Position Your SEO for B2B
Years ago, as a new marketer, I naively thought that there wasn’t much of a difference between B2C marketing and B2B marketing. You’re still marketing to people, right?
Yes, businesses are made up of people, but they have different motivations, longer sales cycles, processes, and chains of command that they must adhere to.
See more specifics on modern B2B marketing in our article, How to Market to Today’s B2B Buyer.
And since we drink the Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Koolaid (it works), we know that as B2B marketers, we need to speak a specific language and communicate benefits to a very targeted audience. Content needs to be specific and come in different forms than it might if you’re marketing a consumer-product.
It doesn’t stop at content. Tactics for B2B-specific marketing extends to SEO. SEO for B2B is a niche area that we don’t often hear about but that doesn’t mean it’s something you should ignore.
At this year’s INBOUND conference, I attended a workshop titled, “Can You Succeed in SEO with Your B2B Company?” presented by Dominic Woodman of Distilled. Dominic asks the question, “Can every business succeed in search?” With few exceptions, the answer is yes, but the degree of success depends on four factors.
Four Factors of SEO Success
Target Market Size: The larger the audience, the more efficient search optimization, and marketing will be. If your target market is only ten businesses, you’re better off taking those ten companies to dinner rather than creating an arsenal of optimized online content.
Length of Sales Funnel: The longer your sales funnel is, the harder it will be to correctly value search efforts.
Innovation: If your product is something the market has never seen before, then people probably won’t be searching for it. You’ll need to create search volume for brand new ideas.
Result Timeline: Building SEO is not an overnight fix. It takes time to build content, authority, and basic technical competence. It can take months or even a year. Does that work for your business?
To make great content as a B2B company that will drive quality traffic, there are six steps to follow.
6 Steps for B2B Content that Will Drive Quality Traffic
Step 1: Setting Expectations
Let’s face it, even with a well-thought-out campaign, you’re not always going to see fireworks. Set realistic expectations upfront or the carpet might be pulled out from under you halfway through the journey. SEO can be more experimental than an exact science so you’ll learn more as you go.
Step 2: Gather Keywords
Watch your customer journey with a microscope and jot down every word someone might search. Then check out your biggest competitors and add their keywords to your list too.
Step 3: Organize Keywords
Break up keywords into topics and categories. Group keywords by topic and split into two columns; primary topic and secondary topic. Then, add columns for different categories:
Group by branded, non-branded and competitor brand
Informational or transactional
Sales funnel groups: awareness, consideration, comparison, purchase, etc
Now it’s time to think about Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) and how your content fits into them. Do some topics overlap so much that it’s not necessary to have a page for each? You can do your own research by testing keywords and seeing which ones have overlapping results. If “What is ABM” and “Why is ABM important” pull up overlapping results in a search, you’ll know that you only need one page to span both of these related topics.
Step 4: Prioritize
Now that we have a long list of categorized keywords, how do we narrow down what will make good content for your audience? You can start by asking, “Which topics convert?” You can find this out by talking to customers and the sales team. If there are any ad campaigns running, those are also a good indicator of what topics convert.
Once you identify topics that you think can push leads further along their journey, it’s time to check out the SERP again. This is your biggest clue as to what will rank! See what content is already pulling up for your keywords and how you might fit in.
Step 5: Create Content
It’s finally time to create the content! Below are some tips to help you form your content.
It’s important to have an opinion; content without opinions can be dry.
Present unique data. The data doesn’t need to be earth-shattering, but it does need to be true. You might be able to find data internally or you may need to go searching for it. Either way, the data doesn’t need to be fancy, it just needs to back up your point.
B2B content often calls for experts, both internal and external. This may seem like an extra step, but it’s well worth it to establish your business as a well-respected and informed industry leader. Not everyone can write about industry-specific or technical topics well and if done wrong, you’ll look like a phony.
If you have a community, curate content from them.
Step 6: Measuring Success
There’s no point in doing all this work if you’re not going to measure it. It’s true that B2B attribution can be tricky due to a long sales funnel and multiple decision-makers. But, there are ways to show that content is changing the right minds. Measuring by website visits alone can be deceiving since we’re looking for quality traffic.
For example, has your bounce rate gone down and your time on page gone up? What about the engagement on your page? These are all signs that the right people are coming to your site and finding it useful.
Follow these steps and you’re bound to improve your traffic quality and contribute to converted leads. Plus, we find that this exercise helps businesses focus on content that moves the needle instead of spending time and money throwing darts at the wall.
For more tips on SEO, check out Top 5 Tips to Improve Your SEO in 2019.