Search Engine Optimization - 17 May 2022
Leveraging B2B Content to Rank Higher and Boost Sales
If your organization sells products or services to other businesses, you are a part of the B2B (business to business) community. Therefore, if you are looking to expand your reach or increase your sales, B2B search engine optimization – aka SEO – will play a crucial role in your overall marketing strategy.
But what is B2B SEO, and can you leverage it within your organization to produce results? Let’s dive in!
B2B SEO Explainer
SEO is a broad term that describes a collection of strategies all aimed at increasing a website’s online presence and most importantly, where it ranks on search result pages. While the exact strategy may vary, successful SEO will always include three things;
• On-Page SEO
• Off-Page SEO
In terms of mechanics and how search engines like Google rank web pages, B2B SEO is identical to other forms of e-commerce business models like B2C (business to consumer) or D2C (direct to consumer). But while ranking factors and SEO best practices might be the same, how you go about actually ranking differs dramatically.
The Difference Between B2B SEO and B2C SEO
B2C SEO generally targets a large group casting a wide net intended to generate lots of traffic that will (expectantly) translate into sales. For example, if you sell natural baby products, your target audience might be new moms with higher household incomes.
With B2B SEO, your target demographic will be much narrower. Instead of directing efforts to all people interested in “X,” your strategy will focus on those with buying power within an organization. For smaller businesses, this might be the CEO and in larger corporations, you might target managers or other decision-makers.
This seemingly subtle difference between B2B and B2C SEO target audiences will have a major impact on your SEO strategy.
Steps to Scoring Winning B2B Content
The sales funnel for B2B is very different from a business-to-consumer channel. It’s more complex, often non-linear, and the process of getting from top to bottom typically takes a lot longer.
Where your B2C SEO strategy might incorporate many high-volume keywords, B2B SEO generally focuses on lower-volume keywords with higher buying motivation. Because the focus is narrower, B2B SEO teams need to know and understand their audience very well, really nailing the intent behind a search.
Here’s how to do it right.
1. Create a Decision Maker Persona
When trying to get into the mind of a retail consumer, marketers often create buyer personas – fictional representations of the ideal consumer. This detailed and well-researched representation of your potential buyer enables you to craft a more tailored and effective SEO strategy.
The concept is similar when it comes to B2B SEO. However, creating the buyer persona is a little different since the target isn’t a person but an organization.
For example, when creating a decision-maker persona for Kevin, an upper-level manager at a medium-sized accounting, your hypothetical profile would include:
• Basic demographic data
o Income level
o Family status
• Firmographic information
o Company Size
• Professional status
o Job title
o Career level
o Reporting hierarchy
Provided the answers to these questions have been well researched, you now have a reasonably accurate representation of your target audience.
2. Identify your buyer persona keywords
Now that you understand your potential buyer, you can work to identify the keywords they might use when searching for products or services like the ones you offer.
In B2B marketing, these keywords are typically divided into groups based on where a prospective buyer is in the sales funnel.
At the very top of the funnel, you have people searching for information usually to solve some pain point they are experiencing. These keywords are not as targeted as the intent keywords you’ll find closer to the bottom of the funnel, but are essential to your long-game SEO. Ultimately, these will be the keywords you will build your content around. Bottom funnel keywords are search terms a person might use after doing their research and are closer to taking action – i.e., they’re getting ready to buy.
While these keywords will generate far fewer hits at a much higher CPC (cost-per-click) than your top and middle funnel keywords, they are exactly the visitors you want because they are the only ready to buy.
3. On-page optimization
Armed with the keywords you identified in the previous step- specifically your bottom-funnel search terms, you can now work on optimizing your products and services pages.
There is a lot to unpack when it comes to understanding all there is to know about on-page SEO, but the most important factors to remember are content quality and keyword placement.
All your content – website content, copy, and blogs need to be unique, valuable to the reader and optimized for search engines. This may sound like a lot of work, but the effort will be rewarded with a higher search result ranking.
Where and how often your keywords appear are also crucial. Best practice SEO suggests:
• Using your keyword and natural variation of it several times through the text
• Trying to use your keyword at least once within the first 50-100 words
• No cramming your keyword a hundred times in awkward to read sentences
• Incorporating your keyword in your H1 title and meta tags
• Using your keyword in your URL
Some of these suggestions may seem obvious but if you can stick to all of them, you’re already doing better than most.
4. Produce a Blog People Want to Read
Getting back to the B2B buyer persona, your content must provide something of value to this person. Remember, you’re not targeting someone casually browsing for a new pair of shoes- you are targeting a business and the person responsible for making corporate purchasing decisions.
Your blogs need to be researched, well-written, and informative, yet interesting. B2B content has a tendency to be pretty dull, which is understandable given some of the topics covered. But it doesn’t have to be. Using a “business casual” voice rather than a stiff monotonous tone can make even dry topics easier to read while still keeping it professional.
“Ultimate Guides,” How-to’s, and case studies are all commonly used B2B content formats because not only do they work well but readers also love them. If your blogs don’t need to be laser-focused on products or services you provide then keep things fresh by incorporating themes and topics related to your business but not directly tied to a specific product.
5. Build up your backlink portfolio
Once you’ve produced amazing content, get the word out and earn yourself some invaluable digital street cred in to form of backlinks. Backlinks are links from other websites stat take users to your webpage. It is another huge topic to dive into, but a few accessible strategies worth exploring include:
• Strategic guest blogging (free content for them in exchange for backlinks for you)
• Finding broken backlinks and contacting the web host to offer your content as a replacement
• Locating your top competitors’ sources of backlinks and trying to either replicate them or steal them
For more on backlinking, check out: Drive More Traffic to Your Website with These 5 Link-Building Strategies
Killer B2B content is crucial to a successful SEO strategy which is why so much time and effort is spent perfecting and promoting it. If you’re ready to see the difference a well-developed B2B content strategy can make within your organization, Nirvana Canada can help make it happen!