SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is all about driving organic traffic to your website. How? By ranking high on relevant keywords / searches. Meaning – when your potential audience types in Google (or other search engines for that matter) a query that is relevant to you, you want your site – or other online assets – to appear as high as possible in the search results.
How high is enough? That’s a difficult question. There are many contradictory statistics regarding the CTR (Click Through Rate) of the first search results; the first organic result gets between 20% to 35% of the clicks, depends on the research; the second and third results get between 20% to 10%; it slides to the single digit percentage from here.
Overall, the first page of search results gets between 60% to 75% of the clicks. That’s a lot and it clearly validates the effort needed for SEO.
Why Do SEO and not PPC?
If you have deep pockets then sure, do PPC (Pay Per Click – paid ads on Google based on keywords.) The thing with PPC is, once you stop paying the traffic stops as well. Immediately. No ads, no traffic. With SEO, it is an investment for the long-term. You are building your web assets. Either, you’ll need to hire a pro, a B2B search marketing agency or paid media experts.
The difference between PPC and SEO is like the difference between renting an apartment and paying a mortgage for one; renting is a month-to-month scenario, no long-term impact where with mortgage, down the road, the apartment is yours and from that point you no longer have monthly installments, just maintenance expenses.
Now that we settled the relevancy of SEO as a long-term strategy for online presence, let’s look at one of the sticky points of B2B search marketing – when is a keyword, or search phrase, has a search volume too small to be worth your efforts.
Search Volume Isn’t Your Only Consideration
Different keywords have different search volumes. Before deciding to “fight” for a specific keyword, you want to know it’s search volume (the number of times it is being searched per month.) On the surface, the higher search volume a keyword has, the more attractive it is to you. But that’s a very superficial way to examine the worthiness of a keyword. Other factors that need to be examined are competition, user intent and what is the product/service that is being pushed by the keyword in question.
We’re not going to get into all the factors, just one – search volume and it’s direct connection to search profit potential.
B2C SEO vs. B2B SEO - Search Volume vs. Cost of Product
In broad strokes, B2C SEO works on much higher search volumes than B2B SEO. It makes sense. B2C companies target end consumers and thus are looking for the masses; unless you’re selling yachts. B2B companies are interested in a wider scale of search volumes that correlates directly with the cost of the product.
We can assume that the more expensive the product / service in question is, the smaller the search volume will be.
The question is: How small a search volume needs to be in order to stop being worth your SEO effort?
The answer is not clear cut, and it mainly depends on search profit potential.
What is Search Profit Potential?
Basically, it is the sum you stand to make if you make a sale. If your product costs $750,000 than that’s your search profit potential from every single search. Obviously, that makes every search much more lucrative than for searches for a $75 product.
That’s a major consideration is B2B SEO – search profit potential versus number of searches.
Looking at the $75 product, if you’re considering a keyword phrase with a search volume of 20 searches a month, it is probably not worth the effort needed to rank high for this phrase. But with the $750,000 product, 20 searches a month is gold.
In this regard, you need to keep in mind that the more expensive the product / service is, the stronger the intent of the user is. Most people won’t search for such a pricy product just for the sake of it. Every search is loaded with intent, and a strong potential.
Targeting Low Search Volume Keywords is a Core Strategy of B2B SEO
B2B SEO is a patchwork of low search volume keywords and phrases. You need to cast your net as wide as possible. Even though the high volume keyword seems more attractive – fighting for many searches all at once – the competition there is mostly intense, with established companies already with years of SEO work behind them and numerous backlinks.
Longtail keywords – longer keyword phrases with low search volume – can get you a much more segmented audience with a more focused intent. Think about it; the more words you type into Google, the more specific your search is and thus the more concrete your intent is.
So, when you’re putting together a B2B SEO campaign, resist the urge to target high-volume, competitive keywords. Start with the longtails, collect your searches in small batches and keep in mind the correlation between search profit potential and search volume.