Here at TopLine Comms, we specialise in helping tech companies get SEO right so that they can focus on what they do best – disrupting and innovating. Here are ten of our top SEO tips to help your technology company start climbing the Google rankings.
1. Have a solid set of keywords
The first step is to understand what keywords your prospects are searching for. Put yourself in the searcher’s shoes: they’re sitting at a keyboard, typing terms into Google, but what exactly are they looking for? Are they looking for information, or are they ready to make a purchase?
Keywords are intrinsically linked with the sales funnel. If you’re interested in lead gen, you need to target bottom-of-funnel keywords, for example: “[specific type of software] solution.” Whereas if you’re targeting the top of the sales funnel, keywords should be more informational in nature. For example, “what is [general category of software]” or “what does [specific type of software] do?” Most technology companies will need to cater to all parts of the sales funnel, with a variety of content ready to serve users at various stages of the buying journey.
You also need to consider whether your site can actually rank for your chosen keywords. The art of choosing keywords is all about balance. Keywords need to be relevant, first and foremost, but they also need to balance user intent with search volume with competitiveness. This is especially true of newer tech companies that have yet to establish themselves as authorities in the eyes of Google. There might be high traffic volumes for broad terms like ‘business software,’ but smaller software companies will struggle to compete if the top search results return a mix of aggregators and high-quality editorial sites like Wired, TechCrunch and ZDNet.
2. Review the SERPs
The next step in SEO for tech companies is to understand which sites are already ranking for your target keywords. This means studying the SERPs – the search engine results pages.
Study the organic competition: what user intent does it address? How long is it? Who wrote it? What structure? What images do they use? What URLs, H1s and metadata? What external links and sources? What keywords and phrases? Does the SERP include a ‘featured snippet’?
For each of these questions, it’s a matter of finding out what works, and emulating it on your site. Let’s look at the last question in a bit more detail. Featured snippets are the handy answer boxes which Google provides for certain searches (see example below). When it comes to optimising your website, try to target an existing snippet. If the snippet is answering a question, for instance, make sure to include an answer on your site that is straightforward and easy for Google to return.
3. Offer helpful content
The key to making your content ‘better’ than other results is to make it as high-quality as possible. The days of keyword spamming are long gone, and Google is continually improving its algorithms to prioritise useful, human-readable content. Ultimately, ‘good content’ for SEO means that the website is useful for the user, and that it satisfies what they’re looking for.
Consider having multiple pages for various stages of the sales funnel. Product focused pages for the bottom-of-funnel users who are already looking for a particular product or service should be distinct from useful, content-filled pages that answer the questions of top-of-funnel users.
4. Have the right tools to measure and optimise
If you can’t measure, you have no way of knowing what is working and what isn’t. Without feedback, you couldn’t know if the latest algorithm update made your keyword rankings plummet, sending your organic traffic off a cliff-edge. That’s why using the right tools is a critical part of SEO for tech companies.
Fortunately, there are plenty of good options for software to track keyword performance, watch inbound links, and crawl your site for errors. We primarily use Moz here at TopLine, as well as free tools like Google Analytics and Search Console (a must have for any company taking SEO seriously).
5. Check your site speed
In 2018, Google started using speed as a ranking factor in search results. Just recently, Google also announced that they’re going to name and shame slow sites. Now is the time to make your website lightning fast. Tools like Lighthouse, Search Console and PageSpeed Insights are all great ways to find out what steps you can take to improve the speed. Speed isn’t only crucial for SEO; it also massively impacts onsite conversion rates. Google revealed in 2018 that as the number of elements—text, titles, images—on a page goes from 400 to 6,000, the probability of conversion drops 95%, So keep it light and speedy.
6. Carry out regular health checks
It’s also important to stay on top of your site from a technical perspective. A lot can go wrong (if we had a £ for every time a few staging site anomalies found their way into a live environment…), and potential impacts vary from pesky (extra errors flagged in Search Console) to catastrophic (entire site deindexed after someone left a trailing slash in the roboits.txt file).
Putting regular checks in place (frequency dependent on the depth of your health check) keeps you honest. That means that if something does go wrong, it won’t go undiagnosed for too long. Google Search Console and Google Analytics are ideal tools for spotting mistakes, like a stray no index tag. Beyond being a useful practice for anyone doing SEO for tech companies, it’s also simply good practice.
7. Keep your content fresh
While it may not be the primary focus for B2B technology companies, creating content is key to staying on top in the search results. A regular blog can both contribute to the company’s profile and help when it comes to SEO.
Content should take two basic forms:
1) In-depth evergreen pieces that are relevant to your prospects. Make yourself a useful source of information. This content needs to be regularly updated. The world of technology moves fast, so it shouldn’t be too challenging to find topics that lend themselves to continuous improvement and change – anything based on regularly refreshed data would suffice (whether that’s your proprietary data or data you aggregate from other sources will depend on what you collect). TIP: don’t update the URL the blog resides on. Just add notes to the date of each update. This blog will slowly but surely increase its raking position. It’ll also organically attract backlinks as related stakeholders (industry bloggers, media etc.) will inevitably link to it as a source.
2) Regular contributions to reinforce relevance, expertise, and optimised internal linking opportunities. These are shorter posts that can be produced by anyone in your team with subject matter expertise and a willingness to write. Regular contributions to the blog reinforce the relevance and expertise of the business in the eyes of both Google and customers.
It’s also worth thinking multichannel. A blog doesn’t have to just be a blog; it could also be an infographic on social, reposted as an article on LinkedIn or made into slides for SlideShare.
8. Build links and brand mentions (implied links)
Another step toward building your brand’s authority is to build links pointing to your website from other websites. One of the many things that Google takes into consideration when calculating a site’s ranking is the authority of sites which link to it. A few well-placed links on other authoritative and semantically relevant sites can give your site a real boost.
Good digital PR is the best way to do this. Directory links simply don’t cut it anymore, and these days, sites need links from the best publications in the industry. There are plenty of publications for software companies and technology companies to reach out to, from the niche to the general, and a bit of targeted media relations can make a substantial difference to the number of times your brand’s mentioned in a positive light and your inbound link profile.
9. Own the SERPs
You’ve made it this far on your SEO journey, so don’t let your hard work go to waste with a poorly formatted result on the results page: Use your title tag and meta description to grab the viewer’s attention, show that you have what they’re looking for, and encourage them to click through. A good meta-description should include the keyword, and a variation, as well as a call to action, or CTA.
Your company also needs to consider the various forms that SERPs can take – it’s not just a list of blue text links anymore. We’ve already covered featured snippets, but it’s also important to make use of the ‘People also ask’ feature (After all, if people are asking questions about your brand it’s worth your while to draf the answers yourself, rather than leaving it to your competitors).
Businesses should also acclaim their Google My Business profile (even if you don’t do business locally), as it’s often the first thing that show above the fold in the SERPs when a prospect does a brand search. It will feature customer reviews and images of the business. Proper management is an important part of online brand reputation.
SEO for tech companies is ongoing. For your site to stay relevant and authoritative, it needs to appear regularly in industry press, earn those links and brand mentions, and analyse relevant topics and trends in onsite content. If you’re interested in finding out how long SEO might take then check out our blog on the topic.
Bonus: Helpful links
If you’re looking to learn more about SEO, check out Google’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide – packed full of useful tips and tricks.
SEO can be a complex topic, and sometimes it’s worth reaching out to the experts. Some businesses, especially smaller technology companies, may lack the resources and staff to stay on top of their SEO. Fortunately, experienced help is available at competitive prices. At TopLine Comms, we’re experts at digital PR and SEO. To find out what we can do for your company, get in touch.