B2B Search Marketing often presents unique challenges for search engine optimization and managing profitable SEM programs. Columnists provide tips for common business-to-business search marketing issues such as lengthy conversion cycles, finding qualified buyers, the role search marketing plays in the overall sales process and more.

Building A B2B Brand From Scratch Through Search

watermelon In the past few articles, I've talked about various search strategies to apply to your existing B2B search campaigns. But what if you're starting from scratch, and you're building your brand for the first time? Maybe your brand is embarking on a strategy to expand into the market for a B2B product that is entirely new to your brand image? Perhaps your goal is to maintain or enhance your brand image during launches of solutions or products. Here are just a few tips to help you start out, and increase or maintain your market share and profitability through paid search. Tip #1: Ensure Good Ke [...]

Hummingbird’s Impact On B2B Sites

google-hummingbird3-featured The new Hummingbird algorithm will revolutionize the way B2B companies market their sites in search. Many larger B2B companies tend to invest marketing dollars in more traditional forms of marketing rather than SEM because the B2B space is usually not very competitive in an online atmosphere. The old idea of paying a few grand to do a basic SEO setup will no longer be an effective tactic for these types of companies (although it never was very effective in the first place). In my last column, I explained how to do SEM for B2B companies that see no value in it. I also recently wrote anoth [...]

Perspective Matters In B2B Website Content

web content In B2B marketing, relationships lead to conversions. Content strategy is an essential tool for driving traffic through SEO and social media, and for engaging and building trust with audiences online. This means choosing the best content type (e.g., copy, video, print, audio, whitepaper, etc.) and the right words to convey your message. But all too often, companies miss the mark with their website copy. [caption id="attachment_172953" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via shutterstock[/caption] Your website copy is a creative asset, just as your website design, print collateral and vi [...]

White Papers: Key To B2B Enterprise SEO Power

B-to-B Content Creation Process

Enterprise marketers, particularly in the B-to-B space, often find content development a difficult proposition. The company’s thought leaders, although happy to pontificate, are often afraid of committing to a writing schedule – and the marketer, admittedly, is trying to get others to “squeeze in” content, essentially “off the books”. With no reward, why should anyone help with the difficult, thankless work of writing articles? The trick is for the marketer to take advantage of three key tactics…

Secrets Of Successful B2B Remarketing Campaigns

cookies Remarketing has been around for a few years on the display side of marketing, but has only recently picked up momentum and adoption on the paid search side. From what I've seen, remarketing is something that companies sometimes do really right... and other times do completely wrong. Here, I'll share the main things we've learned from our search B2B remarketing campaigns, from both an e-commerce and lead-gen perspective. [caption id="attachment_171433" align="alignright" width="192"] Image via shutterstock[/caption] First, to give a bit of background, remarketing is simply the act of "coo [...]

SEM For B2B Companies That See No Value In Search

b2b branding site conversion funnel Not every company sees the value of SEM in the B2B space. Companies that only do two or three deals per year based solely on lead nurturing will have no need to rank for keywords or for building site traffic. Selling any website services outside of design to these high-ticket companies may seem impossible because they only use the site for branding purposes. But there are some SEM tactics that are worth selling. There is still a need for analytics, SEO and conversion optimization for these types of clients; however, the strategy is completely different from normal SEM tactics because users [...]

4 LinkedIn Recommendations For The B2B SEO Professional

4 Tips to Launch Your Business into Social LinkedIn's recent announcement about the redesign of LinkedIn Group pages has had me thinking much more about why B2B search marketers need to leverage this social media platform in support of SEO initiatives. According to the announcement, "there are more than 200 conversations happening each minute across LinkedIn Groups and more than 8,000 Groups created each week." And in Holger Schulze's 2013 B2B Content Marketing Trends Report, LinkedIn tops the list as the most effective social media platform for delivering content. [caption id="attachment_170910" align="aligncenter" width="480"] [...]

Issue-Oriented Marketing: Maintaining Momentum During Congressional Recess

taxes_spending Many corporations and non-profit organizations use political and issue-oriented marketing to sway citizens' votes on topics ranging from Internet sales taxes to food stamps. Some even work simply to get people to the polls. A familiar non-partisan example is Rock the Vote's campaign, which has driven millions of young voters to the polls since 1992. [caption id="attachment_170292" align="alignright" width="299"] Image via shutterstock[/caption] Issue-oriented marketing resembles lobbying by swaying members of Congress to vote for or against specific bills or other pieces of legislation. [...]

Innovating In The B2B Search Space: Testing Geo Bid Multipliers

All Online Campaigns In a recent article in AdAge, Bert DuMars cites Forrester research which found that "only 11% of marketers set aside a specific budget for marketing innovation efforts, and only 9% make marketing innovation a part of every marketer's budget." I won't go into how to secure that budget, as he details some good tips -- but as one of those lucky enough to be in that 11%, I'd like to talk about a test we ran with that innovation budget and some findings we learned along the way. Testing Geo Bid Multipliers With Enhanced Campaigns A new feature of AdWords enhanced campaigns, geo bid multipliers [...]

Building The B2B Organic CRO Machine

target roi Over the last few years, I've watched the search marketing industry grow from being traffic-growth focused to being conversion- and usability-oriented. In the coming years, I expect to see an even stronger focus on usability and conversion. One thing that makes the B2B sector different from B2C is the fact that users rarely convert on the first visit due to longer sales cycles. Building a powerful B2B organic conversion machine requires a strong focus on intelligence, usability analysis and conversion optimization. A user who lands on a site the first time through search may not convert dur [...]

New B2B Content Consumption Habits In An Ever-Changing Advertising Funnel

1st Riff In my last article, I discussed how some marketing tactics and concepts of yesteryear can still be applied in advertising to B2B customers today. Inevitably, however, some marketing media and channels have changed. The world of advertising has shifted from a one-step advertising funnel to a multi-step funnel, caused simply by the inception of the Internet and the ability it's given people to easily access content. Knowing that, we'll investigate how B2B content consumption habits have changed and discuss how to leverage these new habits for a successful PPC advertising campaign. Content [...]

Build B2B Brand Awareness, Not Links

content social promotion diagram Given the ample warning and increased transparency Google provided in advance of Penguin 2.0, it surprises me that B2B search marketers still blew up the forums about being penalized for link spam after it hit. There's no reason webmasters should not have cleaned up their act before the rollout (the exception being a recently acquired client that already had a bad link profile). Yet, some B2B marketers continue to build spammy links. Can you honestly picture a manufacturer of pipes or a custom fabrication shop creating enough online dialogue that 100 sites per month would link to them legit [...]

What B2B SEO Professionals Need To Know About Marketing Automation

A few weeks ago, Marketing Land covered the release of an update to the Digital Marketing Depot 2013 B2B Marketing Automation Tools Buyer’s Guide. The 61-page report covers "key trends impacting the marketing automation software market, as well as detailed information about the leading pure play marketing automation platforms that primarily target the B2B market." This column takes an in-depth look at topics discussed in this guide, as well as perspective and recommendations for B2B SEO professionals. Growing Interest In Marketing Automation First off, what is marketing automation? Acc [...]

6 Parallels Between Old-School B2B Sales Tactics & SEM

[caption id="attachment_164077" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via shutterstock[/caption] I’m excited to be writing for the first time for Search Engine Land, sharing knowledge and tips that can help you with your B2B e-commerce and lead-gen search engine marketing. Having spoken recently at SMX Advanced in Seattle about how to "Rock it with PLAs," I hope you'll depart on a journey with me for six articles in which I will provide the framework for streamlining your B2B search campaigns to maximize results. Today’s article is about the initial setup of your B2B search campai [...]

Homepage Sliders: Bad For SEO, Bad For Usability

One of the most prevalent design flaws in B2B websites is the use of carousels (or sliders) on the homepage. Carousels are an ineffective way to target user personas, which ends up hurting the site's SEO and usability. In fact, at the recent Conversion Conference in Chicago, about 25% of the speakers mentioned carousels -- of those, 100% condemned them. Over the last three months, I have conducted extensive research to suggest that carousels are a bad option for B2B websites. Research Methodology I looked at 30 different B2B websites across various industries. Of those 30 sites, a shockin [...]

Non-Descriptive Labeling Can Hurt Your SEO & Site Usability

Peter Morville's 3 Pillars of Information Architecture: Context, Content, and Users/Searchers Those who work in the B2B sector have probably seen non-descriptive labeling used on just about every site they've worked on. Such labels may include title tags, URLs, H1 tags or navigation labels. Aside from irritating users, poor labeling practices will also hurt your site’s SEO. The concept of "context auditing" should be part of every search marketer’s process to make websites more search and user friendly. How Poor Labeling Practices Hurt Your Site The biggest issue that bad labeling creates is a poor internal linking structure. For example, if the text of a link in your naviga [...]

Five Reports For Measuring B2B Marketing Effectiveness

Like many online marketing professionals, B2B marketers are obsessed with data. Technological innovation creates phenomenal opportunities for marketers to "slice and dice" information in an effort to create more meaningful lead acquisition strategies. But, innovation might also act as a deterrent and be considerably overwhelming. A recent article on MarketingSherpa discussed their latest survey report on marketing analytics, which indicates that 42% of marketers surveyed believe the ability to act on data to be the most significant challenge they face. Combining data from multiple sources a [...]

How to Use The Keyword Planner — The New Keyword Tool From Google AdWords

Last month, Google quietly began rolling out the AdWords Keyword Planner to select AdWords accounts last month. In typical AdWords fashion, one of the biggest overhauls of the Google Keyword Tool ever went almost unnoticed!   This new keyword tool combines elements of two existing keyword tools, the Google Keyword Tool and the AdWords Traffic Estimator, adding a more structured and integrated workflow as well as all sorts of new bells and whistles. If you've ever used the Google Keyword Tool and/or AdWords Traffic Estimator in the past, take note here -- the new Keyword Pla [...]

4 SEO Recommendations For Dealing With B2B Lengthening Sales Cycles

Many of our clients face sales cycles in a six- to twelve-month duration. In a recent client interview, one of the sales directors revealed that they were on the verge of closing a multi-million dollar deal that took nearly three years of nurturing alone to finally get to the proposal process. With multiple decision makers and departments impacting complete B2B solutions, marketing plays a pivotal role. A recent news release, which summarized a comprehensive survey of B2B marketing professionals put together by BtoB Magazine and Bizo revealed that the sales cycle is lengthening for many B2 [...]

How To Prep Your B2B Search Program For Google Enhanced Campaigns

According to the great Greek philosopher Heraclitus, change is the only constant. As you have most likely heard by now, Google is making major adjustments to its AdWords platform that will have sweeping changes to the ways and means of how you execute your search campaigns. For B2B search, this is going to have a specific impact on your programs, and getting ready for the coming changes will require a bit of forethought into how you maximize the results of your campaigns. In a realm like B2B, there is always the dual challenge of a diffuse customer base with ever changing needs and a lim [...]

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