For businesses that serve other businesses, earning traffic from search engines is an often-neglected marketing technique. After all, B2B companies often have longer sales cycles and more niche audiences. Can they even benefit from search engine optimization (SEO) in a tangible way? Absolutely. According to a Google report, 71 percent of B2B researchers begin their research with a generic search. Let your competitor’s blind spot toward SEO be your opportunity.
For B2B businesses, SEO tactics should be focused on driving not just traffic, but qualified leads. You don’t want to waste your time on SEO strategies that don’t impact the metrics that matter.
Create an SEO-Friendly Site
A killer SEO strategy is made up of two parts: the website and the content. Before you create any content, you need to optimize your website for traffic from search engines. Start by ensuring your website has a clear hierarchy: Pages organized by the number of clicks from the homepage:
- Homepage + one click: product, pricing, services pages
- Homepage + two clicks: blog posts
These pages should all be optimized with both branded and non-branded keywords in the H1s, H2s, and meta descriptions for each page. Your site should be mobile-optimized, which also means avoiding the dreaded pop-ups on mobile devices that Google penalizes. This is why it is so important that your web designer is well-versed in SEO-friendly design and that your design complements your inbound marketing strategy, including SEO.
Yes, Your B2B Site Needs a Blog
Especially for B2B businesses, which generally have a longer sales cycle and more stakeholders to consult than a B2C business, product descriptions and optimized headlines aren’t enough SEO-friendly content. In a MarketingSherpa survey, B2B marketers ranked content creation as their most effective SEO strategy.
A blog is your opportunity to prove to potential leads that you know what you’re talking about, and to establish a relationship—potentially before they even realize they need your product.
Your blog also gives you the opportunity to answer similar questions from different stakeholders in the businesses you work with. For instance, you might write one article emphasizing efficiency, and another that emphasizes lead generation. Instead of trying to address everyone on one page, a blog gives you the opportunity to address the specific reasons particular personas are looking to hire you.
Structuring your site appropriately and creating a blog are foundational steps to “prove” to search engines your site is worth indexing and ranking well. But how do you actually use SEO to attract qualified leads?
Write Attention-Grabbing Content
In the past, content-specific SEO strategies felt like writing for robots. As search engines have evolved, however, a strong SEO strategy has come to rely on user behavior to drive traffic. That’s why finding sites to link back to yours, building authority, and even getting social media shares are important to building a high-ranking site.
Similarly, earning clicks from search engine results is one thing that will get your business’ website to rank higher, and therefore get more clicks. It makes sense—when a user clicks from a search engine to your site, it’s a clear signal that your page is likely going to provide an answer to the question they’re asking.
But, to earn that click, your page needs to stand out in a sea of similar content. Grab readers' attention with headlines and meta descriptions that are descriptive, exciting, and personalized.
Think Like a Searcher, Not a Search Engine
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What is their job title? What is motivating them to meet their goals? What information are they looking for related to your target keyword? Tailor your content to a specific reader and provide the information that answers their question, meets their need, solves their problem, or presents an opportunity.
Not only will personalized content drive clicks, but Google may factor the time a reader spends on your page before returning to search results into search rankings, so more engaged readers can help your pages earn higher rankings. Plus, since you are focused on driving traffic from your ideal customers, you will also drive traffic that is more likely to convert.
Building Links to Your B2B Site
Once you have the hang of creating relevant content for your ideal customers, you’ll probably start to hear a lot about link building. When another site links to you, it tells search engines that your site is authoritative, and gives you a little SEO boost. The more links, the more boosts your site receives. To become more intentional about earning links, you can build a strategy around guest posting, as well as creating an authoritative site that attracts links.
Guest Posting for Link Building
To try guest posting, research sites that are relevant to your industry that have their own blogs, and offer them an original piece of content or interview. It’s best to start your outreach strategy after you’ve already established your own blog, so that you aren’t worried about neglecting your own audience.
The key to guest posting is to be sure you’re not only building links, but finding leads. Even though it might be tempting to try to earn any link you can, you should aim to only guest post on sites that have an audience of your ideal customers. Once you have the attention of that influencer audience, be sure to use the opportunity to establish your business as an authority by providing stellar content that leaves them wanting more. In addition to linking back to your own site, create a call to action at the end of your post that offers a helpful resource or coupon code, to capture leads.
People Link to Exhaustive Resources
If you don’t like the idea of working hard on a completely original blog post just to give it away, you can also work to make sure that your blog is earning links by becoming an authority in your industry. For instance, use link-attracting infographics or original research to provide resources for your readers that will earn links from other blogs in your industry.
Or, use Brian Dean’s “SkyScraper Technique” to create the ultimate blog post—one that people can’t help but link to because it’s such an incredible resource. Once you have these resources to set you apart, reach out to relevant industry sites to give them a heads-up that you’re worth linking to. Just be sure to add a call to action at the bottom of your blog.
What About Outbound Links?
While your link building strategy should focus on gaining inbound links, linking to sites with a higher domain authority can also have a small positive impact on your website ranking. Plus, linking to a relevant article also gives you the opportunity to reach out to the writer of that post and build a relationship. Who knows? They might be linking to you next time.
B2B SEO Strategies that Drive Results
No matter what techniques you choose to adopt, be sure that your B2B SEO strategy is focused not only on driving traffic, but on creating real results for your business and generating leads. That means not only including targeted keywords in your headlines and posts, but also creating content for your ideal customer that is truly helpful and worth reading. With these SEO strategies, your business’ website will be well-equipped to earn more traffic that converts.Want to increase traffic to your SEO-optimized site? Build a strong B2B social media presence.