7 Reasons Microsoft Partners Struggle with SEO Content
In FY15 we (Enfusen) completed 278 Microsoft Marketing Assessments of Microsoft Partners Sales & Marketing Automation Sophistication. This was done as part of the FY15 Program Microsoft Sales & Marketing Automation Charter Program (SMACP) and FY16 Program Microsoft Marketing Accelerator Program (MMAP). You can learn more about your Microsoft Marketing Assessment here.
What we found during this assessment process is that most (93%) of partners struggle from the same issues when working on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Below is a list of the most common issues and solutions that can be used to overcome them. Some of these solutions are very blunt as they relate to industry accepted strategies, but others involve a little more finesse. If you have questions about any of the strategies below, I invite you to leave a comment. If you would like to take part in the co-funded Microsoft Marketing Assessment you can do so at the bottom of this article.
SEO Content Issue 1: Syndicated Content
This shouldn’t be something that needs to be discussed in today’s marketing world. In 2012 Google started with their newest updates (if you can call 2012 updates “new” at this point). Both Panda and Penguin updates included elements that specifically targeted duplicate content, syndicated content, spun content, or re-purposed content. If you have these types of content on your site it will never rank. Plain and simple you cannot employ syndicated content as part of your SEO strategy.
Now I would not argue that syndicated content has some value when it comes to sales cycle content delivery, but it should never be published live on your website. If you’re guilty of this and would like your site to rank, you need to immediately delete ALL of your syndicated content. The $100 to $250 a month you’re paying a firm to post syndicated content on your site is stealing your money (was that a little blunt?).
So the final outcome of syndicated content is.. STOP THAT.. STOP THAT NOW!
SEO Content Issue 2: Not Blogging
So the next issue is not blogging (which is still second to having syndicated content on your site). If you don’t blog, your site is not going to rank. Google (and for you partners that need me to mention Bing… even Bing looks at this) is looking for sites that are publishing fresh new content on a regular basis.
I’m often asked how frequently you need to blog. The simple answer is that you should be blogging at least once per week. That is where sites start to experience traction when it comes to rankings. If you can generate blog posts twice per week, the value is not just 2x; it is actually more like 3-4x when it comes to traffic generation from organic traffic. If you follow the Hubspot Blog, you’ll see that they’ve illustrated that the more that you blog, the more organic traffic you will generate. They’ve case studied this all the way up to 18 posts a week, and have found no point of diminishing returns.
SEO Content Issue 3: Not having a Keyword Strategy (a realistic one)
What do we mean when we say “realistic keyword strategy”? It is the difference between trying to target a national ranking for ‘Office 365’ versus targeting ‘Office 365 Pricing’ or ‘O365 Migration’ on a local level. First off, you’re probably never going to out-rank Microsoft on a national level for Office 365, so why waste your time and money trying? In talking with executives inside WWCA at Microsoft, they know that they lack a local focus to their own marketing. This lack of focus on a corporate level is a huge opportunity for each partner.
There are tools that can help you to determine the right keywords and the right targeting. If you need assistance with this please use the link below for the Microsoft Marketing Assessment and we’ll be happy to help you define the correct keywords.
SEO Content Issue 4: Not connecting their keyword strategy with their blogging strategy
When it comes to blogging.. are all blog posts the same? The answer is NO. There are multiple components to successful blogging.So when it co
You need a defined set of SEO targeted keywords that you use in at least every other blog post. You need to use these keywords in the: · Title · URL · H1 Tag · Throughout the Post (about 2-3% keyword density) · Image ALT Tag · Meta Description (note: this will not affect SEO, but will link keyword and blogging strategies)
Now, most blogging platforms (WordPress, Joomla, Hubspot) will help you to make sure you do this automatically as long as you’ve defined what your keyword is going to be for the post.
SEO Content Issue 5: No Sitemap
This seems like a simple item but most partners do not have a sitemap on their site. The search engines look for a sitemap as a guide to how many pages you have on your site and what content you want the them to index. So no sitemap typically equals no rankings. There are plugins for WordPress that can do this automatically for you. It should look something like www.domain.com/sitemap. Once you’ve created this you also want to make sure that there is a link to your sitemap in the footer of your site. This is really SEO 101, but still, most partners are not doing this.
SEO Content Issue 6: Using a 3rd Party Agency that doesn’t have a legitimate strategy
We talk to partners all the time that are spending $2500.. $3500, or even $5000 a month on 3rd Party SEO firm. However, when we ask the partner to provide us with a report on the previous months’ analytics, most cannot even provide a rank report, let alone a Traffic & Conversion report. This is unacceptable.
Each month, your outsourced agency should provide you with a rank report that shows change in rank (hopefully in a positive direction over time), a traffic report that shows you your change in organic traffic (which is the entire purpose of SEO content), and also a conversion report that shows how traffic to the landing pages that they are targeting is converting or helping your sales funnel. If they are not providing this data you need to fire them.. immediately.
Would you pay an employee $30,000 to $60,000 a year without holding them accountable to their productivity? The answer should be no.. so why would you let an SEO Firm do this to your business?
SEO Content Issue 7: Not Coordinating SEO Content with Sales
You need to know your audience while writing a blog post. SEO only works if the page you get to rank speaks to your potential buyer. If you can get to the point where you’re willing to do a weekly post that has a keyword strategy, then you need to make sure you know if you’re writing to someone in an IT department (product features/benefits), someone in sales or marketing (how this content will help them sell more of their solutions), or maybe a CFO (how this will help them to save money, generate more revenue, or decrease risk exposure). Knowing who you’re writing to is key to creating content that drives revenue.
So what can you do about these issues? Well the first thing is to fix them.. eliminate processes that don’t work, and start implementing processes that have been proven in your industry.
Summary of What You Need to Change Your SEO Content
1.) Don’t Syndicate Content
2.) Start Blogging
3.) Make a Realistic Keyword Strategy
4.) Connect your Keyword and Blogging Strategies
5.) Have a Sitemap
6.) Know 3rd Party SEO Firms Progress
7.) Coordinate SEO with Sales
Now that we have defined the SEO content problems that you are facing, you need to overcome them! If you don’t know where to start, join us for your Sales and Marketing Assessment. After evaluating where your SEO efforts stand, we offer an actionable plan that is tailored to your business. What are you waiting for? Let us be your first step toward better efficiency and a more robust bottom line!