Keeping up with the evolution in SEO
You’re doing SEO, but you’re probably not doing it right.
People in relationship-driven businesses or with institutional customers either don’t value SEO, or often do the minimum when it comes to identifying relevant keywords. For professional services firms, SEO is rarely a top priority — unlike retail products and services, where the battle for top spots in search results can be make or break. But business consultants, law firms, and institutional financial services firms can learn something from the rough and tumble retail side, where digital marketers have been adapting to — and taking advantage of — changes in how search engines rank results.
Why? Because professional services and other institutional B2B providers should care about SEO. Especially now, when the way that search engines rate and rank sites has shifted toward the value these firms deliver, and the high quality information their customers are seeking out.
SEO best practices that will get you results today.
- Create intent-focused, buyer-centric content
Content is king, and quality is more important than quantity. Today’s search engines are getting better at not just ranking by relevance, but also at connecting searches to specific destinations. In other words, they’re getting very good at determining more accurately what users are really after — the search intent. So when you’re developing content, imagine what a high value client would be looking for, and the kind of questions they would ask to get it.
Another way to increase engagement (and rise in the rankings) is to get away from the “we, us, our” marketing mentality of many expertise-based services firms. Lead with site copy and content that’s about your customer’s needs, not your experience and capabilities. They’ll get to those after you engage them with relevant and compelling content first.
- Emphasize show over tell
You might assume that your informed and serious professional audience will want to dig into pages of information-rich copy. While that kind of depth and quality of text content is getting more points with search engines these days, engaging non-text information — in the form of video, audio, dynamic graphics, and smart information design — is critical to good search performance, especially on mobile.
- Adapt to where and how customers search
You may assume your B2B and professional customers are searching at their desktops, but no matter who your customers are, the trend toward mobile search is growing fast. So If you’re not optimizing SEO for mobile, you may be missing opportunities to both connect with your core audience and widen your reach.
In addition to mobile, voice searches via digital assistants are also growing. Driven by predicative AI and machine learning, how SEO applies to voice interaction is still a fresh issue — one that digital marketers will have to watch closely as it evolves.
- Deliver a great UX
Most people don’t think about design and usability when they think about SEO. Your message content may be great, but if your site doesn’t perform well, or give users a positive and productive experience, you’ll get dinged by the search engines. This includes core technical must-haves like fast page load and response times and easy mobile navigation, but also more subjective design decisions.
The bottom line? When you put together strong, customer-focused and audience-curated text and visual content, engaging UX, and up-to-date design and performance, it’s a combination that will place you higher in the search results — and connect you to the customers that are looking for you.