In this article we'll:
- Prove that SEO matters in the B2B space by defining SEO and its role in B2B marketing strategy
- Show you how you can capitalize on the 90% of B2B decision makers who use Google to kick off their research process and buyer journey
- Provide examples of SEO tactics improving B2B sales
Long answer short, yes, SEO does really matter when it comes to online presence, marketing strategy, and sales – especially in B2B spaces. Although we would love to just leave it at that, we do have evidence that SEO should actually be at the foundation of your digital marketing efforts. Read on to learn why.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the consolidation of many elements on and off your website that together improve the position of your website listing on the results page of a search engine query.
Essentially, when a Google or other search engine user types in the words they want information about (their query), SEO determines the order in which websites are listed as results. Search engines try to put the best answers to searched questions at the top of the page; SEO is what makes websites the best answers so they are displayed near the top of the page.
Why SEO Matters
Think back to the last time you used Google and answer these questions:
- Did you immediately skip to the second page of results and then try the fifth website there to find your information? Not likely.
- Did you automatically click the very first option with the AD icon next to it? This one is trickier, but unless you were searching with the intent to buy something, you’ll likely skip the ad result.
- Did you evaluate the first few “real” results based on their titles and determine which was the most likely to give you the information you’re looking for? More likely.
When it comes to search behavior, most people act in the same way. They start with the results on page one, and if their questions aren’t answered, they’ll move down page one and occasionally go to page two or three.
However, if there isn’t a single result on page one that answers the users’ questions, they might end up using an entirely different search query and not even bother looking deeper into the results pages.
Think about this from a business case. Let’s say you sell home insurance. If someone types “home insurance quote” into Google search, that is a person you would want to talk to as a potential customer. Assuming they don’t already know you, they will search for an answer to their problem following typical user behavior: clicking and settling on one of the first few Google results, whether your business is there or not.
If your business is at the top of the results, then great! You just got a lead without having to pay a single dime. If your business is not one of those results, that means that someone else is, and that someone is likely one of your competitors. Not only do you lose out on a potential sale, but your competition receives another valuable contact.
What if no one is searching for my product or service?
You’d better check the accuracy of that claim before you make it. Keywords are the words and phrases typed into a search engine. Depending on the exact phrasing of the keyword, there may be a lot of searches or very few. For example, there may be a keyword that you believe is relevant for your business that is searched very infrequently, but another phrasing of the same keyword that your audience prefers and searches for often.
Besides, if someone is already buying your product or service, then someone is definitely searching for it. If you still have doubts, we’ll clear up any confusion..
SEO boosts website traffic
Google users rarely make it to the second page of the search results, let alone the third or fourth page. If your website is on the first page of search engine results, users are more likely to see it and more likely to select it from the list of results.
To get on the first page of search results you have essentially two options: pay to be there in the form of an ad or organically appear as one of the best answers. Paid ads only harness 3.4% of all search engine clicks while organic results account for the rest, so the best way to capture search engine clicks is to be an organic result.
Quality SEO tactics are the best way to improve your website’s appearance in organic search results and boost your website traffic.
B2B audiences use Google
It is estimated that there are approximately 40-60 billion Google searches each month, with 15% of Google users searching once or more every single day.
What’s more, 89% of B2B decision makers consult the internet before making a decision, and 90% of those searchers start their internet research at a search engine. Whenever your target persona searches for keywords related to your business goals, you want to appear as a result so that they recognize you as a source of information and potential vendor for the keyword they need.
When your site has quality SEO, it will have a greater chance of being a part of your prospective customer’s decision-making process.
Catch users when they are ready to start making decisions
Cold calling is so unsuccessful because the callers do not consider where the user is in their buying journey. If they aren’t experiencing any of the pain points your product or service fixes, then you’re wasting your time with any kind of pitch.
Organic website traffic from keywords is powerful because users are at least considering your product or service as an option. They’re ready to start researching companies, educating themselves on features and benefits, and maybe even reach out to the sales team to learn more.
More traffic equals more leads
With an optimized website and more web traffic, your business will harness more brand recognition and trust among visitors. And in the spirit of meeting potential customers where they are in their journey, your website can be set up to guide visitors through your sales funnel, giving you a higher ROI from your marketing efforts.
Your website can even use methods such as a landing page with a form to collect visitor contact information, generating more leads for your business.
A note on Google’s algorithm changes
Over the past few years, Google has made some big changes in the way it evaluates webpages, valuing the quality of the results and the user experience over anything else. This means that in order to have good SEO, a webpage needs to be easy to navigate, simple to read, and helpful in solving users’ questions. Webpages like these rank well on the SERP because the users are satisfied.
The takeaway is this: creating good content that helps, educates, and informs your prospects on their buying decisions will not only deliver happy customers but will also very likely optimize your site for search engines. As the saying goes, kill two birds with one stone.
SEO Actually Works
When your prospective customers can actually find your website in their search engine results, your bottom line can be dramatically impacted. At webSURGE, we optimized a client’s website for keywords centered around one product they really wanted to sell. Within one year, we saw most of those keywords appear on the first page of Google. Compared to September of the previous year (without SEO), their product page visits went from 115 visits to 725, and the client more than doubled their sales of that product.
SEO Does Matter
Your website could be beautifully designed, have an amazing ecommerce platform, and be prepared to capture prospective customer’s information, but if you don’t bother to implement good SEO practices, you will struggle to reach the volume of visitors needed to really profit from your digital marketing efforts.