B2B SEO: A Case Study in Organic Landing Pages

July 19th, 2007 Posted by B2B Search Engine Optimization 0 thoughts

Much is written about engineering landing pages for PPC campaigns, but all too often little thought goes into creating the right landing pages for SEO, even less so for B2B SEO. Obviously, for any given query you can’t dictate to the search engines the exact page to which a particular organic search engine result points, but you can strongly influence this. The problem is, many B2B companies don’t even bother to evaluate, let alone manage, organic landing pages. This is particularly concerning given that the most recent B2B study by Enquiro showed that nearly 75 percent of B2B searchers clicked on an organic search result first. Here’s a case study comparing two B2B companies’ organic landing pages for a given search term.

Rather arbitrarily, I chose the search term “transit seating.” The search results are illustrated below.

For purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the top two companies: Freedman Seating and American Seating. Just as background, both companies have strong competencies in transit seating and are more than 100 years old.

Promoting click-through

Too often, B2B companies focus solely on ranking. If that were the sole measure of success, both Freedman Seating and American Seating would be quite happy; they’re the top two companies listed in the search results. Most of the similarities, however, stop there.

Freedman does a much better job of enticing click-through. The description displayed beneath its primary search result tells the searcher whether she’s in the right place and should click through.

FSC manufactures seats and seating related products for small & midsize buses, heavy duty transit, Para transit, vans, commercial vehicles, rail cars.

American’s description beneath its search engine result is questionable at best and is obviously not being managed well.

Transit Seating. Model 6468. Also available from:. A WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY OF AMERICAN SEATING. Post Office Box 2310. Orillia, Ontario L3V 6S2 CANADA.

Most search engines will either display the meta description under the search result or they will excerpt a portion of more relevant copy from the page itself. Just as much thought goes into crafting PPC ad copy, care should be taken to craft both optimized meta descriptions and optimized landing-page copy for organic search. That way, regardless of what description the search engines choose to display, you’ll be covered. After all, it really doesn’t matter where your rank if no one wants to click through to your site.

Creating a better click-through experience

If someone clicks on the first search result for Freedman, they’ll be taken to the home page of its site, which is appropriate given that transit seating is the primary focus of the company. The home page allows visitors to explore the company and its offerings.

The first result for American Seating, however, is problematic. The searcher can easily see that the content is in pdf form and has to make a choice. Most searchers are inherently lazy and don’t want to download and open a pdf; they would rather stay in the browser to view the content. Clicking on the “view as HTML” link, the searcher gets the following:

This resulting page is a document concerning details of a specific transit seat, not a company that specializes in transit seating. The html version of the pdf is void of images and the American Seating logo. Not very interesting or compelling. There’s also no way for the searcher to click through to the American site for more information.

If the searcher chooses to download the pdf, they get this:

Okay, it’s a little prettier than the html version and there’s some visible corporate branding here (company logo), but the pdf still focuses on the details of one specific seat model, and there’s no way for the searcher to get more information or link through to American’s site. Whether the searcher chooses the html version or the pdf, if the searcher wants to go to American’s site, they have to look at the URL in the search result, truncate it, and type it in the browser. And doing so will only get the searcher to the company’s home page. She’ll still need to find the relevant section of American’s site on her own. That’s a lot of work for an impatient, lazy searcher.

It would be far better if American optimized its site’s content so that the link in the search results pointed to this page currently on its site:

Not only is this page far more interesting than the pdf in the search results, it goes miles further in promoting transportation seating as a core strength of the company. It also allows site visitors many options to learn more.

Capturing leads

Although Freedman does a better job of enticing click-through and presents a better experience when a searcher does click through, both companies squander an opportunity to capture lead information. While both sites offer contact information, neither site entices visitors to engage with the company by requesting something in exchange for lead information. There are no calls to action or apparent strategy regarding what each company wants the site visitor to do when reaching the landing page.

Parting thoughts

  • Evaluate click-through probability. Don’t just look at your rankings in the organic search engine results. Look at the description under the search engine result. Does it entice searchers to click through? Optimize page content and meta descriptions to increase the probability of click-through.
  • Test your organic landing pages for all significant keywords. It’s great if you rank highly in the search results, but have you looked to see where searchers will actually land if they click through? Is it really where you want them to land? If not, optimize a different landing page or make changes to the content at the current landing page.
  • If your search results take you to a pdf and you want to keep it that way, make sure that you integrate links into your pdf that allow searchers to click through to the most appropriate landing page(s) on your site.
  • Create a strategy for capturing leads from organic search. It’s foolish to spend so much time creating strategic landing pages for PPC campaigns and not do the same for organic search.
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Proteus B2B Marketing is a professional services firm specializing in maximizing marketing qualified leads through organic search and content marketing. In 2006, we were the first to specialize exclusively in B2B SEO.

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