SEO – Successfully Leveraging Search Engine Optimization During the Explore Phase
Prospects search about their problem
In the Explore phase, prospects typically want to know:
Can I solve this problem?
What are ways to solve it?
How do I define requirements?
So, as their initial search query, they usually state their problem or ask how to solve their problem.
“Improving energy efficiency of retail lighting system”, or
“What are options for retail lighting systems?”
Explore keyphrases are typically non-branded and long-tail
Non-branded” means that the prospect doesn’t specify company or product names
“Long-tail” means that the keyphrase includes multiple words, is more specific and often includes common, less competitive keywords (such as “What are options for”).
Focus on optimizing your site (More than link building)
You need to ensure that your site supports Explore key phrases from an SEO perspective since you can’t rely on branded terms for ranking in the Explore phase.
Backlinks on the Back-Burner
Until recently, external backlinks – other sites linking to your content with appropriate keyword tags – was a critical SEO factor to help you rank for Explore phase content (or any content).
Google’s own recommendation previously stated:
“…webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages.”
But, in June 2013, Google revised this statement to:
“In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.”
Google goes on to define a high quality site as having “…original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”
Sounds right in line with B2Beacon 😉
“I wouldn’t put too much of a tunnel vision focus on just links. I would try to think instead about what I can do to market my website to make it more well known within my community, or more broadly, without only thinking about search engines.“
– Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer, Google Read More >
Building Links is still important for B2B SEO – just not the first priority it might have been in the past. In fact, your external link development efforts can directly influence your content and social media efforts. For example, you will develop content and connect with “top influencers” (bloggers, analysts, etc) that reach lots of other influencers but may not have a large audience of their own.
But again, be very careful and selective about links to your site because Google’s Penguin algorithm update will penalize you for anything that doesn’t appear to be legitimate.
*NOTE: BtoBeacon highlights things that change per phase or are unique to a given phase. We also highlight recent major high-level developments that all marketers need to know. This site does not try be a comprehensive practitioner’s guide to executing robust programs. But many best practices don’t vary phase and are not included here. So, here are the best guides that we’ve found for optimizing each activity.