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.

A Case Study In B2B SEO Keyword Analysis

A few weeks back, Dr. Peter J. Meyers ("Dr Pete") wrote a post on SEOmoz about the average position in the browser screen a number-one ranking in Google appears. It is an interesting piece of research, and I recommend reviewing it. My two key takeaways were: More Google-specific features, such as advertising and local results, are taking up real estate in Google search results pages. Search marketers need to be looking beyond keyword visibility reports and what is actually displayed in search results for primary keyword targets. The research was timely as it validated keyword searc [...]

What B2B SEOs Need To Know About Buyer Personas

While buyer personas (user personas) are an established concept in broader B2B marketing discussions, it has taken on new life in recent years. The shift organizations are making to a digital marketing strategy coupled with innovation in technology (should) allow Internet marketers the ability to deliver effective content marketing campaigns across segmented audiences or targeted groups. Developing B2B buyer personas can be an essential part of this, since understanding the goals, needs, and limits of a buyer are important to crafting the right content needed for SEO and social media market [...]

How To Use Social Networks To Create Laser-Targeted B2B Advertising Campaigns

The bane of most search marketers’ existence is search query ambiguity. Is a user searching for [one night stand] interested in an illicit affair or a piece of antique oak furniture for his bedroom? Does the query [internet security] reflect the needs of a consumer fed up with viruses or a CIO looking for a $10 million enterprise solution? John Battelle has called a search engine a “database of intentions,” but that database is often fuzzy, to say the least. In many cases, it would be much easier for marketers to know who the user doing the search was, as opposed to for what they w [...]

25 Questions To Ask When Executing B2B Content Marketing Campaigns

With the new year upon us, search engine marketers are focused on putting the foundation together for campaign execution throughout 2013. Central among the strategies meant to deliver B2B SEO results will be content marketing. Just in time for preparation in the new year, MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute launched their 2013 B2B Content Marketing Report, looking at budgets, benchmarks, and trends to watch for with B2B content marketing. As I reviewed the report, a few key takeaways were important to me, as it pertains to B2B SEO programs we're launching this year. After [...]

How To Build A Better B2B SEO Strategy In 2013

It's the last week of 2012. If you're reading this column, you are forsaking at least a bit of much needed rest for some serious B2B SEO planning in 2013. For me, the few days ahead are about research, preparation, and getting milestones in place for client initiatives (and probably finishing one or two or three outstanding commitments as well). The tactics designed to support your B2B SEO plan most likely include content marketing, third-party link outreach, and social media development, as well as a few enhancements related to Web development. It's one thing to know these are the importan [...]

Remarketing As A Branding Tool For B2B

Branding in B2B search engine marketing is a constant topic for debate. All B2B marketers realize that online brand awareness and recognition is extremely important, and most marketers already promote their brand via PPC campaigns and organic optimization programs. To increase the effectiveness of your efforts, I also recommend implementing remarketing. A short B2B remarketing success story is given below. First, what is remarketing? Remarketing Defined Remarketing is a search advertising feature that allows business marketers to reach prospects who have previously visited your site, and [...]

3 “Big” Web Enhancements B2B SEO’s Should Budget For In 2013

With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us, B2B marketers must now focus on wrapping up 2012 and preparing projections and budgets for the upcoming year. A common theme we have seen with our clients is to define a few "big" Web enhancements that will be associated to B2B search engine marketing in the coming year. Website functionality requests are usually a component of B2B SEO that need to be budgeted in larger organizations, since the website is often managed by a different department than marketing. SEO is often a small component of the Web team's overall priorities and responsibilities in [...]

Top Ways B2B Marketers Can Best Utilize Rich Snippets

There has been a lot of discussion in the SEO world lately around structured data and rich snippets in the SERPs. If you are not familiar with structured data, it is basically a way to explain the content of your website to the search engines in a trusted (structured) format. You can think back to the good-old-days when all you had to do was update your META tags… until this was abused so much that Google stopped using them. What Is Structured Data & Why Should You Use It? Although Google doesn’t currently use structured markup data for ranking purposes, there are several benefits [...]

To Search Is Human, To Find Is Divine

As humans, we have always sought to answer our questions. Prior to the inception of the Internet and the rise of the search engine, we had a limited array of solutions when a question arose. We could ask teachers or friends, and as you might imagine, this was a local and inefficient means to securing an exhaustive answer. We were not entirely without our systems, which in their time proved quite useful. One such system was the Dewey decimal system known well as the information retrieval of our public libraries. When it came to speed, accuracy and efficiency, this system was not without its [...]

6 Underrated Content Marketing Assets For B2B SEO

One of the biggest obstacles to B2B search engine optimization is developing new content marketing assets for targeting important keywords and acquiring link assets. While our organization has seen this in client relationships throughout the years, this degree of difficulty was further supported by industry peers in the 2012 MarketingSherpa Search Engine Marketing Report. Even though there are many excellent research tools available for finding new content marketing ideas, sometimes the best resources are right under the B2B marketer's nose. Here are six underrated content marketing assets [...]

How B2B Marketers Can Develop A Better Social Media Plan This Fall

As B2B marketers assess the strengths and weaknesses of their SEO programs so far this year, the relationship with social media marketing must come into focus. As I wrote in a column last year, 66% of organizations with a formal SEO process were integrating social media into their overall SEO strategy. But social media plays an even larger role for B2B marketing strategy than SEO support. In BtoB Magazine's latest research report on B2B social media marketing, 71% of B2B marketers polled are moving up to 10% of traditional media budget allocations over to social media; 14% indicated that th [...]

A Hiring Checklist To Find The Right B2B Search Marketing Agency

All search marketing programs are not created equally. This rings true most profoundly in the B2B marketing arena where shifting corporate demands, streamlined staffs and reduced budgets produce unique challenges for both B2B companies and the search marketing agencies they hire. Follow this B2B search marketing agency hiring checklist to find a long-term partner that can deliver success, get you noticed online and secure more quality leads. B2B Experts Ensure your search marketing agency understands the nuances of your industry, the complexities behind the long lead cycle, and the demand [...]

Concepts Every B2B SEO Needs To Know In Today’s Internet Marketing Environment

In a recent Forbes article, the popular SEO is Dead / Death of SEO topic took center stage. The article highlighted how questionable SEO tactics (particularly for link building) will no longer be valid. Marketers need to focus on creating truly great content, which in turn earns the right to be shared and searched for. The problem with the article's hypothesis was that it was based on an assumption that SEO tactics only use shortcuts for success. My perspective is that SEO is more than a series of shortcuts, but an evolving Internet marketing discipline. Regardless of what perspective y [...]

3 Steps To Understanding When, Where & How In B2B SEM

In our B2B marketing campaigns, we have the dual challenges of having limited resources and more sophisticated buyers of our services and products. While this is a reality, the good news is that it challenges us to be more creative and effective in our pursuits. This enables us to produce more with less and infuses our efforts with an innate sense of problem solving and solution oriented thinking. In your search campaign, it can be challenging to keep up on all of the latest tactics and strategies. Additionally, depending on the particular area of B2B you focus on, the suggestions might be [...]

10 Common Mistakes In B2B Paid Search

money-trap-mistake-featured B2B SEM often feels like the ugly step-sister of B2C SEM, mainly because the budgets for most B2B campaigns are so much smaller than consumer campaigns. The ‘sexy’ side of B2B SEM, however, is in the potential ROI that a company can get out of a great paid search campaign. Imagine a company that has an average order value (AOV) of $1,000,000 – if that company spends $20,000/month and gets only two sales a year as a result of their SEM spend, that’s an incredible  return on ad spend (ROAS) of 833%. Try getting that sort of return in B2C marketing! [caption id="attachment_125646" [...]

3 Lead Generation Challenges B2B Search Marketers Must Overcome

B2B search engine marketing performance is based as much on lead generation as it is on traffic, keyword visibility, and production. As B2B organizations become more competent in digital marketing strategy, lead quality becomes just as important as lead quantity. It should not be a surprise that fewer form field requirements generate a greater volume of lead opportunities, as visitors do not usually like to give up more information than they have to. However, fewer requirements may compromise the quality of leads generated. This poses a challenge for B2B marketers. In the Marketingshe [...]

Test Then Invest: Putting Innovation Into Your B2B Search Program

As we move toward the halfway point of 2012, now is a great time to ask ‘how successfully has my B2B search campaign performed?’  We still have the second half of the year to realize our goals, and for those who are on track, it is highly likely that your efforts are fueled by innovation in some form or fashion. If you are not on track, you might be asking yourself, what more can I do to gain the results I need in my search program? If your efforts have focused on what has historically worked and you have reached a plateau, it is likely due to missing the opportunity to test your way t [...]

3 Questions To Ask Your B2B SEO Expert

Whether you’ve hired a search marketing agency or are using in-house resources, how do you know if your B2B SEO expert is doing a great job? Three simple questions that all business marketers should ask about their B2B SEO program are: How does our SEO plan differ from a consumer-oriented (B2C) SEO program? Specifically what B2B SEO methodologies are you implementing? How does the SEO program directly contribute to my business goals and marketing objectives? 1.  Unique Aspects Of Your B2B SEO Plan Evaluate your expert’s understanding of your specific B2B market. Ensure that yo [...]

3 Content Aggregators For The B2B Community Manager Toolkit

It’s nothing new to preach the importance of sharing non-competitive, complementary, third party content for brands actively participating in social media. To make friends, you have to be friendly – that’s true for B2C and B2B alike. Friendly friends discuss mutual interests that fascinate and benefit one another. They don’t talk about themselves the whole time. To that end, we teach clients that best practice is to have a rich, informative, and consistently flowing social feed comprised of at least 80% non-branded content, 20% branded. But where, oh sweet social media community man [...]

6 Key Considerations For Preparing A B2B Mobile Strategy

For B2B marketers, a common challenge is targeting the key platforms and mediums where users are most likely to consume information. In today’s digital landscape, this now includes mobile marketing. According to a recent eMarketer article, nearly one-quarter of B2B ecommerce professionals said that mobile Web was one of the most influential touch points for their customers. In addition, 28 percent of U.S. C-level executives in the B2B space used a mobile device to research business purchases; 21 percent used a tablet.   For this reason, mobile will become an increasingly impor [...]

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