Do you offer services to other businesses in your area? Maybe you’re an Accountant, a Printer or a Training Company.

If you do then I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that it’s competitive out there. And that means that if you want a consistent flow of new inquiries coming into your business then one thing you need to be sure of is a high ranking website.

But what exactly does it take to have a high ranking website?

Well, recently we did some research on B2B websites to identify what are the most important factors that determine a high ranking. So here are the four proven and practical steps that you can take today to become the dominant B2B business in your area.

Related Article: 3 Steps for Figuring Out Your Baseline SEO Campaign Goals

1. Tighten Up Your Metatags

The most important difference that we identified between the Best in Class websites that had a top three ranking was that they included the Industry and the Location in the Page Title Element. Meta tags are the HTML code on your website that helps Google interpret the content of each page. Of these, the most important one is the Page Title Element followed by the Meta Description.

You might think that you’ve never heard of them but you’ll definitely be familiar with them because these are what make up the search results when you search for something in Google. Basically, we noticed that the top sites included both the industry (Printer) and the location (Newcastle) in the Page Title Element on average 61 percent more often than low ranking websites.

We also noticed that the top websites tended to make the best use of the amount of characters in the meta tags. With the Page Title Element Best Practice states that you should use around 67 characters. Our research found that Best in Class averaged at around 64 characters whilst lower ranked websites averaged at 44 characters.

Other on-page factors that are often cited as being of importance such as using Headers (H1, H2, H3) for good ranking were also checked. It was no surprise to see that again the Best in Class scored higher than the average with around two-thirds of them using the H1 header in their home page whilst lower ranked sites used it 44 percent of the time.

These are simple changes. But remember that small hinges swing big doors. These types of changes would take minutes in the hands of a skilled developer and won’t cost the earth so they offer an excellent return on investment.

2. Get More (Easy) Backlinks

Backlinks are still vital to achieving a high ranking and we detected a strong correlation between a higher number of backlinks and a higher ranking. We looked at the number of referring domains as the best measure because that removed the effect of site wide (footer or blogroll links) that may skew the figures.

What we found was that Best in Class had well over double the number of referring domains pointing to them (44 vs. 17).

B2B Backlinks

Now before you put your head in your hands and start thinking that you can’t get links, let me reassure you that you definitely can do it. In fact, you can start immediately and you can get links today if you want to. First things first. Have you set up your local listings with Google, Bing and Yahoo? These are the places to start. Before you tick that box, though, make sure they’re all fully optimized. That means Name, Address, Contact Info, Category, Hours of Business, Map, Photos, Videos and Keywords.

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