Optimize your govcon website for search engines and reach your prospective government buyers faster.
There are a few simple rules to follow in today’s digital marketing that can make all the difference in reaching your ideal federal buyer and building a strong relationship – or letting that honor fall to your competition.
User Experience and Search Engine Optimization
First, your government contractor website needs to address the problem your government buyer is trying to solve. To do this, you must include the words, images, links, and interactivity tools that demonstrate that you understand the issue and are the experts to resolve it. These same concepts help define Search Engine Optimization keywords.
All of your content gets “indexed” or recorded and tracked by the search engines. Specific SEO components [words, images, Alt text, links, H tags, etc.] can be recognized by the search engines and build credibility online, which over time can earn your website a higher position on the search results page (SERPs).
This way, when your buyer goes searching for a solution, they’ll find your website – ahead of your competition.
SEO and Visitor Engagement
Search engine optimization is a process specifically designed to attract visitors to your website, but that is only useful if there is something to do when they get there.
Your website also needs to be engaging enough to hold your visitor’s attention for longer than a few seconds. The first 5 seconds need to make an impression, which means conveying a lot of information fast to answer core questions such as:
- Am I in the right place?
- What does this company do?
- Can they help me?
Capturing attention is a combined impact of page layout, images, messaging, navigation, and on-page content.
If you hold your visitor beyond this, you have an opportunity to engage further and serve your visitor. In just two more seconds, it needs to be clear what the visitor should do next (click to a new page, fill out a form, call, etc.).
That’s when you can start making a connection. With 82% of government decision-makers using search engines to research potential vendors, this first interaction is online business development – the new normal in relationship building.
It’s a give and take with the search engines – you give quality content (plus the other technical SEO elements that create a good experience) – search engines reward you with a higher position for your specific search terms. Let’s look at some specifics of what makes quality content and a well-optimized website – in other words, what is good SEO for your government contractor website.
Speak to Your Federal Buyers in Your Search Engine Optimization
Since you already know your buyer persona and what they are looking for, you can write your website content and design it to address them directly.
Search engines will reward you when you make it quick and easy for a federal buyers to find what they are looking for. Quality content and an excellent user experience are two valuable components of SEO.
- Here are some aspects of SEO to address your buyer directly:
- Know your customer and speak directly to their needs, expectations, requirements, standards, etc., in your headlines and written content.
- Include the precise search terms (keywords) that your buyer will be using to find you.
- Feature and showcase the exact information and capabilities the buyer will need to know to choose you – they know what they are looking for, so give it to them!
- Include some “source” material, such as a white paper or article that can help educate and direct the buyer to value and appreciate your exact product or services.
- Highlight your differentiators and how you will help. Links to other credible sources puts you in a position to add value and be a “go-to” resource from the beginning.
Demonstrate You Understand and Can Solve Their Problem
Wherever your government buyer is in their vetting and purchasing journey, you can add value to their search process and optimize your website for the search engines at the same time.
By demonstrating you understand and can solve your buyer’s problem, you will hold your visitor’s attention longer and begin to build trust. This increases your likelihood of getting onto the shortlist when the request for information (RFI) or other purchase request goes out.
The longer a visitor stays also lets the search engines know you are a valuable resource for people searching for content like yours. And they’ll send others your way.
Quality content, including downloadable content that helps your buyer learn about your product or services, is also key to your SEO strategy. This can also begin a great business development relationship with a new buyer.
Here are a few ways you can demonstrate you can solve your buyer’s problem and add value through your website SEO:
- Demonstrate clearly and thoroughly that you understand the problem and show specifically how your government contractor business can solve it.
- Provide resources they can use as they build their RFP and shortlist. You can become an educational resource for your buyer.
- Specify your capabilities:
- In the industry – how do you rank/fit in?
- What are your specific products/services – what can you offer?
- Include your set aside status – 8A, VOSB, etc., and relevant codes. Your buyer may be trying to satisfy set-aside requirements or a particular contractor requirement. The more specific you are, the easier you will be found.
- Include targeted keywords, and clear, easy-to-find content your buyer and the search engines will identify and index.
Search Engine Optimization and Links
One aspect of a strong SEO strategy is to have relevant links within your website content. Links fall into three categories.
- Backlinks (other people linking to your website)
- Internal links help people move to other relevant content with your website.
- External links are links from your website to other websites, typically highly credible reference sources.
Backlinks indicate to search engines that your website is a credible reference source in its own right. However, not all backlinks are helpful; they need to be from relevant sources for your industry and ideally from a website with high domain authority.
You can link “internally” to various pages within your site, including your contact page, a more detailed page on your government contractor solution, or links to supportive references or educational content. These links show the search engines and your prospects you have a depth of knowledge.
External links also have value. When you have connections to reputable organizations or reference a highly credentialed study with your link, these types of connections are reflective of the quality of your own network. You can link to industry associations to which you belong, complementary resources, past clients with high-performance results, and other local businesses to demonstrate you are part of a community.
Have a Local Search Presence Online
Whether you serve a small local or regional base of government buyers, your “local” online presence can also be part of your SEO strategy. It will help local government agencies form your government contractor website. This is especially true if your government contractor business serves a metropolitan area, such as the Washington DC area.
You will want to claim any local listings like Google Maps. By confirming your address, hours, name, phone number, website, services, etc., and having these all consistent everywhere online, the search engines build an understanding of your local presence.
SEO Can Help You Get Found
Search engine optimization is a key marketing tool that gets your website in front of federal buyers. Take these important steps to build a website that works for you and helps your government buyers find you.
Ocean 5 Strategies is a top growth agency specializing in helping govcon businesses throughout the USA and beyond. We are based in the Washington DC metro area and involved in the local government contracting community.