What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of ranking high in search engines like Google, Bing, etc., for specific keywords or key phrases to drive targeted organic website traffic using natural or unpaid (organic) search results. You may also know it as on-site or on-page optimization.
The goal of SEO is to achieve top rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs) for highly competitive keywords.
This means that your content appears above all non-sponsored organic search results (the tiny blue links at the top). And you want them to be displayed in their highest position possible when users are looking for services similar to yours. So, the further up you rank, the more traffic your website will receive.
What is B2B SEO?
While many facets fall under “B2B SEO,” we can define it simply as the process of optimising a business’s website for search engines.
B2B SEO entails elements related to on-page practises and off-page practises. Ultimately, you are trying to achieve high rankings in organic results for keywords relevant to your industry and company, which will help drive traffic to your site.
You would then turn this traffic into conversions through tools like forms on your site or calls-to-action where visitors can start a conversation with you online or by phone.
Of course, there is significantly more overlap between B2C and B2B SEO than what you might think at first glance. This means that many methods that apply to one industry are also used in another.
What Does B2B Stand For?
The acronym “B2B” stands for “business-to-business.” This refers to any transaction involving a business selling goods or services to another business rather than directly to consumers (also known as B2C). You can think of it as any wholesale relationship.
Businesses that would be considered part of the B2B space include manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and technology firms that produce products for other businesses to use.
In contrast, organisations typically working with consumers directly are retailers, service providers, and businesses that do not create products for other companies.
As you can see from this brief explanation of B2B transactions, the phrase “business-to-business” is somewhat misleading. It encompasses all types of businesses, whether selling to other businesses or directly to consumers.
Do B2C & B2B Require Their Own Strategies?
The short answer to this is no. In fact, given the amount of overlap between marketing channels for both B2B and B2C, you want to make sure you have a comprehensive strategy in place that can tackle both sectors.
While businesses typically use different keywords to target consumers instead of other business entities, several factors still contribute to a successful SEO strategy. These include creating helpful content on your website and building links with relevant anchor text from external sources.
The most significant difference between marketing strategies for these two types of organisations is focusing on each part of your strategy. For example, for B2C companies, it would be best to focus your efforts on driving traffic to specific landing or sales pages where visitors can convert into customers.
On the other hand, B2B organisations typically need to drive traffic to their general website. It is easier for visitors to find out more about you and your business before deciding whether to contact you.
You also likely do not need as many links pointing back at your corporate page as page-level links are much more powerful than sitewide links to achieve high rankings in organic search results.
For this reason, establishing an effective SEO strategy for a B2B company requires less technical expertise than that of a B2C organisation, depending upon how big the gap between both sectors is within your industry.
The Components Of A Winning B2B SEO Strategy
Today, there is very little distinction in the eyes of Google when it comes to marketing efforts for both product-based businesses and service providers. The only real difference between these two organisations is that one type sells goods to other companies while the other sells services.
Ultimately, an effective SEO strategy boils down to three main components: on-page optimization, off-page optimization, and technical SEO. While these elements are essential for driving organic search traffic to your organisation’s website(s), they play different roles in working with consumers or business entities.
On-Page Optimization: On-page optimization is the process of ensuring your website is set up so that search engines can easily crawl and index all pages on your website.
It also involves optimising individual web pages for specific keywords, which helps improve the content you create for consumers and other business entities to make it more visible when people type in specific terms related to your industry and location (known as long-tail keywords).
In addition to updating text on each page, you also want to ensure that images have alt tags with relevant keyword phrases since Google uses these tags to pull through additional data from their Knowledge Graph.
When you combine helpful text and image descriptions with various other factors, including internal linking structures, utilising schema markup, and creating useful 404 pages, you will see an improvement in your page’s ability to rank higher than competitors within your industry.
Off-Page Optimization: While on-page SEO is great for ensuring people can easily discover your website using specific keywords, business entities’ more important off-page optimization factors deal with building links pointing back at your company’s website(s).
To get started with this process, you will want to create a blog that drives additional organic traffic from Google and other search engines. You also want to try and earn mentions from third-party websites across the web through guest blogging and link exchanges with similar businesses in your field of expertise.
After setting up these initiatives, you should also consider establishing a monthly subscription to an internet marketing software tool that will help you monitor your website’s progress throughout the year.
Technical SEO: Because business websites typically do not require as many links pointing at their sites as consumer-oriented pages and because Google does less manual intervention than it used to before, the technical aspects of SEO tend to be slightly more manageable on organisation pages which can be especially helpful for B2B entities looking to improve their overall marketing efforts without spending too much money.
Since there is no need for these organisations to focus on image optimization or HTML markup, they can instead make sure all website code is clean and easy to read with minimal redirects.
Focus on the Decision-Maker
Before designing any digital strategy, the first thing to focus on is who you target with your marketing efforts. It’s easy for marketers and their teams to get caught up in all of the cool bells and whistles that new technology brings.
Still, it’s crucial to stay relevant with your tone of voice, language, social media presence, etc., and make sure you are targeting the right people at all times.
How to Define Your Ideal Target Audience
Identifying exactly who you are looking for isn’t always easy if you don’t have a specific plan in mind when speaking about your business goals. I will outline my version of a solid, well-tested method for defining the ideal target audience that you can then reference when making any decision related to digital strategy.
Clarify Your Core Offering
First things first, define your core offering as clearly as possible because this is the driving force behind all of the decisions you make moving forward.
- Are you selling a business or consumer goods?
- Is it an online product or service which is sold via subscription?
- What about B2B sales, where multiple parties are involved in some transaction?
With so many different offerings out there, it’s hard for marketers these days not to get overwhelmed with such a wide array of options.
Define Your Ideal Customer Profile
The next step is to define who your ideal customer is so you can narrow down the pool of prospects looking for what you have to offer at all times.
As I mentioned earlier, this will allow you to effectively design a clear marketing message and focus on targeting specific individuals rather than casting a net too wide with messages that don’t resonate with anyone specifically.
Budget/Revenue: To start with defining your target audience by their budget or revenue, consider the average amount of money they make each month or year and how much they can realistically spend based on where their business stands at the moment.
For example, if you are looking to build a B2B sales strategy for an e-commerce company that sells luxury watches online, then it wouldn’t make sense to target people working at small local businesses with very little capital at their disposal.
Instead, the majority of your efforts should be geared towards mid-sized businesses that have the potential to purchase more expensive items and have some money to play around with when it comes to their marketing budgets.
Industry: Another critical aspect of defining your ideal customer profile is knowing which specific industry they work in so you can always consider how specific online channels are best utilised when attempting to reach them.
For example, an e-commerce company that sells luxury watches might want to target people who work in the manufacturing industry because they are likely to have more disposable income, leading them to purchase high-end items.
Or, if you are working with a medical device B2B sales team, then it wouldn’t make sense for your audience profile to be made up of employees at local retail shops or cafes. On the contrary, physicians and surgeons would be much better suited to purchasing your product which serves an essential purpose within their line of work.
Average size of the company (SMB): Another aspect of defining your ideal customer profile is knowing how large the company they’re working for is based on certain key factors like the number of employees, revenue generated, or even annual IT budget.
These factors can tell you much about what to expect when targeting various companies. They will all have different needs depending on how big they are and where their business stands now compared to others within the same industry.
For example, if someone is running an online retail store that sells basic household items like soap, then it wouldn’t make much sense to try and sell them marketing automation software because they probably won’t be able to afford it with very little capital at their disposal.
On the other hand, if your company happens to be selling Soap Dishes used in commercial settings like hospitals, your ideal customer profile should include companies with large enough IT budgets to allow them to purchase software with a high upfront cost.
Legality: Another critical aspect of defining your ideal customer profile is knowing whether or not they are legally allowed to purchase the products you sell within the confines of their country’s laws and regulations because if it isn’t, then those prospects would be inaccessible to you due to ethical concerns as well as legal ones depending on what type of business you run online.
For example, many countries have strict regulations about what types of pharmaceuticals you can market and distribute, so if someone is trying to create a B2B sales campaign for a generic aspirin company, then trying to reach Russian companies will probably result in very few leads and sales even though they have a decent amount of disposable income.
Instead, someone in that position would need to focus their efforts on countries with fewer restrictions regarding pharmaceuticals and marketing practises to improve their chances for a better ROI.
Create Targeted Buyer Personas
Once you have a solid understanding of your ideal customer profile and who they are, the next step is to create buyer personas based on those characteristics by answering specific questions such as how much money they make, what their core concerns are as well as what kind of problems they need to solve.
For example, if you work in B2B sales, then chances are that one of the main issues someone will bring up when speaking with you is whether or not there’s enough traffic and potential opportunities within their industry and whether or not you can help them find more leads to generate more revenue.
Once these issues come up during a conversation, then it should be relatively straightforward for you to collect the information needed so that your team can draft up some buyer personas to build out your ideal customer profile.
Developing Your Own B2B SEO Strategy Roadmap In 2022 & Beyond
Online marketers spend thousands of dollars on various digital marketing initiatives to generate leads for their products and services. However, most new businesses spend too much time creating content, which ultimately lacks the SEO juice required to rank high in search rankings.
You must understand that creating content is not enough. Your content must attract organic traffic by ranking well in Google to reach potential customers quickly.
So how do you achieve this? Simple – with B2B Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This art isn’t complex once you have the right resources at hand. To help you create your own SEO plan for your business, we’ve outlined some fundamental steps, to begin with below.
Consider Buyer Intent When Choosing Keywords
Organic traffic is the purest form of search engine traffic that your business can get, which means that SEO is the best way to attract that traffic to your website. However, it would be best if you found keywords with high buyer intent because these are the ones that will help your content rank in organic search results.
If you’re having trouble finding good keywords for your content, consider using Google AdWords Keyword Planner, which uses historical data from Google’s advertisers to come up with suggestions on keywords related to specific topics.
Create Valuable Resource Content That Educates & Empowers Prospects
Prospective buyers researching a product or service online will prefer to read educational and informative content. This means that you should focus more on creating content that provides tips, advice, guides, and case studies related to your industry rather than writing a sales pitch about your product.
Make Sure Your Landing Page Serves A Compelling Purpose For Your Prospect
Your landing page must contain some form of value for the prospect for them to take action (whether it’s filling out a lead generation form or signing up for your newsletter). If it doesn’t, they’ll leave without converting into customers quickly.
The secret here is to make sure your website design aligns with what you write on the page copy because people rely on visuals to make buying decisions.
Answer Common Questions In Your Landing Page’s Metadata
If you want people to find your landing page when they are researching a topic, you need to create some metadata that outlines the page’s contents in your keywords.
For example, if you’re creating a content marketing guide for home improvement companies, your keyword should be “home improvement company resource centre.” On top of that, you also have to include some descriptive text about what the page has inside – e.g., information about how to acquire new customers through online marketing tactics and guides for DIY enthusiasts.
Optimise Your Website & Technical SEO Factors
Now that you’ve created some great content, earned backlinks, and begun to establish authority in your industry, it is now time to optimise your website with the right set of keywords.
You need to make sure that you serve users who search for these keywords by using structured data markup (in the form of Schema) where possible.
Pay Attention to Your Core Web Vitals
It is essential to focus on your website’s core web vitals to optimise it and improve its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Some of the most important factors to focus on include optimising your website’s title tags and meta descriptions, improving your site’s load time, and using the right keywords throughout your content. You should also ensure that you’re using the correct HTTP headers, robots.txt file, and sitemaps.
You can significantly improve your website’s visibility and ranking in SERPs by paying attention to these critical technical SEO factors.
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Largest contentful paint or first meaningful paint is a metric that tells you how fast a browser can present the first bit of content to a user. This is highly important as users have grown impatient with websites that take more than three seconds to load.
Therefore, it’s essential to pay attention to how fast your site loads as this will affect your bounce rate, dwell time, and eventually your rank in SERPs.
First Input Delay (FID): The first input delay or first input delay metric measures the time between when a user types a query into the search bar and the moment they hit enter. This period is measured from start to finish, different from average latency, which measures from end to start – reverse-engineering what happened during those 7 seconds!
As with most SEO metrics, most users’ queries are short, so the impact on conversions regarding improving FID is dramatic.
Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Cumulative layout shift or incremental reflow is the average time it takes for your browser to render all of the content on a web page after clicking on a link.
Think about this as reading through an article; if you click into another section (an ad, navigation menu, etc.), then it’s likely that you’ll have to wait before scrolling back down to where you originally were to continue reading.
These delays can be increased by too many objects being loaded at once and large images not being fully rendered before the user tries to scroll down the page again, resulting in them experiencing delay number two!
However, improving performance is essential. As with the previous metrics, this will affect your bounce rate and dwell time, two of the most critical search engine ranking factors.
Sort Out Your Technical SEO
To optimise your website and improve your site’s visibility in SERPs, you should also pay attention to how fast your website loads as well as make sure that you’re complying with all necessary technical SEO requirements such as having a sitemap, robots.txt file, and HTTP headers all in the right place.
By focusing on these critical technical SEO factors, you can significantly improve your website’s visibility and ranking in SERPs for multiple keywords instead of just targeting one or two specific phrases in an attempt to rank at number 1.
Build Industry Relevant & High-Quality BackLinks
Everybody knows that acquiring quality backlinks from reputable sources will help strengthen page authority and boost rankings in Google – and this trick works well for specific niches (e.g., home improvement).
One way to find relevant link-building opportunities is by searching through HARO (Help A Reporter Out), an online news platform where reporters and journalists write about industry-related topics and look for sources to quote in their articles.
Publishing valuable resources like original research: No question publishing valuable resources like original research can be a great way to build high-quality backlinks and industry relevance.
But it’s important to remember that simply posting content and hoping for the best won’t do the trick – you’ll also need to go out and actively promote your content if you want to see results.
One great way to do this is by reaching out to bloggers, journalists, and other content creators who have an audience relevant to your niche. Let them know about your new resource, and ask them if they would be interested in featuring it on their site or social media channels.
You may even want to offer them a free copy of the resource for their endorsement.
Whatever you do, make sure you don’t contact these people expecting them to publish your content without a bit of effort on your part – you’ve got to put something in before you can take something out!
Increase Credibility Through Barnacle SEO (Business Directory Listings)
If you want to go the extra mile for local businesses, consider creating a barnacle SEO strategy by filling out as many business directories as possible. This is useful because it will provide more exposure to your website in search results listings due to the number of mentions taken into account when Google calculates rankings for your site.
Align Offline Marketing & Sales With Your SEO Efforts
Good branding can boost authority, while great marketing messages can help build trust, so don’t forget to include these elements on offline platforms, too – not just online! By constantly reinforcing messages on your website, social media, and email marketing campaigns, you can achieve this.
Test & Track Your Results
Last but not least, you have to continually test and track your results to improve the performance of your SEO strategy as a whole.
For example, A/B split testing will allow you to experiment with different page parts (e.g., tagline vs. headline) to determine which wording improves visibility for search engines. This process will take some time before Google can thoroughly analyse it – up to six months or longer in some cases – so keep this fact in mind when working towards a deadline!
B2B SEO Is An Ongoing Effort
SEO is an ongoing effort that takes time, but if you want to get the most out of it, you must start this process as soon as possible.
Even if you don’t have an existing website or product yet, it will still be worth your time investing in SEO because Google has said they are looking for “high-quality sites” (e.g., ones with loads of original content) when ranking results pages.