Business.com Survey Finds That Outranking Competitors is a Top Priority for B2B Search Marketers, but Strong Competition Does Not Guarantee a Larger Online Marketing Budget: New Research Highlights How Competitors Affect Search Marketing Programs and Outlines Best Practices for Staying Ahead

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For business-to-business search marketers, achieving better search engine rankings than the competition is essential. However, nearly two-thirds of B2B search marketers report that the competition they face has little to no impact on the size of their online marketing budgets, according to a recent study by Business.com.

Being effective in B2B search marketing today means understanding the competition, making the right keyword choices and choosing the combination of general search engines and specialized business search sites that deliver the best return.

    The survey of 201 B2B paid search and search engine optimization professionals found that 85 percent of respondents view proactively tracking competitor search engine marketing tactics and performance to be an essential aspect of running a successful search marketing campaign. In fact, 69 percent of respondents reported that they "actively monitor" competitor search engine rankings, keywords and other information, and look for changes over time.

Additionally, the survey results show how competitor behavior affects B2B search marketing tactics:

-- 77 percent of respondents said competitors have an important impact on the paid search marketing keywords they buy

-- 75 percent said competitors have an important impact on the keywords they target for search engine optimization

-- 65 percent said competitors have an important impact on the sites on which they advertise

However, competition is not affecting online marketing budgets to the same extent. Only 36 percent of respondents reported that competitor activities have an important impact on their online marketing budget, and nearly one-quarter of those who actively track competitors online said competitor activities have no impact at all on their budget.

"B2B search marketing is a competitive, dynamic arena," said Ben Hanna, vice president of marketing for Business.com. "While seeing a competitor ahead of you in search engine rankings can be a rallying cry for improved search marketing within a company, it's not clear that this is enough to unlock a larger budget for search marketing agencies, consultants or campaigns."

"For most B2B search marketers, larger budgets follow solid results rather than simply reflecting the scale of the competitive challenge," Hanna added. "Being effective in B2B search marketing today means understanding the competition, making the right keyword choices and choosing the combination of general search engines and specialized business search sites that deliver the best return."

To help B2B search marketers improve their ability to understand and track the competition to drive better search marketing results, Business.com is introducing an action-oriented Solution Guide to online competitive intelligence. This guide includes best practices, resources and tools collected from survey respondents and industry experts to help B2B search marketing professionals deliver better results. The complete Solution Guide, "The Intelligence Edge: How to Track Your B2B Competitors Online and Drive Better Search Marketing Results," is available as a free download from the Business.com Advertising Center (http://www.business.com/info/advertisewithus.asp).

About Business.com

Business.com is the leading business search engine and directory and pay-per-click advertising network, serving more than 30 million business users and thousands of advertisers every month. Business.com helps business decision makers quickly find what they need to manage and grow their businesses, and enables advertisers to reach these users wherever they are across the business Internet through premier partners, including The Wall Street Journal Online, Forbes, BusinessWeek, Hoovers, Financial Times and Internet.com. The company recently launched Work.com, a B2B community publishing platform featuring more than 1,900 business how-to guides contributed by business experts. Business.com was named to the 2006 Inc. 500 and BtoB magazine's Media Power 50.

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Colleen Campbell
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