How B2B Buyers and Decision Makers Engage with Content

B2B types are savvy, well-researched individuals. But the face of who makes buying decisions is changing.

Millenials are now gaining a strong role in the decision-making process. Some are the decision makers. And many do the research which later gets presented to all involved in the process.

So, as research happens, how does it actually occur? What should you do to make sure you garner interest?

Here’s some tips to guide your content creation:

  1. Write About Technology

Research has proven technology is the single most popular topic consumed by online B2B buyers.

It’s what they want to know. So give it to them. Show buyers how your company uses technology to deliver additional value your competitors don’t offer.

What if you don’t have any great technological advancements on the horizon?

No worries. Discuss industry updates and future trends. Your content doesn’t need to be about you. It simply has to be useful.

  1. How to Maximize Social Media Effectiveness

Consumers browse through social media aimlessly, not looking for anything in particular. They really want to find something of interest, but they’re not even sure what that might be.

B2B buyers’ minds work differently.

They look for something useful and actionable. And they use LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube to find it. They use other social media too. But your time and money are best spent on these social media channels.

  1. Email Marketing Still Works

You’d think B2B buyers get so many daily emails that they go nuts and probably don’t really care for email communication.

It’s partially true. They do get a lot of email. Around 120 emails daily.

However, 77% of B2B buyers still maintain they prefer email communication.

It’s the right way to contact them. So, they key lies in standing out.

That means learning how to write subject lines and message bodies that immediately capture interest.

  1. You Do Need Proper Optimization

Yes. Just like consumers, B2B buyers also use Google searches to find products and services they need.

71% of B2B buyers begin their research with a generic Google search.

So, you need to be found. And you must have an interesting, valuable search listing that’s worth clicking on.

That’s a brief overview of how B2B buyers engage with content. Now it’s up to you to give them an experience so valuable it would be stupid for them not to choose you!

The Future of Negative SEO Attacks

You’ve heard us talk about negative SEO before. Basically, it’s an active attempt on your competitor’s part to completely ruin your search rankings.

Yes, they can do that. And they can get away with it. But that doesn’t mean you have to live your life in fear that your whole business could disappear in an instant.

It simply means you have to be alert, have an SEO on your side who knows how to monitor this, and take prudent action should the problem ever arise. You can stop your competitors if you find yourself a target of negative SEO.

Here’s what dishonest competitors may do:

  1. Link from Known Bad Websites

Popular link analysis tools make bad websites a part of their available data. They don’t do it for the bad guys. They do it for the good guys so they know where not to link and when to act should a bad link appear.

However, as with anything, some use it for good purposes, while others use it for dishonest purposes.

Fortunately, you can tell Google to ignore those links when calculating rankings. That’s not a simple process. But you can do it.

  1. Fake or Anonymous Press Releases

This one hasn’t actually gained a lot of steam yet. Google has devalued links coming from press releases because SEOs have abused them to generate positive links in the past.

However, it wouldn’t be hard for a competitor to make up a phony news story to damage your reputation, and also to drive poor-quality links to your site.

  1. Duplicating Content

This one’s an oldie but a goodie (for the bad guys). Competitors can set a proxy website (one that conceals their location/identity) to index, crawl, and then duplicate your website.

For now, Google remains fairly adept at understanding which website was the original and ranking that. However, this tactic’s power could improve as Google chooses to focus on brands and reputations versus URLs.

  1. Mass Manipulation of Third-Party Review Sites

These niche sites drive a significant amount of qualified traffic to your website. However, a competitor could pay a cheap service in a third-world country to register user accounts en masse which would then begin to inundate that site (and perhaps social media profiles too) with fraudulent negative reviews.

The success of this strategy relies on the third-party sites’ desire to monitor such reviews. They likely would have such an interest in doing so because sites that get overrun with these reviews would lose credibility with legitimate users. And that in turn would ruin their profitability.

I don’t write this post to scare you. But you do have to be aware of dangers like these (and others). And that’s why it’s important to have a SEO company watching your six.

 

 

Where Great Content Ideas Come From

How do some websites (perhaps your competitor’s) always seem to nail it with their content?

They have several comments and dozens of shares. Your SEO shows you the nice amount of backlinks they have.

…And it seems like this comes rather easily to other sites.

Meanwhile, you struggle along. And you don’t seem to get anywhere.

So how do you find those truly amazing, can’t-fail ideas?

Here’s how:

  1. Where Great Content Ideas Don’t Come From

First, understand how great ideas come about (usually). They don’t come from the author’s own head.

In other words, authors don’t simply sit around daydreaming, and then one magical moment they have this amazing idea, and BOOM! great content is born.

There is a bit of an exception to this. For example, some authors know their audience so well that they can accurately anticipate exactly what they will like. They’re kinda like the Steve Jobs of their niche: they know what their audience wants before their audience knows it.

…But that’s rare. And hard. It takes years of experience creating content to get that skill. And even then, authors don’t always succeed.

Remember the golden rule of content: there’s a huge difference between what your audience wants and what you think they want.

  1. Keep a Swipe File

What’s a “swipe file?”

It’s simply a list of all the various content ideas you have.

As soon as you come across an idea, however you come across it, and you think your audience would like it, write it down in your “swipe file.”

Also keep a note of how you found the idea.

Typically, you’ll have dozens or hundreds of ideas, while only a few will actually turn into content.

  1. The True Source of Great Content

Your audience, market, or customers, whatever you want to call them, are the most consistent source of great content ideas.

Think of ideas that come from your own mind as “home runs.” When one hits and does well, that’s awesome! But, you’re going to strike out a lot too.

When you get ideas from your audience, you’ll hit a much better average overall. More shares, links, and sales come in as a result.

To get ideas, just ask your customers what problems they have. What’s their greatest fear? What really makes them angry?

Study high-performing posts on your competitor’s blogs.

Think of the questions customers ask you over and over.

Those are solid, consistent ways to generate content ideas that hold your audience’s interest…and turn them into happy, paying customers.

You can sprinkle some of your own ideas in too to see how they work. Then, once you gather data of how well your audience likes those posts by measuring shares, links, bounce rate, and time on-page, you can begin to learn how to give them more of what they want.

As you get further into this process, you’ll find great content ideas all around you.

You won’t have nearly enough time to create them all.

But you will have a reliable, consistent system for generating posts that fascinate and drive sales.

Google Releases (Yet Another) Core Algorithm Update

 

Well, should you just throw your arms up in the air and pound your head against the wall?

Google’s at it again.

They released the major “Medic” update in August.

And now here in late September, they’ve released another core algorithm update.

This one doesn’t have a name yet.

And, it’s definitely not as widespread as the “Medic” update.

But, it’s still strong enough to catch the notice of many SEOs.

No details have yet been released on what the update does.

And to be honest, it really doesn’t matter. You can’t keep up with all of Google’s updates anyway. But, you can stick to the core principles Google wants to see so you won’t get hammered hard by any update.

Google Offers Nearly Unbelievable Advice to Sites Looking to Improve Rankings

In March, Google released a shocking Tweet about algorithm updates. They said this on March 12, 2018:

“There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”

Wait a minute? What?

In other words, you’re not doing anything wrong. And you can still lose your rankings?

Yes.

You see, Google acts on what’s really a capitalist principle: the best, most popular pages get the highest treatment in its search rankings.

Over time, Google’s been working at making sure the truly greatest pages make it to the top of search.

So technically, you can be doing nothing wrong, but still lose ground in search.

How Should You Respond?

Well, Google’s trying to be as fair as possible. They want pages their searchers want to use at the top of their rankings because that keeps people using Google.

So, if someone’s beating you in search, you simply have to analyze their website and top it.

Because content quality is the most significant component of search rankings, spend most of your time figuring out how you can top their content.

Find the most popular sites centered around your topic and top their content…even if that means you cut your posting frequency from five times to one per month.

That one post could then generate shares, comments, and links and keep visitors reading for several minutes.

Those are the signals Google wants to see because they prove searchers like what you have to say.

And then you simply repeat and master the process like none of your competitors can.

Easy to say. Difficult to do.

But it’s certainly the key to success in search.

via GIPHY

 

How to Recover from Google’s “Medic” Algorithm Update

Did your site lose rankings and traffic in August and/or September?

Google rolled out an intense algorithm update.

And you might wonder what you should fix.

Well, here’s what Google’s Danny Sullivan had to say about it:

Doesn’t that seem like the world’s greatest non-answer?

What is this a guy? A politician?

So, you lose rankings and traffic…but you can’t do anything to fix it?

Believe it or not, Sullivan’s answer is a good one. And, it’s the right one.

Why No Specific Fix Will Restore Your Rankings and Traffic

When you try to find a specific fix…when you go down that mental avenue…here’s the problem:

you’re trying to please Google.

Yes. Pleasing Google is not what your website is all about.

That’s because Google exists not to put the sites it thinks should be at the top of the search rankings. Rather, it exists to put the sites that people want to use in first place.

That keeps people using Google (and not other search engines). And it keeps the company making billions of dollars.

Google doesn’t want to lose either.

So, What Do You Fix?

Your website can never again be a one-time or occasional thing you look at and make fixes to. If you go that route, you’re sure to lose your rank in search.

It may come slowly. But it will happen.

Rather, you want to constantly tweak your website to give your visitors a better experience. You do the same at your brick-and-mortar location.

You must also do this with your website.

So each day, simply ask yourself, ”What’s the number one thing I can do right now that will make the greatest impact on how much people like my website?”

…And that can lead you to lots of decisions like improving content, increasing site speed, creating more appealing marketing messages, changing code to improve performance, tightening security, and scores of other decisions.

The Number One Thing You Can Always Do

Ultimately, people visit and stay at websites with the most useful content. So if you’re a naturally talented writer, create the most in-depth blog post of its kind that answers a question, dispels a myth, or sheds light on an issue of concern to your audience.

If you’re not a writer, create a video, upload to YouTube, and post it on your website.

Add a podcast to your website.

The more helpful you can be with your content, the better.

Why?

People get all sorts of lame, and sometimes just downright wrong, answers on the internet.

So when you make it clear helping your visitors out is your number one priority, and they get information they can’t get anywhere else, you win attention.

They remember you.

They share your content with their friends.

And when they finally need your service, they choose you (and not your competitor).

In a nutshell, “sharing is caring.”

And that’s how you keep Google happy and maintain a nearly impossible-to-disrupt hold on your traffic and rankings, regardless of the changes Google throws your way.

via GIPHY

 

Does Your Content Stink?

Who determines the quality of your content?

Google?

Nope!

I’ll give you one more guess…

Got it?

Did you say your website visitors?

Ding. Ding! We have a winner!

Yes, your market determines the quality of your content.

Because, if they like it, they click through to your site from search, stay on your page for a minute or two, share your content, and then come back again and read more in the future.

Google factors all those actions into its rankings.

When you optimize for keywords, Google does look at your content too. But it continually adjusts your rankings based on how well your content performs.

Yes. Google works on the concept of democracy. The people vote by taking (or not taking) actions. A sole powerful king or dictator does not determine what you get to see and hear.

How Do You Know If Your Content Rocks…Or Sucks?

Read this snippet of an article of a post at a local online magazine and decide whether you think it rocks or sucks:

 

The Expert’s Opinion

So, what did you think? Would you have found that useful if you had an interest in going to Minneapolis for a weekend?

Now, get an expert’s opinion.

What do I think?

…It doesn’t matter!

I honestly cannot tell just by looking at the post.

The writing quality is decent. It won’t irk Google and hurt rankings in any obvious ways.

However, the true value of content gets judged by how well it meets the needs and interests of its audience.

…And the only way I can tell that is by viewing data and analytics.

I don’t have access to the website’s analytics. But I can see basic data via Buzzsumo’s Content Analyzer:

43 social shares.

…And this post just got published a day prior to getting this data. So more shares will roll in.

Now, this website is a step above the typical small, local business. For them, I’m guessing it’s not their most popular post.

Buzzsumo lets me see the most popular posts on the site. So let’s look at that data:

Their top posts get 1.5k – 2.1k social shares.

A reasonable guess for this type of website would be that a typical post gets maybe 100 – 200 social shares or so.

It usually takes a couple weeks for numbers to get to their final (that’s how content works). So, this post you just read is likely an average post.

How to Use This to Determine Your Content Quality

Share numbers from your website won’t be nearly as high. That’s because you’re smaller and have a lower reach.

No shame in that. It’s just a fact.

For you, 50 shares on a post might be pretty decent.

But, you can also use Buzzsumo to research your competitor’s sites. See how many shares they get.

And remember, they may have a bigger audience built up. So, you can’t say your posts weren’t successful simply because you didn’t get the same number of shares.

But, you can get an idea of what content works in your niche. Write your own opinion on the same subject. Go farther in-depth and be more helpful.

Add pictures and videos to clarify your meaning. Link to helpful outside sources.

Then, you know you have great content.

And that means you simply have to get yours in front of the right eyeballs.

Great content comes from trying different approaches, studying data, and improving. You build it slowly over time with incremental improvement.

Armed with the right data, you know precisely whether your content stinks…or rocks!