Obviously, getting your site to rank high in the search engine results and getting searchers to click through to your site are among the foremost objectives of B2B search engine optimization. But that's just the beginning. You still have to turn the visitor into a customer or client.

In the first article in this series, we discussed some of the key differences between B2C and B2B search engine optimization. In the B2C world, for example, conversion (turning a site visitor into a customer) can happen in a matter of minutes; in the business-to-business realm, however, conversion can take months or even years—and it typically doesn't occur online.

So how should you think about conversion in the B2B SEO environment, and what can you do both to accelerate and measure it?

Understanding the Goals

The goal of most B2B searchers is research: Who are the best potential suppliers? What experience do they have? What are the key issues I should be concerned with in choosing a supplier? How do I know I'm making the right choice?

Your goal, on the other hand, is to identify who the site visitors are and to develop a relationship with them—one that lets them get to know you, builds credibility and confidence in your company, and ultimately positions you as their preferred provider. But how do you do this in the anonymous environment of the Web?

Using Site Analytics

First of all, you should be analyzing your Web traffic; it can be a rich source of leads. While the specific identity of site visitors is not available (unless they have chosen to log in or otherwise identify themselves), you can often see the name of visitors' companies. If there are frequent or deep visits from a particular company, it may be an indication that the company is considering buying the type of product or service you have to offer.

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Galen De Young is managing director of Francis SEO (www.francis-seo.com), a Michigan firm specializing in B2B search engine optimization.