Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is often thought of as a marketing channel by most B2B companies, but in reality, it is much more than that. The impact of SEO can be felt across the breadth of a business, from product development to customer service. To achieve this impact, organizations need to adopt an SEO-first mentality. This article will discuss how companies can change their mindset to make SEO a bedrock for success and the benefits that come with it.
One of the key benefits of adopting an SEO-first mentality is that it helps businesses create better products and services. When companies prioritize SEO in their product development process, they can identify and address potential issues that might affect their search engine rankings. This leads to a more user-friendly product or service, which in turn can attract more customers and improve overall sales.
In addition, an SEO-first mindset can help businesses improve their customer service. By understanding the keywords and phrases that customers are using to search for their products or services, companies can provide more targeted and relevant customer support. This can lead to higher customer satisfaction levels, increased loyalty, and more positive reviews.
Furthermore, SEO can also help companies improve their internal processes. By conducting regular audits of their website and content, businesses can identify areas for improvement and optimize their operations. This can result in increased efficiency, reduced costs, and a more streamlined workflow.
What Is SEO-First Thinking?
Companies that claim to be “SEO-first” only understand the importance of SEO at a marketing, product, or development level. However, the decision-making process in such companies is still geared towards other departments. The SEO team is given a token hearing, or their opinions are sought only after a project has been completed.
B2B Organizations- SEO & Positioning Importance
In a B2B setting, we have seen many companies often prioritize marketing channels like email marketing or social media over SEO. This is because these channels can provide more immediate and tangible results, such as clicks, likes, and shares along with being perceived as “less costly”. However, it is important to note, that not only are these vanity metrics that do not impact the bottom line (more on that in another article), if the website domain is not found by the target audience in the SERPS, there will be no new customers to the social media pages. There will be no new visitors (or any new customers) to include in an email marketing campaign. The business needs to be found first by being POSITIONED with SEO strategies in the SERPS as a first step in the entire ongoing process before any of these other channels should be invested in, as these other channels will not have a significant impact on the bottom line and although they appear to be less costly, they do not produce any growth or ROI for the organization in the long run.
SEO- The Most Effective Way to Reach Your Target Audience and Build Trust
SEO can be a highly effective way to reach your target audience because it is focused on improving your website’s visibility and ranking in search engine results pages. When people search for keywords related to your business or industry, you want your website to appear at the top of the search results. By optimizing your website for search engines, you can increase your chances of being found by potential customers and ultimately drive more traffic and sales to your website.
Additionally, SEO can have a positive impact on other areas of your business beyond just marketing. For example, by conducting keyword research, you can gain insights into the language and terminology your target audience uses to describe your products or services. This information can then be used to inform product development and improve the user experience on your website.
Encouraging SEO-first thinking in a company is about changing the culture so that SEO is an essential part of every department. This change means that every initiative or feature must be viewed with its impact on SEO in mind. This approach doesn’t mean that the SEO team’s views have more weight than other departments. It’s not about designing a company’s website to serve the needs of SEO above all. Rather, it’s about raising the importance and benefits of SEO to all stakeholders.
The Implications of NOT Putting SEO First:
If something happens that negatively affects SEO, it can take a considerable amount of time for it to be rectified. SEO, especially for an online organization, is highly important for reputation management, leads, brand awareness, and ultimately revenue. Unlike other departments that impact these areas, SEO mistakes can be easily made and take much longer to rectify.
For example, a coding mistake might bring a website to its knees, but it can often be rolled back the same day. Writing a product description that reduces conversion can be rectified as quickly as it takes to edit a page in a content management system (CMS). If a PPC campaign is accidentally turned off, it just needs to be turned back on again to be effective. In contrast, SEO issues are not always quick to spot, and it might take time for SEO tools to alert the team to a crawling block. A drop in rankings or traffic might be the first indicator that something has gone wrong. It can then take months for rankings and traffic to return to their previous levels. In some extreme cases, they never do.
On the other hand, SEO has the potential to deliver the greatest and longest-lasting impact on a company’s online presence. Successful SEO can provide a continuing source of highly converting traffic for years to come at no additional expense.
SEO Takes a Village
There are many moving parts to successful organic search engine marketing, and little can be accomplished by an SEO team alone. Developers, content writers, project managers, product owners, clients, and leadership all need to be involved for an SEO campaign to succeed. Encouraging an SEO-first mindset can help these stakeholders buy into SEO recommendations.
How Can You Encourage SEO-First Thinking in Your B2B Organization?
To embed SEO-first thinking in B2B organization, it is crucial to embed SEO-first thinking across all departments to ensure the business thrives in a highly competitive digital landscape. This can be done by working closely with all departments that can help or hinder SEO work in the organization, such as engineering and content teams, branding, and customer service teams.
For a B2B organizations, here are some practical ways to encourage SEO-first thinking across your departments:
- Conduct SEO training: Conduct training sessions for all stakeholders to provide a better understanding of SEO and its importance in the digital age. This training can include basic SEO concepts, keyword research, on-page optimization, and content creation.
- Develop an SEO strategy: A well-defined SEO strategy can provide a clear roadmap for all departments to follow. Work with key stakeholders to develop a comprehensive SEO strategy that aligns with the organization’s overall business goals and objectives.
- Integrate SEO into product development: SEO can play a vital role in product development by helping organizations understand what their target audience is looking for and what keywords they are using to find solutions. Encourage engineering and product development teams to integrate SEO into their processes.
- Prioritize content optimization: Content is one of the most critical components of SEO. Encourage content teams to create high-quality content that is optimized for search engines. This includes using the right keywords, creating engaging and informative content, and ensuring the content is easy to read and share.
- Optimize website architecture and navigation: Website architecture and navigation are crucial elements for both users and search engines. Ensure that the website’s architecture is designed to be user-friendly and easily crawlable by search engines.
- Monitor and measure SEO performance: Regularly monitoring and measuring SEO performance can help you identify areas of improvement and adjust your strategy accordingly. Set up regular reporting to track your progress and ensure your SEO efforts are generating the desired results.
Following these steps and adopting an SEO-first mentality can have a significant impact on a business’s success, leading to a more robust digital presence, increased visibility, and ultimately, higher revenue. Companies will improve their products and services, enhance customer service, and optimize their internal processes as a result.
Adopting an SEO-first mentality is not a one-time project or a quick fix. It is a long-term strategy that requires a sustained effort and a commitment to continuous education, collaboration, and improvement. SEO is constantly evolving, and search engine algorithms change frequently, so it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, best practices, and algorithm updates to maintain and improve your search engine rankings.
It requires a concerted effort and a commitment to ongoing education and collaboration, but the benefits are well worth the investment.