…or Is there value in Search Engine Optimization for Business-to-Business websites?

In general, companies in a B2B space find that they don’t really tend to attract business from their website. Instead, it serves more as a verification tool. You hear about the business – usually through word of mouth or a chance meeting – and check them out on the web. If their site looks professional, and addresses your needs, you may contact them. Otherwise you move on.

This is especially true of smaller B2B companies, with little or no brand awareness in the market. The web is for verification. 98% of all company searches done are for B2Consumer companies, and the remainder are to try to find the correct website when the URL isn’t what you guessed.

So with this in mind, is spending time and money on SEO worthwhile?

Yes, but with limitations, and it usually isn’t a top priority. Let me explain.

There are some basic things to do to optimize SEO on your site which are just plain good practice. Most of them enhance the usability of your site, which can be far more important to you than your search ranking. This includes ensuring page titles and links match, hotlinking keywords, and providing alternate means of navigation by keywords.

Backlinks and reciprocal links – typically great for enhancing SEO ranks – have the added benefit of increasing credibility by association.

And that also holds true for enhancing your position in search ranks. Even if the searches for you are not by strangers who haven’t heard of your company, those who are using search tools to find you will have greater confidence if you are on the first page. It’s a collateral benefit – but maybe not worth paying for on its own.

Where this works out well, is with the inclusion of keywords in blogs. Blogging regularly will get your URL associated with the keywords within your blogs. Videos will do the same things – perthaps at an accelerated rate. In both cases, because it isn’t just the website copy connecting on the search, but CONTENT, you communicate expertise. Expertise helps close business, even if it doesn’t necessarily attract it.

So following good SEO practices when creating your site, and adding dynamic content, are beneficial to B2B companies, even if spending major money on a regular SEO program is not. However, if you haven’t been following best practices (Annie blogged about these in three parts: 123), and don’t have the time to do this yourself, it can be worthwhile to get this done – and maintained – on a regular basis. For more information on what can be done for you, give Annie Li a call.
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