For many in the B2B world, SEO is often overlooked for the ‘quick’ wins of paid media. But when we take a step back, the very nature of PPC is counter-intuitive to B2B marketing. Business to Business marketing is generally drawn out and can take weeks even months for bosses to make a decision. So surely, you think organisations would lean towards SEO right? Wrong!
Many businesses are put off by the fact that SEO ‘takes time’ or that there is no guarantee you’ll be number one if the search query is competitive. Which is true, however, this is not about one approach being better than the other. This blog will hopefully shed some insight on why SEO shouldn’t be overlooked when developing a marketing strategy with an agency or in house.
The SEO Problem in B2B Marketing
If you’re completely new to SEO, (or Search engine optimization) is the practice of optimising your website and webpages to rank in the organic results in search engines like Google and Bing. Search engines have algorithms which read your content reviewing the quality, relevance and intent. The search engine will then determine where you sit in the search results for that particular query.
Sounds simple? Well, the two hardest parts about SEO are that you can’t pay your way to the top and most people assume it is all about new content.
Not paying your way to the top can often take time and fine tweaking. Figuring out what the search engines regard as important, and then optimising your website and web pages accordingly is not quick!
PPC, on the other hand, is different. Pay-per-click (PPC) is an advertising model where you pay for clicks to your website. PPC offers marketers the quick wins, target marketing and experimentation that SEO cannot complete with. And that is usually where most pitches are lost, the lack of quick ROI. However, there are drawbacks to PPC, that SEO can help overcome.
It’s likely that a lot of your content will not receive any traffic so why should you invest time into SEO. SEO isn’t all about adding new content and ignoring the old. You can optimise the efficiency of your existing pages with various keywords and synonyms to start attracting visitors looking for answers to their queries. Updating and republishing old blog posts with new fresh content can increase organic traffic by over 100%
The SEO Advantage in B2B
An SEO strategy does have it’s positives, which are particularly necessary in a B2B marketing space. PPC will only get you so far, you’ve got the best bidding plan in place with the best ads possible but then what, are you going to pay for that traffic for the rest of time. Why not optimise a website, page or piece of content and get to number one for free. But hold on I hear you all saying, isn’t paid above organic on the search engine. The answer is yes, but what if I were to say that 70-80% of all searchers ignore paid and go straight to organic.
If you rank high for your keywords, you can generate constant traffic to your website. Once you’re in this position of authority you can take a relaxed approach to your web content, whereas PPC is always on and always needs attention. The minute the budget is gone, your campaign stops and so will your traffic. SEO is not only beneficial for traffic in the long run but it is also cheaper.
SEO doesn’t just stop at on-page, there are also technical elements to optimisation. In 2020 one of the key ranking factors is speed. UX is huge when it comes to customer conversion and no better argument for that is with page speed. We’ve all been guilty of clicking straight off a page when it was loading to slow. Did you know that 40% of customers refuse to wait longer than 3 seconds?
Technical SEO audits bring all the little faults of your website into the light, that might pile up if it is ignored.
Is There a Difference Between B2C and B2B SEO
Like with any form of marketing you do it is relative to the industry, product, service or customer need. B2C and B2B SEO marketing is no different. B2C doesn’t target an industry sector or a deal with long sales processes which B2B does.
Here are 3 of the many elements that separate B2C marketing and B2B SEO marketing.
- Difference in product tangibility. B2B campaigns often leverage the benefits to a customer’s business rather than the actual user. In consumer marketing, it’s mostly just researching luxuries, or solutions or aspirations. Whereas business marketing has a problem to solve in order to further your company/your role.
- Difference in performance indicators. B2B results can take months to qualify as a result. Most B2B sessions are repeated during this time before a sale is made. Whereas B2C takes a day or single session as a lead.
- Difference in the sales cycle. B2C is usually one person making one purchase. Whereas B2B has to consider all levels of managerial intent.
The role SEO has in B2B marketing is to educate the audience with all the information they need to make a decision. Keywords, backlinks and outreach are as much about exposure as they are about education. A business will know what they’re searching for. They just don’t know it’s you who can offer it to them.
It is vital that when choosing your marketing agency that they understand the difference between B2C and B2B and how you approach it. Most agencies tend to work with both sides and can often fall into the trap of using the same techniques for both.
Should I Stop SEO?
One of the most common industry trends with SEO, is clients and businesses tend to pause or stop their SEO efforts all together once they’re page or pages are at number one. But why? You wouldn’t make your first million and then decide to call it a day. Businesses often think it’s only a short break. What’s the worst that can happen? well like with any pausing and unpausing of activity quite a lot.
Stop publishing content and…
- You stop targeting new terms and synonyms, losing out on new traffic and new ranking.
- The number of links you could get from new content goes down.
- You stop capturing visitor data, which can help aid your remarketing efforts
- You stop creating shareable content which can be posted on social media. Another medium for generating traffic and shares.
- You stop answering custom queries and they go elsewhere.
In short, if you stop posting content, Google sees you as an inactive website and you slowly lose all of the hard you’ve done to be at no #1.
And then you have to consider what happens if I stop looking after the health of your website. Well firstly, I’ve never encountered a website that is faultless in their technical audit but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep on top of the faults to make it as best as possible.
If you don’t look after the technical aspects the following could arise
- You start to generate more duplicate content
- You start to develop and create broken pages, links and images leading too bad UX
- The content you want people to see might end up being non-indexed and unavailable to consumers.
- The more you ignore aspects like these, the more you’ll see them pile up and the website will suffer.
The hard truth is that if you stop your SEO or any of your marketing efforts for that matter, the sufferer is you. Always on marketing is vital to the growth and it can be extremely difficult to reverse momentum when a website heads in the wrong direction.
A Word from the Indusrtry
- Number one in Google has an average of 32% CTR
- Number one is 10x more likely to be clicked than a position in the top 10
- Positions between 7 & 10 have an almost identical CTR
- Moving just one position from 6 upwards can increase CTR by 31%
- 84% of consumers said they frequently click organic results whereas only 45% said the same of paid-search ads.
Where Do We Go Next?
We’ve made it this far without talking about coronavirus, but this is relevant. There is a common theme in the industry to pull back media and marketing in these unprecedented times. But SEO should not be one of them.
The battle most of us are facing right now is a lowered budget but the same goals. 65% of marketers think they’ll have less budget for the foreseeable future 67% of marketers think they’ll either have increased or identical goals. So what is the answer, well a further 63% think they’ll be seeing greater investment into SEO.
People are reliant on content for pretty much all of their decisions, and where are you customers right now. Well, for probably the first time ever you can answer that with extreme accuracy. They’re most likely sitting at-home research and using search engines for their answers. So ask yourself – Are you being found?
Find Out More About B2B SEO
As I said right at the start, this has not been about one approach being better than the other. Because both have benefits over the other. This piece has been about how we often choose one approach over the other when deciding our B2B marketing efforts. Content is key to all of your marketing, if you don’t create content you won’t appear in the search engine and that is both PPC and SEO.
But why settle for subpar content. If you’ve invested time and effort into delivering the best possible service or product, why should the same not be said for your content?