Nothing is more frustrating when you’re attempting to research a current topic than getting results that are clearly outdated. I’m constantly adding dates to the beginning or the end of my search terms yet it can still be hard to find good results. I suspect that’s because few companies consider the year or the month in their page content strategies.

Adding the year or date information right into your page (title, headings, text, and even meta data that appears in Search Results) can help you outrank competitors for a far less competitive space and tell searchers your content is up to date.

This is a tactic that Rand Fishkin suggested in his whiteboard Friday post on February 10, 2017. With some research, ingenuity, and a keen competitive eye, you too could use this rarely addressed SEO strategy to gather traffic.

Here are three ways chronology can cut out a lot of the competition and boost your rankings and traffic.

1. Answers a search need that isn’t being met.

It wouldn’t make sense to search “Best Headphones of 2018” when our calendars remind us it’s still 2017. But as the early part of 2017 is already underway it will become more progressively plausible to search BEST Headphones of 2017. Early in the year there will be few others using the 2017 appendage in their content. As the year comes to a close though, the “Top 2017” lists will start spreading like wildfire. If your content includes the month or the year, you’ll be well on your way to providing Search Engines with terms that few competitors are even considering.

2. Uses less competitive, more focused phrases that are easier to rank.

The term “best headphones” will be much more competitive than the more specific term “best headphones of 2017”. Including references to the year or month should provide you with more opportunities with which to rank where few other competitors are trying to rank. Down the road, competitors may also begin using your tactics, but by then you’ll likely have acquired enough authoritative traffic to maintain a coveted position.

Fishkin suggests starting your research out with non-dated keywords (ex. best headphones) and then adding the current date to the beginning or end of the keyword (2017 best headphones, best headphones 2017). You can also funnel down and go back in time and look at search volumes for the search term in the previous year (best headphones 2015, best headphones 2016) to see how popular those terms were.

3. Establishes your authority on the topic early on.

Whatever time period you decide to use, getting in early (whether early in the month or early in the year) will likely provide a better chance of ranking before competitors catch on. Your new page will be indexed and start ranking in a time when there is less competition. This also allows your page to build credibility with the Search Engines.

One additional tip is to remember to go back and revisit old dated pages. Did your “Best Headphones 2015” page get a lot of views? Why not recreate one for the coming year?

If you have any questions about your SEO plans for 2017, give 1st on the List a call at 1-888-262-6687.

There’s a lot of discussion lately about SEO for voice search and how it’s going to change SEO in many aspects. I tend not only to agree but to also suggest that the acoustic nature of voice search will hasten the development of new ways to present your website data specifically targeted to those using voice search devices.

Many articles about voice search marketing refer to the necessity of preparing for voice, but few make reference to little more than the importance of long tail keywords and lengthier query structures associated with voice search. This, in turn, will mean lengthier content more aptly zeroed in on the voice searcher.

While these might be part of an advantageous SEO strategy to optimize for voice, it can be very difficult to accurately and effectively annotate for mobile search intent and voice search intent within a single website page.

In this article, we will explore several voice search considerations for 2017.

Keyword Text Content vs Voice Content

Some voice search keyword strategies may work for a while, but voice searchers are looking for more than text content. They’re looking for voice content. And as Amine Bentahar wrote in his Forbes article 2017 Will Be The Year Of Voice Search,

“No longer can you simply target a specific keyword, but content and websites need to be more complex, ready to answer the questions that your users have.”

The complexity of presenting for voice search is still in its infancy, and research has presented us with some interesting tangents to follow. In a paper titled Understanding User Satisfaction with Intelligent Assistants,  from March of 2016, Julia Kiseleva et al. studied “how user satisfaction varied with different usage scenarios and what signals can be used for modeling satisfaction in different scenarios.”

We know that Google is all about searcher satisfaction, and they aren’t afraid to reduce the rankings of sites not keeping up with the rest of the flock. Check out our recent article about Google’s interstitial ads penalty update as just one example of their prioritized commitment to the searcher. And, rightfully so. It is the needs of the searcher on which Google’s empire has flourished.

Voice Search Behaviour is Complex

Julia Kiseleva et al went on to write:

“We also study how the nature and complexity of the task at hand affect user satisfaction and found that preserving the conversation context is essential and that overall task-level satisfaction cannot be reduced to query-level satisfaction alone.”

Starting to see what we mean about complexity?

Granted, their voice search research is on intelligent personal assistants, but the searching via these assistants for in-depth queries through online channels are in many ways what will push the edges of emerging dialogue surrounding how voice searches might be optimized.

SEO Keywords for Voice Search Differ from Text Search Keywords

Add to all of this the fact that voice searches and text searches are very different.

At the moment, there’s a lot of theory, conjecture, and hyperbole about SEO for voice search, but little clear direction. In the Forbes article, Bentahar also indicated that “[k]eyword research is needed for how people like to phrase questions out loud, understanding the search terms consumers are likely to use.”

This in and of itself opens an enormous can of regionally-specific, colloquial worms. I can’t help think of the off-kilter, axiom-like joke that Canadians sometimes pass around at parties. It goes something like this. Canadians ask “How’re you doin’, eh? Someone from New York might ask “Eh, how you doin’?

Voice Search Behavior and Good Abandonment

As Julia Kiselev et al. wrote in their paper:

“We know that user satisfaction for mobile web search is already very different. So we cannot assume that users who do not interact with the SERP are dissatisfied. This problem of ‘good’ abandonment received a lot of interest in recent years.”

I have found the same. After reading a couple of papers on good abandonment including  Good Abandonment in Mobile and PC Internet Search, and Detecting Good Abandonment in Mobile Search I came to the conclusion that good abandonment (the act of nothing after mobile search results are displayed to the mobile searcher) can’t possibly be construed as much of anything. The absence of something (searcher action post-query), does not indicate the presence of something else, (searcher satisfaction).

I think that the search engine research community have aligned themselves so closely with good abandonment because frankly, there are yet no other identifiable means of determining what an abandoned search means. Stop and think about this logic …

Picture yourself sitting in a doctor’s office waiting to be called into the examination room. You pull out your phone and enter a search into Google for a company name that you saw on the side of a vehicle on your way to the doctor’s office. Just as the SERP finishes loading, you’re called into the examination room. You put your phone to sleep, but the browser is still open. You forget about it until you are about half way home again. Is that too considered good abandonment?

There are dozens of similar scenarios where good abandonment makes no sense whatsoever. You can’t assume something about voice abandonment any more than you should associate lack of interaction with the browser post-text-search as good abandonment. The phrase good abandonment is at best a term used because there is no other data on which to quantify abandoned search results.

Voice Search Optimized Content for User Experience

In his article SEO Trends for 2017: Why Voice Search and Mobile Could Be Big, Sam Saidman wrote that SEO companies need to “provide voice search-optimized content that benefits the user’s experience.”

But no one clearly knows for certain what voice search-optimized content looks like yet. At the moment, the search engines hold all the cards, and the closest SEOs could hope for is a glimpse at server logs for voice searches.

Additional Voice Search Usage and Statistics – Voice Search Queries Still Far From Natural Language

Fortunately, researchers like Ido Guy can give us some ideas of what to focus on. Guy is a Principal Research Engineer at Yahoo Research. In his paper Searching by Talking: Analysis of Voice Queries on Mobile Web Search, Guy shares “we (presumably Yahoo!) perform a query log analysis of half a million voice queries, issued to the mobile application of a commercial web search engine, over a period of six months.”

Not only was the voice query log analyzed, it was compared to sample text queries on mobile of the same relative size.

Guy further reports that:

“…(w)e provide empirical evidence, based on language modeling, that voice queries are closer to natural language than text queries, yet are still distant from natural question language.”

The analysis was based on 500,000 random voice queries performed by 50,000 unique searchers, over a period of 6 months in 2015. Voice queries were predominantly more frequent during the day from 8am to 8pm, and text queries were more frequently carried out from 8pm to 8am. These stats were consistent 7 days a week.

Voice query lengths of 5 words or more comprised 34.5% of all voice queries, as compared to only 21.2% of text queries. On average, voice queries are definitely longer than voice. But what I find most interesting is the distinctive term set used by voice as opposed to what is used during text queries.

Terms most used on the voice list include:

  • Pronouns
  • Question words
  • Function words like determiners
  • Prepositions
  • But rarely any nouns.

On the other hand, the text search list included numerous abbreviations for states, such as nc, tx, ca, etc. These were almost never used on voice searches.

Voice queries usually began with question words How and What. The most distinctive words used on a text search were Facebook and Pornhub.

Guy also wrote that “A recent survey of 1400 U.S. smartphone users found that 55% of the teenagers use voice search every day.”

In an article titled How Voice Search Will Change Digital Marketing — For the Better,  Purna Virji refers to a voice search study by Thrive Analytics that indicates 71% of mobile personal assistants users are 18-19, and 59% are 30 to 43.

But even with widespread usage of voice for this particular age group, click-through rates are substantially higher for text searches than for voice searches, and at greater than 2:1 ratio. Not surprisingly, voice searches focused more on audio/video content. And that is where the most dramatic rift between text and voice search begins to occur.

Voice Search Trends and Behaviour

Overall, voice searches also tended to focus on topics that required less screen interaction than text searches. This is another clue for the SEO community that voice is undoubtedly evolving into its own, distinct taxonomic search group.

Guy goes on to write in his study that his “…findings suggest that voice queries pose their own type of language, in-between traditional text queries and natural-language questions” and that “…new metrics for evaluating user satisfaction of voice queries should be developed.”

These glimpses of a new taxonomy of searcher, slowly being revealed through research paper after research paper, is beginning to outline how differently everyone will have to examine the voice search aspect of SEO.

Voice searchers use distinctly different queries than text searchers on mobile. And even though there may be similar, overlying characteristics, voice searchers are not using natural-language questions per se.

The Future of SEO for Voice Search

Voice search will require a whole new set of measurement devices, an entirely new lexicon of terminology, and a willingness by SEO strategists to explore all avenues of presentation to voice search users. With so many details still to be examined, and so many questions to be explored, 2017 is certainly going to be interesting for SEO.

If you have any questions about voice search, how to develop a voice search strategy that makes sense for the shifting landscape of vocal search, or just want to contribute your two cents worth to the discussion, contact us today!

Phone: 1-888-262-6687

Email: contact@1stonthelist.ca

Related Articles:

Looking for some new SEO content techniques to improve your company exposure and bolster your overall SEO strategy as a result? Rejuvenating older SEO content articles and re-purposing the wealth of knowledge in those documents can prepare them for new mediums and bring some surprising results in the process.

Google defines rejuvenate as “make (someone or something) look or feel younger, fresher, or more lively.” Much like a makeover for your SEO content plan, breathing new ideas into established content gives it a second life. An opportunity to re-influence new audiences in today’s content-hungry mediums.

Here are 8 ways you can recycle and repurpose your older optimized content for new SEO content marketing success.

1. Update Old SEO Content Articles With New Stats and Best Practices

Maybe your old SEO content plan needs a refreshing coat of paint to make articles more contemporary and serve a wider audience. Check your keyword rankings for these pages and try not to up-end keyword phrases for this content that has garnered your traffic. Reexamining your older content for possible ways to improve its status just makes sense, particularly if it already has traffic. Change it up a little with an SEO content update, bring it up-to-date with new stats or best practices, and see if you can entice even more site visitors to the page.

2. Feature High-Traffic Content in Your Newsletters

If your newsletter needs a little sprucing up, review some of your high-traffic content and freshen it up for a new audience in the newsletter. There are still gems in the original content pieces, or they wouldn’t be receiving the level of traffic that they do. Graphic representations such as infographics can invigorate your newsletter, providing another opportunity to reach your market.

3. Create an Infographic for an Old Blog Article

Infographics are an informative-at-a-glance way to use statistics and other information gleaned from older posts. The content receiving click-throughs is still valuable content. Transforming information into a crisp, clean new format provides an opportunity to share this content through a variety of mediums that may not even have existed when the content was originally penned.

4. Transform an SEO Content Article into a Slideshare Presentation

LinkedIn’s SlideShare has become a popular way to present modified content in a static, visual format. Almost any content can be re-purposed into the Slideshare format. Even content that may have been used elsewhere such as in a webinar, or during the creation of a tutorial.

5. Turn Articles into Interactive Video Tutorials

YouTube is my friend! I’ve watched hundreds of tutorials on everything imaginable. Re-use some of your subject matter in those aging articles and present them in this widely used format. As long as your film is topical, pointed, articulate, and accurate, there will be an audience for your finished product.

6. Design a Webinar Around Old Content Pages

Use some ideas from the content pages receiving the best traffic and create a webinar on the topic, refreshing it of course, with more current information. Advertise your webinars on the same page as the article receiving the best traffic. Now the content is serving a dual purpose.

7. Promote Older Articles Across Social Media Platforms

Whether you’re a Facebooker, a Snapchatter, or a Tweeter, all of your most important information from these older articles can be used on any or all of your current social platforms. You’ll probably have to restructure it somewhat according to community guidelines and space allotments, but that doesn’t mean the content can’t still serve you in these areas.

8. Publish an Ebook

Revitalize your oldest yet still relevant subject matter by compiling it into an ebook. You can include one article or many, and you have the choice of giving it away in return for an email address lead or selling it outright and profiting from the ripe material you already have on hand.

Extra SEO Content Tip!

Are you looking for new SEO content ideas? Try reversing these ideas by turning old webinars, ebooks, videos, infographics, newsletters, and more, into brand new SEO content pieces for your website!

Final Comments on Getting More Mileage Out of Your SEO Content Marketing

Minimal effort is required to come up with quite a few productive ideas for recycling content for which you have already put in the time. You can use this reformatted assembly of information to expand your business potential and communicate ideas into many actionable new forms.

To find out how to repurpose your SEO content, or how to optimize your content for the search engines, please call 1-888-262-6687 today or email us at contact@1stonthelist.ca.

Related Articles:

According to marketing consultant Mathew Barby in his recent article How to Rank Number One in Google: A Study of 1 Million Pages, some of the most common elements of top ranking websites in Google are:

  • Backlinks
  • Anchor text
  • Page titles
  • Target keywords
  • URLs

In this blog post we are going to discuss more of Barby’s findings of what it takes to rank on Google in 2017 and provide a brief rundown of how this might impact your SEO roadmap.

Backlink Quantity

Barby found that backlinks outperformed any other aspect of the study with the Top 2 Google results sharing 38% of all backlinks of page 1 search results. As always, organic and natural link building is clearly an area on which to focus.

Backlink Variety

Pages ranking #1 had 168% more linking domains that pages ranked #5. This indicates that the number of backlinks from multiple domains is more fundamental to search results than a large number of backlinks from one domain. A natural backlink profile with a diverse set of authoritative domains is important.

Anchor Text Focus

Anchor text driven by keywords is still a significant ranking factor. Pages holding the #1 ranking position had the keyword they were ranking for take up 5.4% of the anchor text. Focussing on your anchor text and keyword placement within it are a priority.

Shorter Titles & URLS

The optimal length for page titles was shown to be 8 words. The shorter the URL length, the higher the ranking position of the page. Barby’s study found that URLs under 60 characters also equate to higher ranking, and when combined with short page titles, could make excellent snippets that have high Click-Through-Rates which in turn can further strengthen the ranking. Optimizing in this way for snippets alone can be an extremely effective tactic.

Title/URL Keyword Placement

Surprisingly, the keyword presence in the title for 15.8% of number 1 pages has less to do with page presence itself than the consequence of click-throughs on the search snippet. As always, keyword placement within the URL was significant as well. If you are interested, read our recent article 3 Ways Featured Snippets in Search Can Boost Your Website Traffic to learn more about the implications of a featured snippet ranking.

HTTPS Ranks!

This study reports that 33% of pages ranked in the first 3 positions had implemented HTTPS. Google has confirmed the importance of HTTPS and in their continued efforts to make the web more secure will undoubtedly put more ongoing weight behind it where page ranking is concerned. For more information, check out our HTTPS Everywhere page.

Utilizing the items discussed in this article as next step advancements or maintaining them as an on-going part of your SEO strategy will likely improve your SERP presence. Don’t abandon other important aspects of SEO such as schema markup or mobile friendliness. Instead, include them as parts of a diversified, comprehensive, and ongoing web presence master plan.

If you have any questions about the development of your website SEO, call us today at 1-888-262-6687. Or, you can reach us by email at contact@1stonthelist.ca.

At its core, evergreen content is just what it implies, content which remains relevant and applicable throughout the seasons in much the same way evergreen trees do not lose their leaves in the fall.

In this article we will help you understand the definition of evergreen content for SEO and identify seven characteristics of evergreen web and digital content that you can incorporate into your overall SEO Strategy.

What is Evergreen Content?

Here are a few definitions to help you understand what evergreen content means:

  • Evergreen content is SEO content that is continually relevant and stays “fresh” for readers (Wordstream).
  • Evergreen content stays relevant to readers over time and they continue to share it, link to it, and read it over time (Raven Tools).
  • Evergreen content represents posts and articles on your blog that will always be relevant to your audience, compared to topics that may change over time (SearchEngine Journal).

The key theme we see here is that evergreen stays relevant regardless of how long ago it was published.

Benefits of Evergreen Digital Content

Before we get into how to make your content evergreen, let’s talk about two of the benefits of making your content evergreen:

  1. Long Lasting and Timeless – your content stays useful and interesting for months and years to come. In this way, you get much more mileage out of your evergreen content articles than shorter, time sensitive topics. It may take more effort to develop an evergreen content piece but it will provide much more longevity over time.
  2. Boosts SEO – typically, longer timeless content performs better in Search Engines than shorter articles. Better rankings and visibility lead to more website traffic, stronger leader generation, and over time, better ROI.

In the search world, evergreen content occupies positions in the rankings for months or years after the initial date on which the material was posted. To remain in such a position, it not only needs to be informative and useful but must address the needs of an audience.

For example, the current search result for for “How to bake a potato in the oven” brings up a Featured Snippet from a website called Kitchn. The article was written in 2015 but still shows up in search results because of its evergreen nature.

Evergreen Content Topic Examples

There are several ways to be creative and write evergreen content that will have lasting relevance and interest for years to come. Here are some of the most common types of evergreen digital content:

  • How-To Instructions and Guides
  • Tutorials
  • Industry Resources or Glossaries
  • Personal Stories
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

On the other hand, content that is NOT evergreen tends to be about events, holidays, seasons, or any other type of content with outdated resources or statistics.

7 Attributes of Evergreen Web Content

Now that we have a better understanding of the definition and benefits of evergreen content, let’s explore seven ways you can make your content evergreen for lasting SEO impact.

1. 100% Unique (Not Found Anywhere Else on the Web)

Your content cannot already exist elsewhere online. You want to make it as creatively unique and interesting as possible to ensure it will be picked and ranked by the search engines (i.e. Google).

2. Effective at Solving a Problem or Addressing a Need

Your content will have to be effective at solving a problem or addressing a searcher’s need. This is what Google looks for when a search is performed.

3. High Caliber of Detail

The level of writing and how carefully your content is presented are important factors. Make it obvious to the site visitor that you provide detailed, comprehensive information.

4. Satisfaction in Answering the Searcher’s Question

A long click essentially means that after clicking on a result in Google, the user does not return back to Google right away to look at a different result. Instead, they are satisfied with the query result they chose which is a signal to the Search Engine that it was a good result and to keep showing that result for future searchers. Evergreen content is similar. It retains its search position because the content continually satisfies searchers’ queries.

5. Longevity to Stay Current and Gain Authority

Content that is outdated next week, month, or year is not considered evergreen content. Evergreen content has authority over similar content written or posted at a later point in time.

6. Strong Headlines that Catch Attention and Spark Interest

Evergreen content has compelling headlines which retain their strength week over month over year and pointedly describe the topic within the article.

7. Optimization for the Search Engines (SEO)

All evergreen content is optimized for SEO and should be underpinned by existing content elsewhere on the site. This includes titles, headlines, sub-headlines, and all the regular SEO strategies your portfolio incorporates.

Evergreen Content Tantalizes With Topics, Not Keywords

Keywords used to be the most effective means of capturing a solid position on Google, and they still are to a degree. But keywords alone aren’t enough anymore. Topical ideas and conceptual intent are poised to supersede them. Utilize topics and themes in your evergreen content!

It will take significant work to narrow down a topic. Get your team together and brainstorm. Utilize relationship tools if you have them to branch out and consider your topic from different angles. Don’t be too general with topic content.

In a perfect world, topic intent and carefully chosen keywords would blend into a hybrid document that extols the strengths and virtues of both without sacrificing the unique traits of one over the other.

Think of it as symbiosis, where the core of the topic provides the engine that propels the significance of your keywords to realize their full potential (ranking on Google).

Additional Tips on Sculpting Evergreen Web Content

Nearly 30 years ago I listened to a marketing guru who gave some sage advice for those who attended his conference but were reluctant to sign up for his courses and purchase his written course material.

He would wave a dictionary in front of the audience at the end of every conference and say to them, “All the words contained in my course can be found right here. You need only arrange them in the right order.”

There’s the rub. You may find this a challenging process if you do not know how to craft content suitable for evergreen content expectations. For more information on evergreen content optimization as it might apply to your business or organization, please call us toll free at 1-888-262-6687.

A recent study by Limelight Networks has confirmed that high performing websites are more important to consumers than fresh and updated content. Participants were asked to rank in order of importance what they expect from a website experience.

Here are the results, in order of importance:

  1. Performance (streaming with no buffering, pages loading quickly, etc.) – 50.2% said most important
  2. Fresh and updated content43.4% said most important
  3. Consistent experience on mobile and desktop23.5% said most important
  4. Personalized content14.6% said most important

Website performance and speed is so important, that 1 out of 3 respondents said they would leave the page and go buy the product somewhere else if they have to wait too long for the page to load while shopping.

Other conclusions made in the annual “State of the User Experience” study include:

  • Consumers expect more from their online experiences.
  • Experience matters, especially when it comes to purchasing a product.
  • Online experiences, whether they happen on a small or large screen, must meet rising expectations.

How is your website speed? Not only do your visitors expect your website to be fast (and will leave if it is too slow) but the Search Engines favor faster websites as they provide better user experiences. Faster websites are also easier for the Search Engines to crawl and index, which leads to better visibility in the Search Results.

Is it time to take your site speed and performance more seriously?

Call our SEO experts at 1-888-262-6687 to get on the fast track to success.

google-quality-update-may-2015Google recently confirmed that it indeed changed its algorithm earlier this month.

Many website owners and SEO’s started noticing changes in rankings in early May although Google kept saying there were no updates. Some were even calling it the “Phantom Update” because everyone noticed something was happening but Google wouldn’t acknowledge it.

Finally Google confirmed with Search Engine Land that there were changes to its core ranking algorithm in terms of how it processes quality signals.

In the first few days of confirmation the May 2015 Google update is being affectionately called the Quality Update. Google has not recently given any specifics of how they now measure quality but based on past statements and Webmaster Guidelines we can know that quality is measured through a wide range of factors. It is likely Google is shifting the importance weighting of some factors or even considering new quality factors in the mix.

In the past Google has given us insight into how to create quality which still holds true today:

“The key to creating a great website is to create the best possible experience for your audience with original and high quality content. If people find your site useful and unique, they may come back again or link to your content on their own websites. This can help attract more people to your site over time.”

Does your website pass Google’s quality test? Have you noticed a change in ranks or traffic lately? Do you have a strong, quality website that not only maintained its positioning but perhaps gained in rankings this May?

Here’s some tips for writing valuable and quality content straight from Google if you need help boosting the quality of your website:

  • Make your website useful and informative – gather all the information your visitors are looking for and will need, and organize it so it is easy to find.
  • Make your website more valuable and useful than your competitors – do something different, say more than others, add different perspectives, and stand out in a good way.
  • Make your website credible – you want visitors to trust you and the information on your site by citing sources, adding testimonials, sharing author biographies, and including other trust factors such as badges and awards.
  • Make your website engaging – you need to interact with your visitors through pictures of your products or team.
  • Make sure your website stays up to date – you can add a blog, comments boxes, social media widgets, or an events page to keep your website fresh.
  • Make your content perfect – you need to double and triple check for spelling, stylistic and factual errors throughout your website.
  • Make your website distraction-free – make sure visitors don’t leave your site because of excessive ads, spam, or glaring mistakes in information.

At 1st on the List we offer both Site Audits and Content Optimization to help assess the current quality score of your website and add new content to your website that Google will love to read and rank.

Call us at 1-888-262-6687 ext 705 to get more information today!

A recent study by KoMarketing, Huff Industrial Marketing and BuyerZone examined the most important content for B2B buyers and what factors on a website can impact their buying decision, for better or worse.

Here are the key takeaways. Does your B2B website content strategy include these popular elements?

1. Thorough contact information is the most important piece of content on your website.

Contact info is cited as the most important asset on a vendor website. It is a critical element used by your buyers to establish credibility. While this is one of the easiest elements to add a website it is often missing. Not only does missing contact information cause buyers to question your credibility but it also prevents them from being able to move forward with requesting a quote.

Furthermore, 44% of respondents say that absence of contact information is annoying and can cause them to leave the website.

2. Product pricing plays a big role on your website.

This is another top must have on an a B2B website. Unfortunately over half of respondents reported that pricing information is often lacking on websites.

3. Key information buyers want to find on your homepage.

Your website’s homepage is valuable real estate and you must make use of every inch to clearly convey your message and brand while creating a need and desire for your service. here are the most common elements buyers look for on your homepage:

  • Products and services (86%)
  • Contact information (64%)
  • About/ Company Information (52%)
  • Testimonials (27%)
  • Marketing Collateral (23%)
  • Social Media Icons (12%)
  • Blog (8%)
  • Pricing (2%)

3. Other B2B website content buyers will give you their contact info for.

What type of content is so lucrative that buyers will give you their contact information in exchange for?

  • Trial Offers (62%)
  • Product Demos (48%)
  • Product Evaluations (44%)
  • Research (41%)
  • Brochures, datasheets (40%)

4. B2B website content that may not need to be locked behind a contact form.

Interestingly, fewer B2B buyers will give you their information to receive a case study (24%), white paper (28%) or newsletter (23%). While these are still important for establishing your credibility as a vendor perhaps buyers feel they should be able to view this information anonymously, without having to complete a form and tell you their identity. When considering what content to put behind a sign up form think about where in the purchase funnel the buyer likely is. Reading a white paper about how your service works is likely to happen much earlier than requesting a trial. They may read white papers from five to eight other vendors but only request a trial from one or two.

5. Contact forms can be a big stumbling block for RFQ’s.

Don’t ask too many questions – When your content has done its job and the buyer is ready to complete a “Request for Quote” (RFQ) you run the risk of asking too many questions. Nearly 70% of respondents in this study say that excessive form field requirements can keep them from completing the form. Formstack recently determined that lead generation forms average around 11 fields.

Only ask for their phone number and address when necessary – Nearly 60% say they don’t like to share their phone number and 53% their address information. Aren’t we all worried about being solicited after giving out this information? The email address is still a low threat field and only 16% say they prefer not to provide this.

Don’t get too personal – You must also be cautious about asking for too much personal information or requiring the buyer to subscribe to your email newsletter, as these can be two other big deterrents.

6. Other factors that affect a buyers’ experience on your website.

The study also found some other key components that affect the experience and ultimately the outcome of a buyer’s experience on your website:

  • Visitors get most annoyed with a lack of message (46%) and animated ads (42%), which can cause them to leave.
  • B2B Buyers have less and less of a tolerance for slow loading websites. 20% define slow as 5 seconds, 42% as 10 seconds and 34% as 15 seconds. This tolerance is much higher than Google’s suggested 2 second rule of thumb.
  • B2B buyers are searching on their mobile device and tablet – 4/10 mobile device owners will search for a B2B product on their phone.
  • B2B buyers are still mostly neutral towards mobile-friendly websites. Approximately one third are neutral and one third consider it important but not a deal breaker.

Conclusion

This 2015 B2B Web Usability Report draws three excellent conclusions or takeways to developing an effective B2B website content strategy:

  1. Keep buyers on the website at the beginning of the discovery phase.
  2. Educate buyers as they leave a website and return to it multiple times through their research phase.
  3. Give buyers the confidence to establish contact or begin a trial offer with a prospective vendor.

These study results are just the start of Conversion Optimization and getting the most out of your website. For more information about how we can help you get more leads out of your B2B website please call us at 1-888-262-6687 or fill out our quick contact form.

This article has been adapted from MarketingCharts.com.

 

What if we told you we can help making small business blogging easier while improving your local search visibility?

There is! We’ve compiled this list of ideas of painless and effortless ways to keep your blog up to date while showing Google (and your visitors) your presence in your community and credibility.

1. Share community news.

Write about the upcoming annual event in your city that everyone looks forward to. Write about the upcoming tradeshow you’ll be attending. Show that you are involved in your community and support local events.

2. Tell customer success stories.

Did a customer just call you raving about a great experience they had with you? Were you able to solve a problem for one of your customers? Take the time to write a short summary of what you did and share the success with everyone your website. Be sure to ask the customer for permission to turn their story into a blog post.

3. Stockpile FAQ posts.

You likely get the same questions over and over again. Take each of these questions and turn each into their own post. Next time you have someone  emailing or writing to ask the question you can direct them to your blog post! These are great posts to write in advance and have ready to post when you get into your busy season and may not have as much time to blog.

4. Write about recent projects.

For service based businesses you can share about what you’re working on. Perhaps it’s replacing a sub panel in an Abbotsford home or pouring a new concrete driveway in Mission BC or even eye exams for children going back to school. Mentioning the service, products and city helps with your local optimization.

5. Promote your sponsorships or charities.

Write about local charities, events, amateur sports teams, fundraisers and any other involvement you have in your community. The point of these blog posts isn’t to put yourself on a high horse but to encourage your customers to also support the causes you believe in.

6. Write a ‘Top 5’ list.

Lists are easy to skim and digest … just look at the popularity of BuzzFeed. Put together a list of your Top 5 products related to a specific need, top 5 restaurants in your area, top 5 reasons to have regular dental checkups, etc. The list goes on about lists you could write.

7. Updates on changes to regulation.

Be the authoritative source to tell your visitors about changes to building codes in your area, updates to mortgage laws and other regulations that will affect your industry.

8. Create a local resource directory.

Put together a list of trusted businesses your customers may be interested in. Are you a plumber? Why not suggest trusted electricians, framers, drywallers and contractors you’ve worked with over the years?

9. Review other local businesses.

Give a shout out to businesses that you interact with on a regular basis that you think are worthy to recommend to your customers. You never know, that business may do the same for you one day.

10. Create a best resources collection

Pick a topic that is very relevant to your industry (it could even be a topic you always get asked about) and compile a “best resources” collection where you can guide your visitors to the best websites to do all their research. Your blog post will show your visitors who to trust on a certain topic and help in the education process.

11. Share a current event.

Find a unique spin of what you’re seeing and reading in the News and write a blog post. Has the value of the Canadian Dollar gone down? How is this affecting your industry? Have scientists found a new cure? What does this mean for your patients?

12. Compare and contrast products.

Take two similar items or products and write a comparison of the two. How are they similar? How are they different? Is one a better solution? Are there times you should use one product over the other?

13. Talk about failure.

Has something recently made you cover your face and shake your head? Whether it is something you did, something you found in a recent home you did work in or even a horror story that a current customer told you about their previous provider, take the time to dish out the juicy gossip. People like to hear bad news. Just remember to always close the post with an optimistic outlook and offer a solution.

14. Share industry insider secrets.

Be the one to tell customers the truth in your industry. Are the commonly believed misconceptions in your industry? You can be the one to share the truth with your customers.

15. Post a how-to guide.

People are always searching “how to …” in Google. Write step by step guides on how to do simple things.

16. Read related blogs in different cities.

If all else fails, find a company in your same industry but across the country (and no overlap of target markets) and see what they are blogging about. You will likely find new topics, ideas and insight that you can take back to your blog. Remember, never copy or steal blog posts. Just use the blogs for inspiration and bring fresh insight and a new perspective on their topics back to your own blog.

Plus One Insanely Foolish Blog Idea!

If there is one cardinal sin when it comes to blogging it is ignoring your blog for months on end! Nothing is worse than a post from last Christmas or your visitors seeing your blog was last updated 7 months ago. This shows that you aren’t relevant and may even hint that you aren’t actively doing business!

For more information about our blogging services and how we can help set up a blog for your website to bring in new traffic and increase the visbility of your small business in your local market, please email us or call our team at 1-888-262-6687.

A company blog can be a very strategic and powerful component of your SEO Strategy.

However, writing interesting, informative and optimized blog posts is an art to master. In this blog post we offer some simple tips for blogging and final checklist items to go through before you officially hit “publish” and share your blog with the world.

1. Read the entire blog post out loud.

Reading your rough draft or near-finished draft out loud will help you identify minor typos or mistakes you may not notice when reading the text in your head. This can also help make sure there is overall clarity and flow throughout the entire blog post.

2. Get a second opinion – share the blog.

Have someone else read the blog post and give their feedback. It is best if this person is outside of the company or at least outside of your department. Does the article make sense to them? Are there any holes in your reasoning? Does the blog post leave them confused? Are they motivated to take action or feel they can accomplish what the blog describes?

3. Add relevant links.

Make sure there is one or two links going back to relevant pages on your website. For example, this post about publishing content may go back to our Content Optimization sales page on our website. This does a few things:

  • Keeps readers on your website by pointing them to other related pages they may be interested in.
  • Helps “support” or push credit towards your more important sales pages.

If you need to link to an outside website as a reference make sure that your link is set to “open in a new window” so that your website remains open on the reader’s desktop. You don’t want to send your reader offsite with them never to return.

4. Write a Meta Title and Meta Description worthy of a click.

The Meta Title and Description are the few lines of text shown in Search Engine results. Typically your Meta Title is a shortened catchy version of the Blog Post title that includes your target keyword. The Meta Description explains in a nutshell the purpose of the blog post or what the searcher will learn by reading the blog post. Keep these interesting and informative while building curiosity.

5. Stay focused on one topic.

It can be easy to get sidetracked on other semi-related topics. However the more focused you stay on one topic the better. Think of it this way, what is the one problem you are trying to help your reader solve? What is the one process you are trying to explain? What is the one key point you want your reader to walk away knowing? You can go into depth on your chosen topic but don’t get sidetracked. If you find you’ve gotten sidetracked and have written three or four paragraphs that are off topic but still good, why not save them for another post?

6. Acknowledge relevant keywords for SEO.

Once you’ve established your primary topic or theme you can start selecting the keywords you want to target for SEO. In order to do this, think about how your readers may search for your blog post in the Search Engines. If the topic is “How to install a toilet” you can first anticipate various ways people would search. For example: install toilet, how to install toilet, installing a toilet, etc.

Don’t get stuck on just variations of the one keyword. Use Google Autosuggest and start typing “install toilet…” into your search bar. This will bring up related terms and topics, including flange, tank, seat and basement which is how people are actually searching for your topic. Incorporate these ideas and phrases into your blog post to give a well rounded and well optimized blog post on installing a toilet.

7. Make the post easy to scan with headings and lists.

Your readers will thank you for visual cues such as headings, bullet lists, number lists, tables and other formatting. The added white space gives their eyes a rest and they can quickly check if your blog post has the information they are looking for. Remember to use proper Heading Tags in the proper order: H1, H2, H3, etc.

8. Brand the blog post.

Your blog post should have personality and reflect your company’s brand. It should clearly communicate the message, match your intended audience and accomplish your brand goals.

9. Introduce the author.

Many companies choose to add extra personality to their blog by sharing who the author is. This makes your blog more personable and shows the faces behind your blog. It can also add credibility to the information in the post. For example, a blog post on preparing for tax season would carry much more weight and credibility if the reader knows it was written by the Partner of the Accounting Firm.

10. Add images for interest.

You can give your blog post extra interest by adding one or two images. Images are also useful when sharing your blog post through Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn.

11. Add images Alt Tags.

If you do add images to the blog post be sure to add an Image Alt Tag to each. This is a little piece of code that attaches to the image and is displayed if the image can’t load. It is also the text the Search Engines use to understand your pictures as Search Engines can’t actually see the picture itself.

12. Tell your readers what to do.

The purpose of a blog is to build out relevant supporting content that is usually time sensitive. It is also a great way to bring visitors into your website, introduce them to your brand and to get them to take an action such as submitting a quote form, downloading a PDF, calling your company or even printing a coupon. What do you want your readers to do after reading your blog?

13. Encourage readers to share the blog.

You can ask readers to share or you can make it even easier by having social sharing icons at the top or bottom (or both) of the blog post. This makes it really easy for your reader to share your blog on their Facebook wall or through Twitter.

14. Encourage feedback and comments.

Towards the end of the post you can ask for feedback to create open lines of communication. For example, if you are a contractor blogging about tips on keeping renovations on budget you could ask your readers about how they have saved during renovations. Or you could ask about their biggest renovation mistakes. If you have a comments section be sure to monitor and respond to any feedback.

15. Share the blog post within your company.

The rest of your team can promote the article. Perhaps you wrote on a unique or cutting edge topic …. The blog can be used to inform and educate co-workers in your own workplace. Your co-workers may also have clients who need to know the information you just posted.

What do you always do before publishing a blog post? Do you have any other tips for blogging?

At 1st on the List we can help you create a blog for the first time or we can help keep your blog updated with new, interesting and optimized blog posts. Give us a call at 1-800-262-6687 for more information!