B2B e-Commerce SEO Solutions
Name 路 Title 路 Dunn Solutions
Dirk Lester 路 SEO Consultant 路 Dunn Solutions
The Challenge of B2B e-Commerce SEO Here are the two things B2B e-commerce companies need to understand. First, Organic Search dominates the B2B products and services buying cycle even more than it dominates B2C consumer journeys … 82% of B2B purchases begin with Search and 87% of B2B buyers say online content has a “major impact” on their vendor preference. Even so, 30% of B2B vendors don’t engage in Organic Marketing and that disparity is an opportunity. Second, it’s impossible to just “Improve Your Organic Search Rankings” because there isn’t just one Organic Search Rankings Algorithm. There are several discrete Algorithms that work together to produce Results Pages. Higher rankings can be achieved simply by attacking your issues head on, you have to mimic the way Google ranks and deploy seemingly discrete tactics that work together to achieve your goals.
You Should be Applying B2C SEO Tactics to B2B
B2C SEO Tactics Emphasize …
Search Results Crowding
3rd Party Offers of Proof
"Products" over "Brands"
Conversion Path Optimization
Leveraging Tactical Multipliers B2M Marketing tends to ignore all of the above
Using DAO, SMO and Structured Markup
Fortunately there are a trio of SEO tactics ideally suited to addressing each of those concerns that also happen to be
underused in the B2B market space and that therefore are especially representative of the opportunities I mentioned. â€˘
Digital Asset Optimization
Social Media Optimization
Rich Snippet and Structured Data Markup
Each tactic impacts one or more of the highlighted pieces of the search result
on the right. DAO becomes that
image result, SMO becomes the social media activity result, Structured Markup allows for that wiki pages result. You may not have heard those acronyms before but each
can become an essential piece of your marketing strategy.
What is Digital Asset Optimization Let’s start this explanation with the takeaway: Your site content ≠ the text on your landing pages. Until there’s significant leap in Google’s ability to understand, assess and thereby give your website credit for non-text digital content (images, videos, audio and documents in .PDF form), you won’t get a rankings boost out of the work you put into creating the aforementioned content on your site. Unless, of course, you’ve taken advantage of Digital Asset Optimization to ensure that your content’s enriched with embedded and surrounded by Search Friendly Metadata. Digital Asset Optimization means leveraging Google’s ability to read and return search results based on the metadata contained in images, videos or documents as well as the full set of web development tools that allow us to feed friendly descriptions to search engines and social media channels.
One of the Internet’s best kept secrets is that Google can read and rank a PDF in basically
the same way the search engine can read and rank your website. It even returns embedded
images and content snippets in search results. Google announced that the above was the case back in the early aughts, but content managers are still treating PDF documents as if
they were adobe flash videos … i.e. invisible to search engines and only for human consumption. Fortunately, they aren’t. We can embed SEO
Titles, Descriptions, Keywords, Author Info and Backlinks to PDF docs so that they can both boost your website’s rankings and be ranked
Image Optimization Just as we can with documents, we can drop a lot of search friendly info into an image’s properties, but because that information’s fragile – because it won’t follow an image wherever it’s uploaded – it isn’t quite as valuable as the metadata embedded in documents. Luckily embedded metadata isn’t the only tool in our kit: •
Optimized Image Details
SEO Friendly Alt Text Info
Structured Data for ImageObjects
Customized Image XML Sitemaps
In addition to dropping search friendly Meta into your images, we can also attach images on your site to SEO friendly Alt Text Information, wrap them in structured data for ImageObjects to fully contextualize them and even feed Google thorough descriptions of all the
images on your site in one go with a custom Image XML sitemap.
Optimized Video Details
SEO Friendly Transcripts
HTML 5 Video Players
Structured Data for VideoObjects
Customized Video XML Sitemaps
Most of the tactics we use to optimize PDFs and Images
we use for videos but the SEO opportunities videos provide are almost unique. We can drop metadata into the file itself, but since videos are embedded as often as hosted doing so isn’t always an option. Even when dealing with embedded videos, we have an effective set
of optimization options, we can attach a full transcript that site visitors will never see but that Google will rank
based upon, either host or embed using a search friendly HTML5 container, enrich the ways they’ll display in results by wrapping them in structured data for VideoObjects and actually feed Google more information than we can for any other content format using a Video XML Sitemap.
What Successful DAO Will Look Like
The image on the right is the Google Results Page for a pretty basic B2B search: CRM for Midsized Business. The search results in yellow are articles. The unmarked results are from two firms you have probably heard of, Oracle and Salesforce and the results in red are digital assets created by firms you probably have not heard of. Not HubSpot. Not Zoho. Just three CRM companies with relevant digital assets. Optimizing yours will:
Bolster your site’s page quality scores
Build content-based backlinks
Expand the your online visibility both in terms of
getting you ranked for a wider set of terms and getting you ranked multiple times on a single page
What is Social Media Optimization Here’s your second takeaway, your online brand ≠ your website. Chasing organic domain rankings can be a fool’s errand because regardless of how well optimized your site is, it might not be the kind of site Google wants to return for a given query. In short, if Google wants to return “news” articles that’s what it’s going to return and there’s nothing you can do about that. Well, almost nothing. You can optimize your social channels and your posts to bolster their chance of appearing in a search result.
SMO can be described a lot of ways but when you boil it down, it’s the process applying the targeting tactics from your SEO campaign to your social media presence.
Social Profile Optimization
Typically, B2B e-commerce firms make a serious mistake in their approach social media. They often treat social channels as walled gardens, as disconnected from one another and even their other digital marketing efforts. The mistake plays out in variety of ways. It leads to Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest accounts that Google can’t identify as belonging to the same brand and missed search visibility opportunities in the form of websites that’ve been optimized for “Target Keyword” surrounded by social channels that haven’t been optimized for #TargetKeyword. By optimizing Social Profiles we target both issues, we cross connect channels and ensure they’re search friendly.
Social Content Optimization
Why is it a mistake to approach social media channels as if they were walled gardens? Because what you post can show up in the same organic search results that you’re targeting on your website.
Keywords you’ve already researched, that you may even be running paid ads on have corresponding hashtags that you
could be using to both expand your on channel visibility and anchor posts in ways that bolster their impact on search results •
Digital assets you’ve already spent time and effort optimizing
can not only become posts, they can become self-replicating backlink snowballs. if you post a linked image on Pinterest and 49 people re-pin it, that isn’t one backlink that will improve your rankings, its 50 backlinks that will improve your rankings
Social Channel Optimization
There’s More to Social Than You Think …
If you’re up on YouTube, you need to be up on Vimeo and Daily Motion If you have video, you probably have audio to put up on Soundcloud If you’re up on Instagram, you need to be up on Flickr and Pinterest If you’re blogging on your site, those blogs should be up on Medium and LinkedIn If you have PDFs on your website, you need to put them up on Scribd, SlideShare and Issuu
Good SMO Will Look Like This
Once again we have a Google Results Page for a pretty
common B2B search on the right, this time it’s: Liferay eCommerce. And as you can see the three search results in red are all posts from social media—from Quora, YouTube and Tumblr right ranked alongside the KonaKart home page. Optimizing Your Social Channels will: •
Build more and more effective backlinks
Improve your branded search results
Open up additional traffic channels
Speed up how quickly your content is indexed
It’s also another tactic that will expand the your online visibility both by improving your rankings by building the aforementioned backlinks and earning you social signals and by getting your posts ranked in results like the one’s on the right
Rich Snippets and Structured Markup
Here’s another takeaway: Regardless of ranking, all search results aren’t created equal. You see, snippets are the black text beneath search results. Rich Snippets are additional pieces of information that Google highlights in results after identifying corresponding Structured Data markup on a landing page. Let me say that again, we can use specialized HTML called structured data to get Google to give you extra space on Search Engine Results Pages. And we can do that for products, review, events and even your site’s blog posts.
Structured Mark up for Products and Reviews
If you’ve seen stars in a Search Result, you’ve seen Structured Data for Reviews at work. It’s an underused but increasingly popular tactic in the B2C space. B2B organizations on the other hand rarely employ it and that’s actually pretty good news. It means that you’ll be able to take full advantage of the benefits of using it.
Lower your site’s bounce rates by giving visitors qualifying information in search results Improve the quality of your results and clarify your position in confused results Boost your results your click through rates by making your appearances in search eye catching in comparison to your competitor’s
Structured Mark up for Your Events
Events markup pulls info on happenings like this Webinar off of your landing pages and into search
It’s more common than product markup but using it will still help you stand out in results
Marked up Events are time sensitive and Google treats them that way
Google will display your Events beneath page results and within your brand Knowledge Box
Structured Mark up for News, Articles and Answers
These three content types might not seem related. They would be applied to three separate sections of your website—your blog, your press releases and your FAQ—but they have a few important things in common:
Helps search engines return more relevant results
It’s more accurate to say that Google displays News or Answers results than to say that it ranks them.
It is not uncommon to see an answer from the tenth result displayed above the first ranked result
Google gives content marked up as News, Articles or Answers more on page prominence than you could buy.
How You’ll Benefit from Structured Markup
One problem endemic to the B2B space is results confusion. Google often doesn’t know how to interpret the intent of popular B2B search terms and tries to cover as many bases
as it can in results. That means that it’s not uncommon to find products/services returned alongside news articles, forum threads and rich answer boxes. But Structured Markup
was literally designed to combat that effect, to clearly and completely identify the nature of your Site Content to Google.
DAO, SMO and Markup Will Work to Together
Now we’re back to this image and we’re back for a simple reason. Because this a perfect brand result page and everything we’ve just gone over went into creating it. If you take a closer look at it, you’ll find optimized digital assets in the mega image block, optimized social content/channels in couple of places and Rich Snippets for Events in the Brand Knowledge Box. Now you might think that was easy because I chose a place as famous as the Royal Opera House, but here’s something you may not know. This is not the only “Royal Opera House,” there are Royal Opera Houses in Stockholm, in Edinburgh, in Oman and in Sydney Australia. But this the one with the best optimized online presence so this is the one Google gives us.
â€œThe days of SEO being a game outsmarting algorithms are over. Today content strategy and valuable, sustainable strategies are essential, not just tricks and links.â€? - Adam Audette