We recently spoke with Nick Eubanks, Founder and CEO of I’m From the Future, to discuss the latest in SEO trends and learn what B2B companies can do to improve their website page rankings. As a technical SEO partner for B2B and B2C organizations, Nick and his team at IFTF provide research-driven SEO solutions that bring more site traffic, increase conversions and create a better user experience.
Unilog: What are the top trends related to B2B SEO right now?
Nick: Definitely the biggest trend in search right now, especially for B2Bs, is the dramatic shift to mobile. Traditionally, B2B companies made the assumption that traffic through mobile devices was only for companies with a consumer focus. Not only are we seeing this drastic shift to more commercial intent queries, we’re also seeing more commercial engagement such as requests for more information and content downloads.
Another big trend we’re seeing is the adoption of voice devices among wholesale buyers. They’ve really broken out in the consumer market, but it’s starting to shift to the wholesale industry. We’re seeing this adoption of voice devices and voice control in everyday life and now people in the B2B shopper universe are starting to ask questions of voice assistant services like Alexa, Google Home and Cortana.
The last thing I’d say that’s really important in the B2B space is this concept of share of SERP, or search engine results page. It’s a way for companies to take more market share around their most profitable keywords.
The total share of SERP you have on that first page is an important consideration. Being able to rank and control as many pieces of content on that SERP as possible is just like buying up spaces on a Monopoly board; the more real estate you own, the more chances you have to make money.
Unilog: So, to gain the biggest share of SERP, should businesses consider paying for search ads?
Nick: Well, the average paid search ad is only going to have a 3 to 5% click-through rate, which means the lion share of those clicks are going to the organic search results. If you rank in the first edition of Google in the organic position, you have a potential click-through rate of 28% on desktop and 33% on mobile. The second position only drops down to maybe 22%; third position is 18%.
At the very bottom of the SERP, you’re still talking about a 6.1% click-through rate on average, whereas for those ads on top, again, your best click-through rate is only 5%. What that tells you is it’s more advantageous to rank in position 10 at the very bottom of the first page than it is to rank in the very first position in a paid ad.
Once you get that ranking, the path of ROI is direct and becomes a sustainable revenue source that can deliver double-digit ROI month-after-month after you hit break-even. With paid search, you’re always going to have that fixed cost.
At IFTF, we don’t do paid media; we are 100% organic strategists for search and social, and we deliver far higher ROI than the paid search firms do.
Unilog: What advice can you offer businesses that are new to search and SEO?
Nick: First and foremost, start understanding keyword research. There are a lot of really good resources out there to teach businesses about SEO. Moz, for instance, is an SEO marketing and software company that has invested pretty heavily in their beginner’s guide for SEO. I’d check out their blog posts to gain some great SEO insights and best practices.
If you’re looking for inspiration, I’d also suggest looking at MacRae’s Blue Book. This manufacturer/supplier listing service covers a lot of content related to that specific ecosystem. In their News section, they post some interesting pieces on how you should be thinking about search and social.
Don’t bring in an SEO consultant out of the gate. You shouldn’t be paying for SEO if you don’t understand the core components of it, because you’re likely to be taken advantage of by some companies.
Like the old adage says, “Where there’s mystery, there’s margin.” Hiring good SEO is expensive because it’s priced based on value. I would not recommend putting any money into it until you’ve taken the time in to understand it.
We live in an omnichannel world so make sure you attribute revenue from all your sales channels. The average consumer has 7 to 12 touchpoints before they even take action to reach out, download, transact or do any other kind of interaction with you. Therefore, it’s important to know which actions are generating that revenue.
If you’re doing channel marketing correctly, you should have a phone number for organic search, a separate phone number for paid search, a separate number for direct traffic to your website, a separate number on your Facebook page and so on. This will help you find out where your buyer initially interacted, which will support your SEO and search efforts.
About Nick Eubanks: Nick is a technical marketer, web application builder and a digital marketing consultant who has provided his expertise to Fortune 500 companies including Thomson Reuters, Comcast, Morgan Stanley, Exxon Mobile, AvidXchange, Sandals, KicksUSA and more. He founded I’m From the Future in 2014 and has been featured in The New York Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, INC, FastCompany, Huffington Post, Business.com, and many of the large SEO publications.