Savvy marketers know that even though B2B marketing focuses on driving business purchases, at the end of the day, a business buyer is still a consumer. Search engine optimization (SEO) algorithms remain consistent whether you’re a shoe brand targeting parents doing back-to-school shopping or a marketing leader looking for a new content production partner to scale your content program.
While B2C SEO often emphasizes broad reach and emotional engagement, B2B SEO supports campaigns that target solution-seekers who must validate their choices with many stakeholders. In the B2B arena, SEO is not just a tool for visibility; it’s a channel for demonstrating authority, reliability, and value.
When you factor in that most B2B buyers spend the majority of their buying time researching independently online and that the top position on search engine results pages captures 27.6% of click-thru rates, it’s clear that a strategic focus on B2B SEO is vital for a healthy sales and marketing apparatus.
Let’s explore how a renewed focus on B2B-centric SEO and content strategies can further your ability to generate leads, drive sales conversions, and increase returns on your marketing investment.The top position of SERPs captures 27.6% of click-thru rates, says @ClearVoice. Unlock the power of #B2BSEO to improve lead generation and sales conversions, via @CMIContent #sponsored Click To Tweet
When it comes to search optimization, marketers across all industries and buyer categories contend with the same search engine algorithms. However, your chosen tactics should vary due to the essential differences between B2B and B2C purchase processes.
Understanding these variabilities will help you find ways to drive more site traffic and ROI from your SEO and content marketing efforts.
B2C consumers typically have a straightforward purchasing process that’s driven by emotion and personal satisfaction. In contrast, B2B decision-making is often more complex, involving multiple stakeholders and lengthy evaluations. The process can take weeks or months, as terms get negotiated to achieve strategic alignment and cross-departmental buy-in.
Given the time it takes to vet and onboard new service providers, B2B buyers tend to rely heavily on developing vendor relationships. They seek partners who will provide ongoing support, maintenance, and collaboration.
In addition, B2B buyers are acutely focused on the return on investment (ROI), the total cost of ownership, and how well the product or service aligns with their company’s strategic goals. Essentially, the B2B buyer is looking to invest once but achieve long-term satisfaction.
The unique attributes of the B2B buyer – and the related buyer cycle – affect marketing activities up and down the funnel, including keyword optimization and content creation.B2B marketing, meet SEO! 👋 Knowing the tactical differences between B2B and B2C SEO can supercharge your #B2Bcontentstrategy, says @ClearVoice via @CMIContent #sponsored Click To Tweet
If content is king, keywords are the keys to the kingdom. This is especially true when targeting B2B consumers. To get your content on their radar, factor these considerations in your B2B keyword strategy:
- Industry-specific terms. B2B buyers are looking for specific solutions, so their queries likely include keywords that reflect their industry’s jargon, technical terms, and specialized use cases.
- Long-tail and niche focus. Focus on long-tail keywords that capture the nature of B2B business challenges, buyer pain points, product specifications, or industry solutions. These may have a lower search volume but will bring in the right buyers.
- Alignment to the buyer’s journey. B2B buyers go through distinct phases, from awareness to consideration to decision, so any B2B keyword strategy should target each stage with tailored terms. For example, at the top of the funnel, focus on keywords that engage your target’s interests and pain points as they research. Mid-funnel keywords should help potential customers find helpful information about your products and services. At the bottom of the funnel, choose keywords that will help them validate and verify your sales claims.
Content strategy and conversion goals
Your B2B content strategy should also reflect the complexity of the business buyer’s journey. Begin with a solid top-of-funnel content strategy aimed at potential buyers doing early-stage research. Focus on content like blog posts, e-books, videos, infographics, web pages, and podcasts to appeal to buyers.
Follow by building middle-of-funnel assets such as white papers, social media posts, nurture sequences, landing pages, FAQs, and product reviews. This content will help provide information and establish trust with the various decision-makers down the purchase path.
At the bottom of the funnel, focus on crafting content that can help close the sale, such as product demos, case studies, webinars, price sheets, or offers for coupons and free trials.
Be sure to integrate SEO keywords throughout these assets for an added boost in visibility and to help keep prospective buyers in the funnel.
Another thing to consider: B2B marketers may focus more on micro-conversions than their B2C counterparts. SEO can support this by driving target customers into various funnel points where they can engage by downloading an eBook or watching a demo. These act as breadcrumbs that guide buyers down the path toward a sales conversion.
1. Evolve your keyword lists. As your audience profile matures and changes, so should your target keywords. Remember, in B2B, search volume may be lower, but the greater specificity can result in more qualified leads. Find success by:
- doing periodic audits of your target keywords using industry tools
- tracking your keywords through to the sale to understand conversion. For example, at ClearVoice, we’ve found some keywords help lift site traffic overall, while others are more likely to drive sales. Both are relevant to our SEO program.
- using the keywords to craft a multi-dimensional strategy that aligns content and SEO throughout the funnel.
2. Remember the extra E in E-E-A-T. Expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) is crucial to B2B SEO. But layering in experience tells search engines your content is extra valuable. Some ways to layer include:
- working with writers and experts with proven bylines on reputable sites across the web
- crafting content in partnership with internal or external subject matter experts who can share deep, first-hand knowledge of topics that interest your target audience.
3. Leverage on-page SEO. It’s tempting to think about on-page SEO as only keyword insertion. But remember, it encompasses so much more, such as including page titles, meta descriptions, headers, and URLs. Focus on:
- prioritizing page titles and headers over meta descriptions, as the search algorithms do when indexing
- avoiding duplicate keywords within the structure of your page titles and headers
- implementing keywords while considering how humans read, not just how search algorithms index.
4. Optimize for zero-click searches. Google continues to increase focus on featured snippets – like, “People also ask” boxes – to help searchers find the information they need without leaving the results page. Optimize by:
- understanding what questions Google ties to your target keyword and including the helpful answers in your content
- using headers to signal to Google when there is helpful content it might want to pull into the search engine results page.
5. Leverage schema markup and entity-based SEO. Search engines continue to evolve as they move beyond keywords and backlinks to understand the intent and context of content to determine which pages to feature. Stay on top by:
- experimenting with diverse schema types such as FAQs or how-to articles to promote enriched search results and improved click-thru
- incorporating semantic tagging and schema mark-ups to clarify the content context and relationships for search engines.
6. Build authority through guest posting. Establishing authority and credibility – both on-page and off – unlocks additional SEO success. Create a robust network of high-quality, relevant backlinks through strategic guest postings and collaborations by:
- actively pursuing guest posting opportunities on industry-specific blogs, which provide valuable backlinks and position your brand as a thought leader
- contributing to esteemed publications, when applicable, to further amplify your authority and expand your audience reach.
7. Test, experiment, iterate, and stay agile. Achieving SEO success is a continuous journey driven by persistent testing, experimentation, and adaptation. Critical strategies include:
- employing A/B testing to compare different tactics and identify the most effective ones, keywords, meta descriptions, or varying content types
- reviewing and updating your content regularly to preserve relevance ensures your site signals consistent activity and value to search engines.
8. Utilize technology. Technology is a powerful ally in optimizing your SEO strategy, fostering efficiency, and allowing more insightful analysis. Harness the power of technology by:
- leveraging AI and machine learning tools to enable intelligent keyword analysis, content optimization, and trend identification
- using tools like Semrush to compare your content with competitors to see where you have opportunities to gain visibility with your target customers.
The bottom line
In many companies, SEO and content marketing are sometimes like oil and water. However, if we’ve learned anything from the recent “Barbenheimer” trend, separate entities with shared goals but different approaches can both win if they work together. (You can decide if content marketing is Barbie or Oppenheimer.)
With focus and strategy, SEO underpins your entire B2B marketing motion and shores up your buyer’s journey. By following the practical tips and guidance above, you’ll be well on your way to amplifying your brand and increasing your SEO ROI.
Creating content often takes a lot of trial and error, as well as time to find and vet writers and develop an editorial pipeline. Luckily, there are services that can help you hit the ground running with content production, freelancer management, and content strategy.
ClearVoice provides brands and agencies with content that helps them rank and convert. Our in-house teams and freelance network of thousands of writers, producers, and creators work together to create quality content for all your marketing needs. Connect with us for a cost-effective approach to building and scaling your content program.