Is your site getting lost in the myriad of results shown by search engines? With Google algorithms constantly changing and sponsored links cluttering the pages, it can be a challenge to get noticed on the web. Search engine optimization (SEO) was developed to help push through the clutter so that a company, its pages and its products can obtain higher search engine rankings and a larger audience. If your company isn’t utilizing SEO strategies to help improve its online ranking and exposure, you’re at a huge deficit. It’s true that SEO isn’t an exact science and, at times, can be a bit complicated and time-consuming; however, it is critical to the success of any business that sells online. To get you started on the road to better SEO, we’ve come up with four essential tactics that will get you on the fast track to help improve your visibility online:
- Get original – and impactful – with your content
Wholesale distributors continually struggle to provide unique content about their products because, in many cases, they either utilize manufacturer-provided descriptions or product information from a third-party data provider. With multiple companies using the same content, their product pages are not deemed unique or valuable enough to be ranked high in a search. Instead of using the same product data as your competitors, invest in developing original content about your products and services that will better inform and interest buyers. Make it understandable, relevant and detailed enough to answer their questions.
Take time to research the best keywords about your products and incorporate them into product descriptions for better SEO. Long-tail keywords are especially effective because they are less generic and more informative. With an increase in mobile and voice searches, people are using more conversational speech with longer phrases and purposeful intent in order to find what they want online. Be careful not to add too many keywords into your content. Keyword “stuffing” can raise a red flag for search engines, as they tend to interpret those pages as being spam-like.
- Label pages and content properly
From page titles and meta descriptions to image file names, the way you label content and pages greatly affects SEO. These labels or “tags” are pulled by search engines for ranking and display in search results. Page titles should be descriptive, yet concise, and include your company branding. They should be followed by a meta description tag to further describe what the page contains and include a call to action to promote engagement. Here’s an example of a proper page title and meta description for a category page of cleaning and janitorial products:
Page title: Acme Industrial – Providing Cleaning and Janitorial Products for Businesses
Meta description: Get all the products you need to keep the workplace clean from your trusted supplier, Acme Industrial. Log-in or register now to view your pricing on all our janitorial products and equipment.
While page labeling makes a lot of sense, many companies are not taking advantage of it – especially on their home page. In a 2016 study by Online Marketing Coach, they found that 56% of Fortune 100 companies don’t use keywords in their SEO titles for their home pages, and 23% don’t use a meta description that could appear with search engine results.
As with site pages, product images should also be descriptively labeled to boost SEO. Experts suggest separating descriptive words with dashes instead of using underscores or jamming words together to create better SEO effectiveness. Go a step further and create alt tags for images. Used to associate keywords with images, an alt tag acts as a text alternative and is displayed when a site visitor hovers over an image with their mouse.
- Avoid broken links
Don’t frustrate your site visitors by housing URL links on your site that go to the wrong page or, worse, go nowhere. Besides being an annoyance, broken links are also frowned upon by search engines. A number of broken links on a site can indicate that the site may be outdated or neglected, so search engines tend to rank those sites lower. Links on web pages help engines like Google and Bing know the importance of the page they’re linking to, and gives them a good indication of what the page link is about.
So how do broken links happen? It could be the URL was incorrectly typed or the destination page or content is no longer there. It doesn’t matter if you’re linking to other pages within your site, or linking off-site to manufacturer pages or content, every link must be usable and reliable. Fortunately, there are a number of tools and plug-ins available, including Google Webmaster Tool, to help ensure your site is free of broken links.
- Make your site mobile-friendly
As we mentioned above, more Internet searches are being done with a mobile device, even in the B2B marketplace. Many business people are following the lead of younger, tech-savvy B2B buyers and taking advantage of the flexibility and efficiency mobile offers. Google realizes the increased importance a mobile site brings buyers, so much so that they rank mobile-friendly sites higher than other sites. A truly mobile site should have a responsive design that features large buttons, tappable phone numbers and forms that are easy to access and fill out. A responsive site allows your company to provide the same user experience from any computer, tablet or phone so customers don’t miss a beat, and you don’t miss a sale.
There are always additional opportunities, and opinions, for getting search engines to notice you. Lots of people claim to be experts on the subject but, frankly, since Google and others don’t reveal their secrets for landing at the top of the search rankings, it can a bit of a guessing game. Our suggested tactics not only make SEO sense, they actually add value to your site visitors, so why not start implementing them today and see what a difference they can make for your site.