Content creation is the name of the game for generating a successful online presence and that includes ecommerce. But what role does content creation play in B2B ecommerce specifically? Is having quality content important for B2B ecommerce success? Does it matter? I would wager that it is extremely important, though not everyone agrees with me.
There’s a school of thought out there that believes that B2B ecommerce sites do not require more than the most basic of content on their pages. The reasoning behind this position is that the sole purpose of online content is to attract the search engine crawlers to drive search engine results. (Search engine crawlers love unique content, so the site with the most unique content will rank better than its competitors.) Since the bulk of pages on most B2B ecommerce sites are secure rather than public facing, search engine crawlers effectively cannot see the content on those secure pages. Hence the belief that content doesn’t matter for B2B ecommerce sites.
I disagree with this line of thinking for two reasons:
- No matter what anyone says, page content is actually for your human visitors, not just the search engine robots, and,
- Increasingly, B2B customers are demanding an online shopping experience that is very similar to B2C ecommerce. To keep up with user expectations, B2B ecommerce sites are going to have to have more public-facing pages available.
Your Site is For Human Visitors
Spend enough time pondering how to improve your site’s search engine performance and you’re likely to forget that your ecommerce site is actually created and maintained for your human customers! I know that probably strikes you as a bit absurd, but I see it all the time.
Ever stumbled on a web page that is so full of keywords that the site’s copy reads awkwardly? I have and this is a sure-fire indication that the site is trying really hard to boost its search engine results and, in doing so, completely misses the mark. In the race to ensure that an ecommerce site performs better than its competition, organizations can effectively take their eye of the ball and start tweaking the site for search engine crawlers rather than for people. This can result in over-engineered site content and coding that does nothing for the human visitor. The good news is that if you create a site that is truly created to serve your human customers, you will cover the needs of the search engine crawlers automatically.
The Demand For a B2C-Like Shopping Experience
It’s no secret that an increasing number of individuals are conducting the bulk of their personal business—shopping, bill payments, and product research—online or via mobile commerce. While some might argue that these activities are strictly personal in nature, the growing popularity of ecommerce and other online services such as product research and online bill payment indicates a preference for them. It’s only logical that those same individuals that prefer to use ecommerce or mobile commerce to conduct their personal business will begin to seek out ways to use ecommerce and mobile commerce to conduct their professional business as well.
In this light, having effective content on the pages of your B2B ecommerce website will serve you well, both on public facing and secure pages. On the public facing pages of your website, effective, user-centric content will help search engine crawlers find you. Even if you don’t believe your customers are researching products and services online, I assure you that they are and will continue to do so in increasing numbers. The company with the best content will dominate the search engine results pages and will begin to nibble away at your market share.
In addition to driving qualified traffic to your ecommerce site, having user-centric, dynamic content on your ecommerce site will convert visitors to customers and drive sales. The Internet is a critical way for your customers to search for the information that they need. The site that consistently provides that information is likely to ultimately get their business. Therefore, regardless of whether your site content drives search engine results, it’s essential that your B2B ecommerce website provide the most robust information about your products of any online source.
So, does page content matter on your B2B ecommerce site? Absolutely. Quality content on public facing pages will drive quality traffic to your site—and I predict there will be an increasing amount of public facing pages on B2B sites in the near future—as well as educate your current customers and encourage them to buy more from you on a frequent basis.
To learn more about how to leverage the power of your B2B ecommerce website, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.