With over 3.5 billion searches on Google every single day, can you really afford to ignore this critical facet of online marketing?
B2B SEO might not be as well understood as its B2C cousin, but that doesn’t make it any less important.
1. Keyword research and the buyer journey
As ordinary consumers, we’re not in the habit of consulting with people when it comes to, say, buying a new pair of trainers.
If we see something we like online, we might do a quick Google search to understand whether the product was received well by other consumers. If everything checks out, we proceed to order the goods. After all, if something doesn’t fit (no pun intended) we can always exchange it later.
However, as a B2B buyer we don’t necessarily have the same luxury.
When the head of operations wants to purchase a new forklift to make warehouse management more efficient, they can’t simply go online and click purchase.
This acquisition — which could probably cost several hundred thousand dollars — has to be signed off by the CFO, CEO, and possibly other C-suite executives.
The time taken to close the sale will also be a minimum of a few months. This means your marketing and SEO efforts, such as the B2B Google ads strategy, must anticipate the key issues and problems each stakeholder faces.
One way of going about this is to build a B2B buyer persona. This is an imaginary framework that targets your ideal customer and outlines key concerns that they might have.
You start off by giving them a name. For example, the operations lead you want to target could be named ‘Manager Mike’. The next step is to outline details such as:
- Career aspirations
- Publications they read
- Business challenges they face
Repeat this for all the people involved in deciding whether to buy your product or not. As we said earlier, this could entail several executives at the C-Suite level.
Once that’s done, you’ll be in a much better position to organize your content around specific search terms. You could take it a step further and invest in a third-party SEO tool such as Ahrefs or SEMrush, which will give you extremely granular details on the number of search queries as well as semantically related keywords you could add to the strategy.
2. Website design and user experience
You may think SEO is all about fancy analytics and numbers, but that’s not true. SEO means optimizing your website to rank highly in search engine results. And for Google, your website design, page load speeds, bounce rates, time on site, and pages per session are all important factors that tell it how users find your website content and structure.
In fact, it takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to establish a first impression about your website. If they don’t like it, they’ll simply exit (or bounce, in digital marketing parlance). That, in turn, will indicate to Google that your website isn’t appealing and will compel the search engine to move you down the rankings.
3. Link building
Link building is the practice of getting credible websites to link (refer) back to you. It’s an incredibly powerful SEO tactic because it works as a vote of confidence, signaling to search engines that your site has content and information valuable to other readers.
Again, link building has traditionally been understood as a B2C SEO tactic but that doesn’t make it any less valuable from a B2B standpoint.
The caveat to link building is that you must have great content in order to convince others to link back to you. Sometimes it’s just an issue of discoverability — reach out to industry blogs and publications and show them your new blog, e-book, or whitepaper and why their audience would like to read it.
Other strategies involve engaging in guest blogging — this means you write original pieces of content for other publications. Your author bio can link back to your site, earning that elusive backlink. Many sites accept guest posts but it’s just a matter of reaching the right person and getting the topic approved.
The types of digital marketing strategies that you deploy for your next B2B SEO campaign should be different than what you might have used in the past. SEO isn’t an exact science so it’s important to keep experimenting before you nail it down. However, these three tips should definitely point you in the right direction.