Updated: May 27
As we talked about in our last piece, B2B SEO is an array of optimisations that you can make to your content to aim it at a small group of high value decision makers or company buyers. This often takes the form of useful content, thought leadership, or any type of content that foster the kind of long te
rm relationships that build confidence with the buyer.
Here we will take a closer look at exactly what goes into a planning, implementing, and reviewing the success of a B2B SEO strategy.
B2B SEO: The Importance of Setting Goals
Pursuing a B2B SEO strategy isn’t a random decision that you will arrive at, it will be because you have decided that targeting a small number of decision makers is most well suited to achieving your goals. Setting goals and understanding your audience are the first steps in a B2BSEO strategy and it can often be difficult to decide which is more important to do first. There may be cases where your goals dictate the necessary audience but it is equally possible to imagine a situation in which the reverse is possible. Your targets should stick to the SMART acronym. This way of setting targets ensures that your targets are
These targets describe your ambitions for the project and so they may lead you to deciding that a B2B SEO strategy is the best method forward.
How to Understand Your Audience
For a more in depth guide to what goes into building buyer personas for your content you can check out our piece about it here but here we will talk about the process more specifically for B2B SEO. So, you’ve set your goals and have decided that the best way to achieve them is by targeting a narrow group of influential buyers for businesses. In order to be, in any way, successful with a B2B SEO strategy it is crucial that you have a deep understanding of your audience. This will inform the content you make and is an essential step of the early planning stages of the content strategy. A great exercise for understanding your audience is by going through the process of building a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is an idealised representation of a section of your audience that you want to target. It includes things such as demographics, traits and motivations and for B2B SEO, you already know that you will be targeting a small audience of decision makers and this is a great place to start from.
In order to consider who your target audience is you will need to carry out some market research to analyse what the current landscape looks like. This may involve looking at your competitors or analysing broader trends in your industry to see where new potential customers may come from. Also its important that you reflect on your current customers.
Where do the majority of your sales come from now and is that market growing or shrinking?
Demographics based on this market research will tell you the type of companies that you’re aiming for. Their size, location, and performance may all be useful parameters in evaluating their suitability to target. It's also important to consider the buyers intentions when considering your content. We know that when making purchasing choices on behalf of a company, these buyers are deliberative in their decision making. You should also reaching out to existing customers through surveys and feedback in order to find their pain points and wants.
Collecting all these factors together allows you to effectively visualise your audience and devise a successful and optimal campaign for them.
Implementing Your B2B SEO Strategy
Setting effective goals for the strategy and building a buyer persona is an essential process in understanding your audience and deciding the type of content to make and now that you’ve done that, you can begin to think about the type of optimisations you can make for your content to ensure that it gets noticed by that audience.
The goal of SEO is not only to help search engines, but also your audience to understand the content of your output in order to prioritise credible sources and return relevant searches. The main optimisations that you can make are split into a few main categories but mainly they can be described as on page and off page.
On page optimisations are the type of optimisations that you make to the thought leadership content itself. This would include things such as keyword usage, choosing the correct titles and word count. Off page SEO are other types of optimisations that aren’t made to your content. These are almost all related to backlinks. The type, number, and quality of backlinks are all relevant factors in your results ranking. Sometimes people may describe technical SEO as a separate category. These are really just a type of on page SEO but they include things such as the website load speed, image descriptions and mobile friendliness.
Leveraging Keywords for B2B SEO
One of the main optimisations that you’ll make to your content is the keywords that you decide to use. Keywords ware what a user will enter when carrying out their search in order to be directed to your content. You can see why it’s important at this stage to have a deep understanding of your audience because in order to capture a percentage of that traffic, you have to know what they’re searching for. Coming up with the correct keywords is a process which requires research of its own and here we will discuss a few ideas in order to capturer as much relevant traffic as possible.
First of all consider your audience intentions when coming across your content. For B2B we know that the buyer is likely carrying out a lot of research and so what are the questions and tools that you can provide in your content that will help them and start to build a positive relationship. Also consider shoulder topics. Shoulder topics are topics that are related to but do not directly cover the service that you’re selling. By doing this, you can avoid the common mistake that many creators make which is that your content may feel too much like a push for a sale.
Shoulder topics also indicate to the reader that you have an understanding of the broader industry landscape and this can demonstrate credibility. Once you have brainstormed a few keywords that you think will be relevant to your business then you can start to think of different variations in order to capture searches that have a similar intention but may have been phrased slightly differently.
The easiest way to do this is to consider synonyms for your keywords but also you can use Google’s Autocomplete suggestions. Start by typing in the keywords that you already have and see what the suggested searches area and also the related searches. These recommended searches are ones that Google thinks are related to what you searched and are therefore highly likely to be relevant to the content that you want to create.
Technical SEO for Your Business
In terms of technical improvements, there are a huge number of optimisations that you can make to your site to improve your ranking but for they’re not limited to a B2B SEO strategy, so we’ll just highlight the basics here.
In order to even be on search engines at all, your website must be able to be crawled by those search engines so that you are in their index. This can be as simple as a single line of code in your website. Try Google Search Console to check the status of your site to see if it’s been indexed or how to fix it if not.
Next, simple things such as improving site organisation can help. The content of the page should be clear in the URL, your content should be linked internally through categories and tags and you should also ensure that the tags, titles, and categories are highly optimised. These things are not necessarily a B2B specific strategy but they come together to improve the overall experience and quality of your site.
Quality content Googles dominance in search engines came in the 90’s when they made the decision to use backlinks as an indicator of a sites usefulness. Since then the process has become much more refined but the central idea remains that a site that is regularly linked to by other sites is trustworthy and valuable and will therefore rank highly.
So, how does knowing this affect the type content decisions you will make? The key is quality content.
With B2B SEO you are taking a low search volume approach but in order to rank for those searches, alongside the types of on and off page optimisations that we mentioned above, you need to provide value to your audience in order to earn those backlinks. The kind of content that is likely to earn those backlinks could be a thorough and detailed guide or it could be a simple but useful tool, the key is that is that it addresses a pain point of your audience.
Consider the buyers journey when they discover your content. There are different versions of this journey but it can be simplified into the awareness stage, the consideration phase and the decision phase. By putting out quality and useful content, you aim to capture your audience and establish the awareness phase of that journey. At this stage, you look to build a relationship with the customer and hope to start driving them through to the later stages through continual engagement.
At the time that your customers come to the end of their research, your content should be at the front of their mind and hopefully that will convert into the sale.
In summary, a B2B SEO strategy can be a highly rewarding one if carried out with care and planning. The value can be felt not only from the end result of a successful strategy but also we hope that the process of reflecting upon your goals, your audience, and the implementation of your strategy is value in and of itself. Hopefully, you emerge from this process not only reaching your intended audience but also a deeper understanding of them and the greater quality content for them.
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