By Paul Parcellin, Staff Writer
July 2, 2015

As a marketer, you need to find the most qualified leads possible, and one of the ways to do that is through organic search results - listings on search engine results pages that appear because of their relevance to the search terms, as opposed to their being advertisements.

Organic search is common in marketing all kinds of products and services. For example, a Kenshoo study indicates that search is the starting point for the majority of people looking to book travel (58 percent of leisure travelers and 64 percent of business travelers).

But B2B marketers will want to pay especially close attention to the organic search phenomenon. A BrightEdge study concluded that organic search is the largest traffic and revenues driver for almost every industry they looked at. For B2B marketers, organic search drives over 51% of traffic.

Piece of the Pie

Even if your pages don't turn up at the top of most search results pages, there's no need to feel like you're losing the marketing war. Hubspot reports that 60% of all organic clicks go to the top 3 search results, but fortunately, that still leaves 40% up for grabs. If you're looking for ways to compete for that hefty chunk of the traffic that the big boys don't own, and you want to eventually be one of the top three, here's a brief list of tactics you may want to consider in 2015:

Content is King

One of the most effective ways to make your site attractive to visitors is to offer them something that they can use. The Google algorithm indicates that user experience and quality are essential elements in marketing. When you understand your prospects' interests and needs and then tailor some good, original content to them, you are helping to make their user experience on your site much better.

If you provide unique business tips that help prospects do their jobs better, you're creating useful content for them. Maybe you'll want to provide top 10 lists of ways to work more efficiently, save money or get the most out of their vacations. If you get to know your core audience you can imagine what they'd like to know about, then provide it to them. That may help bring more traffic to your site, and could also inspire visitors to return, especially if you update your content regularly.

Long-Tail Keywords

If you consistently publish in-depth content around "long-tail keywords," those three- and four-keyword phrases that are very specific to whatever you are selling, you may see an increase in search traffic, attract paying customers and grow your brand, according to Small Business Search Marketing.

There are good reasons to use long-tail keywords, starting with the fact that they can make you stand out from your competitors.

"When you identify the right niche keywords for your business, there isn't as much competition for the search results," says Chris Grasso on Social Media Today. Less competition equals higher search rankings - which equals a greater likelihood that users will click on your page."

Frank Watson, writing for Search Engine Watch, says that long-tail keywords convert prospects more cheaply than do short keywords. "Long-tail PPC terms offer the cheapest ROI in many industries," he says. "... It takes more work to develop the right terms, but the rewards are worth the effort."

Active Blogs

A Content Marketing Institute study indicates that B2Bs and B2Cs are producing blog posts and Web content as crucial content marketing components.

It's probably a good idea to keep a steady flow of new content coming to your pages, that is, if you want search engines to place your site near or at the top of search engine results pages. A study of 2,168 HubSpot customers indicates that "businesses that published at least five blog articles in the last seven days draw 6.9 times more organic search traffic and 1.12 times more referral traffic than those who don't blog at all."

This may see like common sense to anyone who has looked into blogging, except that most bloggers don't keep up with their posts. An IBM study finds that 80% of all corporate blogs have five or fewer posts. Yes, that's corporate blogs.

Meta Keywords

Meta keywords used to be a regular component of most Web pages. Not so much, anymore.

In case you aren't familiar with the term, Meta keywords are a list of words that describe the most important themes of your page. Visitors to your page can't see them unless they look at a page's source. Many believe that search engines can see them, and that influences page rankings and search results page placement. If you're a Meta keywords devotee, sorry to burst your bubble, but Google doesn't use "Meta keywords" to rank pages.

OK, so what's the harm of putting Meta keywords into your pages anyway, you may ask?

Search engines are actually wary of them - they have declared that Meta keywords could be a spam signal. And if search engines suspect that you're spamming your visitors, guess what happens to your pages' rankings.

Some webmasters have made it a practice to use Meta keywords as a spamming tactic. They insert keywords that are unrelated to content on spamming pages in hopes of driving traffic to their sites.

In 2009, Google's Matt Cutts posted on the official Google Blog, "Google doesn't use the ‘keywords' Meta tag in our Web search ranking." Bing's guidelines for webmasters also addresses the topic. The fix for this is easy to grasp and even simpler to do - stop using Meta keywords

SEO

According to a National Retail Federation study, search marketing, including SEO, was the most effective source for acquiring new customers in 2014 for 85 percent of online retailers.

Here are a few SEO tips that you might want to keep in mind:

• Nearly 40% of organic traffic came from mobile devices in 2014, so you should think about making sure that your sites are mobile-friendly. How do you make sure that your pages are mobile optimized? Begin by avoiding common mistakes described by Google, including faulty redirects, mobile-only 404s, blocked media and slow mobile load times.
• No one likes to come upon a site and discover that it is peppered throughout with awkwardly used keywords. For those who do that, it's probably a good idea to stop. It used to be that keyword density was important in determining your ranking and search engine results pages placement. That's no longer the case, so it may be beneficial to end this practice once and for all.
• BuildVisible found that pages with rich snippets of Microdata would be clicked on up to 25% more frequently. Include micro-data throughout your sites. Mark up logos and images, add addresses, phone numbers, your business's name, the kind of business you run, reviews, prices, software and any other information relevant to the site. Clients will thank you and visitors will appreciate it.

Post Script

There are many more tactics that you can use to help your site rank. Optimizing your sites is probably going to be a project for you that never really ends. Starting out with these steps may help your site get a better ranking and could bring more qualified traffic to your door. You'll probably have a page here or there that doesn't need improvement, but your sites as a whole will likely always be in need of enhancement.

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