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Are People Using Shorter Searches For B2B Services?

Whilst people are using more words in search and companies are opting for the long tail strategy in response, there is also evidence that searches for B2B services can be short. It’s worth looking closely at how people are looking for your services online before making decisions which will affect SEO.

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The amount of queries that are eight words long has been growing fast in search in the last seven years.

This is significant because it shows that people understand the benefits of putting detail in searches. However, we have reviewed the conversion stats of our B2B clients and when it comes to looking for specific B2B services online it is clear that people don’t always apply the same thinking. This is potentially a shame for the searcher, because more words would narrow the search to the most relevant companies but it’s important that businesses take time to understand if this is the case for them rather than just chasing the longer keyword search rankings.

Why More Words Usually Works

Around 70% of searches are long tail searches, so that’s a significant statistic. People now know this works to get specific products or services.  More detail in the search means more accuracy in results.

The evolution of natural ‘semantic’ search has really encouraged the development of lengthier phrase-like search entries. Mobile devices too, with easy-to-churn-out predictive text, are influencing the kind of search terms and length of search query that consumers choose. 

When a consumer wants to browse for new shoes online and they enter the word ‘shoes’ they will be dished up every shoe company’s offering from Nike to Clarks, so consumers have learned to be more selective with queries. For better results, the search is extended to, for instance, ‘beige men’s Italian brogues size 9 free delivery’ and so on. To ensure interest and sales from consumers, it’s important for a business to be first up on the first page in results and the long tail approach can increase those odds. The page that sits in the first position for a search query gets 32.5% of all the clicks for that search.

As a business, it’s worth focusing on the long tail search in your marketing strategy because it is akin to putting the perfect bait on a fishing line hook for your desired consumer, as opposed to casting a wide net. Conversion results improve with this method.

Coming Up Short With B2B Search

So why is it that when searching for B2B services the search query can be a lot shorter, around three words?

If a company is looking for a B2B service such as IT Support in the location of Bath, we have found that they are likely to simply type in ‘IT support Bath’ for instance – where they will generate 202,000,000 results in Google.  If they had chosen to enter instead ‘Managed IT support back up services Bath’ they would get 2,320,000 results, thus shaving 199,680,000 potentially less relevant websites from the list with the addition of just four words. Google will hone in on the websites with the service most relevant.

It may well be that when looking for a B2B service our own short comings in knowledge about the exact nature of the service we want are brought into play. Maybe with some B2B services we know we should have them – like IT support – but we don’t prioritise them as being business critical (whether correct or not) and are lazier in as much as we just want to tick a box to say it’s covered?

In time and in the evolution of search, consumers in B2B will no doubt refine methods for more specific results but in the meantime it is a trend that seems to specifically apply to the business ecosystem.

Whatever the reason for the short searches for B2B services, from an advertiser’s point of view, it still pays to be aware of and focus on the shorter keyword searches and not get carried away with the trend to mainly focus on only ‘longer tail search’. It may be the case that search marketing companies are pushing the trend for encouraging ‘long tail search’ marketing, partly because there is less competition and it is therefore easier to rank. The important lesson here is to make sure you review what keywords you are targeting and why.

For more advice on search strategy contact Varn.