What makes for a good B2B website from an SEO, user and marketing perspective? Well firstly — banish bland corporate pronouncements and vague promises and focus on addressing your customers directly instead. Opt for a website that is lean and optimised for users and performance instead. These B2B website pointers will take you beyond the basics so that you can deliver high quality client experiences (and before we start, please make sure that your site is SEO-optimised).
The word ‘solutions’ can be genuinely appropriate in a B2B setting, but more often than not it is a sign of a business who doesn’t quite know who they are yet. In fact, vague terms like ‘solutions’ have come to encapsulate all that is bad about B2B copywriting — being indirect and sounding like corporate drones.
- Instil confidence in your brand by using precise and clear language instead. Know when to use jargon and when your customer is likely to need a phrasebook to guide them. Industry jargon needs to be defined and FAQs are a great way to enlighten the user and capture key long-tail search traffic.
- Too many B2B websites leave the user puzzled as to what it is they actually do — so spell it out. Focus on your core offering on your homepage, using your services pages as an opportunity to go into more detail. Keyword research isn’t just a perfunctory SEO tactic, it should be at the core of how you speak about what you do — there are loads of pearls of wisdom lurking in there. Content relevance is one of the key ranking factors, so ignore it at your peril.
- Be ambitious with your web copy — it will make your business a lot more likely to resonate with both users and search engines. Consider how content downloads like guides and resources can help you win at both sales and inbound marketing.
- Be direct with your calls-to-action: be clear on what actions users need to take next and what they should expect from your service.
Schema & visuals
Usually more of a B2C SEO tactic, schema is still useful for B2B businesses and webmasters. Using schema means giving search engines as much information as possible about your web content, including details like location, reviews, product details, content author, publication date etc. Implementation of schema is usually a task for a web developer, but it’s becoming easier all the time and Google lets you test your structured data for free. By giving search engines more data, you will improve your website’s ability to rank.
B2B websites are often prone to bad stock imagery — and there are plenty of stock imagery websites that churn out corny and dated photography. Don’t fall into this B2B trap — use fresh, modern imagery instead (check out this new stock image site).
Explore video too; it can make your website feel much more 3D and interesting. Custom animation and graphics can also be very effective, as long as they are used in moderation (avoid looking too gimmicky).
Online, your personality counts. When you have mere seconds to convince someone to stay on your page, it’s important that you put your best branding foot forward. Your brand personality comes from a lot more than just a logo and tagline; it’s about everything that you do — from your employees, to social media and customer service.
- Sometimes B2B businesses are afraid to let their hair down, opting for safe corporate blue instead; this is often at the detriment of their online presence and conversions — brands should be aiming to be more memorable.
- An interesting team history deserves to be shared — make your about us page sing with fun company facts and stories. Even the simple act of putting real names and figures on your website will make a big difference from generic ‘mission’ copy.
- Spoof and humour can work really well online, especially in online videos (this Microsoft camp video is hilarious). Don’t be afraid to be a bit cheeky sometimes — social media is the perfect creative outlet for this. Your blog should also be a place to let loose with your brand voice — take full advantage of your content strategy to help build brand personality.
‘Stop in the tracks’ content
You want content that awakens people’s curiosity and hunger for information — aim to stop people in their tracks. To get users engaging with your content, try to invest more of your content budget on high-level ‘wow’ projects.
Facts and stats are best displayed in visual formats like infographics. The B2C lookbook can be translated into a B2B setting with a visual guide or microsite. Being known for exceptional niche content is a great way to leverage media and promotional relationships with other websites — having a great content brand is a huge asset in the modern digital landscape (and content relevance is an important ranking factor too).
B2B websites are not that different to B2C ones. Businesses need to start taking latest content and UX principles on board in order to move away from an outdated brochure website model. What do you think makes for a good B2B website, and why?
This month's resources article comes from our Guest blogger, Gareth Simpson – Technical SEO. Gareth Simpson has worked as an SEO for almost a decade now, recently founding his own content agency in Bristol. His SEO specialisms are content and blogger outreach...and he likes green tea!