Most CEOs and marketing executives working at B2B companies understand that search engine optimization (SEO) is a valuable marketing strategy. Even so, they fail to fully utilize its potential because they feel they are constrained by time or budget demands. It often seems that investing heavily in paid advertising delivers more tangible and substantial results. That is certainly true for a brief period, but if you’re interested in owning a business that continues to grow and thrive for decades, then SEO needs to be a primary concern.
What is SEO?
What if you aren’t fully aware of what search engine optimization (SEO) is, what it has to offer, or how to start using it? You aren’t alone. Luckily, understanding the basics of search engine optimization are quite simple. It’s not until you dive into the complexities of the ranking algorithm that things become confusing.
At its core, SEO is all about making your website pop up at the top of the Google search results. According to research by SEO expert Brian Dean, the top five positions in the search results received over 50% of all clicks. Results from page two on down get less than 1% of all clicks. Potential clients will search for something that relates to your business, they follow the Google link to your business website, and some of them become paying customers. The higher you are on Google’s rankings the more people who will click on your website and the more leads you’ll generate. SEO has other benefits as well, but this is its primary focus.
SEO – A Long Term Marketing Solution
We all love PPC advertising and other marketing tactics that deliver immediate results. It’s almost like depositing money into a lead generating machine. But what happens when you don’t put a quarter into the machine? You don’t get a lead and you suddenly realize your company is the same period of growth that it was months or years ago. Paid advertising is extremely beneficial, but it’s not a long-term marketing solution like SEO.
What happens when you deposit a few quarters into the SEO marketing machine? Not much is going to happen at first. SEO doesn’t deliver immediate results. This is why most B2B owners overlook it for so long. But the sooner you get started with SEO the sooner it can start delivering long-term results. In fact, compared to paid advertising, SEO is king with organic results getting 50% of all Google clicks and paid search ads getting only 4.4% of clicks.
If you spend a year investing in SEO and then suddenly stop your business is still going to continue generating leads. Albeit, the volume will decrease. The point is that an investment in SEO is one that continues paying off long into the future. Articles, blogs, and authority that your website builds will bring in new website visitors for years.
Creating a B2B SEO Strategy
Now that you understand the importance of B2B SEO, you may be wondering how you can get started. An obvious choice is to work with a reputable marketing firm that has experience with B2B companies. Does that mean you’re free from every worrying about SEO or learning about how to use it? Unfortunately not. A savvy B2B business owner will stay up-to-date with the basics of SEO, the latest strategies, and a list of “Do’s” or “Do Not’s”.
This way, you can make on-the-fly changes to your website or marketing strategy when you notice something isn’t working. It also helps you to better understand what the marketing firms are doing for you and determine if their work is worth the investment.
To help you get started, we’ve compiled 4 “Best Practices” regarding B2B SEO strategies. These are simple practices that you can utilize yourself. At the very least, you can make sure that your marketing firm is implementing these practices.
1. Find The Low-Volume SEO Keywords
If you rush into learning about SEO, then you’ll probably encounter dozens of strategies that sound perfect. However, the majority of these strategies are designed for B2C companies with very different audiences. One major difference between B2C and B2B SEO strategies is the focus on low-volume keywords. What does this mean?
In a given month, Google might experience hundreds of thousands of searches for nearby dental offices. These are B2C searches because the consumer is searching for a particular business. There are far fewer Google searches where dental offices are searching for employment management software. The latter would be a typical B2B search query and these happen far less often. For the example above, there may be less than a dozen B2B queries in the same month that tens or hundreds of thousands of similar B2C searches occurred.
The Importance of Keyword Research
While niche keywords are important, make sure to do your homework before writing targeted SEO content. Some niche keywords are more important than others. The simple fact is certain keywords, while relevant, get less search volume than others. Make sure you’re targeting keywords that users actually search for.
All that this means is that from step one you need to realize you’re dealing with low-volume search queries. It’s going to take more time to create effective content and that content will bring in fewer visitors than B2C content. You can’t expect to stick with a generic B2C strategy and get the same results that those companies get.
2. Writing Targeted SEO Content
The act of people visiting your site by clicking a Google link isn’t enough to generate leads and create sales. Those people need to have a genuine interest in what your company has to offer. That’s why you target search phrases and keywords that are relevant to your business and your target audience. For many companies, their target audience is some niche of consumers around the globe. But for a B2B company, your target audience is other businesses in a certain market. Marketing directly to an industry or company is known as account based marketing.
At the end of the day, you need to determine who the target audience is. Once you know that, you can write targeted SEO content. Is it a hospital searching for “medical billing software”? Or perhaps it is a construction company on the search for the latest hard hats or other accessories. Before you can proceed with search engine optimization you’ll need to narrow down your focus to a specific target audience and then begin creating content that appeals to that target audience.
3. Track Your Keyword Rankings
Google uses a very sophisticated algorithm to rank pages and the inner workings of this algorithm are unknown to most people. SEO marketing experts spend their career learning whatever they can about this algorithm and how to best take advantage of it for company needs. But even with a decade of experience, nobody can predict the seemingly random changes that Google makes on its own.
For example, you can take the time to carefully select keywords for titles and meta-tags on each page. Experience tells us that Google will display these tags in a specific way that will benefit your site. However, there are times when Google will change the way it displays those tags. The changes it makes could severely impact your SEO strategy.
It’s up to you to pay attention to your site and track your keyword rankings. You need to be aware of the changes that Google makes and then figure out why it makes that change. Finally, you can find a way to use those changes to your advantage.
4. Use SEO to Strengthen Your Brand
B2B companies don’t generally convert visitors to paying customers the first time they visit their site. There are often other people in the company involved in the purchase decision. Your site needs to use SEO to build a strong reputation and brand so that these visitors remember your company and return when they are ready to make the final purchase.
This means, unlike with B2C SEO, you need to do a lot more than just bring visitors to your site. You need to let those visitors know that you are an authority in your market and that your brand is memorable. This all takes more than a few carefully selected keywords. It takes an investment of time and quality content. Eventually, these two will produce repeat visitors who convert to sales.
Staying on top of the latest B2B SEO Strategies
B2B SEO strategies are constantly changing and evolving. Staying ahead of the curve can be difficult if you’re trying to run a business at the same time. Luckily, working with a professional SEO marketing firm can make this struggle a lot easier. But remember, it’s still up to you to make sure your company’s SEO strategy succeeds regardless of who’s behind the marketing steering wheel.