SEO for OEM manufacturers - the "no man's land" of lead gen

Ed Marsh | Aug 13, 2015


Activity, responsibility, accountability

Have you ever had a situation when in the process of walking through a problem you realized there had been a glaring oversight....and wondered how it could have persisted without anyone addressing it?

That's how you may feel as we take a quick dive into three areas of "no man's land" in B2B content marketing with significant implications to SEO for OEM manufacturers.

  1. search result - click
  2. click - engagement
  3. engagement - conversion

Conventional wisdom says that the goal should be to rank for keywords.  In fact many will claim that ranking within the top 3, 5 or 10 for a number of bottom of the funnel keywords is the basis of success in SEO for OEM manufacturers.

That's incorrect!

Ranking doesn't matter if nobody clicks

There's a common assumption that search rankings are a proxy for search success.  That assumption causes many to overlook critical data (often to the contrary.)

It's not unusual to find that a company ranks well for a number of product related keywords, but that actual clicks are a very small percentage of successful search results.

That can occur for a number of reasons - but it's a diagnostic questions that senior execs can use to simultaneously ascertain the breadth and depth of insight their SEO resource brings to the project AND identify an easily overlooked area of significant potential improvement in a program.

It's not a sexy, flashy topic, but from a continuous improvement perspective it's key among the low hanging fruit of SEO for OEM manufacturers

"Nothing for me here!"

Most people can tell you what their bounce rate is.  But can they tell you why?

Typically not.  And most companies aren't in a position to conduct focus groups and extensive buyer research to answer the question.  But there's a great alternative which is vastly underutilized.  


Simple tracking software which operates on your website allows you to observe visitor behaviors - from individual to cumulative behavior of thousands of visitors.  You'll see where they scrolled, What they focused on.  What they clicked.  And sometimes most tellingly, what they ignored.

Often people are shocked to learn how confused visitors to their sites are - that confusion is demonstrated with lots of mouseover and few clicks.  The bottom line in many cases?  Visitors simply can't intuit where to go on your site to find the information they need.

That's a shame - after you climbed from the trench and made it across the no-man's-and of search results and got the click, isn't it horrible to waste that hard won visit because your site doesn't provide visitors ease of navigation and information that's focused on their questions?

They didn't even say hello

The third area of no-man's-land occurs once a visitor is engaged.  Too often visitors which are hard won (lots of work on SEO) and well served (well designed UX and appropriate, customer focused information) are simply invited in the back door of the site, told to make themselves feel at home, and then ignored.  

There's no easy way for them to request more information once you've demonstrated initial expertise (sure, you've got a contact us often do you fill one of those out when you're just doing research.)  If you don't provide further information of substance, there's no way to ask them to share their name and email address.  And without that, they slip away anonymously.

Companies that fail to consistently convert visitors to leads are accepting that they will miss 74% of the B2B transactions.  Why?  LinkedIn research has found that 74% of B2B buyers ultimately select the vendor that first provided value to them during their research.  Of course your site should offer value - but real value around solving business challenges occurs when your great minds are applied to their big challenges.  That happens through an informed dialog - either direct by phone or email, or virtual through specifically appropriate additional information.

You can't do that if you don't convert leads.  Period.  Fail this step and the rest of the program is simply superficial. 

Where's the disconnect?

How do these gaps occur and persist even in companies that are attentive to the need to optimize SEO for OEM manufacturers?  There are two common reasons:

  1. Management
    • personas are built on internal assumptions
    • buyers journey is poorly understood
    • OEM manufacturers are product focused
    • management thinks of the website as a brochure - not the global presentation of the company
    • the home page is assumed to be the point of entry
    • content marketing built on a series of tactics leads to gaps between silos
    • failure to tie marketing to strategy (e.g. importance of web leads to pipeline)
    • digital marketing is viewed as 'extra' rather than 'core'- contrary to everyone's buying behaviors
    • inappropriate delegation
  2. Execution
    • people know there are gaps but aren't sure how to fix and are too busy
    • internal skill sets don't cover the entire spectrum of perspectives required
    • no single point of responsibility / accountability
    • over confidence
    • rate of change exceeds ability of internal staff to maintain broad view
    • under resourced

You've fought hard to gain ground - don't squander all the progress by getting caught, exposed, in no-man's-land!

Finance may be the key

Increasingly finance is getting involved in more of the company operations.  The natural analytical inclination of many numbers folks positions them to process the data which is increasingly available across enterprise functions.

Maybe finance folks are the ones to jump into the numbers, ignore the assurances that "Oh yeah.  Of course we do that." and actually identify gaps and opportunities.

In fact, it could be that marketing, sales & finance will be more closely aligned in the near future.

Want more background?  Download our free eBook "A finance executives guide to content marketing."  It lays out how OEM manufacturers can plan and execute inbound the numbers.

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