An SEO Strategy for IT companies

Intense competition and high lead generation cost are among the most widespread reasons why IT companies and startups avoid using SEO for their business promotion.

It is reasonable to start developing your strategy not with splashing out your budget on SEO but with drawing up a clear plan instead. It might be challenging, however, you will save a lot of your time and money in the long run.

Why do IT companies avoid investing in online marketing?

  1. Intense competition
  2. High lead generation cost
  3. No guarantees that it will work


NB! It’s highly essential to understand your client’s business to achieve good results.

The task includes not only enhancing traffic and ranking, but also lead generation. In IT, SEO is closely connected with the marketing department of the client company.

It’s important to understand the peculiarities of the client’s business at every stage of work, as well as to take into account the type of the client company. The most common types of IT companies include:

  • Product companies

These are companies that develop their own products. The users of their products are the main source of income. Companies of this type actively employ online marketing strategies and take advantage of Google Ads.

  • Outsourcing companies

These companies develop products for their external customers. The client companies make up their main source of income. Such companies scale according to their client companies’ requirements. 

  • Consulting companies

These companies cover implementation and maintenance of an IT infrastructure.

Aspects to take into account at the initial stage of work on an IT project

NB! At this stage, it is necessary to clearly define priorities, get to know the client’s business and map out the strategy. A close and efficient partnership with the marketers and top managers of the client company can help identify the key areas for analysis. 

The understanding of the target audience should be based upon the potential consumer profile. Clear definition of the target audience helps to create relevant content, build an appropriate website structure, establish effective communication, develop content strategy and define target geography. 

Example of a potential customer profile

Analysis of the competition and CTAs on competitors’ landing pages

  • We estimate the potential traffic to the client’s website: what kind of traffic is generated and which sources it comes from. Also, we decide on which tools and technologies can be used to get more relevant traffic.

  • We move on with determining what types of pages generate most traffic to competitors’ websites

  • With the help of ahrefs.com we analyse all pages according to the traffic they receive (within a certain country). This helps us understand what we need to focus our effort on: which pages of the website need continuous development according to the agreed content plan. Working with the websites in the IT industry, it is essential to take into account the requirements of Clutch. They set their requirements for ranking, in particular, these requirements include the number of content publications per week. Here are three requirements of Clutch that can be influenced by SEO:
  1. Ahrefs rank
  2. Domain rank
  3. At least three articles published per week
  • Link profile analysis

With the help of Ahrefs.com it is possible to find out:

- the number of domains that contain backlinks to your and your competitors’ websites;

- types of competitors’ backlinks;

- domain authority.

- analysis of competitors’ landing pages and CTAs.

We analyse competitors’ landing pages in order to understand why they attract more users, how they attract readers, what kind of design they implement and how they make their offer. It is worth performing this analysis within the top 20 competitors limited by a certain location, taking into account their landing pages and calls-to-action. Based on such analysis, it is achievable to make a list of ideas about how to optimize the client’s website. It is also important to understand how the pages are designed, how the service is introduced, and how communication is set up.

Setting up the sales funnel for an IT company website

It is necessary to track the client's journey from the very first contact to completed conversion. Conversions should include not only filling in forms, but also sales. An SEO marketing strategy and sales funnel are based around content. That is why communication with the potential clients, the website users, is so important.

Content strategy should be developed stage by stage, in agreement with the client company’s marketers. The marketers provide information on which micro conversions should be achieved, for instance, email newsletter signups, filling up contact forms etc. It is necessary to set up goals for these micro conversions at this stage.

Website structure

All the content on the service outsourcing pages needs to be organized into services, industries and technologies. It should work like a closed circuit: the service page should contain commercial pages, they have to be connected. The page should contain links to case studies and niche articles, which should be also interlinked.

For newly launched websites, we optimise pages to match low-frequency queries, and when the website gets into top 15 or top 20, it is time to modify pages for medium-frequency queries, change titles and watch the dynamics.

Why do we focus so much on the keyword frequency? It is an optimal solution for IT. For instance, by analyzing the competitor’s link profile according to industries, we can see that each competitor has 10 donor websites, and this is quite a lot. From this, we can understand that not all of the competitors’ backlinks are visible. Accordingly, if these backlinks cannot be seen to services that calculate keyword difficulty, then, as a result, these services provide inaccurate data. That is why it is reasonable to focus on keywords frequency.

Internal interlinking. Setting up quality internal anchors with the help of Screaming Frog

Breadcrumb trails should include the brand anchor. Content interlinking is important, footer links should be added only if necessary, upon analysis.

E-A-T factors. Author’s page: how to improve and promote it

The author’s page in IT typically contains company’s employees. However, sometimes it happens that because of the staff turnover, the author’s page you’ve been developing for a long time can undergo changes and the page can lose traffic. That is why it is recommendable to use the company’s top managers as authors, since they experience staff turnover less often.

It is a good idea to sign up the author to social media and communicate on his or her behalf as well as take advantage of guest posting. Also, you can use websites that organize annual conferences and write that your author was a speaker last year.

Content marketing: what to start with, what to take into account, what to focus the content strategy on? 

  1. We explore the sales funnel, and if there isn’t any, suggest the possible journey of the potential customer
  2. We determine the type of content and the way of presenting it based on the competition analysis.
  3. We develop a content marketing strategy based upon the company’s expertise, experience and priorities. 

Content should cover each stage of the customer’s journey. For new customers, it is important to provide a clear flow with the help of efficient interlinking.

Important metrics and how to improve them

  1. Bounce rate. For IT websites, an average bounce rate is enough. To achieve it, you need to meet the search intent of the users.
  2. Average session duration. The better quality of the website is, the more time users stay on the website.
  3. The number of pages viewed shows how interesting the website is for users.

Corrections are made based upon the analysis of the competitors’ landing pages.

External optimization


How to get free backlinks to your articles

news.ycombinator.com 

The main feature of this tool is the main page with a ‘New’ tab that includes all the articles published for free. However, these pages are rarely indexed. Still, this is quite possible to deal with and get on the main page of Y combinator. It is necessary to get comments on your article. When you are on the main page, you get free links to the articles. Why free? Because the articles from the main page are most typically reposted.

Web syndication as a way of link building

Web syndication. We publish content on the website making sure that it is indexed. After that, the same article is published on other related platforms. The thing is that you spread your indexed article to other resources - niche, trusted, vertical, saving cost that you could spend on copywriting or rewriting. 

Pros:

  1. You can spread one article and save budget while you do not need to create other content except for guest posts.
  2. Due to quality content republication you can get traffic and attention of donors.
  3. You can connect with multiple users and get backlinks. 

Cons:

  1. If your content is republished by a very trusted website, it is quite possible that this very article will be ranked on top.
  2. You can lose touch with your audience. If your article is read by 30 thousand users on the donor website, you will not be able to attract this audience, send emails or perform any other actions.

TIER 2 - TIER 3

Why do you need it?

  • The price for publication on popular resources is usually high
  • Accordingly, we need to strengthen our backlinks due to reason 1
  • It is affordable
  • It is possible to scale
  • It allows you to strengthen the existing anchor instead of spamming
  • It allows you to get crowd linking indexed

Tier 2 - Tier 3 helps to index our crowd marketing efforts. 

Which links are worth paying most attention to?

  1. The ones located on trusted resources
  2. Dofollow
  3. Those having a keyword in the anchor text
  4. Your own guest posts
  5. Crowd linking

However, this method might be unsafe due to the following reasons:

  1. Webmasters can remove the link form your guest post if they notice suspicious activity 
  2. No matter the reason, if your links are removed, the page will fall down
  3. Google can track your equipment, and this is a spam method

Crowd marketing

The goal of crowd marketing is to get backlinks from forums, Q&A websites and thematic communities. The basic platforms for crowd marketing include:

  1. Quora
  1. Stackoverflow
  2. Reddit

NB! It is recommendable to involve clients’ employees in this process because the success of the articles heavily depends upon their quality. 

Taking advantage of Clutch for getting more trust and attracting potential clients

Ranking factors that can be influenced by SEO:

  1. AR
  2. DR
  3. Number of articles published per week

Drops

Crisis is the period for searching good relevant domains.

The market is becoming more and more competitive, and Ukrainian companies have already entered the global market. That is why it is important to understand that you can compete, for instance, with a Mexican company that is located in the same time zone as the US market, or with a difference of 3 or 4 hours, making their partnership more convenient. For an IT company, SEO should be continuous and systematic if you want to achieve good results. One-time efforts are useless, and that is why drawing up a detailed plan at least for a year is your first step to success.

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