B2B SEO Basics – Part 1: 3 Fundamental Tips for Website Architecture Optimization
Keeping track of the constant changes to how Google rates a website and ranks them for search results can be a major undertaking for the uninitiated. This is especially true for B2B companies looking to increase quality traffic and generate legitimate qualified inbound leads. However, there are some simple things that marketing managers and web administrators can do that will help boost their search engine optimization efforts. This post is the first in a series of simple tips on what you, the marketing manager of a B2B company, can do to ensure that you have your website’s basic SEO covered and get you on the way towards reaching your search ranking goals.
Here are three website SEO improvements every B2B company should be implementing to see gains in its search rankings.
3 SEO Tips for B2B Companies
1. Group your information into a logical directory structure
Information architecture is an important part of any site design and fundamental to good user experience design. Over the years, web users have come to expect to find website content and information categorized under logical headings. We expect a company to list its products or services in a directory, while company information is listed in the “About” section. We intuitively expect a way to get in touch with the company via a “Contact” section (which should be accessible from any page), and so on. You might never receive the negative feedback, but a counterintuitive navigation menu or poorly organized website content will annoy visitors or even cause them to leave the site immediately.
So, how does this help with SEO?
- Categorizing content into directories creates clusters of similar information via internal link building, which can have high relevance for a set of key phrases. This interconnectedness and proximity of similar content creates weight in topic relevance and subsequently builds PageRank for these pages for their targeted key phrases.
- It allows Google’s algorithm to rank different parts of the website differently for specific key phrases. As each site section climbs in page rankings, users will be more likely to arrive at highly-relevant, targeted content and therefore more likely to take action.
- In cases where a specific website section becomes corrupted (whether due to malware injection, user generated content that violates Google’s link schemes, or other assorted foul play), Google’s protective or penalizing actions could only target the affected part of the website without affecting the entire domain.
To see examples of well-organized website content structure, we suggest reviewing some of the popular “best in class” e-retail sites such as Amazon.com or Apple.com, where information architecture is vitally important for their consumer’s user experience, and a bad experience directly results in money “left on the table”.
Whether you’re in the initial stages of developing a website or your site is a seasoned veteran, the efforts you take to organize and optimize your site’s architecture will pay lasting SEO dividends.
2. Use Descriptive and Keyword Rich URLs
Because the URLs of webpages are shown in search results, making the URL keyword rich reinforces the relevance of the webpage to the user. We often encounter websites where search engine-friendly (SEF) URLs were neglected despite the ease of implementing them in most modern content management systems.
The failure to implement SEF URLs is a lost opportunity to reiterate the most important information to both humans and webcrawlers alike, mainly: “What is this page about?”
Keyword rich URLs accomplish two things:
- Keywords in the URL make them better optimized for search because they are one of over 200 data points that Google’s search algorithm uses to determine relevance and rank.
- They provide search users with critical information by bolding the key phrases within the link itself in search engine results, thereby reinforcing relevance of the content and improving click-through rates.
The following is an example of a poorly constructed URL and a keyword optimized URL from Google’s SEO Starter Guide:
How to Implement Search Engine Friendly URLs?
Making URLs descriptive and keyword rich is usually an easy task in most content management systems. Setting this up in WordPress at the outset can be done in the Permalink Settings section which offers a number of options of URL structures. At Delia Associates, we highly recommend using any of the options that use the post title as the URL.
For more information, check out Webmaster Tools article on URL Structure.
3. Maintain an Updated XML Sitemap
As new website pages are added or old ones are removed, it is important that webcrawlers are able to find these changes and index the content properly. The most effective way to do this is by using an XML Sitemap. Per Sitemaps.org:
“A Sitemap is an XML file that lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL (when it was last updated, how often it usually changes, and how important it is, relative to other URLs in the site) so that search engines can more intelligently crawl the site.”
An example of what metadata a Sitemap entry contains for just one URL is below:
They’re a crucial aspect of website architecture – yet they’re overlooked all too often. That’s why at Delia Associates, one of the first items we look to correct when onboarding new clients to our search program is to ensure that a site is serving up all its content to webcrawlers via an XML sitemap.
Continually maintained XML sitemaps also provide other important benefits including:
- Specifies how often site content is expected to change so that crawlers return to re-index the site at appropriate intervals – capturing your ongoing search engine optimization efforts.
- Specifies the relative internal importance of the site’s webpages, so that you can help to ensure that the most relevant pages on the site rise to the top of keyword rankings for their targeted key phrases.
- Ensures that pages that are not navigable from the homepage are easily found by the webcrawlers. This includes pages that are specifically optimized for certain keywords but do not fit into the navigation structure of the website or would be confusing for a site visitor – such as landing pages targeting geographic locations or very specific needs.
For those using the WordPress CMS, maintaining an XML sitemap is especially easy to do – just add a plugin that automates the entire process. One the most popular plugins, which we heartily endorse, is the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin. It offers complete XML Sitemap automation via a simple check box option.
For more information on generating content specific XML files such as sitemaps focused on only videos, podcasts or news, take a look at the following article on Google Webmaster Tools support.
These recommendations are relatively easy to implement and should be considered essential to getting the basic foundation of the website ready to serve up content that is both relevant to the site visitors and to the webcrawlers. And of course, if you need help with implementing any of these recommendations or want to learn more advanced techniques for search engine optimizing website structure, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to discuss your needs.