SEO or search engine optimization is one of the most powerful yet underrated techniques to get new customers/clients for B2B companies. However, you don’t find many B2B companies making it a topmost priority, which is a mistake. B2B SEO can change the way you market your products/services, and help you gain an edge over the competition.
If your business website is not ranking for your target keywords, you may be losing business every single day. Why? Because over 60% of B2B decision makers do not begin their buying process unless they do their research online. These are potential customers that your B2B company could be losing if it isn’t leveraging B2B SEO.
Even if you’re operating in a highly specialized niche or selling a product that is catering to an extremely targeted market, SEO can help you.
Even if your resources are concentrated on other traditional marketing channels, SEO can help you gain more leads at a cheaper rate.
The only condition is, you need to implement an effective B2B SEO strategy, either yourself or with the help of a reputable SEO agency such as LYFE Marketing. Once you do, you’ll see the results for yourself.
What Exactly is B2B SEO?
By now, you should already be aware of SEO, which is a method to optimize your web pages. It is to increase your chances of making your site appear in the search engine result pages when people search for a keyword relevant to you.
B2B SEO is nothing but optimizing the key pages of your business website so that they show up when potential clients or customers use search engines for work-related purposes.
For example, a tech startup CEO could be searching for an “HR Service” that helps starts with hiring. Or a financial advisory consultant could be searching for “Financial Planning Software” to improve his own business and get more out of it.
Depending on what niche you are in and the type of solution you provide, you can get found by potential B2B customers who may be looking for what you’re selling. Instead of you going after them, they come to you. And that’s the power of B2B SEO.
B2C SEO vs B2B SEO: What’s the Difference?
A B2B company is different than a B2C company in more than one way. Right from the customers it serves to the marketing methods it uses and the kind of budgets it has. Which means SEO has to be dealt differently for a B2B company.
Usually, a B2B SEO campaign has specific goals that are tied in with the sales/purchase process, which is often longer than a B2C sale.
How you approach B2B SEO depends on various factors such as…
- The nature of the product or service you offer
- The lifecycle of each of your product or service
- The needs or requirements of your prospects or potential B2B customers/clients
Having clarity about your own B2B business strategy can make a world of a difference to how you research keywords for your SEO campaign or create content.
Let’s look into a few key differences between B2C and B2B SEO:
B2B companies and B2C companies sell different types of products and services. Being a business, you need to understand your own product or service well enough before launching a B2B SEO campaign. Mainly because your campaign will be focused on promoting/selling intangible products/services focused on catering to the customers business, not an individual.
How well an SEO campaign is performing has to be measured and evaluated on a consistent basis. However, for a B2B company this evaluation is based on different factors. It doesn’t look at the performance indicators used by a B2C company. For instance, the quality of the leads matters more to a B2B business than the quantity. Because unlike B2C sales that can be driven by impulse, a B2B sale can take weeks or even months to close.
Sales Life Cycle
The user intent in B2B is not the same as B2C, which influences how SEO is done. The information searched by a potential B2B customer is of different nature than a B2C customer. Because a B2B prospect may make multiple considerations, seek advice from fellow executives and take a considerable amount of time before taking a decision. This naturally elongates the sales cycle. Which means B2B SEO inherently needs to focus on different areas from the beginning.
Keyword research can’t be ignored by any company, whether B2B or B2C. However, the type of research done for a B2B SEO campaign is more intensive and often requires industry-specific, high-level intelligence. This approach helps understand what the needs of potential customers are and the type of keywords they will be searching for.
4 Important Areas to Apply B2B SEO
Before we get into how you can leverage B2B SEO and apply it to your business site, let’s first look in the key areas that you should be focusing on.
- The Homepage
Your target users or potential customers may or may not land on your homepage. But many times, it is where the “search” begins. So make sure your homepage not only answers the “why” your prospects may have but also give them a positive feeling of your brand to key business decision makers. This is your chance to convert your prospects by letting them know how your firm is qualified and capable.
- Features Page
Regardless of the product you are selling or service you are providing, you should already have a page listing out the features. This is where you give your prospects clarity on how your offer can help them solve their business problem. It’s also a page where you can weave in keywords that will draw in potential customers when they search for “problem or pain” related keywords in the search engines.
- Comparison Page
Any B2B company that gets searched by potential customers will get compared to its closest competitors. Why? Because they’re either looking for a new solution to a problem they’re facing, or an alternative to an existing B2B solution they’re already using.
By targeting such keywords with B2B SEO and ranking for them, you can not only get approached by potential customers, but also experience a higher conversion rate due to high relevance.
- Company Blog
If you have a company blog where you regularly publish great, relevant content, then you have to optimize it for the search engines. Because it’s perfect to attract the right kind of business leads, educate them and take them through the various stages of a B2B sales funnel.
Your company can gather targeted leads by creating and ranking the right kind of blog content. Because it helps you establish authority and showcase expertise. Later on, these leads can be further qualified with the help of higher level of content such as white papers.
8 B2B SEO Techniques that You Need to Apply Today
Making B2B SEO work for your website is no rocket science. As long as you apply the right techniques and consistently work towards improving your site’s performance in the search engines, you should continue to rank for the right keywords.
Here are some proven B2B SEO techniques that will help you gain and maintain your position in the search engine result pages:
#1: Think Beyond Keyword Targets
Let’s face it, Google has become a lot more smarter than it was when it comes to understanding the user intent behind a search query. In many cases, it knows what you are searching for and the context behind it. Which is why you need to re-think your overall keyword research process and focus on building topical authority for your subject.
There’s no denying that keywords are still important for B2B SEO. However, you also need to take relevant topics into consideration when producing content.
Here’s how you can go about doing it:
- Spend some time researching, analyzing and learning more about your target audience.
- Look into the current websites that are ranking for your chosen keywords in order to get a better understanding of how you can approach related topics.
- Take your research into consideration and create content that specifically answers your target users queries, which will indirectly help you rank for your target keywords.
Remember, B2B SEO and content marketing go hand in hand, so never underestimate the importance of effectively using them together.
#2: Focus on Personalized Content
Quality content is the backbone of quality B2B SEO. However, in order to make sure the content actually helps you rank for the right keywords, it’s important to keep the needs of your potential customer in the forefront.
In other words, your focus should be on creating personalized content that touches the prospect’s pain points. This not only allows you to produce the right kind of content, but also aids in your keyword research process.
According to a B2B buyer’s survey carried about by Demand Gen Report, almost 70% of B2B customers said that personalized website content (i.e. content that directly caters to their needs) is what influences them the most.
There are three key steps to creating personalized content that lets you connect with your B2B audience:
- Collecting data from effective methods such as email and mobile surveys.
- Analyzing the collected data to understand needs/requirements of your audience and how you could best serve them.
- Using the pain points to create targeted content pieces such as industry news articles, blog posts, etc.
The idea is to focus on producing high-level of content that not only provides information, but also delivers a much-needed solution.
#3: Connect Content with User Intent
Doing effective keyword research for your B2B website can prove to be a cumbersome process because finding keywords that go with your content marketing strategy are not easy to find. However, the process becomes less challenging when you understand the importance of user intent and research into content that is already ranking for your target keywords.
Keep the findings in hand and try to analyze factors such as….
- Types of “relevant” content pieces that are ranking on the first page of the search engine
- How these content pieces are answering queries and if they are offering the right user experience
- If there are any competitors ranking in the top positions in the search engine results
- How many ranking pages are effectively matching their content to user intent
Gone are the days when you could rank a page only based on the keywords. Today, B2B SEO is about matching or connecting your content to your target user search intent. The better the match, the higher the chance of ranking.
#4: Pay Attention to Voice Search
Is voice search gaining importance for B2B SEO? The answer is a big yes. Previously voice search was more synonymous with B2C SEO, but not anymore. With a growing number of millennial executives becoming key decision makers in the B2B sector, things now are different.
Today, if you can find regular consumers using voice search to find the nearest restaurant, then you can also find business executives or B2B decision-makers who are using it to discover B2B solutions.
The reason why voice search is becoming more important in the B2B arena is because it simply provides the users with a high-end user experience, especially the ones searching via mobile devices. It’s making business life easier.
Also, it has been found that more than 90% of B2B executives do their online research with their mobile device before saying yes to a purchase. Since people using mobile are more likely to use voice search, it can be safely said that it matters for B2B SEO.
When Stone Temple Consulting conducted a survey about where people use voice search, they found that more than 40% use voice search by themselves at their office. The same survey also found that individuals that fall in the high income earning bracket (a.k.a business executives) are comfortable using voice search in a public place.
This just goes on to show that optimizing for voice search cannot and should not be ignored by B2B companies.
#5: Take Advantage of Schema Markup
Google is focused on delivering the most relevant results to its users. In other words, if your web page doesn’t offer the search user what he/she is looking for, the big G doesn’t want to rank you. This is exactly why schema markup has gained importance over the years.
Take a look at how Google is serving its results and you will find how essential schema markup is, especially for B2B companies:
- Rich snippets that offer more insight into the search result.
- Answer boxes that help users find the exact answers they are looking for.
- AMP results and reviews from customers.
Here’s an example of how insurance agencies are leveraging schema markup…
It has been found that websites that take advantage of schema markup tend to have a much higher SEO visibility score when compared to sites that aren’t using it.
Schema helps your B2B brand by making your web pages appear correctly to search users while making it easy for Google to understand what your site is about.
If B2B brands can think creatively, then they can uncover many opportunities to integrate schema into their sites, which can in turn help them achieve their marketing/business goals. For instance, B2B ecommerce companies can use schema to show more information about their product and rating/reviews received by other customers.
#6: Optimize Your Meta Descriptions
B2B websites should realize the importance of optimizing meta descriptions on their web pages. These descriptions are not only a crucial place to weave in your important keywords but also a great way to get more people to click through to your website.
When your target search user knows what your page is about, he or she is more likely to visit the page. A higher click through rate indicates to Google that your page is relevant to what the user searched. Which can have a direct impact on its ranking.
In order to optimize your meta descriptions, make sure you:
- Add your main keywords to the description, because when they match the search query, Google will highlight them.
- Create a description of optimal length. It shouldn’t be too long or too short. Keep it between 130 to 160 characters for best results. Remember, when writing meta descriptions, brevity is key.
- Look at your meta description as a “free advertisement” that needs to be engaging, compelling and relevant to the content on your site.
Ignoring the meta description is a mistake that a B2B oriented website should not make, because losing traffic and prospective customers due to a poor description can prove to be expensive.
#7: Have a Mobile SEO Strategy in Place
Mobile usage is increasing day in and day out, which means you should optimize your B2B website for mobile in order to connect with a wider audience. Without a proper mobile SEO strategy in place, you may be leaving money on the table. Because you won’t be ranking for your target keywords when B2B prospects search via their mobile device.
Here’s what you need to do to build a strong B2B mobile SEO strategy:
- Find Out If It’s Worth Investing In
While mobile is important, you need to first make sure it is worth your time and money. Because if it is not a strong source for traffic, then any heavy efforts may not give results. Start by looking into your analytics data over the last 12 months and then analyze it over the past few years.
You’ll need to figure out just how much organic traffic is coming your way via mobile. If you find that 60% – 70% of your organic traffic is generated from mobile devices then you’ll have to design your strategy for it. But it is 10% or less than your strategy would obviously be different. Also, see if mobile organic traffic has increased over time. 20% or more growth is a good indication that you need to take mobile SEO seriously.
- Define Your Objective
Why do you want to optimize your website for mobile in the first place? You need to be clear about how and why your B2B SEO strategy for mobile will be helping your business. Some B2B firms may be looking for more leads while others are just trying to get more views to their content so that they can build a brand. Knowing your goal or objective will not only help you apply the right strategy, but will also help in measuring the return on investment.
- Choose Your Tactic
Once you are sure of applying a mobile SEO strategy for your B2B business and have clear understanding of your objective, you’ll have to decide how you will using it or what tactic will be best for your site.
Here are four ways or tactics that you can choose from:
1. Responsive web design
2. Standalone mobile pages
3. Dynamic serving
4. Accelerated mobile pages or AMP
All of these approaches are different in their own way, but they do help you deliver mobile-friendly content to your target audience. When done right, these tactics can enhance your B2B SEO efforts.
However, it is worth noting that Google strongly recommends that you focus on having responsive web design. So it may be seen as the most favored approach for mobile SEO.
#8: Keep Track of Google Changes
If you want your B2B SEO efforts to give long term results and make sure you’re getting consistent traffic from your organic search rankings, then it’s important to you stay updated on any changes Google makes. You want to ensure that your website appears in the best possible way in the search engine result pages at all times. For instance, if you find that Google isn’t displaying up-to-date information about your site, you’ll need to fix it right away.
Google’s aim is to make sure the information it shows in the search results is in sync with the content that appears on the website. This is to ensure users have a great user experience. Keeping this in mind, Google may not display your title tag the way you want or doesn’t display certain information. Which tells you exactly what the big G prefers. This may allow you to tweak your other pages to match with what Google wants.
There was a time when Google pushed the Authorship Markup for search results, but soon scraped it off. It was a huge change that most SEO experts didn’t expect, but it did eventually happen.
The hard fact is, Google can make any change overnight. Which means, if you’re not keeping track of changes that it makes (both minor and major), you may wake up to a rude shock and the damage may already be done. The more updated you are, the better position you will be in deal with the change.
Proven B2B SEO Techniques to Get More Traffic
Everything above has been tested and performed and proven to work. However, it is that – work! Keeping your SEO updated for your B2B company can be a full time job. A job that is sometimes best, financially, if outsourced. If you’re thinking that’s the case for your company, then feel free to reach out to our team. We have experts on staff who specialize in B2B SEO and would love to help your business grow.