Marketing to businesses on the internet has been somewhat of an uphill battle since its inception. The main issue is the level of complexity involved in these sales. A consumer is far more likely to take a chance buying a DVD online than a business looking to purchase a R 1 million supply of building materials.

The problems are compounded by factors like the incredibly long buying process involved with B2B markets that can often stretch into years, depending on the type of product being purchased and the volume. Businesses are usually far more likely use the internet to gather information and then engage more personally with the companies they’re interested in doing business with.

This doesn’t relieve the pressure really. Brand strength is still very important, your content needs be credible and they must be able to find the information they feel they need to go further into the buying process.

But you need to be found first. So, if you’re a B2B market company making use of expert SEO services, here are some factors you might want to consider.

B2C vs. B2B Optimisation

Ensure that your SEO strategy is tailored toward business markets and isn’t just a broad SEO band-aid designed to just channel useless traffic your way.

Keywords are one of the most important factors. A good keyword map should give you an idea of what kind of customer your SEO strategy is targeting. To a great extent, a good keyword choice is subject to established searching behaviour and trends. But branded keywords and specific associated terms can always help people who are looking for you (in general), find you.

Some search terms are more important than others in B2B markets.

* General Industry Keywords- Straight forward popular keywords for your industry.
* Buying Terms – These indicates that they are ready to purchase, and are just looking for the right conditions. e.g. including buy, pricing, agents, local dealers in their search term.
* Evaluation Terms- These indicate an interest in the product or are looking at a specific brand. e.g. evaluation, comparison, review.

SEO Methodology

Good SEO is sustainable and ethical. A company can promise you a meteoric rise in the rankings, and it might come true. Until on the next run the algorithm discovers a bunch of spamming methods have been used and penalises the website or maybe even removes them from the index.

Link building is the practice you should keep a very close eye on. All of the links on your website should add value, look natural and be linked to reputable websites. In SEO terms, careless linking hurts a lot more than it could ever help. So links should be aimed at encouraging web traffic rather than building up link juice.

Measuring The Effect

The indices used for a successful SEO strategy in B2B markets are more complex than just site traffic, ranking and incremental sales. As the buying process is so long, it can be hard to directly measure the results in the short term, so some other metrics for success are:

*What was the level of customer engagement?
* What type of keywords were most used when finding your site?
* How often was media downloaded? For example, brochures, pricing sheets, trial software or embedded videos.
* How much time was spent on your site?
* What percentage of inbound traffic was from paid links vs. organic?