Word-of-mouth referrals and direct sales pitches can be effective, but according to the Earnest Agency, 81% of B2B purchase cycles start with a web search. For your firm, the ability to stand out with natural search results may well be the tiny bump that determines if you close that next deal–or not.
If you’re still not convinced, here are a few more stats for you:
- 90% of buyers say “they’ll find you” online when they decide to find relevant investment firms.
- A survey conducted by Axial found out that a whopping 92% of business owners conduct a basic internet search on a firm before they give them a call.
- Up to 57% of B2B marketers say that SEO has the biggest impact on lead generation (over all other marketing tactics).
What can we learn from this data? SEO matters, especially for investment firms.
And we’re just scratching the surface. Let’s take a deeper dive into why you should focus more on SEO, as well as how you can make sure your efforts pay off.
Why You Should Care
Start with the basics: SEO’s main purpose is to improve your ranking on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). SERPs determine your organic brand visibility and can make the difference between landing a client or closing a deal.
Consider this: 91.5% of searches never go past Page 1 of Google. If you don’t rank among the first 10 pages for a particular keyword, you’ll lose out on a tremendous amount of awareness for your brand.
The higher up on page 1 you are, the better chance you have of getting business, pure and simple. High SEO rankings inspire confidence in your clients.
How to Use SEO for the Most Impact
If you’re thinking SEO isn’t a straightforward tactic, you’re right. Like all effective marketing strategies, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. In order to reap the sweet fruits of S
EO, your SERPs need to go up. To do that, you need to leverage several “hacks” we’ll discuss next.
The first (and most important) of the hacks is knowing your target keywords. Why? SEO is about improving your rank on the SERPs. But have you stopped to think what you’re ranking for?
Your goal is to rank for what people are searching for on Google. Your search terms send a signal to the search engine algorithm to find the most relevant information (given the search keywords).
For example, let’s say your firm is focused on middle-market industrial businesses. Your target keywords and keyword phrases would include terms like “middle market industrials”. Simple enough, right?
The problem is, every other business in your space is trying to rank for those keywords as well.
So how do you know the right keywords to target? Luckily, there are a number of tools you can use. One of the best ones in the market is Google’s Keyword Planner. All you have to do is provide a keyword related to your services and the tool will automatically provide you a report on which keywords are related to the term and how popular each keyword is.
The second thing you can do to help you improve your business ranking is considering your target location.
Most likely, your goal isn’t to reach everyone with an internet connection (and, if it is, best of luck). You should really aim for a specific demographic. Often, users don’t want to look for every “middle market industrials” focused investment firm on the internet. Instead, their searches are generally limited in some way–usually by physical constraints like geography and proximity.
Still, even if you’re a nationally focused firm, you need to be thinking local. People have different needs in different parts of the country (or world) and will search different things.
For example, you’re bound to rank higher for “investment bankers in Chicago” than you would for “investment bankers in the US.”
Update your website
SEO doesn’t work in isolation. It’s part of the content marketing ecosystem. At the core of that ecosystem is your website.
It makes sense when you think about it. It’s the first digital impression most of your potential deal sources will get of your firm. This will give them their first insights into your credibility as an entity.
A good question to ask yourself is: would you trust your website? Does it look professional? Does it look good on mobile?
Google frequently changes their rules when it comes to SEO. In the spirit of ensuring the user gets the most relevant and credible information, the rules/algorithms require your website to meet certain standards with every new update. So, regularly checking and updating your website along these rules to make sure you don’t miss out on anything.
You also need to create great content. As mentioned, SEO won’t work unless it’s working alongside a number of other tactics. After they land on a well-optimized website, search engines want to make sure that users find high-quality information. That’s why you need a blog that’s regularly updated with high-quality content.
It’s also worth mentioning the influence of social media in SEO. Here’s more on that.
Knowing the basics of SEO is one thing. Implementing what you learn is another challenge altogether. But don’t let it frustrate you.
We narrowed the process to 3 simple questions. Once you have these answered, you’re on your way achieving a robust SEO strategy.
“What are my objectives?”
“Who’s my audience?”
You’ll need to understand your audience better and in the online marketing context. Here’s how.
“How will I measure success?”
Based on your objective, what did you achieve? Here’s how to measure SEO success effectively.
These question will help you stay on track, target the right people, and know how much you’re getting from your campaigns.