92 percent of the companies surveyed by Intershop for its 2013 e-commerce report also sell their products online. To advertise this channel an eye-catching appearance in search engines is necessary. This includes search engine advertising (SEA) as well as search engines optimisation (SEO) for the organic page rank. According to the B2B Marketing Benchmark Report 2013 by Optify, these results are responsible for attracting approximately 41 percent of site visitors in the B2B sector.
SEO is a tedious process that depends on hundreds of factors. Examples of this include trends such as multiple word or phrase searches, mobile location-specific searches or “universal searches”. In addition to fine-tuning the company’s own site, “off page” optimization is required, which is only tangentially related to the company site. Among other things, this includes linking with other sites, distribution of content in social channels such as Youtube and Facebook and provision of product catalogues for display in services like for example product searches.
Search engine marketing is never “finished”. On the contrary, it consists of ongoing fine tuning using various parameters and continual. A Google study on Incremental Ad Clicks (IAC) shows how even the slightest improvements in ranking can affect organic search results. IAC is used to determine how organic links can serve to replace the possible number of clicks generated by an AdWords campaign. According to the study, an organic listing at the very top of search results can replace approximately 50% of AdWords clicks, whereas results 2-4 only replace 18%, and starting at result number 5, only 8%. However, remaining at the top of search results requires a lot of time and money and still can’t always be kept. Thus the study also indicates that SEO should always be carried out in combination with SEA measures like AdWords campaigns.
As always, success in a B2B environment primarily depends on the products, services and prices offered as compared to the competition. In addition to this, SEM is just one of the means available. Other site optimization measures including user guidance, conversion, call-to-action and the content itself are also important. Visitors attracted by SEM measures should be able to quickly locate precisely the information they are looking for and ideally they should be animated to perform further actions such as contacting the company or purchasing products. Only then can quantity be converted to quality.