Making pages rank to reach customers is a common endeavor. To a lot of businesses, SEO is essential in delivering products and services to web users on the first page of search engines.
But what if your business needs to reach another business? Are we still talking about the same SEO now? Are we scrapping our entire SEO strategy as we know it?
Today, we’re talking about how you can design an effective SEO B2B Strategy to help you (a B2B business) reach your target customers (another business) more efficiently through SEO.
We will have to loosen up some of our misconceptions with this first. So, let’s dive into it.
- B2B SEO focuses on reaching other businesses, while B2C targets individual consumers. Their strategies differ in audience, buying cycle, and keyword usage.
- SEO remains a crucial customer acquisition channel for B2B businesses, enhancing credibility, brand recognition, and lead generation.
- Despite the differences between a B2B and a B2C model regarding their audience and buying behaviors, they share several similarities regarding SEO strategies.
What is B2B SEO?
B2B SEO, or Business-to-Business SEO, is pretty much just SEO but with a slightly different goal. It is a strategy used by businesses to make their web pages more visible on search engines for other businesses who are looking for products and services.
It involves optimizing web pages and technical aspects to improve its rank in search engine results for keywords related to the business. Just like regular search engine optimization, B2B SEO efforts also include:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Technical SEO
Is SEO effective for B2B companies?
Yes, SEO is still effective and necessary for B2B companies. As per multiple sources, SEO is considered a crucial component in digital marketing strategy for B2B businesses.
It can help improve organic visibility across all stages of the buying process, increase brand recognition, and generate new leads. Furthermore, a successful B2B SEO strategy is essential for business success, as it can enhance credibility and authority as an industry leader.
As Adriana Stein highlights on LinkedIn, SEO is one of the most underutilized yet cost-efficient strategies for B2B marketing. Therefore, neglecting SEO could mean missing out on significant opportunities for growth and competitiveness in the online space.
How is it different from B2C SEO?
B2C SEO, or Business-to-Consumer Search Engine Optimization, is similar to B2B SEO’s core aim – to improve a website’s visibility on search engines. However, it is geared towards businesses that sell products or services directly to consumers.
The main goal of B2C SEO is to attract individuals looking for a product or service to purchase for personal use. This means the keywords used in B2C SEO may differ from those used in B2B SEO, as they’re targeting everyday consumers rather than other businesses.
Now, let’s go through the primary differences between B2B SEO and B2C SEO:
- Audience: B2B SEO targets other businesses, while B2C SEO targets individual consumers. This distinction affects the type of content created and the keywords used.
- Buying Cycle: In B2B, the buying cycle is typically longer and involves more decision-makers. Therefore, B2B SEO strategies often include more educational and detailed content to cater to this complex process. On the other hand, B2C purchases are usually simpler and quicker, so the SEO strategy might focus more on product features and benefits.
- Keywords: B2B keywords often revolve around industry jargon, specific product specifications, or service details because they aim to attract professionals in the field. B2C keywords, however, are usually simpler and more general, reflecting the language the average consumer uses.
By understanding these differences, businesses can create more effective SEO strategies tailored to their specific target audience, whether that’s other businesses (B2B) or individual consumers (B2C).
5 Ways to Create a Solid SEO B2B Strategy
Creating a solid SEO strategy for B2B marketing may seem daunting, but with the right approach, it’s entirely manageable. It’s a journey that will transform your online presence and lead you to the digital forefront of your industry.
Let’s embark on this adventure and uncover the cornerstone elements of an effective B2B SEO plan.
1. Start with a customer avatar
In order to create an effective B2B SEO strategy, you need to start by understanding your target audience. This means creating a detailed customer avatar/buyer persona, which is essentially a detailed profile of your ideal customer.
It includes their industry, job role, challenges, and what they value in a product or service.
Use online survey tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to gather insights about your customers.
To be more efficient in doing this, it’s highly recommended that you create a customer avatar. It’ll make detailing your target customer easier.
“But how do I create an avatar if my target customer is a business?” Don’t worry. Even though you’re targeting businesses, many of the needed elements to form a customer avatar can still be applied.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Research: Start by collecting data about your target businesses through surveys, interviews, and analysis of customer data using tools like Google Analytics, social media insights, and competitor analysis. This will give you valuable insights into who your customers are and what they want.
- Create the Avatar: Once you have collected enough data, use this information to create a semi-fictional character that represents your ideal customer. This should include demographics, psychographics, pain points, behavior patterns, etc.
- Use a Customer Avatar Worksheet: Utilize a customer avatar worksheet to guide the creation of a detailed profile of your ideal customer. This should include before/after scenarios, demographics, interests, key purchase drivers, frustrations and fears, wants and aspirations, and a description of the avatar.
- Build Multiple Avatars: Consider creating multiple customer avatars if you have a diverse target market. Each avatar should represent a different segment of your target market. This ensures comprehensive targeting and personalized marketing efforts.
2. Identify the keywords your customers are using
Once you clearly understand your customer avatar, the next step is identifying the keywords they’re using to find your product or service. You don’t jump on a blog post right away. These keywords will form the foundation of your SEO strategy.
Utilize SEO tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs for thorough keyword research.
Finding the right keywords is crucial to ensure that your blog post and other content get found by potential customers.
Here are two easy ways to approach this:
- Use Keyword Research Tools: Tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs can help you find popular search terms related to your product or service. They provide insights into search volume, competitiveness, and related keywords that can help guide your SEO strategy.
- Study Your Competitors: Check out the keywords your competitors rank for. Tools like Moz’s Keyword Explorer or SEMrush’s Domain Overview can provide this information. This can give you ideas for keywords you might not have considered.
Being in the B2B space, it’s easy to succumb to the idea that your keyword research tactics should differ just because you’re now targeting businesses, not customers.
But that’s not exactly the case in reality.
Here’s what you can do to jumpstart your keyword research for B2B SEO:
- Think like your customers. In this case, like the people from the businesses you want to target and help with your product/service.
- Try questioning keywords your target customers likely use to find your product/service. (e.g., “How to increase website traffic?”)
- Consider the intent behind the keywords (informational, navigational, transactional).
- Use Google’s auto-fill suggestions for initial keyword ideas.
- Look at the “More to ask” and “More searches” sections on Google for more keyword inspiration.
3. Create well-optimized product pages/service pages
First, let’s visualize what well-optimized product or service landing pages look like.
The best of the best always include these elements on their pages:
- Clear and concise headlines
- High-quality images or videos
- Detailed and easy-to-read product/service descriptions
- Testimonials or reviews
- Call to action (CTA) buttons
- Social proof (awards, press mentions)
- Pricing information
- Contact information
- FAQ section
- A mobile-first design
- Fast load speed
And more… Those are just some of the few essential elements that the best product pages/landing pages have. If you want yours to convert well, look into adding the elements we’ve listed above.
Your product or service pages are where conversions happen. Therefore, these pages must be well-optimized for SEO.
But aside from the list above, this also involves including your target keywords in strategic places like the title tag, meta description, and throughout the content.
Use an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO to ensure your pages are well-optimized.
Creating well-optimized product or service pages is crucial to an effective B2B SEO strategy.
Here are some ways to achieve this:
- Keyword Strategy: Define your keyword strategy, ensuring you’re targeting terms your customers are searching for. Place these keywords strategically in your title tags, headers, and content.
- Original Product Descriptions: Use original, unique product descriptions that provide valuable information to your customers. Avoid duplicating content from other sites, as this can harm your SEO.
- Accurate and Consistent Information: Ensure all information on your product pages is accurate and consistent. This includes product details, pricing, and contact information.
- Avoid Information Overload: Don’t overwhelm your visitors with too much information. Keep your product descriptions concise and easy to read, and use bullet points or subheadings to break up the text.
- High-Quality Images or Videos: Include high-quality images or videos that accurately represent your products or services. Visuals enhance user experience and can contribute to your SEO if they’re properly optimized with alt text.
- Strong Branding: Incorporate your logo and use consistent branding throughout your product pages. This helps build brand recognition and trust among your customers.
4. Build a content strategy that will establish your authority
Creating high-quality, relevant content is key to any successful B2B SEO strategy. This is because content marketing helps establish your brand as an authority in your industry, which can lead to higher search engine rankings.
One proven way of doing this is topical mapping.
What is topical mapping?
Topical mapping is the practice of planning and creating content around main subjects or themes. Instead of just targeting single keywords, you create content that covers related topics under one main theme. This helps a search engine see you as an expert in a specific area, improving your authority and website’s visibility.
This content marketing approach reflects how search engine algorithms have evolved to understand user intent and semantic relationships between words.
By focusing on topics, you can provide comprehensive coverage that positions your credibility in a certain field, improving crawlability, user experience, and, ultimately, the effectiveness of your content strategy in answering search queries.
Use tools like BuzzSumo to find popular content in your industry for inspiration and Google Search Console for monitoring.
Leveraging topical mapping and topic clusters can significantly enhance your content strategy, helping you establish authority in your field.
Let’s say you’re trying to cover the topic of “weight gain for skinny guys.” This main keyword could be turned into a pillar page. But there are a number of other topics you can also write about in relation to the main topic of “weight gain for skinny guys.”
Here’s how to approach topical mapping:
- Start with Core Topics: Identify the main subjects or themes central to your niche or industry. These should be broad areas you want to be known for.
- Brainstorm Subtopics: For each core topic, list down narrower related topics or questions your audience might have. These subtopics dive deeper into the specifics of the main theme.
- Use Keyword Research Tools: Utilize tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Google Keyword Planner to find popular and relevant keywords for each subtopic. This helps in understanding what your audience is searching for.
- Analyze Competitor Content: Check what topics your competitors are covering. Tools like Moz’s Keyword Explorer or SEMrush’s Domain Overview can provide insights. Fill in gaps they might be missing.
- Prioritize Content Creation: Based on search volume and competition, decide which subtopics to tackle first. This helps in targeting low-hanging fruits and gaining quick wins.
- Visualize Your Map: Use simple tools like Spreadsheet or Excel to organize your core topics and subtopics visually. This gives a clear picture of your content strategy.
- Create Comprehensive Content: For each subtopic, produce detailed and valuable content that fully addresses the subject. The goal is to make each piece the best resource on that specific topic.
- Interlink Related Content: Within your articles, link to other relevant content on your site. This creates a web of interconnected topics, enhancing user experience and SEO.
5. Outreach and backlinks
Backlinks, or links from other websites to yours, are a vital part of SEO. They signal to search engines that your site is a trustworthy source of information.
Building a strong backlink profile involves reaching out to relevant websites and blogs in your industry and asking them to link to your content.
Use a tool like Hunter.io to find contact information for outreach.
Building backlinks effectively can significantly enhance your website’s authority and rankings. Here are some tips to guide you:
- Create Quality Content: Develop high-quality content that provides value to your audience. This kind of content naturally attracts links from other websites.
- Guest Blogging: Seek guest blogging opportunities on reputable websites in your industry. In your article, include a link to relevant content on your site.
- Broken Link Building: Identify broken links on other websites and offer your own relevant content as a replacement. Site owners will often appreciate the help in improving their user experience.
- Influencer Outreach: Reach out to influencers in your niche and ask them to share your content. If they find it valuable, they may link to it from their own website or social media.
- Join Link-Building Channels: Participate in link-building channels or private groups. These communities often share opportunities for guest posts, collaborations, and other link-building strategies. Make sure to contribute and not just take from these communities.
- Use Social Media: Promote your content on social media platforms. While these links typically don’t directly affect SEO, they can lead to more visibility and organic backlinks.
- Competitor Analysis: Analyze your competitors’ backlinks to find new linking opportunities. Tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush can be useful for this.
- Local Listings: If you’re a local business, ensure you’re listed in relevant online directories. These often provide a backlink to your site and can boost local search rankings.
To optimize your B2B SEO strategy, begin with an effective website design focusing on user experience and incorporating strong branding. Develop a content strategy that establishes your authority through topical mapping, clustering related keywords, and content under broader themes.
Utilize tools like BuzzSumo for inspiration and conduct thorough keyword research for each subtopic. Analyze search intent and competitor content to refine your strategy.
Build a strong backlink profile through outreach, creating quality content, guest blogging, broken link building, influencer outreach, and using social media.
Finally, competitor analysis and local listings can also help boost your rankings. Implement these strategies to enhance your online presence and visibility.
Brian Shelton is an entrepreneur, marketer, and life-long learner committed to helping businesses achieve impactful results. He founded Grow Predictably to provide tailored marketing strategies to generate predictable, profitable growth. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Brian has helped businesses, large and small. reach their goals and drive positive change in the world.