Like a moth to the light, when technology buyers have a problem they turn to the search engines first.
They may have just started to investigate a problem. Or buyers could be at the final stages of vendor selection.
At all stages of the buyer’s journey they rely on search engines to find sources of information.
It’s no surprise then that technology companies invest significant resources into their website, to make it a quality source. They want to attract and retain the interest of their buyers, to demonstrate that they can answer buyer questions and help solve their problems.
But do their pages rank in the search engines so buyers can find them?
When technology companies ask the question: “What is the search engine rank for each of the primary pages on my site for its keyword phrase?” they are often horrified at the answer.
All that effort and yet their pages don’t rank well for their keywords!
Structure your core website for visitors and search engines
Can your buyers find your company’s website? Do your pages rank highly for terms your buyers use in their searches?
In the last article I explained how to divide your site into a Core Website and a Blog to improve both search engine rankings and visitor conversions.
Now we’ll look at how to create pages for your Core Website that rank and convert, pages that do well in the search engines and that meet the needs of your buyers.
It’s not as hard as you might think.
1. Draft a core set of pages
Start with a framework for the core site. Use a simple hierarchy of categories for the framework.
Make each page in the core website on a different topic related to your domain, your offer, and your company.
Draft the copy for each page. Write a page that is tightly on-topic and at least 300 words long.
2. Find a competitive keyword for each page
Once you have a draft for a page, you’ll likely see that it has a natural topic. But that topic phrase may not be the best keyword.
If the topic phrase is too competitive, then find another one that lots of people search for, but that is less competitive.
If it’s too obscure, find a term that is more competitive. You can use Google’s keyword research tool to find these phrases.
3. Optimize the page for that keyword.
Once you’ve decided on a keyword for the page, edit to optimize the page for that keyword phrase. The page will still be about your original topic. It will still please your visitors. Now it will also satisfy the search engine because the engine will know what your page is about.
Make these changes on your page:
- Title tag – Use your keyword phrase in the title tag, preferably at the beginning of the title.
- Meta description – Since the meta description is used by the search engine to display the “snippet” on the search engine results page (SERP), use your keyword in the meta description.
- Body content – Use your keyword in your content – in the header, sub-header, in the “alt” text for images, and in the body text.
- Outbound links – Use your keyword phrase in the anchor text to link out to other websites.
How many times should your keyword phrase appear on the page? Enough times so it is clear to the reader and to the search engine that it is the dominant phrase. But not so many that it reads awkwardly. “Stuffing” your page with keywords will make a bad impression on the reader and the search engine.
4. Publish the page
Assess where your pages rank for their keywords. You can do this manually. Or, if you want a tool that tracks keyword rankings automatically, subscribe to the PRO version at SEOmoz.
5. Attract inbound links to raise each page’s rank
Brian Clark suggest these ways to attract links to your pages.
- Guest writing – Write a guest post on a relevant blog in your industry. You can link back to your home page in your bio, or even better, to a piece of cornerstone content on your site like a white paper or an e-book.
- Social networking – Participate in the prominent social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google +. Keep the focus on what you can do to “establish and grow relationships with influencers.” More people will see your content and link to pages on your site when you develop an authentic network.
- Linking out – You will initiate a dialogue with companies and writers in your niche when you find opportunities to link to their sites.
With your Blog you have free rein to write on a wide range of topics. And with your Core Website you can develop quality content on a tightly focused set of topics. The pages on your Core Website have the potential to rank and convert well.
- It’s a site where pages are well-defined; each one is about something in particular.
- Each page is strong – it ranks well in the search engines, visitors stay to read it, and it converts well.
- The Core Site will get stronger and stronger as you continue to add landing pages for new rich content: white papers, cheat sheets, checklists, infographics, videos, and webinars.