The world of technology is constantly changing and alongside it B2B digital selling. Advancements are made every year and unless you are up-to-date with the latest tech trends your digital selling efforts are going to fall short.  

Search engine optimization is the corner-stone of many B2B digital marketing strategies. Businesses use SEO to ensure they place high in the rankings of organic searches. These search engine providers are consistently updating their techniques in order to provide searchers with the right best results. 

User experience has been the focal point of Google’s changes this year. Here, I will outline four important changes that impacted SEO during 2017.


1. The rise of mobile 

Mobile optimization has become an essential transition for digital selling companies. Unless your web pages are optimized for mobile viewing, it is inevitable that they will receive less traffic. In turn, this will have a negative effect on your business as a whole. 

The use of mobile is becoming commonplace among B2B buyers. Recently, a report from BCG revealed that 80% of B2B buyers use their mobile phone at work, while 60% reported that their mobile phone played a significant role in recent purchases. Google’s research has found that 50% of B2B queries are made using smartphones.  

Google has responded to this increased volume of mobile users using their devices to conduct web searches and have made mobile searches the primary index for Google searches. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) are also favored by Google.


The takeaway 

Optimize your web pages for mobile accessibility.


2. User intent 

User intent has been a focal point of Google’s efforts this year. Searching habits of consumers have changed. Rather than just simply searching fragmented keywords such as “restaurants Dublin” users are now searching using conversational phrases like “what are the best restaurants in Dublin?”  

The conversational tone users have adapted to search engines is far from surprising. The introduction of devices such as Google Home, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri to the marketplace, along with the built-in capability of Google Voice Search into the search engine, has seen a rise in the number of voice searches. According to Google, 20% of mobile searches are conducted using voice search.


Nowadays, when you Google a phrase it is categorized into either of three categories:


1. Awareness search 
eg. “what is ___” 

2. Discovery search 
eg. “___ vs ___”


3. Purchase search 
eg. “buy ___”


Keywords are no longer enough when trying to reach your target audiences. The shift to more conversational searches began in 2013 when Google introduced an update to their search engine called Hummingbird. It brought about an entirely different user experience of the search engine, with greater emphasis on semantic searches and the intent of what the user is Googling. It is the core algorithm that interprets what we are Googling and provides meaningful results. 

Following Hummingbird, the RankBrain update was released in 2015. This shifted Google’s algorithm to understand the context of user’s search queries, and in turn affected the placement of web pages on search engine result pages (SERPs). It created a greater understanding of synonyms and factored these into the results provided.


The takeaway 

Move beyond solely focusing on keywords if you wish to get the most out of your SEO efforts. Categorize and cluster your content on your web pages.


3. Security 

Web pages that are secure are given preference in search engine rankings.


The takeaway 

Incorporate SSL into all of your landing pages.


4. Search results 

Google has lifted the limit on characters, allowing longer titles and meta descriptions. This provides you with a chance to give a better description about what your page contains, encouraging greater click-through rates (CTRs).


Orla Murphy

Posted by Orla Murphy

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