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No. 34
August 27th, 2007

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Recap of ‘B2B Search Marketing Tactics’ – SES San Jose 2007

Karen Breen Vogel of ClearGauge, Paul Slack of WebDex, and Patricia Hursh of SmartSearch Marketing presented on this panel, which sadly was focused more on PPC than SEO efforts in the B2B marketing space.

There were some interesting tidbits for B2B marketers and website designers offered by the panel, though.  Unlike B2C websites, where the goal is to convert visitors into a purchase or phone call, B2B websites should be thought of more in terms of developing an initial relationship with a prospective client or partner.  As Karen put it, it’s about getting to the “next date, not marriage.”

Messaging must work for various stages of the buying cycle, from research mentality, to a problem-solution mentality.  B2B websites should present as many specific “pain points” as possible that will create empathy with visitors in similar positions.  And B2B marketers should know the roles of the prospective visitors to their sites: different pages of your website should target a different type of visitor, from researchers to decision-makers.

As far as marketing your B2B website, long-tail searches seem to make up the bulk of B2B queries, so make sure your site architecture is search-friendly–title tags alone probably aren’t going to be enough to capture a significant chunk of leads in this space.  Vertical search engines like can provide a much more targeted audience than general search engines like Google or Yahoo, so paying for premium listings on ad space on some of these sites may lead to a higher ROI, even though they might be more expensive.  Again as Karen put it, vertical search engines are like “finding a needle in a needlestack” when it comes to targeted visitors.

The SEO tips offered in this session were fairly lackluster:

  • Target content towards information-rich sites in your niche & develop a relationship with the people who run them.
  • Engage in industry research with a little bit different bent to get picked up on by online trade publications.
  • Engage in an active press release schedule
  • Let your dealers know how & where you’d like them to link to your site.
  • And the best tip, offered by Gord Hotchkiss of Enquiro, who was merely the moderator: enable comparison / alternative considerations directly on your own site (a la Progressive) to become the ‘sticky’ authority in your industry & bring visitors back on a regular basis.