Why do B2B marketers need SEO?
For B2B marketers coping with the global health crisis, search engine optimization (SEO) is showing its strength, stability, and resiliency in many forms.
SEO has seen better performance and consistency than other marketing tactics during the pandemic, as we’ll explore with data from recent surveys and reports, and with more consumers than ever conducting business online and searching for best-answer solutions, many B2B marketers may find that the time is right to increase focus on SEO.
Here are five reasons why SEO is more important than ever for B2B marketers.
1 — SEO is Performing Better During the Health Crisis
63 percent of marketers believe SEO is more important during the pandemic, according to newly-released survey data.
Combined with the fact that during 2019 paid and organic search were the top performing online channels, as shown below, the increasing focus on SEO this year during the pandemic is understandable, as marketers turn towards the strongest and most stable tactics.
SEO can also represent a lower-cost channel, which has led some 34 percent of marketers to say that they plan to invest more in less costly marketing channels such as SEO, according to the same survey.
Data from another recent survey found that 65 percent of advertisers believe the health crisis will result in more spending on media that is able to show direct sales outcomes, making SEO a natural choice for many marketers in both B2B and B2C industries.
Among U.S. marketers paid search garnered both the greatest rate of budget retention and the smallest expected spending decrease in a recent eMarketer survey, faring significantly better than display advertisements, paid social media, and digital video. While what will play out in the long term remains to be seen, initial survey results such as these point to continued opportunities in SEO-centric marketing efforts.
This may be why Google has rolled out new SEO-related features to its Ads Editor that include a real-time optimization score, as the search giant seeks to improve one of the most-used ad tools, and why it has released a series of guides touting the benefits of SEO during the health crisis.
2 — SEO Helps as Pandemic Consumers Are Shopping Primarily Online
Both B2B and brick-and-mortar brands with shuttered physical locations during stay-at-home orders can benefit immensely from the benefits of SEO, as more business is moved online and more people are searching not only for goods and services, but for answers to new sets of questions brought about by the health crisis — questions your brand should be ready to answer in properly optimized content.
Marketer looking to create this type of optimized content can learn from our CEO Lee Odden, who asked 16 B2B experts for their top tips to optimize marketing performance in an article examining B2B marketing fitness.
As early reports have come in, both B2B and B2C brands have seen increased website traffic figures during the pandemic, up 13 percent in March 2020 compared to February, according to HubSpot benchmark data.
With more people visiting B2B websites, it’s never been more important to have online content that’s properly indexed, easily findable, and that swiftly answers customer questions. Providing best-answer content is a key part of SEO best-practices, as we’ve written about in the following articles:
- How B2B Marketers Can Win at Search with Best Answer Content
- The Science and Art of Best Answer B2B Marketing Content
- Trust Factors: How Best Answer Content Fuels Brand Credibility
- How A Best Answer Content Strategy Drives B2B Marketing Results
- Power Pages and Best Answer Content: Should You Go Long or Short Form?
3 — SEO Platforms Help Maximize Remote Worker Efficiencies
There are perhaps more SEO platforms available now than ever, built to help businesses achieve successful ongoing search campaigns. During the best of times, using some of the top platform tools adds efficiency to teams tasked with SEO implementation. During the remote work boom caused by the health crisis, using such tools can provide even more efficiency to B2B firms that are increasingly turning to SEO.
Finding the right SEO platforms has been an ongoing challenge for B2B firms, which is why we recently researched nine of the top platforms, including how leaders at each is handling the pandemic both in their professional and personal lives, in “Best SEO Tips for Marketing During the Pandemic Plus 9 Top SEO Platforms.”
Even before the coronavirus hit, longtime SEO industry consultant Aleyda Solis predicted that SEO would play a major role in 2020 for B2B marketers, as she outlined in our annual “10 Top B2B SEO Trends & Predictions for 2020” roundup.In 2020, I expect a growth in importance and usage of structured data, an increase in predictive search features, and a shift to a more technical SEO ecosystem. @aleyda Click To Tweet
Recently Aleyda took to her video channel to discuss how SEO’s role will change during the health crisis, in “Coronavirus & SEO: Its Impact in traffic and business, and the actions to Take as an SEO Specialist.”
We’ve also explored how B2B marketers are successfully adapting to remote work, including the following recent articles:
- 6 Tips to Keep B2B Marketing Teams in Rhythm While Working Remotely
- Remote Communication Opportunities For B2B Marketers
- How Authentic Content Builds Brand Trust in Uncertain Times
4 — Doing SEO Now Will Strengthen Future Brand Efforts
As Patrick Reinhart, vice president of digital strategies at Conductor recently told Marketing Land’s Greg Sterling, “What a lot of businesses are doing right now is only talking about the virus and not talking about other ways to help their customers,” Patrick said. “Right now is a great time to plant trees for SEO if you haven’t already. The trees you plant now will provide shade on sunny days in the future and there is nothing wrong with creating it along with content that addresses the current state of things,” he added.
While the pandemic has affected how SEO specialists both in-house and at agencies implement search strategies — as the following chart shows — businesses are continuing forward with SEO fundamentals that will help lay the foundation for expanded search success when the health crisis has passed.
“B2B marketers who continue forward now with SEO fundamentals will help lay the foundation for expanded search success when the health crisis has passed.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis Click To Tweet
5 — SEO’s Stability Is Important For B2B Brands
With 47 percent of B2B customers using search to find information, suppliers, and solutions, SEO has always been important for B2B brands, and now its stability in times of flux adds to its marketing strength.
The pandemic has brought fluctuations to all areas of marketing, just as it’s affected many parts of our lives, and while search results haven’t been entirely immune — as shown in the following Google desktop result chart from an interesting look at “16-straight days of rankings volatility: SEOs dig into the COVID-19 effects on search” — the strength and endurance of SEO has brought it into more focus than ever.
Best-Answer B2B Marketing Solutions Increasingly Feature SEO
As we’ve examined, the time may be right for many B2B marketers to increase focus on SEO, because it has seen better performance and stability during the health crisis as more consumers than ever are conducting business online.
Paired with it’s ability to increase remote work efficiency when the right SEO platforms are used, and considering SEO’s overall effectiveness as a long-term strategy, B2B brands can benefit from turning to SEO for providing best-answer solutions, even during the pandemic.