What does the future of B2B marketing and SEO look like?

Search engine optimization used to be all about having a good keyword strategy. However, this has all changed in a relatively short amount of time. B2B marketing professionals need to consider the semantic value of their website content to win at SEO rankings. While many best practices are the same, search engines have changed the definition of bad SEO (1).

How SEO has changed in the past few years
SEO is constantly evolving, and B2B firms need to pay attention to major changes to ensure their campaigns are still performing well. Here are some new developments in the field:

  • Google removed exact match keyword research from AdWords.
  • The extensive adoption of content marketing is making it more difficult to beat competition with this strategy alone.
  • Google will continue to add new ranking signals, which adds to the complexity for a successful marketing strategy.
  • Search engines will take more actions against spammy websites.
  • Mobile apps will be indexed, which will create the opportunity for app optimization. This will be a significant change for mobile SEO.
  • Search is becoming more personalized, especially as people use their mobile devices more frequently.
  • Mobile will receive more attention, requiring a semantic approach to SEO.

Content and mobile will continue to be important components of an SEO strategy, but marketers need to ensure they play by Google’s rules and adhere to best practices.

Accounting for more visual content
Content marketing is more driven by visuals than it was in the past. B2B marketers may see this as a content concern, but it applies to SEO practices as well. Because Internet marketing relies on more graphics, people often search for products with a particular image in mind (2). This means potential buyers could be searching with different terms than what marketers expect.

Images still provide an opportunity for optimization. Companies can include keywords in the captions or descriptions of images. Search engine bots can’t crawl images like they can with text, but relevant keywords give them more information about what the visual is. Adjusting the image file name can help marketers get better SEO results (3). When images are connected to other text-based content, image searches can help potential leads discover relevant industry information.

Although it is becoming more difficult to stand out with content marketing efforts, visuals are a great way to connect with a target audience.

Pay attention to the semantic nature of content
Context matters more than ever in content marketing. When B2B buyers search from a mobile device, they won’t use the same keywords as they would from a desktop computer. In addition, smartphones give people the option of voice-based search. This has been shown to result in complete questions, rather than inquiries that consist of a specific search term. Marketers need to consider these unique contexts and what the user’s intentions are to craft a truly successful SEO strategy (4).

One of the ways to do this is by assessing term frequency. In the past, keyword density was a good indication of SEO success, but now it’s more about relevancy. Term frequency needs to be compared to the total word count, and marketers need to consider the overall importance of the keyword compared to other terms. In addition, user engagement is a good measure of how content marketing and SEO efforts are performing. Mobile will continue to be an important focus for Google, and users interact with mobile search differently. B2B marketing professionals need to be aware of these trends to keep their strategies on track.

1. “Expert Insights On The Future Of SEO, Part 1”
2. “What’s the Future of SEO in a Visual World?”
3. “Writing for SEO Part Two: Basic Optimization Tips and the Logic Behind Them”
4. “5 Semantic Friendly SEO Strategies That Can Enhance Your Search Engine Visibility”

Sheila Kloefkorn (1031 Posts)

With more than 20 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing,, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.