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A change to insights on Google Business Profiles

By Rachael Clark  |  February 27, 2023

If your company uses a Google Business Profile, you will have experienced many changes to this platform over the last couple of years. And this month Google retires the distinction between branded, direct and discovery searches. Read on to find out why this is important and what you need to do next. 

Changes to GBP

What’s a Google Business Profile?

Google Business Profiles (formerly Google My Business listings) are a key tool for organisations. They appear on the right-hand side of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), and on Google Maps with key business information and CTAs.

This rich set of information makes them an important piece of digital real estate, with the local map often appearing before any other organic listings. 

Listings can be created manually or you may find Google has started one for you; they can be populated with user generated content and are often carefully curated by your digital marketing team or agency. 

What’s changing?

Over the years GBP profiles have become increasingly more engaging with visual features such as photos, videos and product imagery within the listing. Most recently Google has changed how you access and edit key parts of your profile, moving key parts of this functionality within the SERP rather than through the back-end platform. 

In addition to this, Google has changed how it categorises the reporting available from your profiles, most notably how it handles user searches

What were the types of searches?

Up until now Google classified the way users found your business profile into three categories: branded searches, direct searches and discovery searches.  

  • Direct Searches: These were people who found your business profile searching for your business name or address, e.g. “Sharp Ahead Reading.”  
  • Discovery Searches: These were people who find your business profile searching for a category, product, or service that your business offers, e.g. “B2B digital marketing agency.” 
  • Branded Searches: These were people who found your listing searching for a brand related to your business e.g. “Sharp Ahead.” 

These numbers were a way to gauge not only when your profile was being served, but also the level of brand awareness amongst searchers – which was particularly useful when marketing a physical location such as a coffee shop or coworking space – with the all-important discovery searches indicating how many users found your listing who may not have been aware of your brand.  

What will this effect?

If you’ve automated any reporting on these metrics through Google’s API (such as Google’s Looker Studio) you’ll need to get these updated and replaced with new metrics. 

What should I analyse now?

The performance metrics on Google Business Profiles now fall into two categories – how people found your listing and what action they take from it:

  • Views: These are how many people saw your business profile, broken down by the platform and device that they’re on.  
  • Searches: These show the search terms that people used that returned your business profile in the results. This is a useful addition to the platform and can be used as a replacement for the categorised search metrics, allowing you to analyse whether your listing is found through branded or generic searches. 
  • Plus all the interaction metrics you’d expect – calls, messages, direction requests and website clicks.  

What do we think?

The categorised search types were a great way of analysing the performance of your business profile at a glance. However, the loss of these metrics is balanced by the addition of the search breakdown within GBP – giving digital marketers clarity on what exactly is triggering your GBP profile, which can inform your SEO strategy. Top tip: If you find you’re not ranking for generic search terms consider your description, categories, products and services and…  

If you need support with your Google Business Profile or B2B digital marketing strategy, get in touch with us today for a free 30 minute consultation 

Practical Tips For B2B SEO Using Google's EEAT Guidelines
Practical Tips For B2B SEO Using Google's EEAT Guidelines

Practical Tips For B2B SEO Using Google’s E‑E‑A‑T Guidelines

By Rachael Clark  |  February 2, 2023

E-E-A-T for B2B SEO

First things first, what is the original E-A-T?

E-A-T is the summation of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines which provides an eye-watering 168 page document to help “webmasters understand what Google looks for in a page.”

Whilst Google state that E-A-T is not a direct ranking factor (i.e. a factor that helps determine how well your content ranks for different keywords/phrases in the search results), there are practical applications of these guidelines that are direct ranking factors. 

Confused yet?

Let’s take a step back and look at what E-A-T stands for.

  • Expertise : Having a high level of knowledge or skill in a particular field or topic. This could be in the form of a qualification or education. E.g. a certified WordPress web developer is more qualified to discuss setting up a new WordPress website than someone who has read a few blogs on the topic! There is also space for ‘everyday expertise’ such as a blogger who reviews restaurants, without necessarily having expert credentials
  • Authority: This centres around your reputation in a given field. Are you a go-to source on a particular subject matter? Do you have strong reviews (third party as well as customer quotes)? Are you recommended by other experts in the fields? Do you have lots of content related to that topic?
  • Trustworthiness: This focuses on legitimacy, transparency and accuracy and is particularly key for YMYL content where the wrong information could be very damaging if inaccurate. However, this is still highly relevant for all webmasters. For example: adding in authors for articles and blog content or citing and linking to external sources when referencing quotes, stats etc.

This ultimately boils down to Google’s ambition to further elevate the quality of the SERPs, with high quality, original content written with credibility.

This seems pretty all-encompassing, so why the extra E?

E = Experience

This extra E stands for Experience which, granted, seems very similar to Expertise but there is quite a distinct difference.

  • E for Experience. Google defines this as content that can demonstrate “that it was produced with some degree of experience, such as with actual use of a product, having actually visited a place or communicating what a person experienced”

In short – Google wants to see that the content is written by individuals who have ‘first-hand experience’ of the topic.

Why Optimise for E-E-A-T?

If E-E-A-T isn’t a direct ranking factor, then why optimise content to meet these guidelines?

The key is how you translate the guidelines into things Google can measure. Google’s Danny Sullivan helps explain:

How can B2B marketers create great E-E-A-T content?

Quite often the guidelines from Google are very B2C focused so we’ve compiled some tips to help B2B marketers elevate content to E-E-A-T standards:

Experience:
  • Mention your years of experience: E.g. Helping leading companies transform their XXX for the past 20 years
  • Link to Case Studies: Cite and link to examples of work with customers that highlights your breadth of experience on that subject matter. Where possible, add links to case studies using anchor text that is relevant to the page you’re linking to as this will provide other SEO benefits for your site
  • Embed ‘How to’ or ‘Explanatory’ videos: Adding a video into your content that provides more information about the topic (or solution/service) can not only show your experience but also help keep visitors engaged with your content.
    • Top Tip: To also help your page SEO, make sure to add the keyword/phrase you want that page to rank for into the Title and Description of your video. Plus, if you use YouTube embed, this helps your overall video view count and therefore your VSEO – a win win!

An example of integrating a company's years of experience as part of Google's E-E-A-T guidelines

Expertise:
  • Select authors carefully: Assign articles and blogs to individuals within your organisation with higher levels of expertise in that subject matter
  • Create author bios: Create individual author pages which all blogs/articles to an author page which details more about their background and expertise in that field. Consider adding links in the bio to other sources highlighting their expertise (e.g. if they’re a member of an independent body or even links to their LinkedIn profile)
  • Don’t regurgitate: Showcase your expertise by adding your own opinion on the topic at hand. Ideally this should be backed up with evidence such as research, polls and/or citing credible third party sources
  • Structure your content based on search intent: Think about the audience of your content and the intent behind a search that might bring them to your content. Where relevant, create digestible sections that directly respond to this intent. This structure will also form the basis of your H2s, H3s and ‘table of contents’ at the top of longer form content – all fantastic ways to boost your rankings
  • Link to related content on your site: Internal links let Google know that you have more to say on the topic, or related topic. This also provides an improved UX, making it easier for the visitor to flow between highly relevant content on your site
  • Link to external sites: This signals to Google that you have researched the subject matter and are supporting your content by linking to trustworthy resources
  • Collaborate: The content doesn’t always have to come from you! Consider bringing in other industry experts to work with you on a rounded piece of content

This article from the Innovation Centre Knowledge Gateway in Essex perfectly highlights how they’ve selected the right individual, the Innovation Director, to talk on the subject of Scale Ups.

Adding the author's name and job title to a blog will showcase the expertise of the organisation. This forms an important part of creating E-E-A-T content

Authority:
  • Build up related content: If you have 1 or 2 pages on a particular topic and your competitor has 20, then chances are, they’ll rank more highly than you if one of their pages is similar to one of yours. To gain authority, you need to build a bank of content related to your field of expertise that are also shaped around your target keywords and phrases
  • Integrate third-party verified reviews: Adding in third party trusted reviews from sources such as Trustpilot or Capterra, provides an immediate source of both authority and trustworthiness for visitors
  • Cite key partnerships: If your work with other trusted organisations, then integrate this within your content. Adding external links for these organisations will also provide an SEO boost – but don’t forget to ensure external links open in a new window!
  • Build backlinks for key content: Backlinks to a site are a key measure of your overall authority. Links that direct to pages deeper in your site (not just the homepage), give that content even higher authority. Look at the top 1-3 websites ranking top for the keyword/phrase you want to rank for and identify the types of sites they are receiving links from to help inform your own backlink strategy

Barbour ABI cites government and independent organisations which help builds both authority and trust with the visitor.

Citing third parties within your content helps showcase your authority and helps further support your SEO ranking by following Google's E-E-A-T guidelines

Trustworthiness:

Arguably the E-E-A portions work together to build trust amongst your visitors. However, we have pulled out a few additional tips to help bolster this:

  • Check references: If citing third-party statistics, make sure these are accurate
  • Highlight awards won: What better way to show that you’re a trusted organisation than highlighting that your products, solutions or services have received awards in your field?
  • Keep content up-to-date: If you have ‘evergreen’ content on your site, then make sure it’s updated to ensure accuracy
    • Top Tip: If updating a ‘trends’ blog for the subsequent year, make changes and then update the year on the blog and its related Title and Meta Description
  • Show your contact details: In B2B, a phone number and email address displayed prominently in the header and footer as well as the Contact Page shows that you’re a real company, with real people
  • Refresh your Google Business Profile: When users search for your brand, the content of your Google Business Profile may well be the first thing they see. Make sure this is up-to-date and making the most of the enhanced features it offers (e.g. products/services)

E-E-A-T helps beyond SEO!

We’ve talked here about E-E-A-T because of its relevance to B2B SEO. But Google isn’t your only stakeholder! It’s worth remembering that almost all of the E-E-A-T factors are also relevant for engaging and converting your website visitors. For example, third party reviews will help prospective customers decide whether your product or service meets their needs, and including contact details on your page will help them to get in touch when they are ready for a conversation with sales. So both of those things will increase conversions from your website visitors.

In general, following the E-E-A-T guidelines will make your content more persuasive and more engaging for your human readership, as well as more attractive to Google – with all of the marketing benefits that flow from that.

Want to have these helpful tips at your fingertips? We’ve curated the checklists above into a downloadable E-E-A-T checklist that you keep on file for whenever you’ve got new content to create. We hope you find it useful! 
If you’d like to continue the conversation or find out more about SEO and B2B copywriting services we offer at Sharp Ahead, please do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!
Microscope over search results of a tablet illustrating SEO

What To Look For In A B2B SEO Audit – The 6-Step Framework For Success

By Rachael Clark  |  August 11, 2021

For many B2B marketers, the logical starting point for their SEO strategy is an audit—after all how do you know what to fix if you don’t know what is broken, or how to prioritise content creation if you don’t know what the search landscape even looks like?

A B2B SEO audit should be both a pragmatic and strategic launchpad for your objectives, but how do you know if the audit itself is any good?

Here are our pro tips for what to look for:

1. The Three Key Areas

A good SEO audit will cover three key areas: on-page, off-page, and technical.

They of course have a lot of cross-over and the key is identifying which elements of each of these should be prioritised.

In a perfect world of unlimited time and resources, you would fix every issue—but sometimes you have to be pragmatic and consider the ease and impact of each of the changes being suggested.

What your audit may reveal:

  • On-page: are page titles and descriptions in place, unique and of the right length; primary keyword is in the H1 and in the page content; do you have internal and external sitelinks on the page; is the content not comprehensive enough to rank?
  • Off-page: what sort of page authority do you have? Where are your strongest backlinks and where is there more opportunity?
  • Technical: page speed issues, existence of 404s, whether schema is used correctly (or at all!)
SEO Venn Diagram

2. UX

UX and SEO are inextricably linked. Things like the information architecture and the navigation design are fundamental to both. You simply can’t achieve success with one without the other.

What your audit may reveal: Pages, posts, categories focused on the internal structure of a business, rather than that of the searcher’s intent.

A good SEO audit will also include pragmatic UX tips and advice on site performance (which has never been more important since the announcement of the Core Web Vitals criteria).

3. Understand the B2B Decision Maker and Influencers

Delivering the best SEO strategy requires an in-depth understanding of the audience. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are you trying to speak to?
  • What are their challenges, frustrations and goals?
  • How do your solutions/products/services help address or support the above?

Consider this step “the method acting of the search world” – get into character and think like they think in order to identify the right search terms for your business. If you have the time/budget available, then interviewing existing customers can help provide you with insights into the buying patterns to bolster your own efforts.

4. Focus on the Funnels

A good SEO audit will provide prioritised recommendations for keywords and content based on where in the funnel your prospects and customer are.

Depending on your business objectives and growth strategy you might need to focus on getting more prospects into the top of the funnel or more urgently require conversion optimised bottom of the funnel content and pages. Your SEO audit should reveal those key terms and opportunities and help focus your marketing resources in the right areas.

Top of the Funnel (TOF): the audit may reveal new opportunities for broader trends in your market, search themes or innovations.

Middle of the Funnel (MOF): the audit may reveal closely related products, services or even business challenges for which you could rank.

Bottom of the Funnel (BOF): the sorts of keywords that match your product or services and indicate strong consideration or purchase intent, e.g., product pricing, product recommendations—the sorts of keywords you may also be bidding on in paid search.

When identifying terms, it is vital to put yourself in the position of your prospect and recognise the key differences between B2B and B2C SEO:

B2B SEO B2C SEO
Low-Volume but High Value Keywords High-Volume but often Low Value Keywords
Complex & Often Long Sales Funnels Shorter Decision-Making & Simpler Sales Funnel
Smaller More Specific Audiences Broader Audiences

Low volume keywords do not necessarily mean they should be ignored. Consider this Ease/Impact Matrix when deciding what terms will be relevant for your business:

Ease and Impact Matrix with High Impact Easy to Implement Highlighted

Examples of what may impact where a keyword/phrase is placed on the Ease/Impact diagram:

  • Keyword difficulty
  • The balance of optimising existing content or needing to create content from scratch
  • Overall business value of a lead/conversion
  • Credibility in that space

Understanding the competitive landscape is key for an SEO audit. But what is a competitor? In the SERPs, it’s whomever is ranking for the term you want to rank for – not just who you see as providing a directly comparable product offering.

5. Competitors

A thorough audit can even reveal new competitors as well opportunities that your competitors have missed, and help you gauge just how much work is going to be involved in moving your competitors out of a top position.

A really thorough audit will even look at your competitors off-page authority and make suggestions for backlinks and potential partnerships.

6. Remember, go back to basics

SEO isn’t rocket science. If users aren’t searching the terms you’ve focused, then it doesn’t matter how beautifully crafted your webpage is, they’ll never find it organically.

Steer clear of falling in to the trap of “we want to ‘own’ term X”. This is often a result of internal politics and can derail efforts that will actually deliver tangible business value.

That’s not to say that other “non SEO” content doesn’t have a place on your website. You may have pages on your site that won’t themselves rank but you drive to them from other channels, such as email, or you may want to “start” a conversation where one doesn’t currently exist – let’s face it, someone had to say “digital transformation” first. This page itself is an example of a blog that is unlikely to gain too much by way of organic traction but provides value to our existing clients, social followers and email contacts…plus a few internal links back to our main SEO page!

Obligatory Sales Pitch

And of course, we’d love to help with you with an SEO audit and even provide training and support to your internal teams, just get in touch to find out how we can help!

You can find out how we’ve helped other B2B organisations by having a look at our case studies.

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