SEO - Search Engine Optimization
How do you measure SEO performance now that “not provided” keyword data is so prevalent?
This question comes up frequently in client meetings and conversations with colleagues in the industry.
In some cases, “not provided” keyword traffic percentages represent more than 50 percent of a client’s search referral volume. This creates a significant hurdle when you’re trying to demonstrate results for campaign initiatives.
The challenges SEOs face in demonstrating ROI of keyword strategies mirror greater concerns B2B marketers have with website optimization initiatives overall. A recent MarketingSherpa article highlights the fact that more than half (53 percent) of B2B marketers surveyed indicated they couldn’t (or didn’t) calculate the ROI of their website strategies.
Content marketing is a critical component of effective B2B marketing programs, and B2B search engine marketing in particular.
According to data from the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Report, a coordinated effort between MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute, B2B marketers are spending 33 percent of their marketing budgets on content marketing, up from 26 percent last year. 91 percent of B2B respondents were engaged in content marketing in some capacity. In other words, if your organization is not invested in content marketing, you are well behind the curve in today’s B2B marketing environment.
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.
A few weeks back I wrote a column for Search Engine Land on B2B buyer personas. In exploring the persona concept, it further supported my opinion that for SEO to truly be effective for the B2B organization, SEO needs to run hand-in-hand with traditional B2B marketing initiatives.
In this post, I want to discuss how B2B SEO discovery can be integrated into buyer persona development, in turn creating a more effective search engine optimization strategy in the long run.
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 marketing. This column takes a look the development of buyer personas for B2B marketing and the impact SEO professionals should have on the process.
In Forrester Senior Analyst Anthony Mullen’s new report, “Emerging Touchpoints Require A Marketing Mind Shift“, he identifies four fundamentals marketers must realize, in order to succeed in today’s technology and information-rich environment. His article in Advertising Age discusses these fundamentals, which are:
- Design is the New Marketing
- Value is the Currency
- Agents Broker Brand Relationships
- People are the Regulators
Citing additional Forrester research, Mullen indicates that more than half of US online adults are already annoyed by the amount of advertising they see, and 37% would rather not be contacted by brands at all.
With the New Year comes the temptation to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. However, New Year’s resolutions might imply that what you were doing last year was wrong. What about all the thing B2B SEOs did that were right.
As highlighted in a recent eMarketer article, an August 2012 study by Demandbase and Ziff Davis indicated that SEO was the top online marketing tactic used by B2B marketers. This was only narrowly ahead of social media and content marketing – two tactics that certainly augment and help improve overall B2B SEO if done in coordination.
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 any given year.
In late October MarketingSherpa published a chart from their 2012 Website Optimization Benchmark Report, highlighting average conversion rates broken down by industry.
B2B search marketers certainly obsess about conversion metrics and this chart does well to provide broad expectation for success, from an industry perspective. That said, the associated article does a good job identifying important considerations in addition to just benchmark information.
- How do you define conversion?
- How do you use benchmark data?
For this article, I want to look deeper into the improvement of conversion rates for the B2B website. The two questions above are starting points.
Last week, KoMarketing Associates covered a study released by Optify, which revealed that organic search terms returning “not provided” keyword results have risen to 39 percent; this change represents a 171 percent growth since last year. The study covered traffic associated with 424 B2B sites.
Nearly a year removed from Google’s announcement that the search engine would encrypt search referral information for logged-in users, this data should be alarming to B2B marketers seeking to better understand how lead opportunities are released on their website.
Traffic patterns from our client base are similar.keep looking »