We recently analyzed a list of the top B2B brands across the technology sector to understand how they are utilizing available SEO tactics to “engage” with current and potential clients. We defined engagement by reviewing specific elements of each brand’s strategy, seeking to identify ways in which they were offering a personalized, timely and/or seamless user experience as it pertains to SEO best practices. Our analysis reviewed several ubiquitous technology companies (eg, Salesforce, Qualcomm, Intel, etc) to identify any such “best-in-class” examples.
In lieu of reviewing tired old SEO topics such as link building or 301 redirects, we instead turned our attention toward more progressive tactics—things like responsive web design (RWD), Google+ activation, collaboration across social media & SEO efforts, authorship markup and international optimization. While the juggernaut brands reviewed are well known for developing some of the most sophisticated technologies in the world, our efforts focused on uncovering which of these brands were also on the bleeding edge of SEO tactics.
Here is a glimpse into some of our findings about responsive design and authorship markup.
It should come as no surprise that responsive design has been a hot topic over the past several years. A quick look at Google Trends validates a meteoric rise in interest for the topic since 2009. At the risk of stating the painfully obvious—during that same time, mobile search has also grown exponentially. The intersection of these 2 factors have finally resulted in search engines taking a firm stance in stating that RWD is generally viewed as the best path for both users and mobile SEO. Both Google and Bing have published specific recommendations in favor of RWD over the past couple of years, effectively ending a long-standing debate on mobile SEO optimization best practices.
Considering again the tech savvy nature of these brands, we began our review under the assumption that the vast majority of sites would already be leveraging RWD. Somewhat surprisingly, we found a pretty wide variance in mobile site experiences spanning from full sitewide implementation (Salesforce), partial implementation (Adobe), and even more sites still relying on a separate mobile web property (Box).
Key finding: While some tech brands are embracing RWD, adoption has yet to fully saturate the experience for many. With the distinct and inherent benefits of RWD widely known coupled with the forward-thinking nature of these brands, it is quite surprising to see a lag in adoption.
Google launched authorship markup functionality back in 2011, effectively giving individuals the opportunity to gain several SEO-related advantages on behalf of a brand. Several third-party studies have attempted to uncover deeper insights into the proliferation of authorship markups appearing in SERPs, potential impact of CTR when images appears alongside a SERP listing, and even the effect of audit ability for site administrators to correctly implement the necessary tagging.
Since its release, we at Rosetta have been a strong proponent of embracing authorship markup integration, but have often found that clients face a common challenge—identifying an individual (or group of individuals) who can be allowed to publish content as an individual on behalf of the brand. In the B2B technology sector, however, we find that many brands are actively leveraging employees to serve as industry “thought leaders” and are already publishing content on brand-owned properties while citing these individuals as authors. This leaves a ripe opportunity to utilize authorship markup to expand the reach of thought leadership content while curating real influencers (to users and search engines).
While several of the brands in our sample set were attempting to implement authorship markup, more often than not the necessary tagging was incomplete or otherwise incorrect. In the example below, Adobe is attempting to generate an authorship markup for a blog post but has failed to do so correctly:
Alternatively, we did find pockets where brands were making a conscious decision to implement authorship markup—and perhaps most importantly—actually doing so correctly. Here, a blog article announcing a recent expansion in Japan receives prominent placement and an enhanced image CTA thanks to the appropriate application of authorship tagging:
Key finding: B2B technology brands have a significant opportunity to utilize thought leaders already producing content to gain additional visibility in SERPs. The necessary markup is not overly complicated, though many brands continue to struggle to get it right.
SEE ALL OF OUR FINDINGS
View the slideshow below to see our full review of B2B tech brands using progressive SEO tactics as well as identify areas of opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. How does your brand stack up against the “best” in the technology sector?
Google Trends Screenshot—“Responsive Design” January 2009 – April 2014: