In this post, we covered top B2B SEO statistics in 2023, featuring the top 5 SEO metrics for B2B marketers, budgeting and SEO spending in 2023, the adoption of AI in SEO, and lots more.
Sana Commerce’s survey of 1,200 B2B buyers across seven countries reveals that B2B buyers now go online to research new suppliers, review the supplier’s web store, and place their orders online.
This research reflects that the online shopping habit, which became popular among B2C buyers during the pandemic, is becoming the norm among B2B buyers. As a result, B2B web stores are no longer a nice-to-have but a necessity.
Pro tips💡: B2B SEO marketers who want to take advantage of this trend must now optimize their B2B webstore for sales enablement. This includes providing a seamless discovery-to-purchase process by creating high-quality, mobile-friendly content optimized for relevant keywords, prioritizing local SEO when applicable, and improving technical aspects of their websites.
B2B buyers increasingly research by visiting a company's website before engaging in sales conversations or email interactions.
Pro tips💡: To support this trend, B2B SEOs should optimize website content to assist customers in progressing through their buying journey and improve UX (an area where 37% of CMOs plan to increase investment). That makes the B2B website a valuable channel for customer acquisition, conversion, and retention.
Because more B2B buyers are deciding to find products themselves, it's no wonder many companies want to spend money on SEO to make it easier for buyers to discover their products.
Compared to 2021, when 46% of companies increased their SEO budget, there is an exponential rise in SEO investment in 2023.
When B2B SEOs decide where to invest their money in 2023, they should consider which channels give the best return on investment in their industry, which ones help their marketing strategy the most, and how much effort it takes to keep using that channel.
This survey quizzed 46 B2B companies and found that thought leadership SEO, webinars, and LinkedIn organic are the three marketing channels with the highest ROI.
Even though thought-leadership SEO and webinars can give a lot of profit, they take a long time to start making money. Thought-leadership SEO can bring in leads in 4-6 months, but it takes at least two years to see its full potential for generating leads.
Pro tips💡: To reach their full potential, B2B SEO and content marketers should go beyond on-page and off-page optimization techniques to focus on thought leadership content. Combining thought leadership content with organic LinkedIn engagement through repurposing can accelerate lead generation. Furthermore, content shared on LinkedIn can provide organic engagement that sustains the funnel for webinar marketing, effectively leveraging the three high-ROI channels.
Unlike thought leadership and webinars, which require more extended periods to yield results, basic SEO, involving content optimization for search performance, delivers a substantial return on investment within three months.
Timely lead generation can enhance market presence and revenue streams in a competitive landscape. That way, B2B marketers can record quick wins from lead generation and derive customer data to improve engagement across other marketing channels.
In the same research, marketers say acquiring backlinks is the most effective off-page SEO tactic, which explains why the tactic takes a large chunk of the marketing budget.
Studies conducted by data aggregators like Ahref and Semrush have previously verified that a webpage tends to draw a more significant amount of organic traffic from Google when it possesses a higher number of backlinks. As spending on acquiring backlinks rises, SEO professionals overseeing domains with lower authority may encounter challenges when vying for visibility on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
However, it's worth noting that they can still achieve favorable rankings by prioritizing creating high-quality content. Semrush's data indicates that 28% of new domains secured positions in the SERP in 2022.
This survey also involved 68% of marketing leaders at the director level who have fully implemented AI-led operations in their company and believe that their business would see unprecedented growth beyond 2023.
Since 71% of the leaders who have invested in AI for their employees report positive ROI and increased positivity, B2B SEOs need to understand the best practices for implementing AI in their operations.
The top three AI optimization processes B2B SEOs must learn are
For example, SEOs can save more time on content creation by using AI to handle content generation, optimization, and editing.
The top three organic search results receive the majority of clicks on Google Search, with featured snippets (the first result) garnering significantly more clicks than paid listings and results three through ten combined.
Furthermore, the research indicates a slight increase in trust for higher-ranking results compared to the previous year, as the Click-Through Rate (CTR) for position 1 moved from 39.6% to 39.8%. Therefore, B2B SEOs should prioritize achieving rankings within the top three organic search results to maximize traffic. Additionally, B2B SEOs can capture more traffic from featured snippets by employing the following techniques:
1. Optimize content for natural language and long-tail queries, as 40.7% of all voice search answers originate from a featured snippet.
2. Use a conversational and straightforward tone in the content to ensure readers can easily understand both the answer and the context surrounding a query by examining the featured snippet.
3. Optimize content for local or location-based queries, as most voice searches are specific to particular locations and can trigger featured snippets.
Based on the research, the combined efforts of SEO, SEM, and PPC emerged as the primary drivers of qualified leads in 2022, surpassing referrals as the most impactful marketing channel.
This shift in effectiveness can be attributed to the growing trend of self-guided B2B buyer journeys, as highlighted by Gartner and Sana, which may have led to the decline of referral marketing.
Due to limited interactions with colleagues and friends, the self-guided journey gained momentum during the pandemic when buyers began searching for solutions, discovering brands, verifying credibility, and completing purchases independently. As a result, external influences on the purchasing process decreased, diminishing the effectiveness of referral marketing.
These findings align with previous recommendations that underscore the continued significance of SEO as the foremost lead generation channel, emphasizing the need for B2B SEOs to augment their investments and refine content strategies to address B2B buyers' specific needs effectively .
Sana-commerce’s B2B e-commerce trend revealed that B2B buyers are frustrated by the e-commerce experience, with 34% of B2B buyers facing challenges related to the visibility of product features and 20% unsatisfied with voice ordering features.
For B2B SEOs, this problem presents an opportunity to enhance sales with tested and proven product listing techniques. Areas to consider include:
Semrush’s zero-click research reveals that 25.6% of desktop searches and 17.3% of mobile searches result in zero-clicks (the searcher exits their search without looking at any websites ranking for their query).
We can attribute this to the fact that Google constantly adds new features to its search results pages to provide users with more information without clicking on a link. For example, Google now shows featured snippets, which are short summaries of the most relevant information from a web page, directly in the search results. Google also indicates knowledge graphs and interactive visualizations of information about a particular topic.
The zero-click trend thus has implications for B2B businesses and marketers. It means they must find new ways to reach their target audience and get them to click on their links. This could involve creating engaging content, using social media, or investing in paid advertising.
Pro tips 💡: For B2B SEOs who want to snap the zero-click spot and increase visibility, the following recommendations can be helpful:
In addition to the 70% of companies using an in-house SEO team, 35% of B2B organizations outsource some parts or their entire SEO program to external consultants.
While no data shows the efficiency of output from both sides, a Conductor survey previously reported that limited SEO skills are a big challenge for B2B brands. Specifically, 57% of the survey said the SEO role lacks the effective mix of technical competencies and business acumen.
Previously, when fewer websites looked towards SEO as their primary lead-gen channel, ranking your brand's content was more accessible with the proper knowledge of on-page optimization. The SEO algorithm is more complex today, with more brands joining the race daily.
Therefore, we can attribute the findings to the growing need for more companies to develop in-house expertise on their brand-specific SEO tactics. Industry and niche experts should lead in-house SEO teams to facilitate a sustainable and long-term SEO campaign by leading strategy and training.
According to B2B leaders in Conductor’s survey, in-house teams are best equipped to handle link-building and content production. Therefore, outsourcing thought leadership and expert technical optimization to agencies might help them scale faster.
A Searchmetrics survey found that most SEOs are unsatisfied with their PPC campaigns, with only one-third of the participants stating they are very satisfied.
HubSpot, Databox, and Firstpagesage have all reported that most SEOs experienced greater success from organic search than from PPC in 2023. According to HubSpot, 70% of B2B marketers believe that SEO is more effective than PPC in driving sales. Surprisingly, however, more SEOs are willing to increase their PPC budgets this year despite their dissatisfaction.
The escalating competition for organic listings is one of the factors contributing to the decision to boost the PPC budget. Brands expect that Google's Search Generative Experience will reduce website traffic, making product/service discovery fiercely competitive. While the exact impact on SEO-attributed traffic and conversions remains uncertain, increasing PPC spending is profitable.
Pro tips💡: SEOs aiming to enhance their Return on Advertising spending (ROAS) should consider periodic increases in investment for competitive keywords. Like organic listings, PPC offers limited high-quality ad space for competitive keywords. Brands who own this space are those who choose the right keywords and outspend their competitors.
Statista surveyed 3,623 professionals, with 10% saying that creating content that satisfies search intent is their primary focus in 2023.
Google’s constant algorithm update and emphasis on satisfying search intent might be the primary reason SEOs want to double down on satisfying search intent. Between January and August 2023, Google rolled out four algorithm changes. For example, the April 2023 Reviews update encourages SEOs to create product review content showcasing accurate and helpful personal experiences.
If you’d also like to create pages that satisfy search intent, consider the following tips 💡:
The fact that SEO is the most effective lead generation channel and that B2B buyers are increasingly favoring self-navigation in their product discovery and purchase processes are the most significant findings for B2B companies in 2023.
Initially, the goal of SEO was primarily to attract sales-qualified leads. However, now that B2B buyers are more likely to complete a sale online without meeting a sales rep in the company, SEO operations are more important. To effectively cater to this shift, SEOs understand that they must optimize their strategies for organic search, ensuring their content meets the changing needs of buyers and enables sales. This integrated approach delivers the highest return on investment.
While thought leadership SEO and webinars offer significant ROI potential, they require patience as they take time to reach their full lead generation potential. This highlights the importance of a long-term perspective in your marketing efforts. Budget allocation for link building is another crucial aspect.
Links significantly impact site authority and organic ranking, emphasizing the need to invest in this area.
B2B marketers should also prioritize meeting search intent as a core strategy for 2023 and beyond to adapt to evolving algorithms effectively. Undoubtedly, achieving that is difficult but manageable with AI. B2B companies with comprehensive on-brand AI support are proving more productive and goal-oriented, underscoring the importance of embracing AI in your operations.
Lastly, developing an AI support program involves developing in-house SEO programs. Most companies already have in-house SEO teams and only outsource some of their needs to agencies. This approach helps bridge talent gaps and enhances the effectiveness of long-term SEO programs.
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