Coming up with the best B2B SEO strategy can be difficult if you don’t know where to begin. Whether you are starting from scratch or reassessing your B2B SEO practices, coming up with a consistent strategy is essential for success.
Companies that rely on business-to-business commerce know that catering to commercial and even corporate business clients requires a different approach then typical direct-to-consumer businesses. It’s necessary to tailor your marketing to your specific industry and with SEO marketing the need is the same.
For businesses with an online presence your web marketing needs are going to differ from industry to industry. But basic approaches for SEO will stay the same even across businesses for industrial equipment, software (SaaS), commercial ecommerce, corporate services, consumables, and more – for each of these good search optimization can increase lead generation and sales.
How can SEO Help Online business?
Good SEO is critical to growing the presence of your brand on search engines like Google and Bing. Good search optimization strategies rely on both on-page and off-page factors that can help boost your site’s rankings. The better your site, the more keywords you can rank for and the more organic traffic you can get.
Optimizing a site’s meta data with target keywords and customer focused descriptions can help improve traffic from search results pages. Creating high-quality content and designing your site to be intuitive can help signal to Google or Bing your site’s relevancy. The better your site’s content, structure, performance, and UX the more likely you are to rank higher for more competitive searches in your industry. Business-to-business SEO means increasing traffic to your site based on searches from your segment, and from companies that will know the specifics of your industry.
Strategies for B2B search optimization must also consider the more complex shopping funnel that clients take before completing a transaction. Decisions for businesses pass through many layers of research and approval before they are complete.
We’ve come up with simplified strategies and tips for the best SEO practices to use on B2B sites. SEO can take some time but once you’ve established yourself and perfected your strategy the results speak for themselves.
Here are our 8 tips for improving on your B2B SEO Strategy:
- Researching Keywords for Your B2B Site
The first and most important step in SEO for any website is good keyword research. Start by making a list of terms that you would use to describe your products and by brainstorming terms that users might use to find them.
When it comes to targeting B2B keywords, you’ll want to focus on keywords that involve B2B terms that your customers will be searching for. It’s also important to think about the terms your audience may be using to search for the products you sell and use those as keywords in your title tags. Keywords containing the terms “wholesale,” “bulk,” or “commercial,” are a great start and are great at indicating to your target shoppers the sort of services you offer. But depending on your industry these terms may vary.
For any website, you’ll want to save your more general keywords for category pages and your more specific keywords for actual product pages. Longtail and accurate keywords are good for targeting searchers at the end of the shopping funnel and can bring them right to your products.
Good keywords should be accurate enough that when a user searches for a product, they find exactly what they need. Keep in mind though that technical jargon and industry specific terms may have much less search traffic (tip: don’t miss out on potential traffic by ignoring the potential for slang terms and common language).
Tools like Google Trends, Google’s auto complete, and Keyword Planner are helpful during the keyword research phase of SEO. Google Trends is a great way to discover popular search queries relevant to your industry.
You can enter a specific topic or term and see what types of information your target audience is looking for. Trends can be narrowed down by location, industry, and more. You can then use this information to write title tags that will lead them to your site or use it to write content relevant to your products or services.
Use Google’s auto complete features to discover important topics for your business.
Begin by typing in some of the keywords you’ve brainstormed and see what Google auto complete suggests. It can give keyword ideas as well as, helping you better understand your target client’s intent. Sometimes the B2B keywords you’re targeting and the keywords users are using don’t always match up, so these tools are extremely helpful when it comes to finding ways to reach your market.
- Match Your Content with Searcher Intent
Whether your audience includes individuals or other businesses, you still must match your content with searcher intent. Improving the accuracy of your title tags and meta descriptions will help users find what they’re looking for – and then the content on your page should keep them there.
Including accurate product descriptions and information to your site will add value to your page and help boost your rankings. Matching your content with intent helps you reach the people who actually want to view or purchase your products, which results in reduced bounce back rates.
Next, you can better optimize your site by making sure they entire site is built with searcher intent in mind. Products should be easy to find, easy to use and all links should be working or redirecting. If a user comes across a 404 on your site, they are more likely to start searching elsewhere.
This is why on-page SEO elements like site-structure, nav-bar design, and internal linking are also important for business-to-business sites. Best practices here for B2B SEO is to help decision makers find a path to conversion that is as easy as possible.
Keyword intent refers to the ultimate goal for a searcher when they type in a particular phrase into Google or Bing. You should seek to target search terms with clear intent that match your company’s B2B focus and create on-site content that demonstrates your authority. This tip for B2B SEO means that you’ll need to understand the ultimate needs of your clients when shopping in your niche.
Another tip for B2B SEO is to include your priority keywords in the first 100 words of your written content. This is a classic strategy that relies on how search engines determine keyword rankings. It’s better to include your keywords in the first and last paragraphs of your page – but best practice means that good content will have your keyword (and your topic) showing clearly through the whole page.
- Do B2B Competitor Research
Competitor research is important because it tells you which companies are ranking for your top keywords. Knowing what the #1 ranking competitors are doing allows you to identify their strengths and weaknesses to help you adjust your own B2B SEO strategies. It can also give you insight into what sort of search optimized content your competitors are using to get the rankings they have.
If your competitor is ranking for all the top keywords, perhaps you focus your efforts into LSI keywords or long tail keywords to gain rankings where your competitor is lacking. With LSI (or Latent Semantic Indexing, a concept that focuses on how search engines handle synonyms), Google’s BERT algorithm update may give B2B marketers greater visibility for more specific search queries.
Using lower traffic more specific keywords can help you reach people who already know exactly what they want.
Not only can this help improve your rankings for specific keywords, it can also increase conversion rates because you are targeting people who are ready to buy. Some online companies offer SEO tools and site analysis technology that allow you to see what your competitors are doing to help you decide on a strategy.
To get started you need to know who they are. For a selected list of your top keywords: do a search and see which pages are showing up first.
Make note of which sites are showing up most frequently, and in which position they rank. A good B2B SEO tip is to put them into a spreadsheet so you can keep track. This will give you a baseline for how to start your own SEO campaign.
Take these keywords and figure out how to incorporate them into your broader SEO campaign. With Keyword Planner and Google trends you can determine traffic, and from there which keywords are your priority.
- Produce Content with Technical Info
Creating content that establishes your brand’s expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT) is essential for building your rankings. Writing EAT friendly content for Google means improving your SEO edge as well as looking more legitimate to savvy potential clients.
Even if your site doesn’t include blogs, you can still focus on detailed descriptions on your product’s uses and purposes. Focus on the unique parts of your products and make sure your content in your descriptions is relevant and original. Including licenses, sources of information, and making sure you have up-to-date information in your about pages and contact pages is a good way to establish yourself.
Helping your consumers find the information they need on your site can help boost your EAT score. Add h-tags like H1s and H2s to help structure your on-page text, in addition to helping readers, it can also improve your likeliness of appearing in rich snippets.
Google’s most recent algorithm updates have placed focus on the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness of a site. Though EAT doesn’t represent a distinct part of Google’s ranking algorithm it is part of their website guidelines.
In defining what content qualifies as EAT, Google lays out in its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines what “MC” (or main content) should be like. They even emphasize the importance of the author by outlining:
- The expertise of the creator of the MC.
- The authoritativeness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website.
- The trustworthiness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself and the website.
Think about how you can demonstrate your brand’s EAT (and boost B2B SEO) for your clients by including important industry information in areas where potential clients may need it.
You might also consider using schema markup (also known as structured data) to your site. Though schema is not a ranking factor for search engines, it can boost your visibility in search results and potentially improve CTR buy giving shoppers important info.
Schema markup adds additional tidbits of info into the search results page – beyond just the standard title and description. This includes elements like product price, user ratings, availability, brand, and more.
There are a couple different kinds. JSON-LD, Microdata, and RDFa each feature different kinds of markup vocabulary, but give the same results and are all supported by Google. This sort of HTML optimization can help establish your SEO and bring B2B shoppers further along the decision funnel. Here is an example of what a XML sitemap might look like:
- Focus on Business and Commercial Needs Along with Their Appropriate Keywords
Writing blogs, although time consuming, is one of the best ways to increase traffic to your site. It’s also a great way to improve your B2B site’s EAT performance over time.
Establish yourself as an expert on different commercial products that a client might find useful – this also gives you the opportunity to link to your products (even in B2B search optimization, best practice is to only link to areas of your site when relevant).
Writing long form online content that provides valuable information with relevant industry keywords will help your page stand out among all the other sources competing for #1 rankings. Detailed information will also help executive make their decisions.
Blogs for B2B sites could include information comparing products you carry, highlighting their uses, guides on operation, and more. This helps demonstrate authority while also helping clients decide which product is right for their business. Giving searchers the answers they need within your site will increase the likelihood that they purchase those products from you. Blog content is a good way of increasing inbound traffic for your industry niche and can help lead to converting traffic later.
Keep in mind that B2B business transactions take place over multiple sessions and on a much longer timeline than consumer shopping. Rich and helpful blog content may increase B2B SEO in the short term, but in the long term will grow your brand visibility and perceived authority.
Next time you add or edit content on your site, think about their needs and the industry keywords they’ll be using to find what they’re looking for. Our tip for B2B SEO is to target those.
- Tracking Goals and Conversions with Analytics
Tracking goals and conversions in Google Analytics should be a regular practice for any e-commerce site looking to boost their rankings. Tracking your goals and conversions can tell you a lot of things about your site and how successful your B2B SEO efforts have been.
Bounce backs and shorter session durations will tell you that perhaps you need to reevaluate the keywords you are using to better match your audience’s needs. Longer session durations and increased pages-per-session tell you that the user is finding what they are looking for or learning more about the product(s) they might be needing.
Although your pages may be getting tons of views each day, if the clients aren’t finding what they are searching for you won’t be seeing conversions. If you’re an ecommerce business then enabling ecommerce tracking is vital for these efforts if you want to see how often a customer actually purchases something from your landing pages. You can also view total revenue, revenue by product, day to day transactions and more to help you identify which pages may need more SEO focus. Overall, the more users that stay on your site, the more successful your B2B SEO efforts.
Online businesses can also benefit from connecting their site with Google Search Console, a free service that lets marketers monitor their performance in the Google index. Here you can see warning and issues with your site, as well as analyze data that shows which keywords and search visitors are using to get to your site.
First sign up for a Search Console account and verify ownership of your site. Once you have a Search Console account it will take some time before data about your site’s clicks, impressions in search results, and keyword rankings can appear.
Use this data to inform your B2B site’s SEO with more accurate keyword focus. The “Performance” report shows you which keywords you are showing up for, how many clicks you get in search, and more.
- Building Your Brand Recognition
As you learned before, writing blogs can help establish your expertise and authority, but they can also help build your brand. As your content is shared and read, businesses and clientele will associate your branding with their industry niche.
In addition to blogs, you can build your brand by including your branding meta title tags. Whenever possible, you should put your brand name at the end of your title tags separated by a straight pipe.
This step isn’t critical for rankings, but it can help search associate you with certain search keywords. With the right domain and decent content, site’s should have no problem ranking #1 for brand related searches – this step is only optional.
Common meta title styles might look like:
- Keyword 1 | Keyword 2 | Brand Name
- Keyword 1 & Keyword 2 | Brand Name
- A long Keyword 1 – A long Keyword 2
There is no wrong or right way to structure your titles, but write them for humans as much as for search algorithms. For B2B SEO marketers you may want to keep them clean and professional. If you can’t fit branding in your meta title, then let searchers know who you are by including it in the description.
This helps you establish your brand as the source for the products and information users are looking for in your industry. This is particularly helpful if your brand manufactures its own products.
If they are already aware of your brand and products, then they are more likely to be ready to make a purchase.
Finally, when including branding be aware of possibly cutting off your brand in the SERP. Google and Bing will truncate titles that are too long.
Keeping your title tags concise should help avoid this problem but if your keywords are too long your entire title tag might not be visible on the SERP. Although this won’t affect your ranking, it does affect your click-through-rate (CTR). Keep your title under 60 characters for a better chance of it being displayed fully.
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Though CRO is a separate area of expertise from SEO, using best practices here can help bring your B2B site’s SEO come to fruition. Conversions rate optimization focuses on increasing the amount of specific actions completed on a site. These actions are what help you achieve your goals whether it is increasing sales or generating leads.
There are two types of conversions that you might focus on, depending on your industry. For most B2B sites you’ll most likely be focused on macro-conversions where your goal is for the user to complete a purchase. Micro-conversions are conversions that lead a user to completing a macro-conversion. For example, a micro conversion could be creating an account on your B2B site and then using that account to complete a purchase. Investing in email marketing, creating website forms or surveys, and calls to action (CTAs) are just a few simple ways you can incorporate CRO on your site.
Intuitive site design, nav-bar structure, and helpful prompts are all important elements of good SEO that can also help with conversions. Ensure that your technical SEO is also up to par (page load speed, mobile friendliness, etc.) this can also give your users a better experience.
After you optimize for CRO it is important to monitor your progress by tracking your conversions in analytics. Many larger scale business perform A/B testing to ensure they’re CRO and SEO is effective.
As you can see, there are a lot of important factors that go into B2B SEO practices. A lot of these B2B practices align with traditional SEO practices with a more specific focus on your industry and goals. When making changes to your site, remember that SEO is a gradual process so you may not see results right away. Over time you will find that focusing your efforts and building on your strategies will help you increase your rankings and maintain them.
Contact our team for more information on how to optimize your business with B2B SEO strategies. Call us or fill out our form for a free site consultation and to learn more about SEM services.