By Candice Georgiadis, social media influencer and founder of Digital Day Inc, a social media and marketing agency in California.
B2B SEO has always been tricky, and marketers need to stay on their toes to catch up with the latest trends. A lapse in vigilance could result in the loss of rankings, and in the B2B sphere, where savvy leads are much harder to lure, the impact on your bottom line can be debilitating. In this article, I’ll explore the latest trends in the SEO industry and how B2B marketers should respond.
1. The Page Experience Update
Google has always had a penchant for providing a positive experience to users. And on June 16, 2021, it rolled out the page experience update, a new set of guidelines for webmasters emphasizing:
• Core Web Vitals: The aspects of visual stability, loading and interactivity
• No intrusive interstitials: The accessibility of a page’s content
• Mobile-friendliness: A page experience of mobile users
• HTTPS: The security of pages through the use of encryption
B2B marketers may need to realign their budgets to focus more on optimizing these areas. Not only will it affect your rankings, but it can also directly influence the purchase decisions of B2B customers.
Remember, B2B buyers research by digging through several pages of content. They need thorough articles, detailed product comparisons and downloadable reports. Without pristine user experience, you’ll end up bogging down their research.
2. E-A-T And YMYL
Misinformation is practically everywhere in this day and age. While people appreciate being given easy access to information, they need reassurance. They need a guarantee that what’s in front of them is factual, accurate and comes from an authoritative source—and so do search engines.
E-A-T means expertise, authority and trust. These are indicators Google uses in their Search Quality Rater guidelines. It created a paradigm shift in the SEO landscape back in 2019, and it’s still a big deal in 2022.
Basically, information sources need to prove that they’re credible experts and reliable information sources in their niche. While E-A-T may not be a ranking factor, it is crucial for B2B businesses who need higher search engine rankings.
Here are some of the strategies B2B brands can use to optimize their website with E-A-T in mind:
• Incorporate trust signals such as accreditations and certifications
• Make your business’s contact information easy to find
• Use HTTPS
• Mention and link to authoritative sources whenever citing data
In relation to E-A-T, Google now recommends webmasters include URLs to author pages in the “article” schema markup. This will enable users, along with search engine crawlers, to reaffirm that they’re getting information from real experts.
Meanwhile, YMYL stands for “your money, your life.” It refers to websites in niches that can have a major impact on someone’s life in terms of health, safety, financial stability and happiness. B2B companies that touch on these topics need to raise their standards in order for them to get higher rankings and better visibility.
Examples of YMYL topics:
• Stock trading and investments
• Law and security
• Health and safety
• Medicines and treatments
• Loans and mortgages
3. SERP Marketing
Looking for information and finding it on Google’s first page is convenient. But for some users, the experience isn’t easy enough, and Google is listening.
Over time, Google has been busy behind the scenes—fine-tuning its platform to serve useful information straight from search enginge results page (SERP). Featured snippets like knowledge panels, graphs, FAQs and carousels—also known as “zero position”—can take away the reason for users to click on actual results.
If you think about it, Google is practically stealing traffic away by keeping users on the SERP while clearly utilizing content from websites. On the flip side, websites that rank for the zero position get instant exposure and a boost in brand authority.
SERP marketing involves practices that optimize for rich snippet placements. B2B brands, in particular, need it to serve information as seamlessly and efficiently as possible.
4. No More Third-Party Cookies
While helpful in providing tailored experiences to users, third-party cookies can be seen as intrusive. They also trigger a lot of uncertainty in people who don’t feel comfortable with companies tracking their online activities.
For people who use Firefox or Safari, there’s nothing to worry about. These browsers have had cookie-blocking features for years. However, the repercussions to the digital marketing world weren’t felt—until Google Chrome, the most popular web browser, followed suit. Google officially announced that Chrome will stop supporting third-party cookies by late 2023, and they have no plans of replacing cookies with any similar cross-site tracking technology.
Now, here’s the thing for B2B companies: you’ll need to reinvent your organic and paid marketing efforts without the reliance on third-party tracking. A good course of action is to develop your own “data hub” with first-party information collected from your audience. This involves identifying your target audience, defining key metrics to be collected and acquiring tools that allow you to monitor them.
5. Mobile-First Indexing Is Still A Priority
In 2019, Google rolled out the mobile-first indexing update. It introduced one significant change in the way pages are ranked and SEO is done: Rather than prioritizing desktop pages, the Google search engine started looking at the mobile version of those pages first. Despite being live for years, a lot of B2B agencies—particularly small businesses—still haven’t fully optimized for mobile. And with more internet traffic coming from mobile devices than ever, mobile SEO is something they need to revisit in order to maintain relevance this year.
B2B SEO is, without a doubt, a challenging affair. In addition to months’ worth of work—optimizing a website and building links—B2B brands also need to keep up with the latest trends and strategies. Focusing on the trends above will give your B2B agency a head start. Just remember that SEO is all about the long game. While following the trends to stay relevant in the short term is important, you should still be prepared to adapt to changes and search algorithm updates as they happen.