New Series on B2B Search Engine Optimization Strategies

On the Francis SEO site, we recently started a series of white papers on B2B search engine optimization strategies.

The first white paper, Differences Between B2C and B2B SEO, covers some of the unique issues relating to business-to-business search engine optimization and their implication for B2B companies. The second white paper, Driving Conversion in B2B SEO, focuses on how to approach and accelerate conversion in the business-to-business realm while capturing lead information.

Good Ranking. Lousy Click-Through. Poor Perceptions.

So many search engine optimization efforts (and SEO practitioners for that matter) seem to be focused solely on ranking. Companies and practitioners alike seem to be happy with good ranking in the search results. But that’s just the beginning. Searchers don’t click every search result. They choose which ones offer the most promise—and only a portion of those links clicked on will ultimately be considered as a potential source for a B2B purchase.

Good B2B search engine optimization has vital components beyond ranking. First, getting the searcher to click on your search result. And second, making sure you deliver on the expectations of the searcher after they click through to your site.

The View from Page 13 of the Search Results

As Told by a Lonely, Un-optimized Website

The frustrating thing is, I’m such a darned nice looking site. But it feels so helpless, buried by so many pages in those all-important Google results. Will ANYONE ever FIND me here? I’ve seen some research that says it’s not very likely. If most people won’t scan more than three pages, what chance do those of us on page 13 have?

Does Search Engine Optimization Matter for B2B?

Most B2B companies aren’t e-commerce driven. Obviously, SEO is very important to e-commerce companies; getting found means getting more sales. And good SEO results are quickly seen in the form of increased revenue. The vast majority of B2B companies, however, don’t offer products and services you can order on the web, place in a shopping cart, and pay for with your bankcard.

So why should B2B companies bother with SEO? For a business-to-business company, ranking highly in the search engine results won’t drive immediate sales, but I would argue that SEO for B2B is just as important, perhaps even more so. You have to remember the role of search in a B2B purchase. The average purchase cycle in the business-to-business transaction is several months, sometimes a year or two, depending on the nature of the purchase. That’s because the risks are higher and the implications (good and bad) of the decision of what to buy and from whom to buy it can last many years. Therefore, purchase decisions are highly researched and scrutinized.

Also, the typical behavior of a B2B buyer is not to broadcast the buyer’s intent to purchase and invite countless suppliers to pitch for the business. Once the intent to possibly make a purchase is formed, the research begins. Who sells what we need? Who else has bought from them? Do they seem like a potential fit? Who should we be talking to? Search engines are the first place potential buyers go to begin to find answers to these questions, long before they tell anyone that they’re in the market to make a purchase. And that’s when you want to be sure they find your company.