MarketingSherpa’s 2011 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition reveals that B2B companies need to raise their B2B SEO game to stay in front of potential customers next year.
But first let's acknowledge what will stay the same: the challenges unique to doing business to business (B2B) SEO rather than B2C.Common B2B challenges according to Ryan DeShazer at GyroHSR:
- B2B search is fundamentally different from B2C
- B2B search is difficult to measure because searchers typically aren't buyers
- B2B search is confusing because we don't really know if our intended audiences are the ones who click through
MarketingSherpa’s survey of 2,194 search marketers found that 57% predicted personalized search and real time search would have an impact on their business in the next five years. Another 33% said it would have a “great” impact. Only 11% didn’t see the impact.
Other categories look more promising: 73% said video search would have “somewhat” or a “great” impact, and 76% felt the same way about the emerging mobile search.
These could be the places where people are talking about you – for better or for worse. So you have to be monitoring where they are if you are going to be part of the conversation.
Are you talking to me?
The same report found that:
- 64% of respondents integrate social media into their search marketing plans
- 36% don’t!
As the report says, “If you’re not currently integrating social media into your search engine marketing plan, you are officially in the minority.”
Is smaller better?
Companies with fewer than 100 employees were even more likely to use social media search optimization than large companies. MarketingSherpa ventured that this could be the result of more agile decisionmaking at "intimate companies" (their term) than at their larger counterparts ... so they can make campaign changes faster.
Are you behind the times?
Sherpa's SEO Maturity chart showed that most marketers either had no formal process (20%) for performing SEO or an informal process randomly performed (46%). Only 34% reported a formal process routinely performed. And these responses are from folks who identify as search marketers?!
Is your company in the 76% of respondents who planned to invest conservatively or not at all in SEO in the coming years? Then this report might be just the tool for convincing the powers that be to invest in smart SEM. The statistics on conversion rates would be great to have in your back pocket during a conversation with the budget committee.
As Sherpa says:
“There is no doubt that social media can be an effective tactic in improving brand or product reputation and public relations. That could translate into higher conversion rates. If a search engine user already recognizes and has heard positive things about a brand that shows up in their search results, they are more likely to click through and convert on their website.”
Key terms to know for 2011 B2B SEO planning
- Personalized search - search results are tailored for the searcher based on previous search patterns, location, and/or other factors
From Google's blog:
Now when you search using Google, we will be able to better provide you with the most relevant results possible. For example, since I always search for [recipes] and often click on results from epicurious.com, Google might rank epicurious.com higher on the results page the next time I look for recipes. Other times, when I'm looking for news about Cornell University's sports teams, I search for [big red]. Because I frequently click on www.cornellbigred.com, Google might show me this result first, instead of the Big Red soda company or others.
- Real time search
The Real-Time Web is a paradigm based on pushing information to users as soon as it's available - instead of requiring that they or their software check a source periodically for updates.
Try a search with OneRiot to find fresh, relevant search results as they emerge on the social web - the news, blogs, etc.
Your turn: Have you been in real time search results lately? Why or why not?