Is your website doing all it can to capture and maintain prospects?
Is your website doing all it can and should be doing to be found when prospects are searching? And, once prospects find it, does your website help move them along in their consideration and buying process? Or does it scare them away?
In my opinion, too few business-to-business (B2B) marketers make their websites as effective as they can be in helping move visitors from awareness to consideration to inquiry to purchase.
And too few are investing enough in optimizing their websites for the search engines.
First, I believe you should focus on optimizing your website for visitors, helping them move from awareness to consideration to inquiry to purchase, before you worry about search engine optimization (SEO). Why? Think about it: What good does it do to send visitors to your website if it scares them away when they get there? For more on this subject, read the article Is Your Website Helping Prospects Move Forward?.
Regarding optimizing your website for the search engines, research I’ve seen shows that the majority of B2B search engine users today, nearly 70%, are clicking first on the “organic” or “natural” search results. Less than 30% are clicking first on the paid listings. Yet the data from the analysts who track SEO investments show that billions of dollars are being spent on paid search. But only a measly (by comparison) few hundred million dollars are being spent on organic SEO.
In my mind, this represents a big disconnect. So, take my advice and focus your SEO investments first on optimizing your website and webpages for organic or natural search results.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Pay-per-click and other sponsored results can have a favorable return on investment. But I propose that spending the time and effort required to optimize your webpages, both for search engines and for prospective customers, will show an even higher ROI.
What recommendations am I making to my clients today about paid search? Continue to use pay-per-click and sponsored results as an interim solution until you get around to making your websites and webpages search-engine friendly. Then, once you’ve made your websites search-engine friendly, consider using pay-per-click and sponsored listings to fill in the gaps in your organic search results.
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M. H. "Mac" McIntosh is described by many as one of America's leading business-to-business sales and marketing consultants and marketing speakers. He is president of Mac McIntosh Incorporated, a marketing consulting firm specializing in helping companies get more high-quality sales leads and turn them into sales. More about Mac...