Andy HillYour website is the new front door to your business, especially now that B2B buyers conduct the vast majority of their research online before making contact with you. In fact, I have gone as far as to say that your website is the most important business asset you have. But simply building a website is not enough.  It takes regularly updated quality content and a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy in order to rank highly in the search engine results page (SERPs).

Competition is fierce as businesses wake up to the power of blogging as a tactic to rank highly in search engines. When it comes to how you build your website, you can do a lot to make sure search engines think yours is the fairest of them all.

Here are six simple techniques for channel partners to consider:

  1. Mobile first indexing for SEO.
    Mobile has overtaken desktop as the most used device type for accessing the Internet. Unfortunately, desktop pages appear differently when viewed on small screens and according to Google[1] this causes problems because algorithms aren’t yet evaluating mobile pages. Instead, they still evaluate the desktop version but this is changing as Google is in beta on mobile first indexing and has plans to roll it out in 2018.
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    When it’s fully rolled out, the mobile version of websites will be the ones indexed and page load time will become a significant factor in the new algorithms. AMP (accelerated mobile pages) is the answer. With AMP, a page can gain a 15 – 80 percent increase in load time without losing functionality.
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    Tip: If your website was created in WordPress, use a plugin to simplify the conversion to AMP.

  1. Headings and formatting for SEO.
    Headers play an important role in SEO and there is a special HTML code that indicates how large or small the headers will appear.H1 headers are the largest and have the job of telling exactly what the pages are about; they are also the most important because search engines assign them the most weight.[2]
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    EXAMPLE  
    The title of this blog article is an H1 heading
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    For H2 – H6 headers, the number equates to the font size so H2 will be larger than H6. Less SEO weight is put on this group than H1 headers but they’re still important, especially for formatting. Think of them as headlines that catch and stop the eye from quickly skimming to the bottom of the page.
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    EXAMPLE The numbered subtitles in this article are H2 headings
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    Tip: Use relevant keywords in headers for improved SEO.

  1. Meta-descriptions for SEO.
    Under each search result appears a short snippet explaining what the page pertains to. That’s called a meta description. Every web publisher can control this information and choose how to describe the content.
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    In 2009, Google stopped using meta descriptions (directly) to measure search rankings. However, they are still instrumental is helping users decide to click and even though search bots don’t crawl meta descriptions they drive user behavior, a significant factor in SEO.
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    Tips for writing great meta descriptions:

    • Stay at or under the 160-character limitation so the full snippet shows
    • Each page should have a unique (key-worded) meta description
    • Avoid all quotation marks and other symbols
    • If you don’t create one, search engines will grab random text from the page and create it for you
    • Write compelling descriptions for searchers, not search engines
  1. User experience for SEO.
    Everyone appreciates an intuitive, easy to navigate website that delivers superior content. Search engines measure usability and popularity by tracking “time on site” and “time on page.” In addition, they measure and factor in how often your content is shared and backlinks; how many other pages (not on your website) link content back to yours.
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    Tips for better user experience:

    • Create easy, intuitive navigation
    • Provide calls-to-action that help users find more information by topic
    • Ensure the website is mobile responsive
    • Deliver high quality, relevant, and credible content
  1. The Importance of Content Development in Driving SalesQuality content.
    Search engines track how their users interact with your website and your content. A quick look and then bouncing back to the search engine isn’t good. With millions of searches per day, search engines are getting even smarter at predicting site relevancy and content quality. This is where Backlinks can be a significant ranking factor; each backlink is considered a vote of confidence for high quality.
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    Tip: Read The Importance of Content Development in Driving Sales, where Leah Quesada, Xerox VP Marketing and Communications, explains what types of content drives backlinks.

  1. Keyword strategy for SEO.
    A few years ago, it was critical to use meta tags to tell search engines your intended keyword. Not anymore. Today’s search engines infer keywords by analyzing the page copy.[5] There are two main keyword categories; short tail keywords; 1 – 3 words long such as “managed print services,” and long tail keywords which are phrases such as, “network security for copiers and printers.” Both work to drive traffic to websites.
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    Tips for better keyword usage:

    • Avoid keyword “stuffing” by ensuring the main keyword appears in no more than 2% of the copy
    • Use related words or phrases that are similar but not an exact match; LSI keyword generator will discover alternative words
    • Use the main keyword in the H1 and meta description
    • Use the main and related keywords in H2 – H6 headers

Taking the time to develop and maintain good SEO practices is critical for ranking highly in search engines. Because search engines are such a selective tool, people tend to remove a business from consideration if they cannot be found on the first page and consider a business they were not familiar with if they do rank highly. To help you grow revenue from new business you need to be found by search engines. These techniques will help.

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With your website firmly in hand, you are well positioned to leverage the top marketing trends that are driving business for channel partners today.

For more marketing tips and tricks and to find out what’s working for other Xerox Channel Partners, join and participate in our exclusive partner-only LinkedIn group.

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[1] Mobile First Indexing, Google, https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/11/mobile-first-indexing.html

[2] Using H1 Tag Improves Search Engine Ranking, http://www.verticalmeasures.com/resources/seo-tutorial-videos/using-h1-tag-improves-search-engine-ranking/

[3] What is a Meta Description, Moz, https://moz.com/learn/seo/meta-description

[4] How Usability, User Experience and Content Affect Search Engine Rankings, Moz https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/how-usability-experience-and-content-affect-search-engine-rankings

[5] The Importance of Keywords in SEO: A Beginner’s Guide, Shout Me Loud, https://www.shoutmeloud.com/importance-of-keyword-for-search-engine-optimization-seo.html

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