• Wirya Hassan

SEO Ranking: How To Keep Your B2B Website On Page One

Updated: May 28, 2018

Recently, Google announced the three strongest SEO ranking factors: Content, Backlinks and RankBrain. But what must B2B marketers consider in order to maintain their ranking and to position themselves ahead of competitors?

I’ll tell you how to arm your B2B website for Google Updates and meet the SEO requirements of tomorrow.

Again and again Google carries out significant updates to its ranking and search algorithm. Google wants to ensure the loyalty of its users and therefore should always deliver the optimal search results. So Google has to develop and improve algorithms in order to best interpret the user intention behind the search queries. Only then can the search engine deliver the most suitable results.

Hummingbird as switchman for a new search engine generation

As early as 2013, Google set the course for this and rolled out the Hummingbird update for this purpose. Hummingbird heralded a new generation of search algorithms. Terms

within a query are no longer considered separately, but contextually. So Google should be able to understand the user intention of a search much better. In particular, Google

recognizes in which context a search query is made, even if the keyword has different meanings. In B2B, the term temperature gauge could be mentioned here. If someone is

looking for a temperature meter for industrial purposes, he hardly thinks of a mundane fever thermometer. The latter, however, is sought in the medical and especially private


Panda update: user-centred content with high added value

Google has not only learned to interpret search queries better, but also to better evaluate the content of websites. This is the only way that Google will be able to provide

the optimal content for the search query in the form of search results. For this purpose, Google has introduced the Panda update, which was first rolled out in 2011 and is

constantly evolving. How Google works on this algorithm - and thus on the better content assessment of websites - is illustrated by the Google Update Panda 4.0 from 2014.

Since Panda, B2B marketers have repeatedly heard that content has to be of value, but what that means in practice often remains hidden. There is only a limited a blanket answer. Strongly generalized, the content should cover the topic holistically and provide users with answers to their questions. The fact that the content is written in an

appealing and error-free way is beyond question.

In the content design of your Web pages, always put yourself in your target group’s shoes and ask yourself the following question: Who needs in which phase of the purchase

cycle what content for what purpose? Refrain from offering content that might not be understood easily by your target group: it baffles your visitors, who then do not interact with your website. But why the interaction is essential is shown in the latest RankBrain update, which will be discussed in more detail.

Cover topics holistically on a website

It can vary greatly from sector to sector how the appropriate content should look like. For some industries, topics may be treated more superficially than others, for example

because of competition. In any case, cover the core issue and thus the core competence of your company holistically. In the future, it will no longer be necessary to optimize one website for a keyword or a number of keywords, but rather to create a theme page that will then fully cover the topic.

The challenge of such a thematic site is then to convince the users of the company of its competence and to continue it optimally. Only then will they build up the necessary trust to consider you as a supplier. There are a variety of ways to cover topics holistically. In order to do so, it helps to analyse the top search results for a keyword:

Which terms appear on the web pages and how deep is a topic covered? For example, you can introduce a guide to cover a topic in a deep and holistic way, and at the same time

offer added value for your users. Use content formats other than plain text to increase user engagement. For example, explanatory videos or infographics.

RankBrain: Artificial intelligence for more quality in the SERPs

User engagement is also a strong signal to Google that the website fulfils the user's need. If users click on a search result in the Google SERPs, spend a long time on the website and interact with it, these are positive signals for Google. Ever since the introduction of the 2015 RankBrain update, it's even more important to keep users on the site and get them to interact. But this only succeeds with captivating content and a high user experience.

Google's RankBrain is a supplement to Hummingbird and should further improve the quality of the search results. In doing so, RankBrain relies on machine learning and learns independently, based on its ‘experiences’, to display which search results for which queries.

RankBrain should be able to better interpret previously unknown search queries. This makes RankBrain particularly exciting for the B2B segment. Experience has shown that search volume in B2B is significantly lower than in B2C due to the high relevance of longtail keywords, ie very precise search phrases. Thus, Google in the B2B segment has a

much lower database and often has yet to learn which results are the best for the search queries.

Therefore, it is essential to provide the right content right from the start. So it's a great opportunity for B2B websites. RankBrain is seen by some SEO experts as the so-called Phantom Update, which caused a stir in May 2015. At that time, only an update was announced, which had also confused the search results. Google did not mention any

details at the time. Today, RankBrain is considered one of the three most important ranking factors besides content and backlinks.

Backlinks still central

At one time backlinks were the only ranking indicator for Google. Many more factors have been added over the years because it is not possible to qualitatively evaluate

websites by backlinks alone. Nevertheless, backlinks are still essential today to achieve a good ranking and should therefore not be neglected.

Google relies on a natural backlink profile and punishes websites with purchased backlinks. This was the main target of the Penguin update, which was first introduced in 2012. Google wants to curb manipulation and spam in the search results. Put your link building effort into qualitative backlinks, for example, by publishing valuable content on relevant platforms. Thus, it is important to drive a holistic SEO strategy and bring the three major influencing factors content, links and RankBrain in line.

In order to be successful here, the following recommendation should be heeded.

Concrete recommendation for action: reconcile all Google requirements In order to be able to satisfy the new Google algorithm for a good ranking, the requirements of Google

must be revisited in advance. Google has developed algorithms to understand every user's intention behind a search query. For example, based on past user behaviour, Google

can provide different results for the same search queries, depending on personal needs. For example, for ambiguous keywords Google has developed Hummingbird and RankBrain.

User-centric approach is and remains the key factor

In order to identify which search results are most suitable for which search queries, user behaviour plays the central role and is an essential part of the evaluation.

Because only then Google recognizes whether the results delivered satisfy the user. B2B marketers should therefore always think from the point of view of their target groups

and illuminate the relevant topic holistically with all its facets. To evaluate the content quality of a website, Google introduced the Panda update several years ago and

continues to develop it.

Do not lose sight of basic requirements

It should also always be questioned what confounding factors can lead to leaving a website. These must be eliminated, such as weak performance, poor user guidance or an

unappealing design. The presentation on the different devices must not be neglected. So it is no longer acceptable not to display the website fully functional on smartphones

and tablets. Websites that are not mobile-friendly, lead to annoyance and ultimately to a jump from the website. In addition, Google prefers mobile-optimized websites in

mobile search. To do this, Google rolled out a corresponding update in 2015 (Mobilegeddon) and recently re-optimized this algorithm (Mobilegeddon 2.0).

Backlinks are still an essential ranking factor. Here, too, high-quality content plays the key role: Because what is of value and persuasive, is gladly shared with others and

referenced accordingly. Last but not least, the very basic SEO factors that form the basic framework should continue to be taken into account: good structuring of the content

with headlines, meaningful snippets in the form of titles and descriptions, clean programming of the source code, avoidance of duplicate content, etc. Then nothing stands in the way of a long-term good ranking in Google.

Conclusion: SEO is today more demanding than ever, because users are the focus. This benefits B2B marketers: irrelevant, keyword-oriented texts are hardly convincing and

do not promote sales. Always think from the point of view of your target groups and fulfil their needs. Cover your core topics holistically and take into account SEO basics.

That's the only way to outperform your competitors.

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