38 B2B SEO Statistics to Inform Your Strategy in 2023 | Linkflow
arrow-back Back to main blog

38 B2B SEO Statistics to Inform Your Strategy in 2023

August 31, 2023

We’re willing to bet you’re responsible for at least one of the 8.5 billion Google searches that happened today. We’re also willing to bet you clicked one of the first results. Why keep scrolling when the answer you need is right in front of you?

There really is no better way to explain the value of search engine optimization. B2B companies that put in the work to improve their search engine rankings end up with greater online visibility, more leads in the pipeline, and, by extension, higher MRR.

After hours of research (and a little too much coffee), we’ve compiled the most interesting B2B SEO statistics in 2023.

The Current B2B SEO Landscape

The global SEO services market is most valued at $46.7 billion, set to reach $238 billion by 2030. 

Organic traffic will always be the best source of website visits. As long as we use search engines, SEO will continue to be one of the best ways to get it.

The B2B sales journey happens mostly online.

According to Gartner Sales Insights, B2B decision-makers are already 57-70% through the buying decision process by the time they talk to sales. They spend roughly 17% of their time talking to company sales reps. Considering they evaluate multiple vendors, this leaves any one company with about 5% of the entire sales process to make a face-to-face impact.

Almost all B2B buyers use a search engine during the research phase. Being able to capture that search traffic with blogs, price calculators, etc., means they’ll spend more time learning about your product than anyone else’s.

Showing up first on search engine results pages is equally important as showing up at all. Content on the second page of search results has a click-through rate of just 0.63%, while the number-one spot’s average CTR is 27.6%. It’s ten times likelier to receive a click than the result just eight spaces below.

SEO is a top priority for most B2B marketers.

Maybe it’s because Google Ads’ average CPL (cost per lead) rises year after year in 91% of industries. Maybe it’s because SEO generates higher-quality leads than PPC, according to 81.2% of marketers.

Whatever the reason, B2B SEO isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. HubSpot’s 2023 State of Marketing report reveals 61% of B2B marketers consider improving their SEO efforts to be their top inbound marketing priority this year.

B2B companies are increasing their budgets for it.

This year, more than half of B2B organizations plan to increase their investment in SEO. 81% of B2B companies expect to spend at least $7,500 monthly on it.

But a significant number of organizations spend a lot more than that. 46% of digital marketers spend $10,000 or more on link building alone.

Of course, these figures are likely a lot higher. SEO is a broad marketing strategy in the sense that it’s intertwined with content marketing, conversion rate optimization (CRO), web design, and several other areas organizations might budget for separately. Investing in these areas also means investing in SEO.

Outsourcing is common and cost-effective.

More than half of enterprise companies outsource SEO to an agency. At the startup or SMB level, outsourcing (the most cost-effective method) is even more common.

Even organizations that bring their SEO in-house can benefit from outsourcing. Even with in-house SEO and content team, a significant percentage of companies outsource link building, for instance.

That way, they can take advantage of an agency’s highly specialized skill set and network of contacts that would otherwise cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build internally.

Backlinko ran a comprehensive study of Google’s 200+ ranking factors. Backlinks remain the top factor, with content quality coming in second.

Other factors include:

  • Domain authority (DA)
  • Click-through rate on search engine results pages
  • Accessibility for mobile users
  • Total # of backlinks
  • Content quality
  • User dwell time
  • On-page SEO

How is B2B SEO Different in 2023?

There have always been (and always will be) a few cynics who say “SEO is dead.” The reality for us, our B2B clients, and tens of thousands of organizations across the world is quite different.

SEO isn’t dead. What it is is dynamic. What worked even a few years ago wouldn’t work today.

Google changes its algorithms all the time, sometimes without warning. For it to work, your SEO strategy needs to adapt.

AI creates threats and opportunities, depending on how you use it.

According to data from Exploding Topics, 42% of companies have explored AI use. More than half plan to incorporate AI technologies in 2023. This means more than 77% of companies are using or exploring AI.

Content creation is among the top tasks companies enlist the help of AI for.

There are good and bad implications here:

  • 58% of companies using generative AI in their content marketing efforts say better performance is the top benefit.
  • Generative AI tools can create copy quickly and cheaply, but they don’t capture the same level of nuance as a human writer. And they don’t know anything about your product.

For B2B SEO, the main problem we see is companies relying too heavily on it. They slim down their content teams, batch-create articles with an AI tool, and optimize them with Surfer. Then they wonder why it doesn’t convert.

FAQ schema is going away.

Early August 2023, Google officially announced that government and health websites will be the only ones to use the FAQ schema.

If it’s a hassle, there’s no reason to remove your FAQPage structured data (plus, other search engines may use it). There’s also no longer a reason to include it when adding new pages.

Zero-click searches can help you rank or kill your CTR.

Semrush’s zero-click study revealed that around 17% of mobile searches and 25% of desktop searches ended without a click.

What this means for B2B SEO campaigns:

  • Ranking at the top isn’t always enough to garner search traffic.
  • You need to evaluate your keyword’s SERP features to determine its viability as a part of your strategy.

For SEO success, you have two options here. Your first is to target these zero-click keywords with ‘zero-click content’ like glossary terms or a FAQ page, like so:

This will still get you some clicks, and it will definitely improve your brand visibility.

The second would be to fight better battles, targeting keywords with a higher CTR.

Google introduces E-E-A-T signals.

At the very end of 2022, Google introduced an additional ‘E’ to the E-A-T acronym. The new ‘E’ stands for expertise — it signals the algorithm prefers expert-written/sourced content.

Roughly 87% of B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on their purchase decisions. E-E-A-T directly affects online content.

For B2B SEO success, you should:

  • Get weigh-in from subject matter experts when writing your content.
  • Build backlinks from credible and contextually relevant sites.
  • Provide evidence (e.g., videos, audio, and links to other content) to prove your experience with your product.
  • Solicit reviews from satisfied customers on G2 Crowd, TrustRadius, etc.
  • Mention the expertise of your authors/employees in the content’s introduction.

Video is more important than ever.

When B2B companies adopt video marketing, they improve their SEO performance by anywhere from 10% to 250%.

Video captures more leads because it’s digestible, memorable, and feels more personal than text. It also builds trust with prospects, who want to see your product in action before talking to sales.

Video content also gives you more opportunities to appear in SERPs. YouTube is the second-biggest search engine in the world, after Google itself. 

Plus, YouTube videos often appear for terms that wouldn’t otherwise have a rich snippet or SERP feature.

One recent HubSpot survey found 74% of people have used voice search within the last month. Compared to typing, voice search is faster and more convenient.

For B2B SEO in 2023, this means:

  • You need to optimize existing content for natural language queries.
  • You should target long-tail, question-based keywords that people would naturally ask a virtual assistant, like “What are the best <product type> for small businesses?”
  • Use a conversational tone in your content, answering questions as you go.
  • Expand the scope of keywords to include phrases like “near me”, “how”, “what” and “where” for more natural queries.
  • Create videos with transcripts for improved accessibility and voice search optimization.

Mobile optimization actually matters for B2B SEO. 

Every year, the proportion of mobile users steadily increases. According to 2023 research:

  • 1.94% of platform use comes from tablets
  • 42.37% comes from desktop
  • 55.7% comes from mobile

Historically, B2B audiences have preferred desktop use (and, for the most part, still do). But it’s starting to change.

NP Digital ran a study on B2B organic traffic by source. It found that while some sectors (e.g., supply chain, which only receives 7% of its traffic from mobile) receive very little mobile, FinTech companies get most (59%) of their organic traffic from mobile devices.

From a UX standpoint, it’s also worth noting that organic traffic isn’t your only traffic source. 50% of all B2B SaaS traffic comes from mobile devices, even though only 25% of organic traffic does.

It’s in your best interest to design a responsive website and optimize for speed by minimizing page size, JavaScript count, and image file sizes.

What SEO Activities Should B2B Businesses Prioritize?

Shifts in B2B SEO are largely driven by rapidly improving technology. When Google changes its algorithms, it’s generally a response to new technology and changes in user experience preferences.

The #1 issue cited by B2B marketers was a lack of resources. 

So, B2B SEO is all about:

  • Agility
  • Maximizing limited resources

For the most effective SEO strategy, here are a few things to prioritize:

Helpful content for buyers and customers.

Content is the basis of your keyword rankings, lead generation efforts, and (ultimately) conversions. Besides backlinks, content quality is the most important SEO element.

The Content Marketing Institute’s 13th Annual Content Marketing Survey revealed that 91% of B2B content marketers differentiate their content at least sometimes. Of those digital marketing teams that do, 83% produce “better quality” content.

To make your content more helpful in 2023, B2B businesses should:

  • Incorporate visuals, like videos and infographics, to add context and break up text.
  • Focus heavily on authorship and E-E-A-T signals.
  • Create product-led content that helps customers make informed decisions.
  • Conduct research that produces original results and draws unique insights.
  • Focus on topics that directly concern their product and its intricacies rather than generic ones (e.g., “What is CRM?”)
  • Answer questions about business problems and customer pain points.
  • Most importantly, don’t only think about SEO metrics. SEO strategies need to be customer-centric to reap the full benefits of search engine rankings.

Optimizing websites for mobile devices.

More than 90% of B2B buyers who report a superior mobile experience say they’d buy from the same vendor multiple times.

Besides creating a responsive website, you should also:

  • Improve page speed and reduce page size for faster loading times.
  • Test your pages using Chrome Lighthouse to identify any rendering/usability issues.
  • Use web-safe fonts and effective typography to make your content easier to read.
  • Keep the most important elements above fold, so mobile users can access them without scrolling.
  • Use PWAs (Progressive Web Apps) for a more app-like navigation.
  • Make your CTA buttons and forms easily clickable on mobile devices.

Technical SEO.

Technical onsite optimization is a broad topic covering everything from how quickly your website loads to how Google crawls and indexes it.

Quick technical fixes are also the fastest way to improve your search engine rankings and conversion rate.

The two most important technical SEO fixes for B2B SEO are:

  • Page speed — As page load time jumps from 1 to 3 seconds, bounce probability increases by 32%. Improve page speed by minimizing page size and JavaScript count, combining CSS files, and optimizing images.
  • User experience — 88% of buyers are less likely to return to a site after a bad user experience. Make it easy to find your CTAs, pricing, product/service pages, and blog content. Use internal linking to logically connect related content.

Ranking for long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords have a 3% to 5% higher click-through rate. Since they attract highly qualified buyers, they’re also far likelier to convert.

To a non-SEO, keyword research can be a little tricky here. SEO tools like Ahrefs don’t have access to all the data in Google’s index. So long-tail queries you might want to rank for often show “0-10” estimated search volume.

To find these hidden keywords, put yourself in your customers’ shoes.

  • What questions do they have when buying?
  • What do they type into Google during their product hunt?
  • What are they trying to solve?

The added benefit to this is your content will be useful for the rest of your digital marketing strategy. You can share these articles with prospects in your email campaigns, post them on social media, and link to them from other pieces of content.

According to data from Ahrefs, 90.63% of B2B content gets zero traffic. Roughly two-thirds of pages have zero backlinks, and most of them fall into the same category.

Top-ranking content receives dofollow links at a monthly rate between +5% to +14.5%. So, once a page starts earning links, it generally continues to in perpetuity.

To earn organic links, you first need good content. You need high-quality products and information others want to link to.

Most B2B companies also build links themselves, which is by far the hardest part of SEO. It requires a special team (outreach experts, content writers) and a massive network of website owners.

It’s also the most important factor in SEO success. With limited time and resources, most companies outsource the job to link building services.

How to Measure SEO Results

The impact of SEO goes far beyond web traffic and rankings. Changes to your website affect the success of your email, PPC, and social media marketing campaigns.

First, look at SEO metrics. But peg them to revenue, conversions, and customer retention to measure ROI.

Organic traffic

This is the fastest indicator of whether or not your SEO strategy is working.

You can easily look at search engine traffic growth in Google Analytics. Then, segment it by page to see which areas were most impacted.

Keyword rankings

Your keyword rankings add context to your overall web traffic. They’ll show you which pages perform the best and why.

Use this information to make adjustments to underperforming content or target new keywords in the same topic area.

Conversions

B2B companies have multiple types of conversions throughout the sales cycle:

  • New MQLs generated
  • MQL to SQL
  • SQL to customer

Each conversion stage tells you how effective your content is. If you’re targeting the wrong keywords/topics, for example, you might see tons of MQLs. Few of them would become sales-qualified.

Revenue metrics

If you’re targeting the right buyers, you’ll eventually see it in top-line revenue. If you’re ranking higher on search engines without converting leads into sales, you need to look at how you present the information on your website.

To fully understand ROI, look at your web content as part of the customer journey, not just an SEO strategy. Use revenue attribution to see how that strategy impacts every purchase, not just organic leads.

Customer metrics

Over a longer period, churn, lifetime value, and retention will tell you whether your buyers can use your content to get the most out of your product.

Useful, well-targeted content brings in high-quality leads. Those that close adopt the product faster and find more value through company resources.

Effective SEO targeting will positively correlate to long-term customer relationships.

ROI

When you consider SEO as part of a bigger picture, you realize it’s much more than keywords and search rankings.

You have a positive ROI when an uptick in site traffic translates to leads and retained customers. 

How Effective is SEO for B2B?

To put it bluntly, an effective SEO strategy makes your website a lead-generating machine. While your competitors spend $30+ per click to rank for high-intent software terms in the hopes of booking a meeting with 5% of them, you can use SEO to get those same leads for free.

SEO isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’ for B2B marketing — it’s a necessity. It helps establish trust, credibility, and authority with potential customers and partners alike. 

Let’s look at a few quick B2B SEO statistics to wrap things up:

  • 76% of trackable B2B website traffic comes from organic search.
  • Over 80% of B2B marketers agree SEO produces better quality leads than PPC.
  • For 70% of brands, SEO generates more sales on average than PPC.
  • SEO offers 20x as many traffic opportunities as PPC.
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing efforts.
  • 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it.
  • After reading its content, 82% of customers feel more positive about a company.
  • ~72% of companies say content marketing helps them achieve their lead gen goals.

Nearly 7 in 10 successful B2B SEO and content marketing efforts start with a strategy. In many ways, it’s the ultimate determinant of whether your SEO efforts will pay off or not. Good news: we can help with that.

Brittney Fred, SEO Analyst
Brittney has been working in SEO and digital marketing for ten years and specializes in content strategy for the B2B SaaS industry. She is based in Denver, CO and absolutely fits the Denverite stereotype. You’re just as likely to find her hiking, snowboarding, or doing yoga as reading sci-fi or playing video games.