Naturally, business-to-business search engine optimization is about helping prospects find your website. Their ability to do so is important to any business, and critical to most. If prospects don’t find you, they obviously can’t and won’t buy from you.
But that is not to say that the optimization of your site should be your only concern. That’s far from the case. While the mission of business-to-business search engine optimization is to get prospects to your site, the mission of the site itself is to help convince them to purchase what you sell. And the former simply can’t happen at the expense of the latter. It takes care, experience, and no small amount of creativity to ensure that, in optimizing your site, you don’t also minimize its ability to help you sell.
Your business-to-business website has many roles, of course. It can be a catalog, a brochure, a public relations vehicle, even an order center. But before anything else, it is an ad, particularly to first-time visitors.
To accomplish your objectives, that ad must do what every component of your marketing effort should do: convince business-to-business prospects of the unique benefits you deliver. To do that, it must be arresting. It’s not a magazine where readers must be “stopped” as they flip through the pages, but your site still has to earn and hold the interest of visitors who are (research indicates) quick to click away, unlikely to return.
In clicking through to your site from the search engine results, B2B searchers have already chosen to check out your message; you don’t need a big song-and-dance to grab their attention. But you must quickly tell a compelling story to maintain their interest and, of course, move them further along the path to your real goal: a sale.
Your true goal should be a website that effectively presents a unique and compelling message to your targets, but does so within the framework of effective and ethical search engine optimization. As with any other media vehicle, reaching the right audience with the wrong message is no better than reaching failing to reach the audience at all. Copy that is forced or “stilted” in the attempt to climb in the search engine results is “the wrong message” and will do more harm than good.
In moving toward business-to-business search engine optimization for your website, take care to select a partner that is adept not only at search engine optimization, but also at the critical marketing component that will get you not only a website visit from prospects, but ultimately sales from them, as well.