Like any aspect of today’s marketing, SEO shares the responsibility of painting out pictures of ideal buyers. One way is through the keywords it uses to direct the creation of content as well as understand the most common problems that prospects are often searching about.
But whereas B2C marketers use it to paint out certain individuals, B2B marketers more often use it to paint out entire organizations.
Though that begs the question: How accurate is the painting?
This is in light of Google’s many controversies on its autocomplete feature (particularly the UN ads that used it to highlight alleged sexism in search queries). That issue aside though, the real pressing matter is how accurate keywords can be when understanding B2B buyer behavior.
Clearly the answer isn’t in their favor. Yet on the other hand, this isn’t necessarily the end of B2B search engine optimization. Every form of marketing has its shortcomings when it comes to understanding prospects. Buyer profiles don’t always fit in the eyes of those who directly converse with prospects. Meanwhile, they still remain as a form of guidance and helps salespeople from too much guesswork.
What SEO marketers need to do is invite everyone in on the guesswork. Use other channels and tools for things like:
- Asking directly about their search query – While contact forms can tell you what search terms were used, it pays to be really sure. When you make the follow-up call or respond in an email, ask why they typed in those words. At the very least, it makes for a good starter.
- Simplifying the problem – Nobody really likes typing long queries. That’s another beautiful thing about keywords. While they can be misunderstood, they can also indicate a simple way to view a problem (at least, from the perspective of business culture). If plenty business owners are typing “Product X sales report error,” then you at least know where the problem is.
- Confirm a buyer profile – You can also use the queries as a basis for your own research. Do phone surveys that touch on the topic that is commonly searched about you. It may confirm or clarify why so many potential clients are searching for you on that particular subject.
Luckily, the search queries you’re working on don’t feature on controversial ads. But just because they can doesn’t mean you should misunderstand or belittle what they tell you about your buyers. Use it like any other source of information and improve your entire marketing campaign.