An Alternative to SEM: Being Where Your Buyers Go After They Search

search behavior

What B2B marketing stat are you sick of hearing about more:  how 72% of buyers start with Search, or how your buyers go 70% through the buy-cycle before they engage with your sales rep?

My bet is the latter.  What deserves more attention is the consideration of what happens next after your buyers (who aren’t yet talking to your sales reps) go to Google, and then click on 1st page results.  …You do know the saying, “the best place to hide a dead body is Page 2 of Google”, right?  Do you really have time to focus on the 5-8% that go past Page 1?

Why does what happens after search matter?

For starters, it matters because the primary tactics for engaging with your buyers at this crucial time in the buy-cycle are limited.  Basically you have SEM/AdWords, and SEO.

Buying more AdWords traffic is costly to scale. And even when effective, it only gives you access to 10% of those searching on what you offer.  Yep, that’s right – 90% of those searching on the technology you deliver or problems you can solve are clicking on organic (non-paid) results.

SEM/AdWords can be costly and inefficient

search behavior - alternatives to SEMSo let’s be honest, how many of you can afford to have your website rank high enough?  Certainly there are exceptions, but by-in large content production and topical authority at the volume required to have a footprint in search is incredibly costly.  Some professional publishers spend everything they can on it and still struggle for 1st page ranking.  You, on the other hand,  are a marketer with only a portion of your budget to devote to content production.

It gets worse:

Even if you did well with 1st page results, Google research indicates that it takes people about 12 searches before they may land on an actual vendor website.

Your buyers are searching for an independent voice

That’s because at the early stage when B2B buyers are investigating approaches to solving a problem or better enabling their business, they try to avoid the links that they know are from vendors who might have a singular point of view.  They want a more independent voice before they’re ready to click on your links.  That’s not to say you never get traffic from early stage buyers to your website – it’s just acknowledging how much they are being influenced by other content before they get to you.

Wouldn’t it be great if you influence more of them in these formative stages?  If you did, you’d not only get more buyers to come to you later, but you’d also get them talking your language when they come to you.

Reconsider how you evaluate marketing vendors/partners

search behavior - evaluate partnersGiven these realities, shouldn’t you ask your suppliers how they’re getting an audience to come to them?  And to what extent is it organic vs. bought?  How often is it refreshed on the topics you care about?  Since you can’t be on all the Page 1 search results that matter to you – find a partner who delivers immense search power.  Remember, search results are a numbers game. You need to weed out those partners that aren’t outranking their competition.

Dig into the terms they rank well in.  Are they ones that your sales reps would drool over if you could deliver?

Understand what sort of content these companies produce to rank well in Search.  Especially if you’re buying data or leads from that partner.  With so much buzz on purchase intent data, you know that data can only be as useful as the relevance of the activity it comes from.

How do you capture the benefits of being first in search?

Over 17 years of doing this stuff, we’ve built an incredibly strong content footprint and unrivaled topical authority.  That’s why TechTarget is so good at getting you in front of your B2B technology buyer audience.

TechTarget publishes 75,000 new content pieces each year across more than 10,000 B2B technology topics.  We’re the #1 highest growth domain in B2B technology (SearchMetrics). This translates to over 2.7 million ranking keywords and more than 800,000 first-page organic results. Think about this: to replicate TechTarget’s search power would cost upwards of $36 million per month (Source: SEMRush).  We believe that by partnering with a company like us, one who has already developed search power with your target audience, you stand a much better chance of efficiently engaging buyers earlier in their process.  We believe that intercepting real purchase intent behavior before your competitors do is one of the best ways to ensure your products and solutions are top-of-mind throughout the buyer’s journey.

search behavior - TechTarget

The value of an organic first-page ranking on Google is undeniable.  Unfortunately, getting your company there takes time, focus and lots of money. There are other ways to capture the benefits of search behavior.  If you want to learn how partnering with a search leader can put you front and center with your B2B tech buyers, reach out to us today.

Google, search, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, SEM, SEO, serach behavior, TechTarget

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