Search engine optimization (SEO) has established itself as one of the most important aspects of any marketing strategy. It plays a key role in inbound marketing, underpinning content marketing, thought leadership and social media. We live in a time where interruptive marketing is losing its effectiveness, and consumers are increasingly turning to Google to find what they are looking for, at a time that suits them.
Despite this, SEO continues to be a challenge for many businesses, and particularly start-ups as they attempt to establish an online presence for the first time. The technical aspects of SEO, the constant updates to the search engines themselves and overlap with social media, content marketing and website usability all add to this confusion.
Still, the fact remains that without visibility on search engines, start-ups will be unable to position themselves as industry leaders and gain a share of their market.
What is SEO?
Before we explain just why SEO is so important for cleantech start-ups, it’s worth defining what SEO actually is. Search engine optimization is a methodology of strategies, techniques and tactics used to increase the number of visitors (traffic) to a website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in the search results page of a search engine, such as Google, Bing or Yahoo. And why do you need to obtain a high ranking? Because 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
Do cleantech companies really need SEO?
The B2B cleantech buying cycle is often long, complex and involves many stakeholders. One person from a company may do the initial research to compile the list of solutions to look into, and another may take a deeper dive into specific solutions and how they fit with the company’s need. This differs from B2C marketing which tends to only need to reach one decision maker.
It’s important to bear in mind that B2B SEO marketing shouldn’t be designed to convert cold organic visitors into sales. Generally, people consulting search engines in the cleantech space will not be ready to buy anything yet. They’re more likely looking for the tools and information they need to do their jobs.
Why should you invest in SEO?
Increased higher-quality organic web traffic
Gone are the days when people want to be interrupted by irrelevant marketing. People want to find you themselves when they are ready, ideally through organic search. By adopting an SEO-based content marketing strategy, you will not only increase your volume of web traffic, but also ensure that the majority of visitors will be genuinely interested in your cleantech company, or at least what you have to say.
Establishment as a thought-leader in your industry
Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who provide helpful and insightful content. The goal of any good SEO strategy should be to build trust and cement your cleantech company as an authority in the industry. The idea is that at a later date, stakeholders are more likely to think of you when they are ready to buy. According to research, almost 60% of business decision makers said that thought leadership directly led to their awarding of business to an organisation.
While SEO might be a long-term investment in terms of time, it is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing. B2B companies state that SEO is the single biggest factor in their lead generation efforts. Furthermore, SearchEngine Journal reports that these leads have a 14.6% close rate, compared with outbound leads which have a 1.7% close rate.