Successful business-to-business (B2B) companies rely heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to attract larger and more profitable audiences. Strategy surrounding SEO and B2B companies has to differ from that of business-to-consumer companies for a couple of reasons:
- B2B businesses typically have a smaller pool of potential buyers, and
- Products and services offered (as well as their selling price) are typically more complex
The new year is coming quicker than you may think and, from an SEO perspective, there are already many changes affecting B2B industries. If you’re still asking yourself “Should I care about SEO?”, the short answer is YES.
In 2017, there are several SEO trends that will heavily impact the business-to-business world. Here are my top three:
The Importance of Optimizing for Local Search
If your business has a physical location, consumers need to be able to find you. This isn’t breaking news, but search engine result pages are becoming increasingly crowded with Local 3-Packs and Carousel results, pushing organic results lower and lower. Below is a screenshot of a search I recently made; as you can see, paid results and a Local 3-Pack ad show before organic results.
Even with this change in SERP layout, local search can assist in creatively and successfully reaching the right audience for your business in the coming year.
One of the most beneficial ways to take advantage of the surge in local search in 2017 is to implement schema markups. The main purpose of schema is to allow users and search engines to understand and discover your site more effectively with the help of code. B2B companies should definitely leverage schema in the coming year to make local contact information, media, ecommerce platforms, and news/press releases even more visible to the public eye. For another quick win, update contact and business information within free and paid local directories, such as Yellow Pages and Google My Business.
Mobile Adaptation – It’s Here, Get Used to It.
According to Ad Age, “66% of B2B marketers now use their mobile devices for business.” Although some B2B industries may not immediately recognize the need for mobile optimization, it is imperative that businesses reach potential consumers on the very platform they frequent. In fact, many SEO experts are predicting that mobile optimization will be considered more important than desktop optimization in the eyes of Google and other search engines. You can find proof of this change here and here. The very first step to effectively reaching consumers in a mobile space is – surprise! — making your site mobile friendly. Making efforts to improve mobile page speed with GZIP compression and image optimization will also improve user experience. If your business has not done so, it isn’t too late to start fresh in the new year by making your site mobile responsive. Your site visitors will thank you.
ICYMI, Accelerated Mobile Pages are beginning to dominate the mobile landscape. Commonly referred to as AMP, these are stripped-down HTML pages that ultimately provide content (and now forms) to mobile users quicker. Since launching in February 2016, AMP pages have skyrocketed in usage, and for good reason—AMP pages are not considered a factor in Google PageRank, but they do have the potential to move your business to a higher position within search engine results. Keep in mind that AMP pages are not solely intended for news articles. Your business can also utilize AMP for entertainment, finance, tech, and ecommerce purposes. In 2017, there’s no doubt that page speed will become even more important of a factor for Google page rank as we see mobile capabilities evolve, so get with the winning team early on and pay attention to mobile speed.
The Evolution in Query
In 2017, Internet search won’t revolve as much around what users are searching for, but rather HOW users are searching for things. Even if your business sells machinery that costs thousands of dollars, there is probably a person trying to find said machine, so businesses need to adapt their site content, meta information, and keywords to find that dream customer. Mobile and voice queries are becoming increasingly focused around local inquiry, with conversational tonality, longer phrasing, and greater intent; Be prepared for the coming year ahead of competitors by giving your keyword list a refresh with queries such as what, who, where, etc.
SEO implementation may seem like a digital game of cat-and-mouse at times, but paying attention to local search, mobile speed improvement, and changes in query now will save your business from pain and headache in the coming year.
Be sure that you’re ahead of the curve when the ball drops at midnight.
Not all marketing agencies are created equal. Learn about a few things legitimate marketing agencies will absolutely not do for your company when it comes to SEO by reading SEO Strategy: Three Things Real Marketing Agencies Won’t Do.