Today’s guest post is written by Anna Barcelos

Two weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal reported Google will be changing its search engine (“The changes to search are among the biggest in the company’s history…”) to include semantic search.

Semantic search will help the search engine to better understand meanings of words to provide more relevant search results.

Not long after that article, CNET published a story about how Google plans to penalize “over-optimized” sites to make it fair for sites that produce high quality content which may not be optimized for search.

Because Google is still the top search engine used, B2B marketers need to, now, more than ever, create quality, engaging content and include meta data to have it display in search engine results.

The focus of B2B content is to educate potential buyers and inspire them to action. B2B organizations invest in content production primarily for lead generation. Therefore, search engine optimization is very important to help direct web visitors to that content.

So, what’s a B2B marketer to do to achieve that healthy balance?

Four Ways to Optimize Content for B2B Search

  1. Always include meta data in your content. Meta tags are still, and will continue to be, how Google and other search engines index your content in their databases. Meta tags include your page/browser title, page description, and headings (H1s). Keywords should be used in these tags and within the body of the content, especially the first paragraph. Remember: When you’re writing, always think of providing value to your audience first and then optimize the content with relevant keywords in the meta tags and page content. Not the other way around. There are countless articles on how you should “write for your audience, not the search engines.” I agree wholeheartedly with that. So does Google.
  2. Work with writers to make sure they know how to optimize content for search. If you’re not writing your own content, make sure you spend some time explaining to the writers how meta tags work and the importance of including them within the content. We mostly work with clients who write their own content. After thorough research and analysis of their industry and competitors, we provide them with a list of primary and secondary keywords and educate them on how to incorporate these keywords into their content.
  3. Place relevant internal links within content and seek inbound links with relevant external websites. Whenever possible, place relevant internal links (links to other pages within your website) within your content. Do this to educate or further inform your readers. Don’t go nuts with links because you will be doing your website a disservice (Remember the first paragraph of my post?). Most importantly, if there are relevant websites that allow you to place link(s) to your site (inbound links), this will rank well with Google as it adds credibility to your site. I emphasize relevant sites your audience could turn to for additional resources.
  4. Always track your progress. There are many tools (free and paid) out there which track your search engine marketing efforts. We use a combination of them. Google analytics and Webmaster tools are excellent (free) resources you should be using often to track important metrics. From an organization’s perspective, conversion is the measure of success for these efforts. It’s the reason we’re creating content in the first place. It’s important to track how many leads are being generated as a result of your optimized content marketing efforts.

This is a pretty hefty topic that doesn’t have to end here. Are enough customers and prospects finding your organization online, and if not what are you doing about it?

 Anna Barcelos is the director of client solutions at ten24 Web , a web technology and online marketing firm that works with clients to achieve the best results from their online marketing initiatives. You can reach her on Twitter, LinkedIn , or via email.