For sales organizations, sometimes marketing is not the biggest priority, but it can help so much with brand identity and driving traffic to your website.
It’s important to adopt digital technology as a way of doing business, especially with lead generation.
But first, you need to be found by customers looking for what you sell.
The main way people are conducting searches is through a search engine like Google, and they usually don’t look beyond the first or second page of results to find what they’re looking for.
Now with voice searches like Alexa complicating things, it’s often only the first one to three options that are provided to the person.
How can you rank?
Well, there are two ways: search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM).
Here are some steps I have taken on behalf of dar-tech over the past seven months to lay the foundation for Google to rank us.
- Keyword and competitive research: Conduct research to see what your main competitors are doing in the digital space and what keywords they are ranking for. There are free tools available to do this analysis.
- Content: Invest the time to research and write content that you can add regularly to your website utilizing keywords that you want to be ranked for. This is content that can be repurposed later into blogs, social media posts, YouTube videos, presentations, and more.
- Create a Google Analytics account and install the tracking code on your website: You can use the data to see trends, what interests visitors, and to notice anything out of the ordinary, such as a hack attempt on your website. If you see the numbers spike and you didn’t do anything to drive traffic at that time then that’s a red flag.
- Optimize your website for SEO: Make sure you have title tags, image tags, descriptions, keywords, etc., filled in with the keywords that you want to rank for. Most web content management tools have SEO capability or an SEO plugin that can be installed. Some will even make suggestions to you.
- Start a blog: More content! Google needs to see fresh content on a regular basis each time it crawls your site. A blog is a great place to do that. Again, use keywords that you want to rank for in the content.
- Add PDFs of brochures, sell sheets, linecards, safety data sheets, technical data sheets, etc. Google will crawl these documents, too. Always remember your keywords.
- Internal links: There are so many factors that Google considers when crawling your website. Internal links are one of them. Do you crosslink from one page in your website to other pages? This keeps people in your site longer, decreases bounce rates, and increases session duration. Get them to your site and keep them there. A good example is an FAQs page that links to many other pages in your site.
- Post regularly to social media: Yes, Google crawls your social sites, too. Each site you have helps you with your ranking and also helps you to build brand awareness and identity as a subject-matter expert in your field. At a minimum, you should post twice per week.
- Create a YouTube channel: Google loves video. Google owns YouTube. Get the idea? When you load the videos, you have the opportunity in the title and description to paste a transcript of the video that has, yes, you guessed it, your keywords you want to rank for. You can repurpose recorded trade association presentations or webinars as content.
- Backlinks: We are talking about healthy links to your site from other, reputable sites. And one of the easiest ways is guest blogging on other people’s blogs that will link back to your site, or submitting press releases and thought-leadership articles to trade publications since they will also appear in the digital version with a link to your website. While not free, digital advertising in trade journals or on trade association’s websites also will secure you backlinks to your website from theirs. If their Moz rating (discussed later) is higher than yours, that’s a bonus. It will help boost your ranking.
- Local listings: Google crawls the whole internet. The more that you are mentioned, the better. One way to accomplish this is to claim and update all your local listings, for instance, BBB, Yelp, Google My Business, Mapquest, Yahoo, Yellow Pages, and more.
- Moz rating: It’s important to get a free Moz account and install the button in your browser. You can see how your website ranks as compared with competitors. You also can see your spam score. Google factors domain authority (DA) and spam score into its algorithm. As your content strategy and SEO strategy start to work with time, you should see the dial move with your domain authority. You’ll also want to download all the links to your website and request those that are spam be removed. If you can’t reach them or they don’t respond in a reasonable time, you can ask Google to disavow these links and have them removed from factoring into your ranking.
- Reviews: Google cares about what your customers and employees have to say about you. It’s a good idea to encourage Google, Yelp, Facebook, and BBB reviews from your satisfied customers and Glassdoor reviews from your employees and also to monitor reviews in order to mediate a negative review. You can turn this into a win depending on how you respond and handle the situation. Not responding is a response. It’s important to show the public that you care about customer experience and are working to get better. Be human and humble.
Remember, although you can’t out-Google Google, and there are many more factors contributing to their ranking algorithm (that changes all the time), you do need to address the basics. And they aren’t hard to do.
There’s help and information online from tons of sources with detailed instructions on how to accomplish these steps.
Once you have a good website worth driving traffic to that is optimized and has content seeded with keywords, wait for it to be crawled by Google and ranked.
This will take 6-9 months. In the meantime, you can utilize SEM, which includes pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, to drive traffic to your website.
For B2B industries or manufacturers, Google Ads and LinkedIn Sponsored Content will be the best avenues.
Google Ads reach people actively looking for companies or products like yours.
They are considered hot leads.
LinkedIn reaches people in your audience to increase awareness.
They serve different purposes and are more about brand awareness than making the sale.
For Google, you first need to identify keywords that you want to rank for in a Google search.
Think about when you search Google for something you want to buy, for a review, or for more information.
What are people entering in Google to search for products or services like yours?
To find out, you can do research.
I use SEMRush and Moz free versions as well as Google Ads Keyword Planner to do my research.
You also can see what your competitors are doing using a tool like Spyfu.
These ads are a little harder to build and program in the respective tools and take a lot of time to build, monitor, adjust, and report.
Sometimes, it helps to work with a consultant who does these for a living to reach your goals.
There’s so much more we always can do as marketers, but this is a highlight of some of the steps I’ve taken for my company.
In addition to digital marketing, SEO, and SEM, it’s also important for marketers to provide tangible sales support in the form of product literature; presentations; branding, such as brand guidelines, email signatures, and logos; and email campaigns.
The potential is limitless, the technology impressive, and the field dynamic and interesting.
Take that first step.
One step at a time, you can do it.
About Gina Tabasso
Former Marketing Director of dar-tech, inc.
dar-tech, inc., a specialty chemical and raw material distributor for the Midwestern U.S.