"While the number of well-optimized sites is improved over previous studies," said Lisa Wehr, CEO of Oneupweb, "we're stunned that more than 45 percent of these B2B leaders are ignoring SEO [search engine optimization] completely, or using it so badly it appears accidental."
As part of the study, Oneupweb queried Google and Yahoo! for terms related to each of the companies, and found that 5 percent of the sites that used little or no optimization were listed on the first page of Google and Yahoo!; 22 percent landed on the first three results pages of Google, and 19 percent on the first three pages of Yahoo!.
Well-optimized sites had better visibility. Thirty-seven percent of well-optimizeds appeared on the first page of Google and 47 percent on the first page of Yahoo!. Well-optimized sites landed on Google within the first three pages 58 percent of the time, versus 47 percent of the time for Yahoo!
"I can't imagine the business owner, CEO, or director of marketing that types his company's primary key words into a search engine, like Google or Yahoo!, and doesn't expect to be there," said Wehr. "That's even more puzzling when you look at what these companies spend in traditional advertising."
For the well-optimized advertisers, the optimization techniques deployed included "optimized titles and metas unique to each page of the site," according to the study. However, having a large amount of relevant content, particularly detailed product and service information, was the number one factor in boosting natural search ranking. According to the report, well-optimized sites attract more traffic, generate more leads, and shorten the sales cycle for marketers.
The role of the Internet in business-to-business sales and communications continues to expand. According to eMarketer, 71 percent of business leaders use the Internet to gain information about industry sectors. As part of the study, Oneupweb listed four key trends it believes will compel these companies to use search engine optimization. These are: the growth of business-to-business online shopping; the role played by search engines in research-driven business-to-business purchases; the overall growth of the online marketplace; and the growth of search engine optimization itself, which will make optimization all the more important as businesses jockey for position in certain sectors.
Oneupweb, which conducted the study last month, plans to repeat it next year.