When you’re selling directly to consumers (B2C), your SEO campaigns are trying to drive customers to buy now. Selling to businesses takes a different strategy, especially when it comes to search engine optimization.
The B2B buying journey takes longer. Purchases are larger. The stakes are higher. Your B2B SEO campaigns are driving buyers through the customer journey. You’re targeting them at each stage of this journey with relevant information, such as White Papers, newsletter sign-ups, thought leadership pieces, and demo requests. You’re trying to build trust and credibility in your brand as they do their research.
The B2C Customer Journey
The B2C customer journey is pretty simple. Consumers see an ad or information online. They might find your product when they’re searching online and see a PPC (Pay Per Click) ad or find your website organically. From there, they browse your products and decide to buy.
The B2B Customer Journey
For B2B customers, the journey takes a different route. One message rarely entices someone to make a purchase. It’s often the cumulative effect of messaging and exposure that leads buyers to convert.
There are also several additional challenges that B2B marketers are facing.
Most B2B sales involve multiple decision-makers and economic buyers. 75% of B2B buyers say their purchase involves multiple people across roles and locations. Each person involved in the decision may be searching for different information. One size does not fit all.
We tend to think of B2B buyers as doing initial research online, then converting to offline interactions with sales reps. In fact, B2B buyers are engaging with online content through every step of the buying journey. Gartner research shows that 83% of B2B customers are doing online research right up to the purchase phase.
B2B SEO Tactics
Your B2B SEO strategy needs to be focused on four key questions:
- Who needs our product or service?
- What is their motivation?
- How can we demonstrate that we have the solution they need?
- How can we create content in a way that is search engine friendly?
The mission of search engines is to serve up the most relevant content every time a visitor enters a query. Your goal is to make sure you’ve got that content and the search engine will favor it over your competitors.
Google has more than 200+ ranking signals it uses in its algorithm. Effective SEO starts with making sure your website is optimized to these ranking signals. While Google has never published what these ranking signals are in full, here are what experts say are some of the most important factors you need to worry about in 2019.
- High-quality content on your websites and blogs
- Content should be SEO-optimized with keywords and provide real value to visitors.
- Content that matches the user’s search intent
When a B2B buyer is searching in your niche, you want to have the specific content they’re looking for
- The right keywords everywhere
Even the best content can be overlooked by the search engines if you aren’t using keywords throughout your content and your website
- A secure website (HTTPS)
Browsers and search engines are not only pushing non-secure sites down the list of organic results, but some are also actively flagging sites as non-secure. Potential customers are becoming wary of visiting non-secure sites.
- Optimized for mobile
Google gives preference to mobile-optimized websites, especially for mobile searchers. Nearly half (48%) of searches start on mobile and 52% of customers say a poor mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company.
- Page load speed
More than half of web visitors leave a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. Search engines now prioritize sites with short load times.
- User experience and on-page optimization
As you create content to market your business and deploy B2B SEO tactics, keep all of the above items in mind. Here are some of the strategies that will help you improve the SEO of B2B marketing.
When multiple decision makers are involved, they are likely searching for different things. Product managers may be searching for tools that provide more efficiently while Business managers may be searching for tools that provide a faster ROI. You’ll need to create SEO-enhanced content for both. An effective technique is to create profiles of the people most likely to be in the decision-making chain.
Marketers call these buyer personas. Identify the roles of the people you’re trying to reach and the motivations they have for making a purchase. By understanding what drives their decisions, you can determine how best to create content.
Feeding The Motivation
Effective sales teams learn to probe for the pain point. By identifying the problem businesses need to solve, they can position their product or service as the solution that eases the pain. This motivation can help you identify keywords to match search intent.
B2B marketing teams need to develop an entire ecosystem of marketing material to help engage customers at each point in the process. These content pieces should be customized to buyer personas and motivations. Your SEO activities should target the right people at the right time with the right content.
The Right Keywords
People search in all sorts of ways. Using the right keywords can be the difference between being found online and being forgotten. SEO for B2B takes extensive keyword research. You’ll need to identify how people search and the phrases they’ll use most often at various stages of the buying journey. Because products and services in business often are targeted at solving specific problems, you’ll need to incorporate both broad terms and niche, industry-specific keywords into your strategy.
These keywords should be used in your marketing materials, your website, your landing pages, and your advertising. For B2B SEO, the search volume may be low and competition for these keywords may be high.
SEO for B2B means consistent link building. One of the key ranking signals that Google uses is the quality of your inbound links. Getting your content placed – with links back to your website – on high authority websites makes the search engines take notice. Getting links through guest posts, placement, reviews, or other methods on industry-leading online publications can help with your SEO and attract industry leaders.
The more diverse your link building strategy, the more successful it can be. Make sure to avoid placing links anywhere. Links on poor quality sites can hurt your SEO.
SEO For B2B
Employing both on-site and off-site B2B SEO is crucial to reaching B2B buyers. Backlinks, keywords, and aggressive SEO strategy are all important. At the center of it all, however, is valuable content that provides the information B2B buyers are searching for. Without high-quality content that positions your company as the solution to the problem that started them searching, you won’t drive them to convert.