Keyword research is an essential part of B2B SEO strategies. However, most companies aren’t doing it right. They choose the keywords they THINK their audience should care about and then try to rank for them. Which probably isn’t working out too well for them.
If your B2B clients are struggling with their SEO strategy, here are three steps you can take with them to create a more successful one. These steps will help you understand their target audience better, identify the content they should publish, and lay a solid foundation for business success.
Why B2B SEO Is Different
As a B2B writer, you know the audience is different from B2C. You know that the sales funnel is longer, and more decision-makers are involved in every purchase.
A successful B2B SEO strategy includes keywords and content that aligns with every sales funnel stage and is hyper-focused on the audience. The content should demonstrate why this B2B product or service solves a prospect’s problem.
Here are three ways to help your B2B clients power up their B2B SEO and see better results from their efforts.
1. Understand the B2B Sales Funnel
Dig into your client’s sales funnel to see how it works, how long it takes, who’s involved, what are the most successful touchpoints, etc.
One key area to understand here is discovering how they believe their sales funnel works and finding out if that’s true. Analyzing key metrics such as the average customer retention rate, sales conversion rate, and customer lifetime value can help you determine this.
When you and your client understand how their funnel really works, you can help them design a better SEO strategy. There may be unknown knowledge gaps or areas of improvement where some new or updated content can help.
2. Learn about the Target Audience’s Search Intent
One reason B2B SEO strategies fail is because companies publish content they think their audience wants. They actually don’t know what people are searching for when they visit their website, so their SEO strategy can’t offer any support.
As Jamie Irwin, director and founder of Straight Up Search, said, “There’s often a disconnect (between) business owners and audience members.” He went on to explain that B2B companies need to understand what the search landscape is and then craft content around what’s working.
By looking at keyword stats and the rest of the market, B2B SEO experts can quickly see what people are searching for and fill any gaps that might exist. B2B social media managers can offer suggestions about the questions the target audience is asking. Marketing managers can then create a content strategy to fill those gaps and help with how the keywords rank.
3. Align the SEO Strategy to Funnel and Search Intent
Once you’ve learned about the sales funnel and discovered the audience’s search intent, it’s time to align the SEO strategy with both. Justin Borge of HelpWithYourHustle.com suggests a three-step approach based on the funnel stage.
- For the top and top-middle of the funnel where you’re trying to drive awareness and interest, Justin suggests “targeting keywords that cast a wide net and will drive the most traffic to the site.”
- For the bottom-middle of the funnel where you’re encouraging consideration in readers, Justin suggests adding a combination of the words “best” or “top” with specific modifiers for the market to attract people who are now considering which options to choose from. Like, “the best ways to optimize the onboarding process” or “the top reasons to switch to the latest IoT devices for your logistics company.”
- For the bottom of the funnel where you’re trying to convert prospects and leads into customers, Justin suggests publishing content that makes it easy for them to take that last step. Like using a call-to-action where they can get in touch with a salesperson, a detailed page that lists pricing options, or a blog post that counters every pricing objection a B2B customer might have.
Another piece of content that can boost B2B SEO is a press release. Nikita Agarwal, Head of Growth, Milestone Localization, makes the case for using press releases across the sales funnel. “They give you high-quality backlinks for target keywords,” she explains. “They can act as more traditional social proof to move prospects and leads further down the sales funnel.”
B2B SEO is about more than just applying B2C tactics to an audience. B2B prospects and leads are entirely different from the B2C world and need a more holistic SEO approach. These three steps can help you create a better SEO strategy for your B2B clients, so they improve sales and revenues. And that’s what really matters, right?