Updated August 2022
We’ve shared plenty of tips on reaching new audiences with top-of-funnel SEO strategies.
Strategies like keyword research and content marketing development can aid in the buyer discovery process, specifically through improved SEO performance.
But what about buyers further down the sales funnel who are evaluating B2B vendors and performing brand-related search queries?
Rather than searching terms like “benefits of X widget,” they’re searching your brand name. These are high-value prospects, so how do you make sure to grab their attention?
In this post, I’ll share four opportunities B2B marketers can leverage to gain more traffic from brand-specific searches. (Meaning, when someone searches your brand name on Google.) These tactics help differentiate your brand in Google search results and increase trust with potential buyers and prospects.
1. Optimize Your Brand’s Information In Google Search Results
When you “Google” your organization’s brand name, you might notice there’s a lot of information right in the search results. Here is a screenshot when searching for “komarketing” on the desktop.
The results include basic brand information like social media profiles, reviews, and photos, address/office information such as hours of operation, contact information, and a cross-reference to Google Maps for directions.
According to Google, this information is compiled from several sources, including:
- Information on the internet, such as on your website or Google Maps.
- Licensed data from third-parties
- Users who contribute and verify information such as hours, location, and phone numbers.
- Your Google Business Profile
Why B2B Marketers Should Care About Google’s Knowledge Graph
These results are likely the first interaction prospects have with your brand, outside of the organization’s website. So, you want to ensure this listing provides accurate and reliable information.
According to Google, 90% of B2B researchers who are online use search specifically to research business purchases. From there, B2B researchers do 12 searches before engaging on a specific brand’s site.
This means it’s critical to ensure the accuracy of this information.
How To Manage Google Knowledge Graph For Your Brand
There are at least three points to consider when managing this result.
- The first step is reviewing, registering, and optimizing your business listing through Google Business Profile Manager. Information on how to manage this process can be found here.
- Make sure to complete all relevant information along with applicable photos and media (including YouTube channel connection if appropriate).
- Leverage structured data markup to add identification of the organizational name, logo, and social links for organic search results. Here are more details for updating this information.
Google may pull additional information from Wikipedia and/or reviews from third-party websites (including Google itself), so you’ll want to follow the links in your business listing to ensure they’re accurate.
Unfortunately, updates are not instantaneous. Depending on the change’s significance, it can take several weeks for Google to modify listing information.
For example, we’ve seen address/operational hours change quite quickly, but elements like social media profile references can take longer to update.
2. Use Site Extensions
When looking at brand-specific queries, you might notice secondary results within the primary listing that lead to other parts of a website. These results are called “site links”.
Here’s what they look like for the KoMarketing website:
For more competitive (often non-brand related) queries, you might see secondary site link (aka breadcrumb navigation) references on the bottom of traditional organic search results:
Why B2B Marketers Should Care About Site Links
These results provide a more in-depth experience when searchers evaluate brand-oriented information in Google. For B2B marketers, it means an opportunity to gain visibility for important secondary site material–and takes up a larger portion of the search results.
How To Manage Site Links
While there isn’t a way to directly impact what web pages appear in site link results, the following best practices may influence this information.
- Use structured data in association with the SiteNavigationElement, found through schema.org, to highlight core navigational information found on the website. Google also recommends using page titles that are relevant and concise, creating a logical site structure, and using relevant anchor text.
- For breadcrumb trails, Google recommends implementing the BreadCrumbList data type, which indicates the page’s position in the site hierarchy. A user can navigate all the way up in the site hierarchy, one level at a time, by starting from the last breadcrumb in the breadcrumb trail.
3. Optimize For Google Answer Boxes
Google Answer Boxes are search results that provide the answer to information search queries right in the search results. They’re the top search results and can include breadcrumbs to click to other pages on the website:
Google says the answer summary is derived when the search engine recognizes that a query asks a question, and they then programmatically detect pages that answer this question, displaying a snippet as a “rich answer” or “answer box” in the search results.
Why B2B Marketers Should Care About Google Answer Boxes
For B2B marketers looking to gain more exposure and thought leadership and information-oriented queries, answer boxes provide an opportunity to establish trust and draw traffic to their website.
How To Optimize for Google Answer Boxes/Featured Snippets
The best way to optimize for Google Answer Boxes is to answer a common question in a clear, direct manner.
My colleague Ryan Young recently wrote about our experience obtaining visibility for these types of search experiences. While I highly recommend reviewing this blog post, here is a summary of steps we have learned to be critical (content marketing-specific), regardless of the question being answered.
- Select a Question to Answer
- Create Relevant Content
- Focus on Structure
- Remember SEO Best Practices
- Be Patient
4. Leverage Google Ad Extensions
Google Ad Extensions show extra information about a business in paid ads. Depending on the type of ad extension, this might include phone numbers, reviews, deals, or site links.
For most B2B marketers focused on demand generation in particular, paid search can be just as important as SEO. It is critical to maximize exposure and the coverage in real estate available in search results, paid and organic.
These extensions take up more space in search results page, resulting in improved visibility and arguably more value through increased click-through rate and potential engagement between publisher and buyer.
Why B2B Marketers Should Care About Ad Extensions
Ad extensions allow B2B marketers to further distinguish themselves in search results, particularly for more competitive keywords and aggressive bidding strategies.
And, unlike organic site links and breadcrumb functionality listed previously, AdWords extensions provide B2B marketers with a direct way to manage advertising-specific information presented to searchers.
How To Manage Ad Extensions
Google provides a full write-up and reference for how ad extensions work, where they appear, and how to set up, implement, and manage these extensions.
- How B2B Advertisers Can Leverage Callout Extensions for Better Ad Messaging
- 4 Reasons Why AdWords’ Callout Extension Is a No-Brainer
- Overview of the AdWords Structured Snippets Extension for B2B Advertisers
Hopefully, these tactics will help you reach a wider audience and attract traffic from highly qualified leads.
By differentiating your brand in organic and paid search results, B2B marketers can build trust and authenticity with potential buyers throughout the sales funnel.
What successes has your organization seen in differentiating your brand in Google search results? I would love to hear what works for you in the comments below or visit our Twitter.