As a Business-to-Business (B2B) company, you would be seeking whales in an ocean of fish. Your B2B SEO strategy should also focus on finding business decision-makers instead of attracting irrelevant audiences.
56% of B2B marketers say that SEO is the best source for generating continuous leads for their business.
You do not need to cast the net far and wide. You need a hook, line, and sinker to fish for the whales and each of these needs to be robust.
That’s what this ultimate B2B SEO guide is all about. Content is the hook, technical SEO is the line, and Link Building is the sinker. You get all these right, and your target audience will come swimming to your website.
The primary focus of B2B SEO is to bring relevant organic traffic to a company’s website. The strategy focuses on aligning every element of the website design and content to achieve a high SERP ranking and attract consistent traffic. The success of this strategy depends on four key aspects.
It also helps to keep a check on important B2B SEO statistics to inform your B2B SEO strategy.
The following four aspects are crucial for any SEO strategy. But, they function a little differently for B2B businesses. Let’s see how they work independently before we get into morphing them for B2B SEO marketing.
Technical SEO focuses on optimizing the functionality of a website. It works on the architectural aspect of the website to allow search engines to navigate and index the website. Technical SEO also has a significant impact on the user experience. It removes the barriers that could frustrate a website visitor such as page loading speed and errors.
Without proper technical SEO, your web pages may not even get indexed by search engines. This practice ensures that your website complies with search engine guidelines and user experience requirements.
On-Page SEO deals with elements and activities that help search engines categorize web pages for relevant searches. The primary focus for this aspect of SEO strategy is meta tags, descriptions, content optimization, keywords, and other aspects of your website that can be optimized to position it well on the SERPs.
On-page SEO ensures that the search engine index your web pages for relevant search queries. It also connects different pages on the website with one another. Consequently, it improves the topical authority of a website.
Content marketing is a part of the SEO strategy. At the same time, it can function as an SEO campaign by itself. This aspect is concerned with creating relevant content to target keywords to attract a specific type of audience. It can also be used to achieve specific SEO campaign objectives such as image ranking, optimizing local listings, building topical authority, or SERP features ranking.
Content marketing is the front face of a B2B SEO strategy. It will help you rank for keywords, engage target audiences, generate backlinks, improve social sharing, and generate leads.
Off-Page SEO is all about promoting your website and its content on third-party websites. This is done through link-building, social sharing, and paid promotions. These activities help build credibility for the website.
Off-page SEO is necessary to promote the website and its content. It brings referral and social traffic. It also improves the domain and topical authority of a website.
Collectively, the aforementioned four aspects improve the SERP ranking of a website and generate traffic. But, for business-to-business SEO, you need to tweak your approach to ensure you get relevant traffic. Your strategy has to follow the same guidelines, but you walk an alternate path compared to B2C businesses.
The biggest difference between B2C and B2B SEO strategies is the target audience. B2C companies target a large demographic or customer type. While SEO for B2B companies aims to attract key decision-makers of different companies.
These people come from varying demographics. The CEO of one company could be a 22-year-old entrepreneur while another company may be led by a 67-year-old tycoon. They would have widely different aspirations, needs, interests, preferences, and approaches to conducting their business.
Hence, B2B search engine optimization has to target a very specific niche based on their business needs rather than their demographics.
As we mentioned in the introduction, B2C companies can cast their nets far and wide to catch fish. While SEO for B2B marketing has to carefully pick out the whales. You need to venture into deeper waters and make sure that hook, line, and sinker are strong enough to reel in the big fish when they pop to surf the web.
The majority of the challenges for B2B SEO strategy stem from the audience, market factors, and targeting methods. Below are the four biggest hurdles you need to address to implement a successful SEO strategy for a B2B business.
SEO strategies for B2B businesses have to target a very specific type of need. This narrows down their target audience to a few decision-makers. The bigger challenge is that these decision-makers are spread across different demographics, interest groups, and geographical locations.
B2B companies have to outshine numerous competitors to achieve the number one position in SERP rankings. High competition means that SEO marketing for B2B companies needs to be more robust and on-point. The competition also makes it difficult for B2B companies to hold the first position, much less achieve it.
As SEO strategies for B2B businesses have to target a specific need, they frequently go for long-tail keywords. These keywords usually have low traffic volume. For instance, a B2C company would target keywords like “international courier” which has a large search volume. On the other hand, a B2B company needs to target keywords like “international shipping for e-commerce”, which would have a significantly lower search volume.
Business decision-makers listen to experts, not salespeople. This raises yet another challenge for B2B SEO strategies. Not only does the brand have to establish itself as the thought leader in the industry, but also reinforces its expertise with trust signals. These trust signals are not easy to come by (more on that in the off-page SEO section).
These challenges make SEO planning for B2B companies all the more difficult. It is not enough to adhere to B2B SEO best practices and wait for the results. You must meticulously plan each aspect of the strategy and execute it with prejudice to earn the number one spot in search results. It’s not easy, but that’s what makes it interesting.
FYI: We used B2B SEO and Content Marketing to increase organic traffic by 400% in just 6 months.
We have rambled quite a bit about the problem, now let’s talk about the solution. Below is the breakdown of the ideal B2B SEO strategy. We have laid out the fundamentals and provided actionable solutions so that you can get the right audience. That’s what makes this the ultimate B2B SEO guide.
As with all marketing campaigns, SEO also begins with identifying and understanding the target market. Here is how you can figure out your target market to guide your SEO strategy.
You need to identify the type of companies you want to target and the problems that your business can solve for them. This may be a broad pool for certain B2B products and services. So you need to narrow it down with different criteria such as size, location, industry, needs, business model, etc.
Once you have narrowed down the business you want to target, you need to figure out who in the company would green-light your product. Here you are not targeting a person, but a profile. You need to identify the interests and preferences concerning that profile.
A B2B SEO roadmap derives keyword targeting, content strategy, website structure, and link-building strategy based on the business and buyer persona.
Once you have identified your target audience, you should learn how they purchase and use your type of products or services. You need to look at how decision-makers search for your kind of products and the things they wish to learn about them. This information will help you design the sales funnel, which is a crucial aspect of SEO for the B2B industry.
Alongside this, you also need to figure out how they use those products. Acquiring information on things they expect, like, dislike, and desire will help you with a B2B SEO content strategy.
Learning about the alternatives in the market will help you define what distinguishes your products. You can also learn about the gaps in their marketing strategies, audience pools that they are missing out on, solutions they are not offering, and more. You can then incorporate these into your B2B SEO strategy.
Every SEO strategy for B2B companies begins with keyword research and culminates with ranking for the targeted keywords. If you didn’t know it already, keywords are the search terms that you target to reach the audience. They are a reflection of the search behavior and intention of a user.
About 61% of B2B buyers search online before making a purchase. At the keyword research stage, you have to identify the words and phrases they use for their searches.
The right keywords will bring the right type of audience to your website. You will come across numerous keywords during your research. But, only those that can lead to your type of audience should make their way to your B2B SEO report.
Below are three types of keywords you will need to guide your SEO efforts.
These are the broad terms that people would use to search for your type of products or services. You will use these keywords at all stages of your B2B SEO strategy. They will help you narrow down your targeting to an industry. But they will not necessarily attract the audience with a specific intention.
Furthermore, such keywords are the most difficult to rank. That’s why the best SEO strategies for B2B companies use these alongside more specific keywords.
Example: “accounting software”
These are search terms that you will use to optimize your landing pages. You will need a different set of keywords for different landing pages, based on the information they contain and the purpose they serve.
Example: “cloud-based accounting software”
These keywords have a clear search intention and can help you target a particular type of people. These keywords do not have a very high volume but are valuable because they lead you directly to your target audience. They are useful for landing pages as well as B2B SEO content strategy.
Example: “How to extract reports from accounting software?”
As you move from industry keywords to long-tail keywords your targeting will become more specific. You will also notice that long-tail keywords usually contain industry keywords as well. Targeting those is like hitting two birds with one strategy. These keywords will also help you create authority on niche topics, which is excellent for SEO of B2B websites.
Aside from relevance, you need to test the researched keywords based on the following metrics. This will help you evaluate the significance of the keywords for your B2B website’s SEO.
Tip: We have a post on the best keyword research tools available out there to aid your SEO planning for B2B. These tools will help you find keywords as well as provide accurate data on important metrics.
The monthly search volume tells you the approximate number of people that search for that keyword each month. Higher volume means high traffic potential. But, such keywords are also quite difficult to rank for because of the competition. Some of these might not even be relevant to your target audience.
If you scroll further down or change filters (whatever floats your boat), you will find low-volume keywords. These are generally long-tail keywords with a very specific search intent. The SEO for B2B websites requires a combination of high-volume and low-volume keywords.
This score represents how difficult it will be for you to rank for a particular keyword. This is largely because several websites are competing to rank for this keyword. For small business B2B SEO, it is advisable to actively target low-difficulty keywords.
This will help you attract a specific type of audience faster. Regardless of the difficulty score do not forget to check the relevance of the keywords you target.
CPC tells you the value of a particular keyword for search ads. It also indirectly indicates the popularity of the keyword, and consequently the amount of competition to rank for it. Look for relevant low-volume keywords with high CPC. These are the keywords your competitors might be targeting and you can do the same.
Keyword trends will tell you about the intentions of your target audience for different periods. By analyzing the rise and fall of a keyword’s popularity in different months, you can understand the search behavior of your target audience.
You then have to design B2B SEO tactics based on these trends. For instance, if you see purchase intent keywords rising in March. Your bottom-funnel landing pages should already be ranking by February.
Once you have listed down all the keywords that you wish to target, you need to segregate them into categories based on the search intent. This will help you identify keywords for different stages of the sales funnel. The on-page SEO of B2B companies needs to match the search intent. This segmentation will help you create keyword clusters for on-page SEO of different landing pages.
Furthermore, you can also use different keyword clusters to design different landing pages for B2B product SEO. For instance, you can use keywords concerning customer pain points to optimize product comparison landing pages. Such B2B SEO best practices can help you optimize the overall website for certain niche audiences as well.
This aspect of B2B business SEO covers the structural aspects of a website. It is about aligning the mechanics of the website’s machinery so that they aid search engines and don’t break down when someone is exploring the website.
You first need to conduct a B2B SEO audit to scan your website for problems. This audit also tells you whether the website is suitable to execute your desired strategy. For technical B2B SEO, you will need to check how your website complies with various search engine criteria.
As technical SEO is a broad topic by itself, we will look at only the common criteria that you need to test and fix during the B2B SEO audit.
Even other than these, there are several technical B2B SEO issues that you need to fix for a strategy to work. If you want a deeper understanding of this topic (highly recommended) check out this detailed guide on technical SEO.
After fixing the technical aspects, a B2B company’s SEO depends on the content (it’s the King!). Content creation is again an elaborate topic by itself. So here, we will just focus on the essentials for B2B SEO strategies.
You will need to optimize your landing pages to target different keyword clusters. These are the pages that inform the customers about your company, products, services, unique features, differentiating factors, and so on.
First, you will need to identify the keyword cluster that you want to target for each page. You need to target both industry keywords and landing page keywords.
For instance, say you want to optimize the product page for logistics management software. You will need to target industry keywords like “logistics management”, “what is logistics management?” and “B2B logistics management”. Alongside these, you will also target keywords specific to the product such as “logistics management software”, “how to use logistics management software”, “logistics software to track shipment”, and “best logistics software”.
Once you have identified the keyword cluster for each landing page, you can begin creating the content. The landing page content should fulfill the following requirements:
The best B2B SEO strategies use long-form content to optimize the landing pages for keyword clusters. The average top result in Google contains 1,447 words. So you need to go in as much detail as possible about the subject of the landing page. This will help you meet word-length requirements and approach the subject from different angles.
Let’s see the sections we can create for the product landing page of logistics management software named “Log Z”:
You can also use certain keywords to create sections of your landing page. This format would allow a reader to understand the product thoroughly. It also sheds light on different aspects that can help them make a purchase decision. Aside from B2B website SEO, a detailed landing page can serve sales and marketing as well.
You need a long-term and scalable B2B SEO content strategy for creating blogs. The blogs can serve a variety of different purposes for B2B marketing and SEO.
They can help you establish subject-matter expertise, guide customers, facilitate your sales funnel, generate backlinks, target keywords, answer search queries, target Google snippets, and more. You need to create different blogs to serve different purposes.
Here are a few B2B SEO tips to help you create a blog content strategy:
Your blogs should bring value to the decision-makers that you are targeting. You can create different blogs to target different types of audiences. Furthermore, you need to convey trust and expertise in your content so that you can influence purchase decisions. This criterion is paramount for B2B marketing SEO.
You will need to conduct on-page SEO for each landing page and blog page. This practice helps optimize web pages to facilitate search engines. On-page SEO for B2B companies involves the following practices:
Structured data helps the search engine identify the contents of the web page. It is also easier for crawlers to categorize different segments of the page and display them for relevant search terms. This is necessary for B2B website SEO.
Aside from titles and headers, you also need to incorporate the keywords in the metadata. This includes meta descriptions, title tags, and URLs. The title and meta description also appears in the search results.
They directly influence whether or not a user will open your website. So make sure that they are attractive. At the same time, they should also match the search intent of the keywords that you are targeting.
Alt tags help the search engine identify and categorize images. You need to accurately describe the image using alt tags. You can also incorporate keywords in this description if it fits naturally. These tags are also useful for targeting image searches in B2B SEO strategy. On the other hand, stuffing alt tags with several keywords will not help your chances of ranking.
By creating internal links, you are telling the search engine that the web pages on your website are connected. This helps establish topical authority, which is necessary for B2B SEO strategy. That’s why you should only use relevant anchor text for internal linking. Furthermore, it helps the search engine crawl and index your website faster.
You should conduct periodic audits to fix technical B2B SEO and on-page optimization. Frequent updates indicate that your website is fresh and relevant.
This aspect of the B2B SEO strategy focuses on promoting the content to generate traffic and win backlinks. You must focus on quality and relevance for traffic and backlinks. Irrelevance in either of these aspects can scatter your B2B SEO marketing efforts as it sends the wrong signals to the search engines regarding your website.
Here are a few ways you can promote your website and its content for business-to-business SEO.
Once you have published your content on the website, share it on social media platforms. You can also incorporate call-to-actions in the content to encourage social sharing. If you have created images, videos, or infographics, you can share them independently as well.
Web pages ranking first have 3.8 times more backlinks than third and fourth-position pages. Backlinks are crucial trust signals to establish the authority of your website. Link building involves getting other websites to link back to pages on your website. These websites should be relevant and credible. Here are a few ways you can get quality backlinks to improve SEO for B2B website:
If you want to understand the subject in detail, check this ultimate guide on link building to better guide your B2B SEO strategy.
Online directories are a collection of information concerning a specific subject, product, service, or industry. Listing the website in such directories is crucial for local SEO of B2B companies. There are 4 types of directories that you need to target:
You need to keep an eye out for new platforms and directories that pop up. If any of them are relevant to the industry that you are targeting, you should cite your B2B business in that directory.
Once you have understood the fundamentals of the game, check out the recent trends in B2B SEO to guide your strategy.
Once you have the ball rolling with your B2B SEO strategy, you need to measure the outcomes. It is important to remember that SEO strategies may take time to generate results. So the numbers you see today are a consequence of the efforts you made 2 or 3 months ago.
Below are ten important metrics that can help you understand the performance of your B2B SEO tactics:
A high rank in search engine results is the ultimate goal of a B2B SEO strategy. You need to check the ranking of each page for the keywords you targeted. If the pages are gradually climbing up, then the SEO strategy for your B2B website is working.
Another crucial goal of any SEO strategy is to generate traffic for the website. You need to track organic traffic on the website that comes through search results. You also need to track the correlation between the SERP rank of your web pages and the traffic. Ideally, both of these should grow simultaneously.
You also need to identify the source of the traffic for different pages on your website. In particular, you need to check the keywords that are generating traffic for your website. This tells you successfully your B2B SEO marketing strategy has worked for different keywords. It also tells you whether you are attracting a relevant audience or not.
This KPI helps you measure the value of your website’s content as well as the effectiveness of your link-building strategy. Alongside the number of inbound links, you also need to check the relevance and quality of these links.
This metric tells you how frequently an average visitor opens your website in a given period. It is basically a measure of returning visitors. A high session per user rate indicates that your content has created enough value to warrant repeat visits.
This metric shows the average amount of time that people spend on your website. If you find that the average session duration is too low, you need to work on the content of your website. Make it more engaging and interesting so that people would stay longer and take more action. You can identify the problem pages by checking the individual time-on-page.
Also known as search visibility, this metric shows how often search results show your web pages for a particular keyword. This metric is usually a precursor to B2B SEO results. You will see a rise in page impressions before you get traffic or a high rank in SERP.
For a B2B SEO audit, you only need to consider the CTR of organic search results. It indicates the conversion from page impressions to website visits. If the CTR is low, you should work on the title and meta description of the web page.
The bounce rate shows the percentage of people who came to one of your web pages and left (or bounced) without taking any action. A high bounce rate indicates that the content is not suitable enough for the search query. If you see your bounce rate rise above 60%, you need to improve the content by efficiently addressing the keyword’s search intent
To get this metric, you need to define a goal for your landing pages and blogs. Then you can measure how many visitors complete the goals you defined for a particular web page. These goals can be any actions that lead toward a purchase such as subscribing to a newsletter, filling up a form, opening products/service pages, etc. This metric will tell you whether or not you are getting the required engagement from your B2B SEO strategy.
This concludes the ultimate guide for B2B SEO strategy. Here are a few quick takeaways to remember when you design an SEO campaign for your B2B company:
You will need to put in the necessary time and effort to gain results from B2B SEO. But, if done right, the results can be quite impressive.That’s the kind of difference an experienced SEO agency can bring to the table. Growfusely can take care of every aspect of B2B SEO and bring relevant traffic to your website. If you feel like saving time, effort, and money on SEO & content marketing; we would love to have a chat.
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