The purpose of good search engine optimization (SEO) is to attract people to your company’s website while the intent to buy is there, which is why it’s one of the most important marketing strategies for B2B. If SEO isn’t a major component of your marketing strategy, then you’re missing out.

However, if your business has a B2B SEO strategy, you have to keep up. You can’t play by the old rules of SEO, in which you basically cram as many keywords as possible into your website text, pay for reciprocal backlinks or even spin articles, then you, too, are missing out. There is a new game in town and old-fashioned SEO simply won’t fly in today’s world, in which customer experience optimization has largely replaced it.

The New Search Order

Within the last few years, Google, the acknowledged leader in Internet search, to the point that they’ve become a verb, rolled out several major updates to its algorithm, which they called Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird. Cute names aside, the necessity to change your outlook on SEO has never been greater. The new changes actually penalize websites that do what you were once supposed to do, If you are using SEO strategies you learned way back in 2005, you may actually end up hurting yourself in the long run. Google’s drive for improving the searchers experience is at the core of their strategy.

Customer Experience Optimization

A change in strategy is in order. Instead of constantly worrying about where your website ends up in the Google search results, your new focus should be on customer experience optimization, which means making sure your customers learn from your content. That means you have to use your website content to identify for customers what makes your company the best in your industry and to connect with them through content and social media.

SEO

This is actually a good thing, if for no other reason then you are no longer competing with websites that offer nothing and are just trying to accumulate page views and clicks. It also makes a lot of sense; if you’re walking down the street and there is a business with a line of excited people flowing out of the door, you’re more likely to check them out and find out why they’re excited. The same is true of websites; a website that attracts a lot of comments, likes and social networking shares means people find it interesting, and it also peaks the interest of more businesses who may be looking for your product.

Target Your Customers, not Search Engines

Search engines, whether Google or Bing or any other, have one overarching goal; when someone does a search, the top results must be the most relevant to the searcher. And again, since people are most attracted to those businesses that are already popular, sociability is a major factor.

Search Engine & Social Media Optimization

Because the new Google algorithm updates factor in sociability, it makes interaction by website visitors and customers more important than stuffing every article with keywords that sound great but that don’t really speak to your customer. Getting your customers to comment on your website’s text and to share your content via social media, like Facebook and Twitter, is now far more important than ever, precisely because that demonstrates that your customers find your website to be relevant and useful; in short, popular. The greater the interaction, the greater the excitement the customer feels and the closer to the top your website will go.

Educate your customer

Those who perform business-to-business searches are looking for an education; they want to make an informed buying decision. Any website that contains a large amount of educational content will make it easier for businesses to find what they’re looking for, to know your company and to understand your approach to business. The best news is, the more they learn, the more comfortable they will be in telling you who they are, which means a greater number of leads for your business.

SEO

One thing that many businesses do is to leave most of their content open to the public, but to lock away more specialized content for those willing to register with names and e-mail addresses. This will only come after they trust you; no savvy businessperson will go to a website once and give anyone contact information. That means every business owner should be able to identify who’s visiting the site and work to cultivate a business relationship with them. That requires the use of strong site analytics to find out who your visitors are, how often they are coming to check you out and then to optimize the information you present to keep them coming back.

What’s next to do?

The goal of SEO, especially these days, isn’t just to get them there, but to keep them. The greater the search experience your company can provide the greater the customer engagement. Start by asking your customer service team what questions customers or prospects consistently ask about. Those can provide clues to topics for blogs, videos, images or presentations to embed on your website and share on social media. Getting a clear picture of your customer concerns can help build better relationships faster with new customers to grow your sales.