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Dean Mueller
Partner at Real Results Marketing

About 90 percent of Google traffic comes from page one placement in search results. Conversely, less than 10 percent click on the second page of the search results. Distributors must edge out the competition by making their website visible to and preferred by search engines.

Distributors can positively affect SEO for their sites with a clear strategy and plan. What that plan looks like depends largely on your company’s overall goals. Are you trying to increase conversions, provide self-service options, improve wallet share with existing customers, or expand your customer base? Some plans may also include promoting content, including application information, case studies and whitepapers.

To improve SEO, distributors would be wise to start with a basic website audit to ensure your site is free of issues, mobile-optimized, fast and secure. After an audit is completed and errors are fixed there are four ways B2B companies can improve SEO. These include:

  1. A keyword strategy to rank higher in Google. Several tools make this job easier. If needed, engage the assistance of SEO and content professionals to ensure you are reaching the right audience and targeting the best keywords for your site.
  2. Gain backlinks where possible. Google uses backlinks (links on other websites that link back to your own) as an important indicator of a site’s popularity and authority. Start by checking backlinks of competitive sites to get a sense of your competition and develop ideas for your own website. Not all backlinks are the same. Some “black hat” sites’ backlinks may hinder SEO; if a non-relevant site links to your site, it is possible to disavow those backlinks.
  3. Invest in great product content. Content is often referred to as the “holy grail” of SEO. For distributors, having high-quality product content is essential. In distribution, many companies have access to the same product content; differentiate your site from others by tweaking the content to target your customers. Start with your top 100 products and optimize and/or add to the content with relevant and useful data. Other content on your site, such as blogs and application information, is also important. Focus on quality over quantity and write like you are talking directly to a customer.
  4. Prioritize local SEO. The final SEO component distributors should optimize is local SEO because most distributors have branch locations. Local SEO starts with Google MyBusiness (google.com/business/) for a free listing. Bing Place (bingplaces.com) should be a second resource to ensure your information is accurate. Your name, address and phone number must be consistent in all of your online mentions (website, directories, listings). Not that (555) 555-1515 is different in Google’s view than 555.555.1515 and 555-555-1515. Just be consistent.

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes about three-and-a-half months for targeted content to appear higher in search results.

The good news is that while search engines change all the time, the fundamentals generally remain the same. Provide solid, relevant and useful information to your customers and prospects for a higher probability of search engines looking on your site favorably. If your company has an internal digital expert, terrific! If not, consider hiring one who ideally has experience in B2B distribution.

Dean Mueller is a partner at Real Results Marketing, a firm that specializes in helping distributors market their companies in a changing world.

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