Search engine optimization (SEO) plays hard to get. Optimizing your brand’s website for search visibility can feel a bit like chasing down that person you were dating in college. You’ll ask yourself some questions repeatedly: Do they (meaning: the search engine) like me? Are they interested in what I have to say? Am I showcasing my best attributes? Do they think that I’m a catch?
Here’s the good news: we’re here to help you answer those questions, and we brought data.
Think of us as your SEO wingman (or wing woman), here to give you the feedback you need so you can win your prospects’ attention. We’re here to tell you how to win them over with proven search engine strategies and tips. We’ll decode the data and hidden messages about the changes to search engine optimization and uncover the top SEO trends that help you reach your ideal customers.
Semrush’s recent analysis of the state of search in 2021 revealed that major changes are happening in the SEO world. Their annual report shows us the numbers behind SEO successes (and SEO failures) in the digital space. But it’s a lot of data, so let our experts decode it for you.
Here are the top six tips we’ve drawn from the data and how you can apply them to improve your overall SEO strategy.
Don’t spend all your marketing money on paid ads.
If you’re reading this blog, the chances are high that you’re wondering how you can make your marketing dollars go further. If that’s the case, then don’t spend all of your marketing money on paid ads. While this may seem like a no-brainer (in fact, it’s something we talk about frequently as part of our Dark Social Model), too many companies devote all of their marketing budgets to paid advertisements.
The data says that this might not be as effective. According to the Semrush report, search ads (essentially any paid advertisement that’s meant to show up on the results page of a search engine) showed up less frequently in 2021 than in 2020. Here’s what this means for brands: Paying to get your website ranked on one of the top search engine results pages may not be the best use of your money. If those ads appear less frequently across the board (as indicated by the research), their effectiveness decreases. If you’ve devoted all of your marketing tactics to paid ads and neglected your organic search initiatives, it’s time to rethink.
Keep investing in mobile and desktop web development.
“Mobile first!” Marketers have been shouting that message from the rooftops for years, but does it still hold true? Apparently not. Data shows an 8% year-over-year decrease in mobile traffic. This directly contradicts the “mobile-first” message marketers have been touting for years. On top of that, desktop traffic has been on the rise since 2020.
So what does this mean for you? Should you abandon your mobile-first approach? Not necessarily. This metric shows us that it’s important to invest in both sides of your digital marketing strategy—mobile and desktop—to ensure that your users’ experiences are positive across the board. With so many leaders promoting the mobile-first method, some brands let their desktop experience lapse. It’s time to revamp.
Most e-commerce traffic isn’t organic.
Organic search traffic to eCommerce sites decreased by 23.2% since last year. This means that the amount of organic traffic (unaffected by paid advertisements) going to eCommerce sites significantly decreased. What does that mean for you? Analysts at Semrush say that this could indicate a return to normal, a return to pre-pandemic means of purchasing. Within this metric, the data also shows that Amazon had a significant decrease in organic traffic. This could be largely due to consumers returning to shopping in person or shopping online less frequently. If you’re an e-commerce brand, it may be necessary to invest a little more in marketing and adjust your strategy as buyers return to a normal purchasing process.
Related reading: 4 Effective B2B eCommerce Marketing Strategies
Focus on informational SEO.
What is “informational SEO?” It’s a way of classifying top search queries by their intent. Semrush breaks search queries into four categories: informational, transactional, navigational, and commercial. Informational search queries rank at the top. This means that internet users are searching for information more than half of the time, and they want answers to key questions or data and insight about a particular issue.
This is critical information about B2B buyer behavior. Marketers and brands should take note. As you’re assessing your company’s website for effectiveness, look at the information you share. Have you answered frequently asked questions? Do you define or clarify the nuances of your industry, product, or services? These pieces of basic information can help you win traffic and engage your prospects.
People want answers to questions and information.
On a related subject, one of the biggest findings of the Semrush research is related to user intent. Not only does informational SEO have the highest search volume, but it also supports the notion that internet users are motivated by the search for information. We’ve already discussed the importance of answering critical FAQs or providing basic information, but this data should influence your strategy at a higher level as well. Every brand should be creating content to boost its website ranking, improve its reach, and serve its customers. However, some types of content are more beneficial than others. Based on this recent data, educational content will be most impactful for your brand.
Look at your existing B2B content strategy across channels (from your website to social media accounts) and determine what kind of approach you’ve taken. Do you provide educational resources? Are you equipping your audience and prospects with the information they need to understand your industry, offerings, or services? If not, it’s time to make a switch, and an educational content strategy will help you build trust with your readers and grow your audience. Be sure to incorporate this strategy into your social media marketing strategy, your blogs (yes, you should be writing regular blogs for your company website!), and the copy on your website.
Short search queries are more common.
Another very specific SEO tidbit: Most users prefer short search queries. The data shows that 67.1% of searches use three to five words total. One key note that Semrush makes is the impact of the “People Also Ask,” “People Also Search For,” and “Related Searches” features. Think about the last time you searched for something online. Did the second half of your search question pop up in a drop-down menu below the search bar? That’s the related search feature helping you figure out which question you’re asking and providing you with that information more quickly.
Keep these short search queries in mind as you’re working through your B2B SEO strategy. Since shorter phrases are more commonly searched for, experiment with shorter keyword phrases throughout your website. Overall, the data shows that keyword phrases are most impactful when they are five words or less.
These six trends show us the nuances of consumer behavior and how search engine algorithms impact the reach of our brands. It’s essential to understand how consumers are behaving so that you can understand how to reach them. Remember: The function of SEO is to get your message out to your intended audience. Stay focused, implement these data-based strategies, and watch your brand reach grow.
And, if you’re ready to bring in the experts, you know who to call.