It has become a truism that the majority of B2B buyers will begin their journey for a new supplier or vendor by doing a Google search for what they need to buy, and then will explore the websites of the companies that rank at the top of that search. Once they’ve satisfied themselves that a given supplier is a likely candidate, a typical next step is for the buyer to make a phone call to the candidate’s sales department for additional specifics.
Thus, every business that sells stuff to other businesses has a website. And every business should have a website that ranks high in Google searches for the category of product or services that the business sells. If you don’t have a web site that ranks in the top several companies, your website doesn’t get looked at, and your sales department doesn’t get a call.
How well does your website perform in this rankings competition? In this arena, the science of “superior performance” is called search engine optimization (SEO for short), and here are some of the critical issues:
Did you know that Google has 200 ranking factors and up to 50 “vectors” within those ranking factors — do you know if your website is designed properly to cater to those?
Google performs over a thousand changes to its search algorithm per year* – are you able to keep up with the changes, and to understand which ones are important for the rankings of your website?
Your site may rank well for your brand name, but it’s also the unbranded search terms that can bring you new prospects. Do you know if you’re ranking effectively for desirable unbranded keyword search terms?
Many companies think they know what keywords are most used when people search for their products, but without keyword research, they are merely making best-guesses. Have you performed keyword research for your search marketing? Once keyword research is conducted, one then optimizes a website to rank well for those keywords.
Finally, do you really have an accurate understanding of how your website ranks for your search terms? For instance, many people need outside help to get this insight because Google and other search engines effectively personalize search results to feature websites and pages that one has already visited, or visited frequently. If you conduct searches using your desktop or laptop and click on your company’s webpages in Google, chances are you’re now seeing your webpages ranking higher than what most people who have not searched for you before are seeing. Essentially one needs to eliminate this personalization to enable realistic reporting of your search rankings.
Even if you have designed your site in the past with SEO in mind, it can be valuable to have an outside subject matter expert audit your site to see if anything has been missed, done erroneously, or, critically, be improved using the latest protocols.
While many of the search changes are relatively minor to the weighting of ranking factors, some of them are typically going to be significantly impactful to particular industries and particular websites. Good search optimization requires industry specialists who devote significant amounts of time to keeping up with the changes and understanding which ones need to be acted upon.