SEO for B2B: Does It Matter?

SEO for B2B: Does It Matter?

Yes, SEO does matter for B2B sales, marketing, and relationship-building. Remember, companies don’t use Google – people use Google. And this is exactly why SEO matters for B2B.

Smart SEO allows you to build direct connections with the people who want what you have. Strategies such as understanding user intent, knowing your demographic, creating content that resonates with the buyer’s journey, and doing keyword research allows you to demonstrate your expertise and value to customers.

Just like someone shopping online for a new pair of sneakers, the person looking for a new manufacturing partner or third-party supplier is using a search engine to find what they need and want. 

However, the difference here is that the B2B cycle is much longer than the impulse purchase for new sneakers. This is exactly why SEO is a key to your success.

When done right, SEO allows companies to establish their brand, reputation, and authority – helping them to rank higher in the search engine results page (SERP), ultimately generating more website traffic and queries.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is a specialized approach that makes it possible for your website to stand out from the crowd.

The right SEO components and strategy helps companies rank higher in the SERP. SEO goes beyond keywords to include page formatting, website layout, content structure, links, image tags, and more.

Learn more about SEO from Know Agency:

What Does SEO do for B2B Marketing?

B2B relationships and sales cycles are long, and this requires establishing company expertise, value, and worth to customers. SEO is the missing link in the relationship-building and decision-making process.

Remember, people not companies are looking for partners, vendors, products, and services.

  1. Establishes Company Expertise
    The B2B buying process is inherently tied to risk. No one wants to make the wrong buying decision or recommendation. SEO allows you to quickly and clearly show your industry expertise. This is done with well-written meta descriptions, informative blog posts and white papers, a detailed About US page that explains corporate vision and history, and with content that answers the questions people have about your products and services.
  2. Educates About Products and Services
    There is nothing worse than visiting a company website and not being able to understand what the company does. So many companies over-complicate product pages and their value to customers. The basics of SEO: clear content, thinking like the reader and answering questions, make it easy for you to educate readers about what it is you do (and don’t do).
  3. Demonstrates Industry Authority
    On the Internet, everyone is an expert and an authority. SEO will get you found and clicked but to keep people reading and clicking you need to go beyond the basics of SEO. Think about what makes you different from the competition and then use tools such as webinars, white papers, free trials, online chat, infographics, videos, and email newsletters and mini courses to remind people why you are the industry authority.

Just as B2B relationships are for the long-term, the same holds true for SEO. When done right, SEO consistently keeps you ranking high in the SERP and establishes your brand authority and reputation.

The Challenges of B2B SEO

If it were easy to get right, everyone would be doing it – and this exactly why SEO is a key B2B differentiator.

The challenges of B2B SEO include:

  • Connecting With the Multiple People
    On the Internet, everyone is an expert and an authority. SEO will get you found and clicked but to keep people reading and clicking you need to go beyond the basics of SEO. Think about what makes you different from the competition and then use tools such as webinars, white papers, free trials, online chat, infographics, videos, and email newsletters and mini courses to remind people why you are the industry authority.

    Think of the intern tasked with finding companies who offer sustainable food packaging for the ecommerce market. This person has different search questions and goals than the CFO and CEO who ultimately choose their food packaging partner.

    This means you need to create content that connects with a broad range of people. And this is exactly why you need to know the who, what, why, when, how, and where of how people are finding and using your website. 
  • Keyword Search Volume
    Simply put, keyword search volume is low in the B2B space. This places greater demands on companies to deliver content that goes above-and-beyond.

    To work around low keyword search volume, companies should focus on high-quality content, knowing their readers, remembering long-tail keywords, and on website taxonomy.     
  • Slow Conversion Rates
    A slow conversion rate means your website needs to be everything for everyone. Think of all the people you communicate with during a typical sales cycle – and now think of how your website needs to support these people.

    Depending on your industry you might need to prove technical expertise with API documentation, demonstrate industry expertise with educational white papers and webinars, explain in plain language how your product solves a problem, and include content that can be easily shared among decision-makers.
  • High Demands for Expert Content
    Short and thin blog posts won’t work, in fact, this content damages your reputation with search engines and people. The best product with a minimal web presence cannot beat a sub-par product that puts energy into delivering high-quality content.

    Expert content establishes your brand, industry leadership, and instills corporate confidence. Think beyond basic blog posts and create content that stimulates, challenges, and reinforces thought leadership. People want to work with companies who offer something new, different, or better – and this is what your content has to be.

B2B SEO Strategies

The ultimate B2B SEO strategy puts the focus on people. People want to connect with, relate to, and see themselves working with your company. To get this right, you need to know who your company serves.

Before mapping out a new content strategy or planning a series of webinars, you need to take a step back and find out who your readers are and what they want:

  • Do Keyword Research
    Find out what people are searching for. Learn the keywords and terms that are generating clicks to competitor websites. Find out how you rank for industry keywords and which of your website pages are getting clicked and read. Learn which keywords will help you meet your corporate and marketing goals.  Avoid keywords that are too consumer focused.
  • Deliver The Right Content
    Some people love videos and other people want to read a 3,000-word white paper. You need to make sure that you’re delivering content that resonates and satisfies. Content is more than a blog post…. You need to know if people want webinars, white papers, infographics, newsletters, free downloads, push notifications, videos, or an app.
  • Review, Analyze, and Adjust
    People are not predictable, so you need to stay on top of B2B SEO. Regularly review keyword trends and search volume. Measure and understand your search volume, click-throughs, and know how much time people spend on your website. Revisit your content and update it to meet the shifts you see in sales conversions, search volume, and first-hand feedback from your sales team. 

Put people first – think of how you connect with them. Think about how your brand and company can be relatable.

Step back from traditional corporate messaging and focus on telling your story. Everyone loves a good story. When you tell your story, people understand why your company is different and why it is ultimately the right choice for them.

At Know Agency, we specialize in B2B SEO – contact Jane or Kevin to learn how we can help you meet your goals.

About the author
Jane Phelps is the CEO/Partner at Know Agency. Jane is the main point of contact for our clients and handles all aspects of in-house SEO demands. This includes providing SEO training, competitive analysis, keyword research, algorithm analysis, and the review of all new content to ensure SEO best-practices are followed. Jane holds a Master’s Certificate in Online Marketing from the University of San Francisco, is BrightEdge Certified and is the head of the BrightEdge User Group in Atlanta, GA.