Q&A: How To Approach SEO During Lockdown

May 29, 2020


Businesses around the globe are still looking at how best to adapt their traditional ways of working during a pandemic. Brands are now more visible than ever before with internet traffic up as high as 70% since lockdown started, so the opportunity for businesses right now is truly online.

This week, we interviewed Dan Reeves, co-founder of Dandy Marketing, to get his insights on how B2B companies can make the most of their SEO strategy during lockdown.

With clients in lockdown, how should tech B2B companies use SEO now?

Every company has had big decisions to make in terms of its marketing budget over the last few months. Depending on how hard lockdown has impacted them, some have done so with a knee jerk reaction, whereas others have simply had no choice. Whenever things aren’t going right or costs need to be cut, marketing budget is normally the first place that get’s hit.

“Business may have stopped, but google hasn’t.”

Regardless of the ongoing pandemic, businesses shouldn’t cut back on their online marketing efforts just to save costs; future customers are still online and looking for guidance, and therefore should not be neglected. It’s vital to plan for the future, and even if you see short term losses over the next few months, the important thing to remember is that things will go back to normal – or at least some form of normal.

The way I see it is that this is the time to stay the course and tackle all those potentially impactful SEO and marketing tasks that you’ve had sitting on the back burner. Focus on optimisations, page speed improvements. Work on content that people want to see. Start a webinar, host video interviews; can you create a course? And if you already have one, can you give it for free?

How can we use blogs to improve SEO performance?

Blog content that sits in the resource section of a website is vital to SEO performance for a few key reasons:

  1. Keeps your website fresh and current with a consistent flow of content
  2. Encourages people to stay on your site for longer
  3. Enables you to target long tail keywords and those higher up the funnel.
  4. Creates opportunities for internal linking
  5. High quality blog posts can be linkable assets, so encourage other websites to link to you.
  6. A blog can also help you connect with your audience

If companies do all of the above and ensure their content remains relevant to current trends, they will inevitably improve their SEO performance over time. Creating consistent content should be part of any SEO Package or strategy.

How should we use headlines, sub-heads, and keywords in an article to make it most SEO-friendly?

In all honestly, these things aren’t as important as they used to be, but it’s more than just ensuring your target keywords are present. Find a way to make it easy for people and scripts to understand the content and the context of what’s on the page, just by reading the headers and sub-heads:

  1. Use headers to provide structure and break up the copy
  2. Include keywords in your header tags
  3. Make them interesting and to the point
  4. Optimize for featured snippets
  5. Make your page titles as compelling as you can to encourage clicks.

What’s the most SEO-friendly length for a blog post?

This is always the golden question. However, the number has gone up and down over the years, but the real answer is, it depends entirely on what you’re writing about.

Hubspot did some research in March 2020 and found that 2,100-2,400 words was the ideal length. But before you go ahead start churning out a 2,300-word blog posts, it’s important to know that not all blogs need to be long format — in fact, around one-third of Hubspot’s top 50 most-read posts were actually under 1,500 words.

I would say, once you have your keyword research and you’ve analysed current search engine results for the type of content you need to create, look at how long the content that’s currently ranking is. If all of them are 2000+ words, chances are, you’re going to need that many as well.

What are your top tips for tech B2B companies who want to use SEO to deliver leads?

  1. Ensure you have goals set up in Google Analytics that can directly link back to your leads, or overall business goals
  2. Don’t forget about the top of funnel content: Have a plan in place to make the most of website traffic
  3. Have a range of content assets you and your team can utilise to get those contact details – not everyone is ready for a demo or a free trial.
  4. Remember, everyone is human.

What are the best metrics to measure the success of an SEO campaign?

  1. Sessions: How much traffic are you getting from organic search, how is this performing over time. You could sent KPIs or goals on this. For example X% increase within 6 months.
  2. Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Dominance: This is your unique share of possible organic traffic. So, can you get top 3, is their a local map pack, are any rich snippets available? Can you also get in also asked?
  3. Bounce rate: Understand the quality of your webpage and audience by looking at the percentage of visitors that open a website and leave within a specific timeframe. High bounce rates are area for improvements.
  4. Session duration: This calculates how long visitors spend on your site (on average) before leaving, to help measure engagement rates. The higher the better!
  5. Revenue/ goal completions: Track which pages led to goal completions and see where the drop-off point is in your sales funnel. Again identify areas for improvement
  6. Page Speed: This is all about monitoring the amount of time that it takes for a webpage to load, which is especially important when it comes to mobile searches. It’s also a confirmed ranking factor, and generally, a quicker site provides a better user experience so why wouldn’t you want to improve it.
  7. Referring domains: As mentioned earlier building links will help your website out a lot. The more links you have, from different referring domains the better. You want to keep an eye on this.
  8. Keyword positions: This is the rank that your website holds in the search engine – in relation to other websites – for a specific keyword. We specifically keep an eye on these as we’ve found clients like to monitor their positioning.

What are the biggest mistakes companies are making in the way they approach SEO?

  1. Neglecting technical SEO: Steps such as using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), creating an Extensible Markup Language (XML) sitemap, and providing a mobile-friendly site will ensure the security and structure of your site meets search engine algorithm expectations
  2. Not investing in link-worthy content: Only engaging and relevant content will gain you those vital backlinks
  3. Putting all your eggs in one basket: Diversify your keywords and traffic sources to avoid losing all your traffic to an algorithm
  4. Not making the most of the traffic you do get: Your traffic is your opportunity to onboard new customers
  5. Not regularly auditing: Even if it’s only once a year, you should be regularly updating your website based on insight from your regular keyword performance

Finally, what are three latest SEO trends B2B companies should look out for?

Expertise, Authority & Trust (E-A-T)

Google will continue to look at the overall reputation and E-A-T of a given company, and the individuals who publish content on behalf of that company. This means businesses that struggle with a poor reputation, customer service issues or other trust issues, will have a harder time competing.

Mobile search will continue to take over

The mobile takeover will continue. In 2019, mobile usage was at an all-time high,  and with 40% of total transactions now occurring on mobile phones, Google moved to mobile-first indexing on 1st July 2019, to improve the mobile search experience. Companies now need to ensure they are optimising their mobile site and search.

Google BERT Update

Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT). This mouthful of neurolinguistic terminology means that it’s now easier than ever for the search engine to understand the context of words in a search string, through improving its understanding of natural language. So, with this in mind, write for humans, not search engines.

It’s clear that every company should be using this time to invest in their SEO strategy. From attracting new customers to building trust and credibility during these uncertain times, focusing your efforts on SEO can hold the key to protecting your company now, and preparing for post-pandemic success.

If you would like more information on how Isoline can help you create content that will boost your SEO, please contact [email protected]


Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

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