Ranking well in search is a very important part of influencing the B2B buyer journey. In any purchasing decision, search engines like Google play a big part, and it’s even for existing customers considering a renewal. Will prospects looking for a solution to their challenges find your solutions? Will customers doing their due diligence before a renewal find better offers from competitors? In this article, we answer the question what is B2B SEO? We also explore why good visibility in search results matters.
What is B2B SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)?
B2B search engine optimisation (B2B SEO) refers to the tactics you can deploy to generate more traffic from search. Organic traffic is the best form of traffic a website can receive. You don’t pay for every visitor that clicks through to your site, and the traffic you attract should be relevant to the product or service you offer. The result of good B2B search engine optimisation is an increase in lead generation and a boost in ROI. Across the numerous sites I’ve worked on for B2B businesses, organic traffic has always been the highest quality traffic generating the most leads, at lowest cost.
SEO in invaluable in business-to-business (B2B) markets where information hungry buyers are doing their own research before contacting a vendor. B2B search engine optimization helps your future customers find you in the search engine results. Potential buyers are looking for solutions to their challenges, not knowing who can help. They’ll use a broad range of terms that align with to their challenge and expected outcomes.
B2B search engine optimization isn’t just about your website
When your prospect searches Google the results page will include ads, videos, pictures, local listings, and at least 10 organic results, one of which will hopefully be yours. Your B2B SEO strategy needs to be part of a broader B2B search marketing strategy. It’s getting harder to rank organically, yes it’s a priority to rank our own sites, but also consider your other options. Do you have a video you could optimise for YouTube that will also appear on the results pages? Can you get a link on a review site that appears in the search results? Do you have a Google Maps listing? B2B search engine optimisation isn’t just about what you change on your pages, it’s about building your brand across the search results.
Why does B2B search engine optimisation matter?
B2B search engine optimization is an ongoing process for increasing organic traffic. Organic traffic is non-paid traffic generated from search engines. We already know a majority of online journeys begin with a search. Somewhere between 50% and 70% of searches are people looking for information. A B2B buyer is likely to begin their customer journey with a search, searching to solve a business problem. By carrying out search engine optimization, digital marketers try to ensure that their websites have a prominent position in the search results. This is important because almost every buying journey begins with a search.
A common misconception about SEO is that it is a process of adding tags to a page and ensuring the page mentions a few choice keywords. In reality, it’s far more complicated. We’ve come a long way since the early search engines that could be influenced in this way.
Search engines want to surface the best results for a search query, and they look at over 200 factors when evaluating a website. Criteria on which websites are evaluated are always evolving. The result is that search engine optimization is a complex mixture of audience need, competitive ecosystem and understanding the technicalities of search engines. No one knows what perfect formula will get your website to the top of search results, what is clear is that your content must add value to attract organic traffic.
SEO is central to B2B research
Imagine this scenario… Jeff is your ideal customer, he has been given the task by his boss to solve a critical business problem. The right solution is the blue widget you sell. You sell it at the best price and combine it with the best services making what you sell and what Jeff needs a match made in heaven. Jeff needs to present options to his boss by the end of the week and starts his research with Google. By the end of the week, Jeff has a great presentation outlining the challenge, possible solutions and even the starting point for a short list. Jeff has prepared all this work without even contacting a vendor directly.
Following his presentation, Jeff is asked to prepare a shortlist of vendors. He goes back to his desk and back to search. This time he does more research on specific solutions and vendors. The search results provide him with thought leadership, real-world case studies and detailed product information.
Jeff soon starts contacting the vendors. You never receive a call because when Jeff searched for his challenge and what he’s trying to achieve, your product never appeared in the search results.
Why does SEO matter for B2B business growth?
To better understand why SEO is important for business growth, think about your own buyer behavior. As an individual when you’re looking for a solution to a problem, when you want to learn how to do something, or you want to compare items, you probably do a search. Many buying journeys begin in the same way and the journey for a B2B purchase is no different.
What your prospect searches for will depend on how far they have progressed in the sales cycle. A search at the top of the funnel could be vague, towards the end as the buyer is more educated, search queries become more advanced.
The role of search in the buying journey
Search plays a role throughout the buying journey and it’s vital for any B2B business to be found in the search results for relevant searches. By ranking well, a B2B business isn’t going to get the reams of traffic that a B2C would attract. We know B2B has a niche audience. This is more about appearing the right audience at the right time. Attracting relevant traffic from search will unlock growth in your B2B because potential customers will be able to find you, and come to you naturally. This reduces your need to push your message out and moves you towards naturally being to pull the right people in.
Why does SEO matter?
- Attracting relevant traffic from search will unlock growth in your B2B for the simple reason that your future customers will be able to find you. How great would it be if your business appeared every time someone searched for a problem you could solve?
- Content visitors find themselves via search is likely to be more trusted and resonate better than content that is pushed to them in an ad.
- Visitors from organic search are consistently some of the highest quality traffic you can get. Organic visitors spend more time on site, have a lower bounce rate and a higher conversion rate. This is primarily because the visitor is finding content that closely matches what they are looking for, exactly when they’re looking for it.
- Ranking well in organic results gives your business and website credibility. Searchers are increasingly savvy to paid versus organic placements and trust websites that have achieved natural placement more than websites who have paid to appear.
- Organic search is a major traffic driver. Although it can be challenging to both achieve and maintain rankings, a good placement is a scalable and cost-effective way of attracting visitors. Unlike a paid ad, it doesn’t cost you every time your ad is seen or clicked.
- Most people ignore ads, in fact in one study up to 80%. You can’t reach an audience that ignores ads, by pushing more ads.
- See how much our done for you B2B SEO service costs.
- If you’re delivering search engine optimisation in your business check out our SEO tools.
- Not sure B2B SEO is what you need? Return to the B2B Digital Marketing homepage and discover other digital marketing tactics.
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