If you’re in B2B marketing, then you likely already know how important it is for your website to appear high in search engines for targeted keywords related to your software. If you’ve been living under a rock and you don’t know why SEO is important, let me help get you up to speed. According to recent research from Google, 71% of B2B buyers start their search for business products and services with a generic search query on Google. After that, B2B researchers do an average of 12 searches before engaging with a specific brand’s site. Twelve!
But just knowing how important it is to focus on SEO doesn’t answer the age old question: How exactly do you get your website to appear high in search engine results pages? Fortunately, there are plenty of SEO resources out there to answer that question. Here are ten of our favorite blogs and tools (in no particular order) to help you optimize your site for search:
Moz (formerly SEOMoz) offers inbound marketing software to help you measure your search rankings, identify link opportunities, optimize your content, uncover errors on your websites, and more. And while they do offer a free 30-day trial, you don’t even have to use their software to learn from the experts at Moz. They have an outstanding blog that breaks down SEO topics in an easy to digest and understandable way. At Capterra, we are huge fans of their Whiteboard Friday videos, where Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin illustrates complex topics (like: Subdomains vs. Subfolders, Rel Canonical vs. 301, and How to Structure Links for SEO pictured above) on a whiteboard to help visual learners better grasp the subject.
Search Engine Land is aptly named, as it is a wonderland of anything and everything you may want to know about search engine optimization. At the time of my writing this post, they have published six new articles in the past 24 hours, which gives you some insight into how deep their content goes. Search Engine Land also has a sister site, Marketing Land, which covers marketing topics outside of search engine marketing, such as social media, marketing technology, mobile, and more. They also have a repository of useful How-to Guides, as well as up-to-the-minute news on the latest Google Algorithm updates.
Before you re-write your website copy, it helps to know which keywords you should be targeting in your online content. The Google Keyword Planner can help you come up with new keyword ideas, get the search volume for keywords you want to target, and compare which ones would drive the most traffic to your site. While it is primarily meant to organize your AdWords paid keyword campaigns, the free keyword tool can be extremely useful when thinking about how to title a blog post, create a headline for your landing page, or even what to name your products.
Yoast is a plug-in for WordPress that allows you to optimize your blog posts and website pages for specific keywords. It suggests places on your web page where you should include a target keyword, such as in the page title, meta description, the content of the page, and the URL. Yoast will also do an analysis on the page to tell you more about the positive and negative SEO cues. For example, Yoast will analyze the readability of your copy, look for the number of outbound links you provide, recommend word counts for your body and headlines, scan for images, and tell you whether you’ve ever used the same target keyword on another page before.
BuzzStream, like Moz, is a software solution for link building, PR, and social media to help businesses manage relationships with influencers. But they also have some free tools that are extremely helpful to SEO hopefuls. Have you ever created some awesome content and wanted to notify a list of people to ask them to share the content, link to it, or help you promote it? If so, then you know that building those media or influencer lists can be extremely time consuming and tedious. With BuzzStream, you can use their email research tool to insert a person’s name and company, and it will generate searches to help you uncover their email address. You can create a list of articles, and extract the parent domains of all of those links by uploading the list to BuzzStream. You can enter in a set of blog URLs and Buzzstream will help you build an outreach list by pulling down their blogrolls. The Link Building Query Generator helps you find potential link opportunities and saves them in a list. As far as free resources goes, these are some of the most helpful out there, especially if you are responsible for content marketing and PR for your software company, as well.
SEJ is a daily blog that spotlights trends and news in the SEO industry, but unlike some of the other blogs I’ve listed here, SEJ takes a community-based approach. All of the contributors to Search Engine Journal are independent or in-house marketing experts, who in addition to sharing helpful advice and how-to articles, also share real experiences and results they’ve achieved by using those tactics.
7. Quick Sprout
Quick Sprout is the brainchild of Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics. As a SaaS company founder himself, he knows a thing or two about optimizing software websites for search. In addition to a thorough blog with long form, detailed posts like 7 Lessons Learned by Publishing 300 Guest Posts and How to Boost Your Revenue through Upselling and Cross Selling, Neil also has a library of videos called “Quick Sprout University” to walk you through SEO challenges, ranging from beginner to advanced topics.
Ever wonder how your competitors are getting so many backlinks and ranking so well for the keywords you’re targeting? Buzzsumo can tell you. Simply type in the name of a company, website, or topic, and Buzzsumo will show you the most popular content on that subject, how many times it has been shared, and even what online influencers are talking about the topic. You can use their free search to get the top ten posts on any topic, but to get a full list of results, you have to upgrade to BuzzSumo Pro edition, which starts at $99/month.
WordStream is PPC software to help you manage your paid search campaigns, but they also offer a host of free tools to assist with SEO goals. To help come up with keyword suggestions and perform long-tail keyword research, you can use WordStream’s free keyword tools. Additionally, once you’ve started performing well in organic search and/or you’ve started running PPC campaigns, you can use their free website graders to determine how well you AdWords and Bing campaigns are set up, as well as how well optimized your landing page is for conversions.
Last but not least, Search Engine Watch is a blog dedicated to the latest breaking news in the search engine industry. A division of ClickZ, Search Engine Watch shares in depth articles about all topics related to search, such as Mobile search optimization, Local search, PPC, Video SEO, and more. Search Engine Watch also posts at least 3-4 new posts every day, so you can be sure that the information you’re reading is accurate and up-to-date in the ever-changing landscape of SEO.
Bonus: If you have specific questions about SEO for a business software company, check out these previous posts on our own B2B Software Marketing blog to get you started:
Curious to all of you other software marketers– what blogs, tools, and SEO resources have been most helpful to you in improving your search traffic? Share your suggestions in the comments!