Getting Your B2B Marketing SEO Right
In today’s digitally driven world, the practice of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has taken on even greater significance amongst marketers.
With the numerous updates a year we see from search engine providers, there is always something new on the agenda when it comes to SEO, that marketing professionals aim to tackle.
Despite reluctance from some, SEO for B2B websites is as important as it is for B2C websites, and can enable you to reap the same, if not, greater rewards if done correctly.
Those B2B organisations that rely solely on traditional forms of marketing, such as channel partnerships or word of mouth, to generate leads will find themselves behind the competition, as more and more companies realise the importance of B2B SEO.
Be sure to read our blog about why B2B businesses need digital marketing.
In this blog, we examine some of the crucial aspects that should be addressed to ensure your B2B SEO strategy is optimised to deliver results.
But first, we begin by looking at why SEO for B2B companies is crucial and how it differs from B2C SEO.
The Importance of B2B SEO
In simple terms, SEO is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of organic (non-paid) traffic to your website.
It is the process whereby all the numerous factors influencing where your website ranks on a search engine, are optimised to drive more high quality traffic to your website.
These factors include but are not limited to, your website’s meta data, website content and keyword usage, backlinks to your website, social media activity, mobile/tablet friendliness, and site speed.
According to Google there can be up to 200 ranking factors an SEO marketer can consider.
We have read that some have suggested SEO is not as important as it once was, which we completely disagree with.
The modern customer sees the internet as their number one source for information. The number of people using search engines daily, and the number of daily search engine searches are increasing, so why should focus on SEO decline?
In fact, research shows that even the majority of offline B2B purchases are influenced online, with users viewing online catalogues and browsing online using search engines before purchasing.
So, SEO should be considered in your top priorities within your B2B marketing strategy, however, it is a long-term approach, its not a one-off and results are not instant.
B2B SEO & B2C SEO
B2B SEO differs from B2C SEO due to the desired end goal of both. With B2C SEO the favoured goal for a B2C ecommerce site is to simply attract a visitor to their site from a search engine who completes a sale/transaction.
With B2B SEO, the goal is more focused on generating greater brand awareness and leads that will turn into sales and repeat transactions in the longer term.
The goal could be to get the user to register their interest for a trade account, sign up for a trade newsletter, fill out a contact form that the sales team will follow up on, or download a brochure/catalogue for more information.
With B2B, it inevitably takes longer to turn a website visitor into a paying trade customer. These varying goals affect all decisions made throughout the SEO process and your SEO strategy.
For instance, the keywords you target, the content you write and the backlinks you pursue all must keep these goals in mind.
B2B Keywords & Rankings
Keywords are paramount to a successful SEO strategy. Keyword research should be one of the first things done when considering how to improving your SEO and your website’s ability to rank organically for the key terms your prospective customers are using.
Before optimising any meta data or writing any sort of content, you need to ensure you have your targeted keywords list by your side.
For B2B SEO, this keywords list may need to be more technical as the target audience are likely to be more experienced and knowledgeable e around the types of suppliers and products they are seeking .
These keywords should be more informational and transactional, and feature variants (or modifiers) such as ‘wholesale’, ‘suppliers’ trade, bulk and so forth, depending on search volumes.
You may find that they are often long-tail keywords for example “Buy bulk confectionery and chocolate Leicestershire”.
Remember, though higher search volumes may yield high levels of traffic interest, at the risk of quality, whilst lower search volumes may not look attractive at first, but may have the ability to yield higher quality visitors who convert at a higher rate. It best to have a healthy balance in your list.
When identifying your B2B keywords, you have the option of using popular tools such SEMrush or Moz, but also for those starting out there are other trusted free tools such as Google’s keyword planner.
Of course, with keywords and SEO in general, one of the most important metrics that matter is keyword rankings. Keyword rankings are where on the search engine results page (SERP) your website ranks for a particular keyword.
If your website is the third non-paid-for result on a SERP for a specific keyword, your rank is 3 for that keyword.
Keyword rankings are in a way a measuring stick to determine how well your SEO strategy is working. Did you know that 75% of people never make it past the first page on Google?
You may be thinking ‘Okay great, how do I appear on the first page for all my keywords?’ Keyword rankings are ultimately determined by search engines based on what they deem most relevant for that specific search keyword/phase.
In simple terms, search engines like Google crawl your website to learn what you are about and what searches are relevant to you and inputs it into their search algorithms.
These complex search algorithms assign various weights to a range of factors depending on the search.
These rankings can change and are influenced by a number of different factors, but the important part is you can have some influence over some of these factors which is what your SEO strategy should aim to do.
Content is Still King
On page content such as category descriptions and blog articles are imperative to SEO for B2B and B2C websites. Once you have your keyword research done, you need to ensure your content strategy is in place and adhered to over the longer term.
Simply keyword stuffing a lot of relevant words in a blog every so often will simply no longer work.
You need to ensure you have a continuous content schedule with relevant and useful content for your target audiences and also insightful content that has a chance to earn you backlinks over time as users feel the need to share it.
When writing content for your B2B website, be sure to you stick to the professional style you customer would come to expect. Unlike to with B2C, with B2B we have more of an idea of what sort of consumer will read and find this piece of content useful.
Try not to explain certain concepts they would already know, but also do not make it hard to understand. Presenting challenges your trade audience face and offering solutions to overcome them can be powerful.
Offering advice and knowledge on best selling products, highest margin products and ways to range and layout their offering in store can be a great way to capture and engage your trade customer’s attention.
This will in turn pay dividends for your SEO strategy, as visitors dwell times and engagement with onsite content all play a factor in improving your on page SEO.
Remember content does not only include creating new blogs. It also means creating optimised category and product descriptions and also improving and optimising those already created.
You can use Google Analytics or other SEO tools to identify poorer performing pages and analyse where on it content can be optimised to make it more useful and to include to your keywords.
For B2B websites, it is best to have a content plan in place featuring blog titles and pages you want to create or optimise content throughout the year.
This should consider seasonal events and give an appropriate amount of time for that. For instance, a B2B blog for promoting Easter confectionery should be written in February.
And don’t forget content can extend out to include video, infographics, survey results, white papers, product reviews and more.
The Technical Aspects
A large part of SEO is ensuring all the meta data across your website is fully optimised. This meta data includes the various heading tags, page titles & meta descriptions across your website.
These directly impact where your website ranks and is again an area where your keywords list should be utilised.
You need to ensure these aspects are fully optimised with relevant keywords but be careful not to just keyword stuff and hope for the best.
The length of the page titles and meta descriptions also needs to be in line with the best practice SEO guidelines, which you find can vary.
We would recommend page titles be of between 45-65 characters, following this structure where possible and applicable: [Product/service Name] - [Category/Keyword] | [Brand Name]. For meta descriptions, we suggest a character bracket of between 140-190 characters.
Key hack: Do not neglect image alt tags
Optimising image alt tags is not usually high up on the SEO agenda for many, but they can make a difference when done right.
An easy way to help you write them would be, imagine you have to describe an image in a few words to a visually impaired individual – that would be your image alt tag. Image alt text reinforces the message of your articles with search engine crawlers and improves the accessibility of your website.
The more high-quality relevant backlinks you have to your B2B website the better it is for SEO. Building backlinks for a B2B website differs slightly than for a B2C website.
For B2B link building you need to ensure you target only the most relevant websites and display your expertise in an impressive manner to an audience that are specialists in their field. Some methods you could try are:
- Identifying any broken links
- Influencer outreach
- Claiming links for brand mentions
- Guest blogging
- Forum posting
- Adding to local Directories & industries relevant directories
This is another area where your content creation will be useful. The greater the quality content you create that answers questions and provides valuable information, the more likely it is to be shared by readers.
Be sure to also make full use of social media platforms, to share content especially LinkedIn as it is one of the most popular platforms used by B2B marketers to generate leads.
Working Alongside a B2B SEO Agency
To ensure your B2B SEO strategy is the best it can be, it is recommended working alongside a B2B marketing agency.
With years of experience and proven results in marketing for B2B and SEO, Williams Commerce has assisted in developing long-term and sustained growth for a range of B2B clients. Look no further than our B2B portfolio featuring happy clients who have benefited from our expertise.