Our SEO experts at wobAG share their thoughts and learnings from the recent B2B SEO and Google updates.
If you want to run search engine optimization for your B2B corporate website or your e-commerce shop, it has not been easy in the last few months: Google has seldom released as many core updates on the SEO world as this year.
There were delays, updates were distributed in bits and pieces in several steps, the rollout was not transparent – so everything was actually as usual. Nevertheless, the behavior of the search results pages (SERPs) was more erratic than usual, as a wide variety of new ranking criteria were introduced, which were also superimposed with a new ranking weighting.
Many website operators wondered at a loss why their rankings had been subject to strong fluctuations over weeks – if not months – and were even more perplexed when some of these results had leveled off.
Sometimes strange developments could be observed, especially with websites for B2B companies :
Strong fluctuations and more love for shops
For many of our customers, the confusion began with highly fluctuating rankings in the product areas – whether for branded keywords that contained the brand name or for generic product names.
Not optimal if “Manufacturer name + product name” is no longer found to be a top result by Google from the website “Manufacturer name.com” – especially not if you are in the middle of the optimization process. What happened here?
We observed that Google suddenly preferred sites with extended shop functions, as we are used to from the B2C area to the manufacturer sites.
Understandable when it comes to things like home electronics and the like, slightly problematic when it comes to capital goods that can only be brought to customers through sales partners.
The result: Leading suppliers in their product lines were displaced by shops with used parts, as these – in comparison to new products – can usually be obtained from an online shop without any problems.
Can Google still differentiate between B2C and B2B?
Whether or not the much-cited user intent is actually fulfilled in such cases is up for discussion. The following question even arises: Does the search engine make no distinction between B2C and B2B?
As of the end of August 2021, this question has not yet been answered and the fluctuations in the search results are continuing.
Just because Google makes SEO difficult at the moment, you should still work on providing users with the best page on a topic or product – that’s modern SEO.
What do you do as a B2B website operator?
So what should B2B website operators do? Optimize further! Because we also see: Pages that have SEO-optimized content and good user guidance and user experience are not subject to fluctuations as much as non-optimized pages. In addition, we observe that conversions are less affected by optimized pages and accordingly decrease far less or not at all than with non-optimized pages.
To determine the obvious: Just because Google makes SEO difficult, you should still work on providing users with the best page on a topic or product – that’s modern SEO.
And when the storm has settled in the water glass, positive user signals (values about how users deal with a page) will again have a beneficial effect on rankings. Also, where the ranking factor Performance and Core Web Vitals is concerned, what the optimization is worth on the technical side!
Title tags, videos, and search results pages – Google is also offending elsewhere
But Google Core Updates are not the only frustrating factor: We have already reported that fewer and fewer searches lead from the Google search results page to another website.
Here, too, the trend towards more and more content that is displayed directly on Google continues: video boxes, FAQs, news reports and the like take up more space on the search results pages than before – this now also applies to certain B2B topics and keywords.
An assumption: Perhaps in individual cases from the B2B area, the algorithm may still have difficulties distinguishing between the user intent “Do” – which mainly stands for “buy” – and “Know”.
Where are my page titles?
The latest annoyance, however, is that the search engine has started tinkering with page titles – an important ranking factor that costs site owners a lot of brainpower and effort.
As with meta descriptions, some page titles are replaced by versions generated by Google. In doing so, suitable information is searched for in the page text and a page title is pieced together. And as with the descriptions before, a lot of nonsense comes out of it. This problem also affects us as a B2B agency, who would like to be found for precisely this keyword, among other things.
So what to do? Here, too, the following applies: Make improvements and count on any deteriorated rankings to rise again.
You can look at the facts from two perspectives. On the negative side: Google messes around – and I’m at the mercy of the monopoly. On the positive side: Even if the search engine makes one or the other frustrating misstep, I am encouraged to keep improving my pages for potential users – and that will sooner or later be reflected in positive developments.
Is your website affected?
If you have any questions about SEO on your B2B site, please contact us.
If you want to know how long SEO for B2B takes under normal circumstances, then we recommend this article: How long does it take for SEO to work? – Answers for B2B marketers.