As optimism over the economy increases across B2B organizations and industries, search engine marketers need to take note. Industrial professionals go online when searching for products, services, and information. A recent white paper (short form submission) from GlobalSpec highlights this trend in the industrial space.
3 Critical Points for B2B Search Engine Marketers
From this survey:
- Fifty percent of key decision makers in industrial organizations will spend more time researching future projects for the companies.
- Over 70 percent spend 3+ hours on the Internet for work per week. Seventeen percent spend more than 12 hours per week.
- On a scale from 1 to 10, 8.2 was the value industry respondents indicated that they use search engines when searching for products, services, and supplies; the highest value for all sources.
Here are four key recommendations B2B organizations working in the industrial sector need to consider with respect to the search engine marketing initiatives.
SEO Must Take Place at Multiple Content Locations on the Website
It isn't enough to solely optimize product and solutions pages as industrial personnel are looking for more than the end solution. Industrial professionals are looking for assistance at solving complex problems for their organization. The chart below indicates that industry professionals have a full plate of initiatives to consider, the top priorities being project and technology research.
Is your organization going to be the destination that provides this information for them?
A key recommendation in the white paper is in the preparation for both short-term and long-term market opportunity. In a previous article I spoke about the need for B2B search marketers to invest in content marketing strategies.
With such an emphasis on research and project development, it's imperative that value added content be developed to nurture potential leads for the organization. This content needs to be optimized for keyword search opportunities.
What types of content should be considered?
- Case studies and product/solution tutorials.
- White papers and research studies.
- Fully optimized product and solution pages matter as well.
This content needs to be optimized for keyword opportunities and core SEO best practices. At a high level this includes:
- Keyword research.
- Optimized HTML titles, meta descriptions, headings, and on-page content.
- Cross-linking across related products and supporting content assets.
- Attention to site parameters that can positively (or negatively) impact SEO initiatives.
Optimize Landing Pages for New Content Marketing Initiatives
The landscape for where industrial professionals do their research is changing. The industrial market relies less on traditional media and more on online sources to search for products, services, and suppliers. While 58 percent of respondents didn’t attend a single trade show last year, nearly half (48 percent) attended webinars, webcasts and online trade shows/conferences.
B2B search engine marketers must work with the entire marketing team in creating opportunities to drive leads and conversions. This can be done through landing pages supporting new content initiatives.
Here's a general summation of recommendations I wrote in an article detailing on savvy B2B with respect to landing page optimization.
- Optimize titles, descriptions, and key statements.
- Clear call-to-action.
- Look for secondary conversion opportunities (newsletter sign-ups, social network building, etc.).
The combination of value-added research needs and the shift in attention to online media consumption can infer that industrial professionals will provide some level of contact information in exchange for quality content. B2B search engine marketers should help spearhead that effort through keyword research and landing page optimization for new content generated.
Get Links Through the Development of Industry Expertise
Search engines are not the only place industrial professionals are going when looking for the information they need. As indicated in the first chart of the article, supplier sites, trade publications (online and offline), and the recommendations from colleagues and peers are also important. Social networks, B2B search engines, and blogs and forums were also listed.
B2B search engine marketers working with industrial professionals should be on the lookout for content opportunities, from third party websites, where links can be acquired via bylines and contributor bios. Not only will links help SEO, but visibility in key industry publications may lead to direct sales and business development opportunities.
Get Links by Providing Content that Helps Your Prospects Solve Problems
While B2B industrial organizations are optimistic about the future, the survey indicates an increased workload for key personnel. It's unclear whether more help in the form of new hiring will be on the way.
B2B search engine marketers must consider the type of content that helps their target market solve problems for their organization. In an environment where personnel needs to do more with less, these types of content assets become invaluable, and certainly get shared in social networks, blogs, and industry forums.
Examples of potential link-friendly content:
- Calculators and forecasting tools.
- Cheatsheets and short reference guides.
- Video tutorials, screencasts, and easy to access training documents.
Search Remains in the Driver’s Seat for B2B Organizations
It's encouraging to find reports such as Globalspec’s that support the need for search engine marketing within the B2B company. Buyer behavior continues to shift online across all industries.
Have you been noticing shifts in the channels sending leads for your organization? I would love to hear your thoughts and perspective via the comments below.