For B2B marketers, search optimization is a critical aspect of reaching potential customers and creating relationships with them. Whether you’ve got a globally recognized brand or you’re starting a new business, search marketing should be a top priority. Why? Let’s look at just a few of the numbers.
- According to Conductor, organic search drives the most traffic of all channels, and is responsible for 64% of all web traffic.
- Sites listed on the first Google search results page generate 91.5% of all traffic from an average search. And achieving the #1 spot for a given keyword means getting about 33% of the clicks, according to Chitika
- Mobile implementation errors cost websites 68% of organic search traffic, according to BrightEdge data.
It’s simple. By applying the right search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to your website, you can attract more visitors who are looking for the products and services you offer. And that, in turn, will likely increase your sales opportunities. But it’s not always easy to get it right.
The Past, Present and Future of SEO
SEO has gone through significant changes in the past 20 years. It’s gone from being the place to spend money at the end of the quarter when you don’t want to lose it, to a critical component that touches every piece of marketing today.
Once, SEO was a bit of a brand-building exercise, and showing up first in the search results of the biggest search engines was the goal. Now, it’s a core component of lifecycle marketing, supporting customers and prospects through every phase of the buyer’s journey. It’s about creating and sharing great content to attract new prospects. It’s a big part of creating thought leadership targeted to the middle and the bottom of the funnel so you can nurture prospects and turn them into customers. It’s also about creating continuing education and support content to help keep customers satisfied and turn them into evangelists.
Where search is headed is to more personalized content. The era where what you see in search results is the same as what I see is long gone. Google and the other search engines are continuing to gather more and more information about searchers and the Google mobile update on April 21 has already accelerated this. They are going to start incorporating app information, better GPS information, and they’ll start to personalize the search results to every searcher. Let’s take a look at some of the key areas that can improve your search marketing efforts.
1. Good Search Marketing Means Good Content Marketing
Content marketing and search marketing have always been very complementary, and for many companies, they’re part of the same strategy. With content marketing, you’re creating information that you think will be useful for your target audience (whether it’s a podcast, white paper, data sheet, case study, infographic, video, and so on).
Once the content is created, you find a channel you can use to get the content in front of the audience you are trying to reach. This could be printing it out and handing out copies at a trade show, finding like-minded websites where your audience is likely to see the information, or optimizing the content so search engines like Google are likely to show it when someone is searching for information.
But in reality, up until a few years ago, many companies completely lost sight of the fact that search is a vital channel for getting quality content in front of a target audience. Instead, it became a goal in and of itself. That means many companies decided, “It doesn’t matter what kind of garbage we show the visitor, as long as we are #1 on Google!” This is incredibly short-sighted thinking because nobody makes money because they’re #1 on Google. You make money because your target audience is able to easily find your company and get the information they’re looking for. You use that content to build a relationship with the prospect, nurture them, and turn them into a customer.
Fortunately, Google and the other engines realize this and have been making significant changes to the algorithms to reward high-quality content.
2. Develop Your Perfect Search Engine Marketing Strategy
Perfect search marketing happens when you create a high-quality piece of content that is highly relevant to the audience you are trying to reach and your audience can easily discover the content when they are looking for information. If you start with this as your goal, the rest of your SEO strategy will just fall into place:
- When you start with the goal of creating great content for your audience, you are likely to use the language that they use.
- You are going to use the right keywords throughout the content.
- You are likely going to have a relevant headline to the content and use synonyms and proof terms throughout the content.
- When you create the title of the page, you are likely to create something compelling and your description is probably going to give a good idea what the content is about.
- And if you truly do create a great piece of content, people are going to want to share it.
Obviously you also have to pay attention to character counts, keyword placement, link building, off-site optimization, and so on. But if you start by creating great content for your target audience, you will be most of the way there.
3. Keep Learning and Adapting
As I’ve said before, the only constant in search marketing is change. At Act-On, we have adapted to these ongoing shifts by continuing to innovate to make sure our customers are able to take advantage of the new opportunities. We’re constantly monitoring changes in the search engines and industry best practices and evolving our SEO solution so our customers know they are always optimizing against the latest information and can focus on creating great content and nurturing their leads instead of worrying about what Google is going to do next.
We also provide a wide variety of resources in the Act-On Center of Excellence designed to help you attract more visitors – and create more customers – with SEO. For example, the SEO Crash Course Toolkit is designed to help you learn about the SEO strategies that can increase site visibility, boost the number of visitors coming to your site, and most importantly, improve conversion rates. Take a look, and discover tips to help you take advantage of search. And be sure to share your most successful SEO strategies in the comments.