Keywords used to be the end all and be all of SEO. Back in the day you would find the top keywords based on search volume and stuff your page as much as possible to help those searching find you. Those days are gone, as Google started to penalize websites for such activity. Today your SEO strategy needs to be more comprehensive. A heavy focus needs to be on the functionality of your site. The speed of your site, especially how quickly it loads on mobile, is extremely important to how your site is ranked by Google. Other key components of your SEO strategy include backlinks and meta descriptions. But despite the changes to Google’s algorithms, keywords still do play a role in how you are found, which is critical for B2B lead generation, so you need to have a keyword strategy.
For small and midsized B2B companies, we have found that auditing your current site and those of your competitors is a great place to start. Understanding your competition is critical, and here’s why.
It Helps You Identify Gaps
When you look to identify your keywords, you need to consider a few things, including search volume, whether you rank for that keyword and if so, are you actually getting any traffic. This is a great place to start. Many people don’t spend the time to understand if the words they are ranking for are actually bringing visitors to their site, which is critical for B2B lead generation. By looking in the mirror and reviewing your performance you can see what is working for you and what is not. But that only gives you one piece of the puzzle. If you then go through the same exercise for a handful of key competitors, you can start to easily identify where you have gaps. Are there keywords used by your competitors that you are missing? How does their organic search volume compare to yours overall? While you aren’t looking to replicate your competitors keyword list, it is important to ensure you aren’t missing out on key terms that are critical to your industry.
It Helps You Understand Commonalities Across Your Competitors
Understanding what you are ranking for compared to your competitor is a great starting point but if you take it one step further and analyze the handful of competitors against each other you will likely find common keywords that are important for your industry. When you do, it is important to understand how you are performing relative to your competition so you can decide where you need to invest your efforts in those terms. Are there keywords you should be ranking higher? Maybe it’s time to start blogging on that topic or developing other thought leadership material to augment you content. Putting great content out there for your prospects to consume will definitely help with lead generation. It’s great to see how you compare to your competition but also comparing them against each other will help you see which terms are most common for your industry. You then want to take those terms and review the average monthly search volume, the keyword difficulty and your currently rank to decide if you need to improve or if this is an area you need to invest in as you are not even on the map.
It Helps You See Where You Stand Out
You also want to understand if there are keywords that your competitors are not using that make you unique in your industry. Do you have a niche offering or a point of differentiation that helps you stand out? Or if you share common keywords with your competitors are there ones that you are dominating that you need to continue to focus on? Where are you performing well? Don’t think for a minute that if you have a strong performance that you can sit back and take it easy. Understanding your strength helps you with your content planning as you want to continue to deliver great resources and augment your content. You need to continuously be analyzing and refining your strategy or your competitors will dominate.
As I started, keywords are only one component of your SEO strategy, but they are still an important part and understanding the landscape and what your competitors are doing (or not doing) is critical to you developing a sound SEO strategy.
Want to learn more? Read 5 Common SEO Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Understanding your competitors is point #2 but read the blog to learn 4 other great tips!
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