I'm in the business of search engine marketing, so it's sometimes easy to forget that many people don't really know that the industry exists, how useful it is in business-to-business (B2B) marketing, and what a valuable marketing tool search engine optimization (SEO) can be.
However, a disturbing number of business executives, as well, would not be able to tell the difference between SEO Outsourcing and REO Speedwagon (though most would probably agree that neither sounds particularly good*).
In fact, when I explain that I work at a search engine optimization company that focuses in part on B2B marketing, most people instantly assume that I have a search engine of my own and I am somehow trying to compete with Google. I'm flattered—until I see the pity in their eyes.
Even those familiar with SEO have common misconceptions about its value in B2B marketing. Frequently, I encounter prospects who understand that achieving a high ranking on a search engine is a valuable marketing tool that can make an impact on the bottom line of a business, but they mistakenly believe that that is actually the case only if the business sells something online.
Not so. Though e-commerce companies can and do benefit tremendously from SEO as a marketing tool, many aspects of SEO actually favor B2B companies in terms of overall benefit from the channel.
Large e-commerce sites have thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, of individual product pages. While performing SEO on such sites does not (thank goodness) involve manipulation of all those pages, each page element that will be used for SEO benefit (titles, headers, text, and meta tags) have to be painstakingly entered into a database. It is very rare to find that the existing database that a company has for each of its products contains all the elements necessary to use SEO as a successful marketing tool.
Once all of these elements have been added to the database, it is then necessary to make certain that the server is performing as it should. Then, you must ensure that each of the pages can be crawled by the search engine spider; so, often, the linking structure must be manipulated.