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SEO by Industry: Striking Differences in Optimization Strategies

Search engine optimization on autopilot doesn’t work. It calls for a individual approach tailored to your industry. This article outlines SEO by industry, which is how SEO differs by economic sector and what to focus on per industry.

It’s important to understand that your SEO team is engaged in a myriad of tasks. In fact, search engine optimization is a very diverse field with a wide range of measures and options for SEO professionals to choose from. For them to pinpoint the precise course of action that’s required, your SEO practitioners need a wide skillset. Focusing on the wrong measures in the wrong place is essentially a waste of SEO budget.

Even the size of the company is vital when it comes to understanding what SEO strategies are needed. What is right for small or medium-sized companies may not necessarily work for large corporations with huge websites. The industry plays a significant role in what works and what is best left alone. This is why it’s so important to understand the different subtleties and adopt a strategy that will keep you one step ahead of the competition.

SEO by industry: Understanding and implementing a successful strategy

B2C vs. B2B: Know your SEO audience

SEO in the corporate context is fundamentally unlike SEO on typical consumer topics. Even the underlying search conditions are different:

  • B2B keywords usually have a significantly lower search volume than in the B2C sector. This is hardly surprising given that fewer users will search for relevant topics in this area.
  • B2B topics are usually much more complex than in B2C. This means you have to take great care with your content creation and focus on delivering high-quality, expert resources. If you are looking to outsource content creation, this can be an important time and cost factor — but well worth the investment.
  • There is generally less SEO competition on B2B topics than you would encounter in the consumer sector. This makes it easier to keep an eye on the competition and stay one step ahead of them in on search engine results pages (SERPs).

While consumers look for information on everyday topics, B2B is all about business knowledge and industry expertise. This inevitably has an impact on your SEO strategy. For example, you will need to find different keyword sets and know the specific search interests of your business target group. Having in-depth knowledge of the particular B2B subject area is the ace up your sleeve. Ideally, you would work in that particular field yourself and know what topics are currently relevant, what users are searching for, and what content is actually important to your target group.

More sales through organic traffic: SEO for eCommerce

For an online store, search engine optimization is pretty clear-cut. Not only do you need a technically efficient webstore, it’s also important to have good content about the products on offer. Online stores with lots of helpful information and descriptions are excellent examples of SEO done well, whereas sites with no product descriptions, images, or text content leave crawlers at a bit of a loss.

In eCommerce, high-quality category texts and good product descriptions are key. Likewise, guides on the products you offer are part and parcel of good SEO in this sector. When it comes to search engine marketing, there are plenty of to-dos that marketers need to stay on top of, including:

Technical optimization: In eCommerce, the system behind the online store is the cornerstone of any SEO strategy. This is why it’s so important it works efficiently. Another crucial item on the list is usability. This key ranking criterion mustn’t be neglected, especially in eCommerce. If the store’s usability is poor or the shopping process is prone to errors, people won’t buy — period. Page architectures with poor usability are not very popular with the Google crawler either. So, besides choosing a professional system provider, other absolute musts include regular on-page optimization, regular checks for fast loading times, and mobile-optimized, error-free pages.

Clever keyword research tactics: In eCommerce SEO, you need to be smart about keyword research. Not every customer knows what your products are called. So, it’s also important to include search terms that describe you company’s product or service. For example, if you’re selling “tick tweezers,” this means including descriptions like “what to do if you get bitten by a tick” and so on. Product and category texts should not be worded purely with SEO in mind. Create helpful and informative content that, if nothing else, gives users an incentive to buy. In addition, SEO texts in eCommerce require a certain length — the minimum for a product page being 300 words.

Optimizing images: In eCommerce, compelling visuals are important when it comes to generating sales. So, it’s important not to neglect your image SEO. Make sure the image files aren’t too big and include keywords in the title and alt texts as well as in the image file names.

Link building: Building a backlink portfolio is an important area of eCommerce SEO. Guest blogs on other websites are a great way to link back to your store or directly to individual products. Ideally, you should also generate backlinks from product recommendations by satisfied customers. Top tip: Actively encourage your customers to recommend your product or service by adding a request for customer reviews in your online ordering process.

Keeping an overview: It is not always easy to keep track of SEO and keyword-related issues, especially in eCommerce and large store systems with hundreds of category and product pages. This can often result in keyword cannibalization and duplicate content, issues that can be prevented using keyword mapping. This tried and tested method involves creating a list of the subpages and page groups you want to rank for specific topics and keywords. You can do this in a spreadsheet program, for example.

SEO in the healthcare sector

There is no prescription for perfect SEO in the healthcare sector either. When SEOing for doctors, pharmacies, and other healthcare facilities, you can’t just have a poke and a prod to check things out. You really need to know exactly what you’re doing. Health is a sensitive topic and missing or incorrect information can have dire consequences. Take, for example, essential patient guides with tips on self-medicating. For this reason, a particularly high standard of content quality is required for SEO on healthcare. This type of content falls in to the YMYL category: Your money or your life. When the information provided deals with such crucial topics as these, it’s best if the source is a reputable expert.

In business terms, local SEO plays an important role in the healthcare sector. Many physicians with private practices rely on being found in the immediate vicinity of their practice. Nowadays, it is common practice for people to look for a physician online using Google or another search engine. So, it’s crucial for healthcare websites to be optimized for local searches and to rank high in local search queries. The same applies to pharmacies and other medical facilities that are competing for local customers.

Lastly, Google’s E-A-T score plays a particularly important role in the healthcare sector. As professionals, doctors  need to earn the trust of patients and prospective customers. This is why it’s so important for medical professionals to position themselves with a clear personal brand, as someone with authority and expertise in their field.

Search engine optimization in finance

SEO for the insurance industry and SEO for banks have some traits that are similar to SEO in the medical sector. By definition, they can be quite complex topics that require particular care and expertise. In the financial sector, the numbers need to add up. So, it’s not advisable to write your own content unless you really know your stuff. If you’re unsure, you should outsource SEO content creation to an experienced editorial team.

In the financial sector, it’s important to get to grips with the problems that are specific to this field as well as the search needs of your target group. Financial products are usually complex and use terminology that is foreign to the layman. And this is why we recommend you take the time to do good keyword research. Keywords such as “buying a house” or “pension plan,” for example, often have a hundred times more search volume than terms like “financing a house” or “occupational pension scheme.” In other words, financial SEO always requires a degree of understanding of “SEO psychology.” Put yourself in your target groups’ shoes, consider how they would search for the relevant topics, and where you can find touchpoints for worthwhile search engine optimization.

Top tips: How to evaluate your SEO strategy

Like other marketing experts, SEO professionals are usually under the most pressure at the end of the financial year. This is when they are expected to justify the budget provided by the leadership team — and they need hard figures to do so. This gives your SEO lead the opportunity to display clear results. But how do you measure success when it come to search engine optimization? Is this even possible? The answer: an outstanding yes.

  • SEO ROI is one way to demonstrate your ranking successes. If Google indexes your pages in the top positions for terms that are relevant to your business — ideally ahead of your major competitors — that’s a win. Furthermore, mapping top rankings to their average click through rates and the resulting product-page conversions is just one way to show ROI.
  • Web tracking using Google Analytics, the Google Search Console or another suitable tool is a good way to see what really matters in terms of SEO, i.e., how much more organic and paid traffic you have been able to generate with the help of SEO.
  • Or why not go even further and try individual tracking and targeting? Intention tracking in Google Analytics, for instance, provides precise data on how search engine users have contributed to conversions and sales on your websites.
  • Some SEO tools also offer individual KPI features that you can include in your reports. One of these is SEO traffic value. This value calculates the monthly cost of traffic from all keyword rankings of a website as if they were running Google Ads. The amount of traffic is then multiplied by the CPC of the respective keyword. The resulting overall value gives you a good idea what the SEO measures you’ve taken are worth in your industry.

Now, use all you’ve learned as a jumping off point with the SEO practitioners on your team. How does your SEO strategy measure against these industry best practices?

Need help determining where opportunities lie? Our Digital Strategies Group has a wealth of insight. Learn more.