Let’s start by busting the jargon. SEO – search engine optimisation or implementing techniques to ensure your site is easier to find on a search engine like Google. B2B – business to business, so it’s professionals talking to other professionals.
By implementing a successful B2B SEO strategy, your business’s website will be seen by your target audience of other business people who are actively looking for the products or services you offer.
Here, we’ll take you through the what, why and how questions around SEO for B2B marketing, and show you how the right SEO efforts can boost your sales.
What is SEO for B2B?
SEO for B2B is a digital marketing strategy set to increase your website’s organic search engine traffic. This is done through various strategies aimed to put your business’s website on top of the search engine results page (SERPS).
Why? Think about how you use a search engine. Do you click through to the second, third or even fourth page of search results, or do you click on a link at the top of page one?
In the digital world, the most coveted spots are the top three on page one of a search engine. Your website needs to be visible for people to find it. The more visible and accessible you are to your clients and customers, the higher your chances are to land a sale.
It’s important to note here that we’re talking about organic search which isn’t paid for. Organic search uses SEO to boost the website’s visibility and ranking on a search engine. Another strategy is PPC or paid search where you pay to secure one of those prominent top spots.
What’s the difference between B2B and B2C SEO?
Put simply, the difference is the target audience. Whilst business-to-customer (B2C) marketing involves communicating directly with your consumer, B2B is all about business-to-business.
An individual consumer goes through a very different buying process to that of a business. Say a consumer is searching for a new winter coat. That search volume will be in the thousands with many target keywords and a lot of competition for them.
For B2B it’s likely to be much, much smaller, often in the hundreds or lower. B2B marketing can be really niche. Whilst the search volume can be really small, it’s also targeting a very engaged and specific audience. It’s important to invest in SEO so that the niche audience that search for those keywords, find your business.
But keep in mind that B2B companies also differ from individual consumers as they’ll have processes and procedures that have to take place before a purchase can be made. It’s likely to involve the agreement of several decision makers. All of this takes time, more time than the individual consumer takes.
Consequently, B2B marketing is challenging. So it’s all the more important to start your B2B company SEO campaign sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting precious time that could have generated leads for your business already.
How does B2B for SEO save your company money?
Did you know that a sizeable 61% of business-to-business (B2B) marketers say that search engine optimisation (SEO) and organic traffic yield more leads than any other marketing strategy they use? And, interestingly, 88% of these marketers plan to increase their investment this year. Here are a few ways an effective SEO campaign can help B2B businesses.
SEO becomes your sales funnel
SEO is a cost-effective and time-efficient inbound lead generation mechanism ready to serve you 24/7. Start with a strong content strategy designed to reach your target audience at various stages of the buying process. Each piece of content needs to be created with search intent in mind. Really think about your B2B buyer during your content creation process and ensure its set up to help B2B buyers find your products and services online easily.
An optimised B2B website is like hiring a 24/7 marketing staff at a fraction of the cost. Forget about employee perks, annual leave of absence, and even holiday payments. Ensure you’re working with an experienced B2B search engine optimisation agency and you’ll find these web pages are always ready to engage your customers.
Drive high-quality and organic traffic to your website
Often your B2B target audience is specific and even niche. That means there’s likely to be less competition around the target keywords that you want to use. They’ll probably also be low volume, meaning that there’s not heaps of people searching for those words. But if it’s the right people (potential customers) that are using those search keywords, then that’s good news for you.
For B2B marketing, it’s vital to find the right search terms that allow you to reach your specific target audience and encourage them along the sales funnel.
Boost brand visibility and trust
An effective B2B SEO strategy will make your brand more visible online. Your target audience will gain more awareness of your brand.
B2B brands really want to trust and feel confident in the companies they’re buying from. Position your brand as a thought leader to show that your company can solve their problems. It’s important to show that you’re an industry expert, a credible brand to trust and buy from.
Trust and loyalty can also be built around your brand with the right messaging. As part of your content strategy, ensure new content is created to reinforce your company’s status as an industry expert, a trusted source and a good brand to do business with.
Does SEO increase sales?
The right B2B SEO strategy can increase your sales.
A study conducted by Search Engine Journal, revealed that over 25% of people click the first Google Search result. So if you want your website to be clicked on, you need to be on that page.
But how does this prove that SEO for B2B can increase your sales?
Here’s a real-world example:
You want a stall at a pop-up market. But when you look into it, you see that the corner spots are in higher demand and cost more than those around the edges. Why? They’re more visible to customers.
The same goes for the digital world. It’s a battle for visibility. Searchers want immediate results. They don’t have the patience to scroll through dozens of pages. They want a quick solution to their problems. So, unless you put yourself on top of these SERPs, you’ll have a hard time finding customers who want your services.
SEO in B2B: a how to guide
Now you understand the fundamentals, it’s time to put it into practice. Follow this seven step SEO process for B2B businesses.
1. Clarify your core offering
This covers the following:
- Your primary and secondary services
- Your ideal customer profile (buyer personas)
- Your unique selling proposition
- Your goals and pain points.
Use this information to create a basis for your content marketing strategy while providing possible solutions for the challenges you’ve listed.
2. Competitor research
This research includes an in-depth study of up to eight industry competitors, taking a close look at their:
- target keywords
- search terms
- web pages
- SEO content
Here’s a real-world example:
Say you’re setting up a professional training company. As part of your competitor research, you check out the websites of other professional training companies. You check their offering and, using SEO tools, you monitor which keywords they’re ranking for, their top performing pages, who’s linking to their site and any gaps in their provision. All of this gathered intelligence is then used so you can develop a much better marketing strategy for your business.
3. Audit review of the website
An audit review of a website generally includes the following:
- SEO website auditThis includes investigating your B2B keyword, search volume, content, page speed, metadata, broken links, title tag, and user journey.
- SEO backlink auditLink audits need SEO tools such as Ahrefs, Screaming Frog and Google Search Console. This process checks all links pointing to your website and identifies opportunities or potential issues and errors in your backlink profile.
You can conduct your own SEO audit. But it’s best to find a B2B SEO specialist (like us) with the know how on how these processes work. This ensures your website’s properly evaluated for various SEO metrics.
4. Technical SEO
After conducting your website audit, it’s now time to fix any errors and resolve issues you’ve found. This ensures search engines are able to crawl and index your pages without any problems while providing the best user experience for your visitors.
5. Content strategy and creation
Now you’re ready to utilise the intelligence you’ve gathered in steps 1, 2 and 3 to perform the following:
- Perform keyword research Consider using low volume keywords and long tail keywords. They may have fewer searchers and less search traffic, but these search queries have higher conversion value.
- Create topic clusters and pillarsIndustry experts, Hubspot explain that an effective topic cluster strategy for your B2B content can help in your on-page SEO campaign. Make sure to cover topics in depth. This is because Google algorithm favours websites that demonstrate Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EEAT) on their pages.
- Develop and optimise landing pages for key products or servicesFocus on producing high-quality content that incorporates relevant keywords for your B2B website. A quality website with good content highlighting your company’s expertise helps to boost your authoritativeness and credibility.
6. Off page SEO for B2B – PR strategy!
One of the best off-page SEO strategies is to boost your link building campaign by gaining quality backlinks. Establishing yourself as an expert in your industry and publishing thought leadership pieces, can position you as an influencer. Then you’ll gain backlinks from credible publications and social media channels. This all forms part of a wider PR and marketing campaign.
Keep track of your SEO efforts and content strategy with a monthly SEO report that shows your insights, progress and recommendations.
Successful B2B SEO Campaigns
Studio Noel: Thought leadership through a consistent content marketing strategy
Studio Noel is a London-based creative design and branding agency offering full branding, strategy, and design services to different sectors. It has a team of talented thinkers, exceptional creatives, and a trusted network of experts.
They’re considered a thought leader in the industry with almost 1,000 followers on LinkedIn. This is mainly due to the different types of content they produce each month which include:
- Case studies
This not only results in high organic traffic, but also increases their brand awareness and visibility.
Bain & Company: Bridging the marketing gap through in-depth case studies
Bain & Company is a well-established global management consulting service provider with spanning 40 countries. It manages to stay on top of the competition by producing in-depth case studies and white papers involving its work in different locations. These position Bain as a thought leader, emphasis its expertise and credibility.
Bain’s content spans the many industries that it works with and the topics that resonate with them. They know what their business consumers are interested in, so they ensure that their content reflects that and is easy to find.
When should you start your SEO campaign?
There’s no time like the present.
If you’re a small business that’s starting its journey, it’s never too soon to think about your SEO campaign. It can be developed alongside your new website to ensure its built with SEO technicalities in mind.
If you have an established website, it’s as simple as having an SEO audit to see what’s working and what needs improvement. Then, you’ll need a content strategy to inform new content and updates of existing pieces.
SEO campaigns are ongoing to ensure your site remains visible. So the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll attract your B2B target audience.
How we can help?
Are you ready to get started with your B2B SEO strategy? We’d love to help.
Get in touch with the MGX Digital team today to discuss your business needs.