Search engine optimization is a constantly evolving field. With each of Google's algorithm changes, strategies that used to deliver results may be rendered ineffective. While some of the best practices are consistent, B2B marketing teams need to be aware of new developments in this field to ensure their marketing efforts continue to perform at a high level. SEO is still an essential strategy in the B2B industry, but it requires an up-to-date knowledge to succeed.
Local search marketing undergoing major changes
Google recently announced its latest update, Pigeon, which affects local search efforts. Because more buyers are doing research from their mobile devices while on the go, mobile SEO is growing in importance, which is an important consideration for B2B marketers. In addition, some firms may only target a relatively small geographic region. Any traffic from outside this area won't be relevant, highlighting the reason to optimize local search efforts.
Many SEO marketers notice a change in their rankings immediately following a significant algorithm change, and this has been the case with Pigeon (1). Since the update, there have been major fluctuations in local rankings, making monthly reports less accurate. However, many SEO experts have been suggesting that ranking reports are not as relevant as they once were, even though many companies still use this as a primary indicator of SEO success.
Especially with the dramatic shifts in local rankings, it may be a good idea to take a look at other metrics to get a better gauge of performance. For example, organic traffic is often overlooked in local search marketing reports, and this may be a better indication of how an initiative is working. In addition, it's beneficial to analyze landing pages. While once barely a blip on the radar, mobile search now accounts for a significant portion of the total, and this number is likely to keep growing. B2B marketers need to ensure they have an effective mobile marketing strategy in place.
How to avoid other SEO failures
Because so many different aspects go into planning an SEO campaign, there are nearly endless possibilities for things to go wrong. B2B companies may have unrealistic expectations, not enough of a budget or assume things about the campaign rather than planning with hard data (2).
Unrealistic goals are a major cause of SEO failure. For example, a small local business most likely won't be able to be the top-rated website on Google or Bing as soon as a campaign goes live. Successful campaigns are often based on intervals with more reasonable timeframes for specific milestones.
Keywords are another major roadblock, and this is an area where marketers may make assumptions rather than doing enough research to select the right terms. Unless marketers use a keyword research tool to study this data, they could be making uneducated guesses on the terms customers are actually searching and optimizing for the wrong keywords. Without the right keyword strategy, the SEO campaign may be driving the wrong traffic to the website. One indication that this may be an issue is if the website has a high bounce rate for all organic search traffic (2).
Poor content can cause SEO initiatives to be unsuccessful
It's a well-known fact that content marketing and SEO are closely tied together. Google continues to put more emphasis on high-quality content as a ranking signal. However, good copy is not the only consideration for boosting SEO results. Although poorly written content may scare visitors away from the site, all copy needs to be relevant to the target audience's interests to achieve a high ranking on the search engine results page. Visitor engagement sends a strong signal to Google that users are finding value in the content, meaning other people may as well.
Many companies used to focus on content for the sole purpose of building links, but this tactic isn't effective anymore (3). While some firms may still be considering SEO and content marketing as two separate strategies, B2B marketing professionals need to produce a higher volume of quality content to stay competitive in SEO. Not only do marketers need to consider relevance to the audience, but it's also important to have a diverse content strategy to have a positive influence on page rank.
Long-form content in particular is important for improving page rank. Websites that appear farther down in the rankings may have weak, sparse content (3). In addition, keywords are still important, but they need to be semantically relevant to the text. The days of awkwardly shoehorning a keyword into a sentence where it doesn't make sense for SEO are long gone. Marketers also need to consider multimedia content, such as video and infographics, to increase visitor engagement. Making content shareable on social media can expand a firm's reach as well.