to the website every month? Once again, it all depends on your bandwidth and internal resources or external resources. I would advise the minimum you should do is one per month so that’s 12 pages a year for Google to crawl an index. If you do not have the bandwidth, if your team doesn’t have the bandwidth to do one per month, then I would not actually have a blog. It’s actually better to not have a blog because there’s nothing worse than seeing a stale blog that the last time it was updated was six months ago. It just doesn’t position you as that thought leader, as somebody that’s really in tune with what’s going on with the industry. That’s the same idea with social media platforms. We say the same thing. If you don’t have somebody in charge of social media platforms to push out content and create content for them, if your LinkedIn profile has nothing on it and no one is connected and you’re not utilizing LinkedIn polls to push out your blog entries, that’s just not, it’s just better not to have that.

Really with marketing, it’s all about building that case of credibility to your prospect so that they have the peace of mind to commit to you over your competition. Everything we’re doing here in terms of SEO is really the objective, but all of the practices we’re implementing here to achieve SEO are ways to attract and generate ideal client needs.

Have a question about SEO and web design for B2B websites that we didn’t address here? Let us know in the comments below.


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