B2B SEO & The Buyer’s Journey10 min read
Search engine optimization (SEO) is not just a race to the top of search engine results pages, even though many brands view it as such. In fact, this is one of the most common misconceptions about SEO—that the only goal is to position your company’s website at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant searches.
While positioning your website in a high-visibility piece of real estate within popular search engines like Google is certainly a crucial component of a comprehensive SEO strategy, it is not the only one. In fact, in The DVS Guide to SEO, we often remind our small and medium-size business owners that SEO is an ecosystem and not just one or two milestones they should strive to achieve.
Landing your website on the first page of search results—not an easy feat—is just the first step in a larger journey for the buyer that you are actively courting. Every element of SEO — both off page and on page—plays a role in ushering that buyer along on their journey, with the ultimate goal of converting them from a visitor into a customer.
Let’s walk through the three phases of a typical buyer’s journey and how various SEO practices will help you maximize your chances at a conversion.
1. Awareness: Maximize Your Visibility
Your journey in courting a buyer starts with creating awareness and visibility. This is when favorable placement within search engines proves to be so important. It’s really no mystery that most web searchers are going to stick to the first page of results when they conduct a search. In fact, the very first listing attracts a hefty 28.5 percent click-through rate.
However, getting to page one on certain Google searches gets more complicated with each evolution of the search engine’s ever-changing algorithm. Google utilizes an extensive variety of factors when deeming websites relevant for searchers. Conducting keyword research and weaving in the necessary keyword phrases has always been a big part of the process, but a variety of additional factors will also play a critical role, such as link building or whether or not your website is developed to render cleanly on mobile devices, which most searchers now use.
Not only do you need to deliver on what Google deems as metrics of relevance, but you also want to make your website listing to appeal to searchers. Page titles and meta descriptions essentially serve as an elevator pitch to potentially a first-time viewer. You have very limited characters (155 to 160, specifically) to draw a visitor in and click through. What’s the point in going through the hard work and expense of positioning your website at the top of relevant SERPs when your page titles and meta descriptions don’t prompt anyone to click through?
2. Consideration: Increase Click-Through Rate & Time Spent on Page
Is your B2B company’s website ready to pique interest and inform buyers? When brands put all their energy and focus into climbing the ranks of Google search results , they often don’t realize that, once they gain this newfound visibility, these new visitors are visiting an obsolete website that doesn’t provide much substance.
Your website’s content and other on-page elements need to satisfy the user’s query and spark a conversion action. If a buyer comes to your website, views the one page and then leaves because nothing appeals to them, that can inflate your website’s bounce rate, which is not a flattering statistic. It’s a surefire sign that your website is irrelevant and unengaging.
This is one of the many factors that Google monitors and it can ultimately hurt your relevance score as a result. A bounce rate of around 26 to 40 percent is considered by many to be optimal. That’s when 26 to 40 percent of your visitors are viewing a page and then leaving. Similarly, a bounce rate of 56 to 70 percent is quite high.
It’s vital to anticipate the typical questions and conversations your B2B business routinely has with potential clients. You can then craft content around those, proactively providing buyers with the information that will help move them along on the buying journey.
3. Decision: Win the Conversion
Not only do you want to proactively provide new visitors with the information they’re looking for, but it’s important to do so in a convincing tone while providing them with a positive experience while they engage with your brand via your website.
Authority is key in this situation. Establishing an authoritative tone drives home the fact that your business is the industry expert in this space. Other businesses tend to want to work with a leader.
The user experience on your website also says a lot to buyers. If a buyer is spending an inordinate amount of time simply trying to navigate your website and find relevant information, why would they entrust you with paid services?
Enhancing user experience comes in many forms, including something as simple as formatting text and other elements on a page so it’s easy to read. But, crucial components of user experience also lie behind the scenes of your website, too, with page speed being a biggie. Your conversion rate can actually drop 4.42 percent with each additional second of load time. User experience has a profound impact on your ability to convert new clients.
Finally, your call to action is another important component of winning the conversion. This call to action doesn’t necessarily have to be something that attempts to close a sales deal, either. Your call to action could be asking a visitor to download a whitepaper or e-book to promote market education and so the buyer can continue the conversation with your brand away from your website.
Establish Relevance, Authority, and Trust in Your SEO Strategy
At DVS, we provide comprehensive SEO services that treat this avenue of digital marketing as the ecosystem it is, helping small and medium-size B2B businesses craft a comprehensive approach that accounts for every step of a buyer’s journey.