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Avoid SEO mistakes in content marketing

Content marketing and SEO need to work together.

It's no secret that search engine optimization and content marketing are closely linked. However, B2B marketing professionals need to optimize both of these channels to get the best results possible. 

Because of relatively recent changes to Google's algorithm, there is a stronger connection between quality content and search engine page rank (1). In the past, backlinks were seen as one of the most important ways to increase page rank. While they still have an influence, quality may have a greater effect than quantity, especially if spammy websites are directing traffic back to a website. Blogs are one of the best ways to gain more inbound links.

Why is it so important to maximize the effectiveness of SEO campaigns? Seventy percent of clicks come from organic searches rather than paid (2). In addition, 75 percent of Internet users never get past the first page of results, which is why brands need to stand out. Marketers need to keep up with changes in ranking signals. For example, site speed is now one of the most important indicators to search engines, and relevant terms are one of the key on-page factors (1). 

Mistakes to avoid with SEO and a content marketing strategy
While B2B content is a highly effective lead generation tool, it can sometimes be at odds with strong SEO results. Because marketers are so focused on attracting qualified leads, some B2B firms have a tendency to gate all content, but this does not make a positive contribution to SEO (3). Closing content off behind a form prevents search engine bots from crawling and indexing the pages, which means that even if it is well-researched and delivers value, potential readers won't be able to find it. Content marketers need to know which content should be gated and which pieces should be readily available. In-depth marketing efforts such as white papers and e-books can be gated because they are valuable sources of qualified leads. However, blogs should not be gated. This is a chance to provide a valuable resource for leads. 

Another common mistake is putting too much focus on keywords. While these terms help relevant prospects find your website, marketers need to focus on the value of the content more than the searchability. If visitors are staying on the page and engaging with the content, this can send a stronger signal to search engines than loading a post with keywords. 

Marketers need to utilize multiple forms of content marketing to maximize their SEO results. In fact, longform content can be a jumping-off point for other materials. One way to highlight the best industry data your company has is with infographics. This form of content is easy to share on social media profiles, and your blog and can help you garner more attention for a gated e-book. Releasing an in-depth form of content such as a white paper is a great opportunity to create a short blog series to spark engagement and interest leading up to the release (3). You can even create a webinar to go along with a white paper or e-book.

While content marketing has a strong influence on SEO, it's still important to not neglect best practices to improve your page rank. High-quality content can improve your brand's online visibility. The buyer's journey has changed a great deal in a short amount of time, so it's no longer enough to target prospects with specific keywords. Content can serve as a lead nurturing tool. SEO and content marketing will likely become more intertwined in the future. 

1. "SearchMetrics Released SEO Ranking Factors For 2014: Content Now Really King?"
2. "7 SEO Stats That Will Have You Crawling With Excitement (Infographic)"
3. "B2B Content Marketers: Are You Making These 5 Common SEO Mistakes?"

Posted in Search Engine Optimization |

Colors and image play a big role in B2B content marketing

B2B marketing should embrace the effectiveness of images and color in their campaigns.

B2B content marketing strategies should focus as much on image and color as on text. Businesses implementing imagery as an integral part of their search engine optimization tactics will experience more engagement with customers and higher visibility in organic searches.

Choosing an image
Photographs, stock pictures, infographics and artwork are all suitable images for use on a business website. Graphics are terrific ways to quickly and effectively send a message. Human beings take in an image immediately; an article or summary takes much longer to read and process (1).

The click-thru rate for websites using images is larger than that of sites that do not (2). Every single blog post or article should have an accompanying image if the owner wants to generate traffic (3). The Internet is becoming a more visual platform. For instance, Twitter only allows 140 characters of text. Tweets sent out along with images saw 150 percent more retweets than those without. One picture becomes enormously important when text is so limited (3).

If choosing an image is difficult, consider taking a well-performing text post and re-purposing it into an image or infographic (4). Work with other industry experts to expand on the information already presented. Consider the platform on which the new and improved information will be posted. Where will it be easiest for others to comment on or share the image?

3M and Post-it notes
A fine example of images having a significant impact on a corporation's marketing strategy is that of 3M and their Post-it notes. A recent campaign for the sticky notes uses video (rather than text) to demonstrate how tiny colored squares can help people communicate (5). The marketing videos and associated images were posted on social media sites to engage users in the discussion. The result was a community of 3M product users and crafters sharing their own experiences with Post-it notes and a forum called 3MDIY Web portal. Post-it site traffic has increased by 50 percent since the campaign began.

Use of Color
When deciding on images to use for a website landing page or specific blog post, pay close attention to the colors. Before anything else in an image or brand logo, people see and process color. In fact, the ability to recognize a brand rises by 80 percent when color is added (6). Confidence in a brand is largely determined by the ability to identify logos and products.

Especially when creating an infographic or considering which photo to add to a post promoting an upcoming sale, color needs to be taken into consideration. The color green is an excellent example of one that elicits specific emotions in consumers. Physically, it is the easiest color for the human eye to see. It evokes nature, youth, ecology and adventure. Therefore, it is an excellent choice for corporations operating in the medical and scientific industries. 

However, depending on where a product is sold, it is imperative that the B2B marketing team adheres to cultural interpretations of color. Red will have a very different effect on a North American shopper than a European shopper.

Putting pictures to work
Optimization of images is the key to ensuring that desirable high click-thru rate. Google Image Search reads optimized images better than normal pictures (7). Files should always be saved as a .jpg or .png file. 

When possible, try to add a combination of original and stock photography to the site. Stock photography will not harm rankings, but having fresh images that don't exist anywhere else online adds a more personal touch. Make sure that any photo posted is high quality. A blurry image will give off an unpolished impression to viewers. Be sure to choose an image size that does not slow down the entire site's load time. Configure the picture so it can load quickly and clearly. 

Write a caption for every image posted. Studies show that up to twice as many readers pay attention to photo captions than read the article entirely. Include key words or phrases in this caption. Also, be sure to create alt text and filenames for all images. Alt text is a description that appears if a photo does not load properly or a visitor's browser does not show it. Best kept short and descriptive, alt text also makes websites friendlier to those with visual impairments.

Finally, using siteā€‹maps for all images gives each of them a better chance of recognition. A sitemap is a file that shows Google and other search engines how a website is organized. It contains a listing of all the Web pages, or in this case, images, associated with a site to improve search crawling. This is incredibly beneficial to increasing SERP rankings because an image sitemap provides the type and its subject matter to the search engine.

B2B marketers will dramatically increase brand awareness and lead generation when they implement images into their overall marketing strategies. 

1. "Color and branding"

2. "The 2 types of rich media your SEO plan can't ignore"

3. "8 blogging 'rules' you should probably ditch"

4. "6 top-secret content marketing growth hacks"

5. "Why 3M's marketing sticks with millennials and DIY'ers"

6. "How do colors affect purchases?"

7. "Google search engine optimization starter guide"

Posted in Lead Generation, Search Engine Optimization |

Effective B2B marketing requires fresh content

Stay relevant with original content marketing strategies.

Developing original content is one of the most effective aspects of B2B marketing.

Organic search results account for more website traffic than both paid searches and social media (1). Business services can attribute less than 20 percent of all visits to display, email and referred marketing tactics. A whopping 73 percent of all traffic for the business services sector can be linked back to organic searches.

This proves that developing fresh content regularly is a crucial element to the marketing process. Today, 31 percent of Fortune 500 companies have blogs on their websites (2). Of those, 80 percent maintain activity and post frequently. Though this can be the most challenging aspect of developing new content, it is an incredibly important part of maintaining high rankings in organic searches.

In addition, those companies that opt for a larger social media presence are relinquishing their status in searches. Blogs and original content give businesses more control over their image, and a blog platform allows better ROI measurement (3). Social media analytics are often less user-friendly, so assuring a top place in a news feed becomes difficult and time-consuming. Devoting time to content and user interaction is more beneficial than juggling an odd platform. 

1. "Study: Organic Search Drives 51% of traffic, social only 5%"

2. "The 2014 Fortune 500 and Social Media"

3. "Why blogging still matters: data, distribution and ownership of content"

Posted in Paid Advertising, Social Media Marketing |

Effective B2B social media marketing tips

Social media marketing is important to B2B growth.

B2B companies benefit from marketing on social media sites. However, there are several strategies that will serve companies better than others. 

The do's

A great way to establish a brand's image and customer trust at the same time is by interacting in online forums devoted to a specific topic (1). 

Have a guest blogger write a post for the company website. Make sure he or she is an expert in the field with a healthy online presence and following. This will draw more site viewers and help establish a strong connection with the industry experts. 

The don'ts

Avoid making social media expressions more about the corporation than the customers (2). One major component of online media is that it can be turned off or tuned out. If the posts are too company-centric, viewers will be more likely to exit out of them. 

There are so many different social media platforms today available to B2B marketers. It's important to remember that each one is different; do not try to utilize LinkedIn and Twitter in the same way; it will result in missed opportunities to connect. 

With customers experiencing more power today than ever before, they are able to connect across a variety of platforms from just about anywhere. Don't get left in the dust. Do invest in B2B marketing!

1. "20 Ways to Get Your Content in Front of Early-Stage B2B Buyers"

2. "7 Sins of Social Media Marketing"

Posted in Social Media Marketing |

Effective B2B social media marketing tips

Social media marketing is important to B2B growth.

B2B companies benefit from marketing on social media sites. However, there are several strategies that will serve companies better than others. 

The do's

A great way to establish a brand's image and customer trust at the same time is by interacting in online forums devoted to a specific topic (1). 

Have a guest blogger write a post for the company website. Make sure he or she is an expert in the field with a healthy online presence and following. This will draw more site viewers and help establish a strong connection with the industry experts. 

The don'ts

Avoid making social media expressions more about the corporation than the customers (2). One major component of online media is that it can be turned off or tuned out. If the posts are too company-centric, viewers will be more likely to exit out of them. 

There are so many different social media platforms today available to B2B marketers. It's important to remember that each one is different; do not try to utilize LinkedIn and Twitter in the same way; it will result in missed opportunities to connect. 

With customers experiencing more power today than ever before, they are able to connect across a variety of platforms from just about anywhere. Don't get left in the dust. Do invest in B2B marketing!

1. "20 Ways to Get Your Content in Front of Early-Stage B2B Buyers"

2. "7 Sins of Social Media Marketing"

Posted in Social Media Marketing |

5 types of content B2B marketers should create

B2B marketing requires creative content and client interaction.

High-quality content creation is essential for successful B2B marketing. A recent report reveals that 59 percent of B2B inbound marketers consider marketing content creation as one of their most effective tactics (1). However, 54 percent of those respondents also claim content creation is the most difficult.

Luckily, there is a helpful structure for businesses to create the most effective content possible (2). There are five tiers to follow.

  • Information: Informational content should answer the basic questions a client has about a product and how it can meet their needs. Research, press releases and company profiles all fit in here.
  • Context: Contextual content builds up trust in a company and its position in the industry. Blogs, webinars and white papers are good examples of contextual content.
  • Emotion: Emotional content should leave customers feeling good about the company and connected to its message. Images, videos and blog posts serve emotional content well.
  • Motivation: Motivational content should encourage readers to act and make a difference. Case studies and true stories from within the industry are great examples of motivational content. 
  • Inspiration: Inspirational content incites visitors to consider the human condition and find new ways to improve their company and the world.

B2B marketers that can successfully provide their customers with a journey from information to inspiration will have no problem building their business up to its highest potential. 

1. "Ascend2 Inbound Marketing Research – August 2014"

2. "5 Vital Classes of Content: A Simple Framework"

Posted in Analytics, Lead Generation |

7 methods for advancing B2B SEO marketing tactics

Innovative SEO marketing techniques advance businesses to the next level.

Many B2B marketers face new challenges on a daily basis and are constantly in search of advancing their advertising tactics. Remaining on the cutting-edge of an industry requires innovative ideas, swift execution and a willingness to advance practices to a higher level. Here are several ways B2B marketers can revamp their current SEO strategies:

1. Quora

This website offers experts an opportunity to answer questions in their industry (1). With over 9 million users per month, it is an excellent tool for reaching out to potential clients and connecting with a wider audience than before. Though Quora works best for fields without much expertise present online, it is still an effective method for sharing information and earning a great reputation. Search for industry topics and the questions people are asking about them, provide informative answers and generate interest. 

2. HARO

An acronym for Help a Reporter Out, HARO is a site that connects journalists in need of in-depth intelligence on specific topics with experts. Similar to Quora, HARO offers industry professionals an opportunity to answer questions or provide information on a variety of topics (1). A reporter may use the expert's name, organization or direct quote in the article they are writing. This is a great way to get additional exposure. 

3. LinkedIn

Another way to demonstrate extensive knowledge on a subject is joining an online group and engaging members in discussion. LinkedIn is an excellent tool for this form of marketing because it efficiently connects professionals within a mutually engaging industry to each other. The key here is to participate in discussion regularly, so joining too many groups is not a great idea (1). Routinely commenting on links posted or providing insightful information to followers will make anyone a worthy member of an online forum conversation. In addition, remember this is a discussion, not a pitch session. Be mindful of other participants' contributions and avoid directly advertising products. 

4. Hashtags

Conducting a search on the hashtags their customers are using will help keep companies relevant in their sector and make valuable additions to the online conversation (1). Following the discussion around a particular hashtag or connecting with those users on social media is a good start to developing relationships with new customers and reiterating an extensive knowledge base to an existing one. 

5. Surveys

Though it may be somewhat tricky to coordinate and execute, conducting surveys is an incredibly important and valuable way to find out information about a specific industry, not to mention site visitor demographics (2). Survey results are reliable tools when it comes to marketing. Not only will results help generate more traffic to the site of the source, they provide an opportunity for other businesses to reach out and ask to post the study on their own site. Ensure that if it gets reposted, the study is always linked back to the original source. Links are wildly important and relevant to SEO marketing today because they increase search engine rankings and website visibility (3). Google uses links in its algorithm; they help the search engine determine the value and influence of website content. 

Additionally, survey results produce data that companies must use to better understand their client base. Being able to define exactly why buyers visit a site and what they expect when they arrive helps improve SEO marketing methods and retain customers (4). 

6. Research 

Though it can get to be expensive, conducting original research or hiring a research firm establishes a bold, crisp aura of credibility around a business and generates a lot of site traffic (2). Like surveys, original research provides industry professionals with excellent information to use, share, bookmark, link and reference. In addition, if a business is able to update research over time, the audience will expand and credibility will be reinforced. This is also a great opportunity for companies to advocate for themselves without overtly displaying an advertisement. Making it easy for site visitors to view and understand what a business does and which products it offers, while they are reviewing research results, will generate business organically.

7. Press Releases

In lieu of extensive research, press releases can provide businesses with additional site traffic, page views and republishing (2). Featuring uplifting and beneficial news stories about the industry or specific clients will draw page visitors looking for the most relevant information to their fields. Journalists and other professionals in the sector may reference the press release or post it on their own site, again linking back to the business itself. Eventually, if enough press releases have been created and garnered a good response, the formation of an online newsroom is another tactic businesses can employ. With press releases and any news story in which the business was featured all living in one place, site visitors will receive a comprehensive understanding of the enterprise's position in the industry. 

When a B2B firm is ready to increase their SEO marketing efforts, these tools can assist with the process and increase online presence. 

1. "10 Hidden Gems for Finding B2B Customers"

2. "10 More Content Ideas to Improve Content Visibility"

3. "5 Most Important Takeaways from Link Building Survey 2014"

4. "Improving Your SEO Performance Through Innovation"

Posted in Lead Generation, Search Engine Optimization |

Mobile marketing keeps B2B companies competitive

Mobile marketing is essential to B2B lead generation.

B2B companies must invest in mobile marketing to stay relevant and competitive in their industries.

Spending on mobile advertisements will exceed that of radio, newspaper and magazine ads this year (1). The amount of money devoted to mobile marketing could climb as high as $18 billion, which is an 83 percent increase from 2013. This growth is not exclusive to specific industries. Roughly half of all B2B companies operate sales through mobile and 42.8 percent anticipate investing more in their mobile marketing campaigns this year (2).

What matters most, however, is more than half of B2B customers are using their mobile devices to research, review and compare products (2).  No longer is the desktop experience the focus – or the format – for ads. Any content provided on a social media or networking site should be mobile friendly and translatable to all smartphone devices (3). In addition, links should drive consumers directly to the location it promises. Misleading links provide the customer with nothing except frustration. With improving lead generation sitting at the top of every B2B wish list, toying with a potential customer is discouraged. 

Implementing a mobile marketing strategy is essential to keeping B2B corporations at the top of their game. 

1. "CMO Today: Mobile Ad Spending Leaps Ahead"

2. "B2B Mobile Commerce Best Practices"

3. "Mobile Marketing and Customer Retention for the B2B Marketer"

Posted in Mobile Marketing |

Influencers improve B2B marketing strategies

Working with influencers can have a positive impact on B2B marketing strategies.

Partnering with an influencer can have a dramatically positive effect on B2B content marketing. An influencer is an entity or organization that informs and impacts a business' target audience. An influencer helps identify industry trends and meticulously applies them to generate higher quality content for buyers (1). Today, 65 percent of B2B corporations utilize a digital influencer marketing strategy (2).

An influencer is not the same as an advocate (2). An advocate is loyal to one specific company, whereas an influencer is merely a specialist within an industry. The site outlined a three-step strategy for implementing an influencer marketing system into a business' current practices.

Identification
It is important to find a variety of influencers. Both established leaders and fresh faces can be beneficial to a company. Scope out online conversations consumers are having about the specific industry to see if certain names or groups are routinely mentioned (1). Each enterprise should focus on the sites and forums specific to their sector.

Qualifications
In-depth analysis is necessary when choosing influencers. Data compiled on the prospective partner should include how frequently they interact with their industry and how the target audience responds to this engagement. Make sure these industry leaders have significant knowledge, produce quality material and interact on a regular basis with consumers. Even if one is not well known, do not discard him or her as a potential influencer. Above all else, they must have a strong connection to the target audience. 

Recruitment
Once an influencer has been identified, take care choosing the right person to deliver the pitch. If the prospect is a senior member of an organization, have an equally senior employee make contact. In addition, check their activity for personality traits that may give clues on approach methods. Very vocal and involved parties may respond well to a direct pitch, while a more reserved potential influencer will need time and space to consider the opportunity. Be aware of seasonal obstacles that may get in the way of recruitment; ends of quarters, tax season and holidays are just a few examples of events that may hinder their ability to substantiate the offer. 

Be prepared to establish why forming a partnership will benefit the influencer. This is an incredibly important part of the process. Financial compensation is not always an influencer's first choice. Often a boost in their status among other industry leaders will be more appealing than money. 

1. "9 Tips for B2B Marketing with Influencers"

2. "Marketers Tap Influencers to Build Credible, Buyer-Centric Relationships"

Posted in Analytics, Social Media Marketing |

Social media lead generation for B2B highly effective

Twitter is becoming more important for lead generation.

There are conflicting views on social media's place as a B2B lead generation tool. However, it can be difficult for B2B marketing professionals to attract high-quality leads, and Twitter in particular may be an untapped resource that helps them connect with influencers in the industry. 

It's important to understand how buyers use Twitter as a critical part of their research processes. Because these individuals are on the hunt for more information, they are more likely to visit a B2B website after seeing a tweet from the brand (1). Additionally, seeing tweets from a particular company makes decision-makers more likely to seriously consider the brand as a contender. Firms that leverage the power of Twitter can take advantage of this. Use tweets to link to case studies or product demo pages that may otherwise be buried deep within a website.

Utilizing video through tweets can also help B2B marketers garner more attention (2). Twitter is a highly versatile tool that allows B2B marketers to connect with their audience on a number of different levels. Since so many decision-makers use this tool to stay up to date on industry news, it should definitely factor into any lead generation strategy. 

1. "Twitter and Compete study: How Tweets influence B2B tech audiences"
2. "Promoted Video on Twitter May Help B2B Marketers Boost Engagement"

Posted in Lead Generation, Social Media Marketing |

 

 

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