An SEO strategy can help B2B companies increase visibility in search engines and drive more of the right traffic to boost conversions. Learn the six steps we use to build a B2B SEO strategy.
Here, you’ll find:
- What is SEO for B2B?
- B2B SEO vs. B2C SEO
- Why use SEO for B2B companies?
- How to create a B2B SEO strategy
- B2B SEO checklist
A B2B (or business-to-business) SEO strategy begins with a solid buyer persona, understanding your sales funnel, and finding the best keywords to center your website content around.
To help you improve your search rankings, we’ve put together our ultimate guide to SEO for B2B companies. Read on to create a successful SEO strategy.
What is SEO for B2B?
SEO (or search engine optimization) for B2B is a strategy that gets your business website to rank higher in search results to attract potential clients. You do this by creating B2B content around keywords and search queries your target audience uses.
There are four main aspects of B2B SEO strategy:
- On-page SEO: Optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, and other on-page elements for search
- Off-page SEO: Conducting activities (like link building) off your website to help boost your site’s authority
- Technical SEO: Getting deep into the technical aspects of your site to ensure there are no underlying issues stopping your site from being indexed
- Content marketing: Creating valuable, long-form content surrounding short-tail and long-tail keywords to increase traffic and leads
How to create a B2B SEO strategy
Ready to create your own B2B SEO strategy? Use the following six steps to build a campaign that suits your business needs.
- Create your buyer persona
- Structure your sales funnel
- Conduct keyword research
- Create content surrounding those keywords
- Optimize your content
- Promote your content
1. Create your buyer persona
Your first step is to create your buyer persona. A buyer persona (also known as a client persona, user persona, or customer profile) is a detailed representation of your target audience.
Businesses often create a one-sheeter that details the customer’s:
- Job title/level
- Buying behavior
- Online behavior
- Pain points
Here’s an example of what this may look like from the template below:
Make sure the persona fully describes your B2B buyer so you know exactly how and where to reach them. A few ways to find the information you need to compile your persona include:
- Send out customer surveys to your existing client/email list
- Look at your Google Analytics to see user demographics
- Conduct a full-scale market research project to gather data
- Use a buyer persona tool (like one from Semrush or HubSpot)
As a B2B company, your buyer persona will include the types of businesses that need your product or service and the decision makers your sales team must target.
2. Structure your sales funnel
Take a good look at your sales funnel. How do your customers move from point A to point Z? You may learn some follow a linear path from a blog post, to newsletter signup, to a demo call. Then others may jump around more, requiring ongoing email nurturing for months before scheduling a call.
The typical B2B sales funnel follows five stages:
- Awareness: A potential customer discovers a pain point your business can solve
- Interest: The prospect brainstorms ideas to get past this hurdle
- Consideration: The potential customer actively researches potential products or services to solve their problem
- Evaluation: The potential customer looks into all their options, requests demos, discusses options with sales teams and decision makers
- Decision: The prospective customer makes a decision and purchases or becomes a lead
Having a clear understanding of your sales funnel makes creating SEO-focused content around it easier. Different types of content work well for different stages of the sales funnel.
Let’s look at some examples:
- Top-of-the-funnel content (awareness/interest): Blog posts, comparison guides, podcasts, videos, social media content
- Middle-of-the-funnel content (consideration): Case studies, whitepapers, webinars, assessments
- Bottom-of-the-funnel content (evaluation/purchase): Product demos, reviews and testimonials, consultations
Your blog content and landing pages should always focus on one stage of the funnel to strategically work leads through and hopefully convert them into customers.
3. Conduct keyword research
Putting together your keyword strategy is next. Aside from finding search terms your target audience uses to find businesses like yours, you should also match each target keyword to a stage of the sales funnel.
Just type in a basic keyword that represents your business or industry. For example, if your company is a project management software, you may start with basic B2B keywords like “project management,” “project management tools,” and “task management.”
These are starting points to find additional related keywords to rank your B2B website for.
“Keyword research stands as a cornerstone in our SEO strategy,” shares Jas Banwait Gill, Growth Manager of corporate swag platform SwagMagic. “And understanding the language our clients use to discover and engage with our services is pivotal in optimizing our online presence.”
Gill’s team discovered the significance of terms like “custom corporate gifts” and “bulk business presents.” They then tailored their content and meta descriptions to align with these keywords.
“The results were remarkable,” Gill continues. “This strategic keyword integration elevated our search engine rankings. Our website experienced a 30% lift in organic traffic within the first quarter of implementation. Moreover, it facilitated more meaningful connections with businesses seeking tailored gifting solutions.”
Google Trends is another great research tool for discovering new keywords.
“We used Google Trends to forecast a rising demand in virtual team building, which served our content strategy and business strategy at large,” says Michael Alexis, CEO of team building platform teambuilding.com. “When we identified pieces that were performing well in analytics programs like Ahrefs — for example, virtual holiday celebrations — we expanded the subject category and created similar pieces within the niche.”
4. Create content surrounding those keywords
The next step is to create in-depth, high-quality content using the keywords you put together in the last step. Remember to match search intent.
Using our project management example, let’s do a quick search for “project management tools.” Based on the search results, searchers want a listicle-type article with a roundup of available tools.
This type of keyword falls under the consideration stage of the sales funnel and could be a great idea for new content for your website.
Put together a plan for creating new web pages and blog posts based on the search terms you discovered from your keyword research. Make sure your content meets search intent, but also answers questions your target audience have about a business like yours.
“Align content around questions your target audience asks, creating comprehensive resources,” advises Suraj Nair, senior digital marketer at social media management tool SocialPilot. “Google values user-centric content, and this approach not only enhances online visibility but also establishes your brand as an authority, attracting more potential clients organically.”
And it appears this works.
“For a B2B client, we revamped content to address specific pain points in their industry,” shares Nair. “By aligning with user intent and addressing common queries, we witnessed a 30% increase in organic traffic and a notable uptick in quality leads. Focusing on providing solutions rather than overt promotion proved instrumental in elevating their SEO game.”
5. Optimize your content
Content creation is only one part of your SEO campaign. You also need quality content — and lots of it. Because of the publishing requirements, you may discover that outsourcing content writing to a freelancer or SEO agency is your best bet.
But don’t forget to optimize your content for Google’s algorithm. This includes tactics from both on-page and technical SEO.
“Fine-tuning on-page elements is pivotal in enhancing our website’s visibility,” shares Gill. “We identified key phrases to add into our meta tags. This thoughtful integration, coupled with compelling headings, resulted in a 25% increase in click-through rates within the first two months.”
“The impact was not only numerical,” continues Gill. “It manifested in a more tailored user experience and a stronger resonance with our B2B clientele. The success of this strategy reinforced the importance of optimizing on-page content to match our target audience’s language and needs, improving search engine rankings and deepening the connection with our users.”
Optimization tactics to use to improve your chances of ranking in Google search include:
- Add your focus keyword into your URL slug, meta title, meta description, and subheadings
- Incorporate internal linking by linking to relevant web pages from your blog posts
- Add attention-grabbing H1s that include your main keyword
- Include a strong call-to-action (CTA) that directs visitors to the action you want them to take
- Add alt text to images to explain what each image contains (great for both SEO and accessibility)
- Incorporate relevant secondary keywords throughout your content
There are additional steps you can take to make your website technically sound.
“Taking time to optimize images, enabling browser cache features, and reducing server response time, will improve your loading speeds and prevent your customers from becoming impatient while keeping your ‘time-on-page’ factor high,” explains Daniel Kroytor, founder of merchant account provider TailoredPay.
Kroyter continues, “In making certain that you incorporate faster loading and page speeds, you’ll trigger the SEO metrics surrounding the user experience and improve your visibility in search engines.”
You can also work with HawkSEM experts to get access to our proprietary tool ConversionIQ. With ConversionIQ, we can optimize your content by determining which keywords and pages are likely to convert the highest number of leads, focusing your attention on those silos.
Learn more about how ConversionIQ can be a huge asset to your SEO for B2B strategy.
6. Promote your content
Finally, promote your content and focus on your off-page SEO tactics. Moving from a publication strategy to a promotion strategy should be a main part of your marketing strategy.
One of the biggest promotional techniques to employ is link building, or backlinking. This strategy involves generating links to your website from other authoritative sites. This is one of the best ways for B2B businesses to increase their ranking in organic search.
Put together an outreach process where you reach out to prominent websites with shareable content, such as research, strong opinions, and thorough guides. This strategy is useful for SEO and thought leadership content.
“In one of our campaigns, we targeted workplace safety as a niche, crafted a guide on mitigating workplace injuries, and pitched this to safety-focused industry publications,” explains Riva Jeane May Caburog, PR/Media Coordinator at law firm Nadrich & Cohen. “Our legal advice gained traction among B2B decision-makers and resulted in multiple backlinks from related industry sources and significantly elevated our website’s authority.”
Not only that, but these backlinks also increased their organic traffic and inquiries from businesses seeking legal guidance in safety compliance, boosting their conversion opportunities.
However, note that not every backlink opportunity is a good one. Be strategic about the companies and sites you get backlinks from.
“Our recent SEO project for a B2B client required website restructuring, focusing on removing spam and low-quality backlinks,” shares Nat Miletic, CEO of web design company Clio Websites.
The blog had quality content, but users were often spamming irrelevant URLs and backlinks in the forums and comments section. These hurt Miletic’s client’s authority and credibility.
“We focused on fixing these areas using ‘NoFollow’ and ‘NoIndex’ commands to these link categories,” continues Miletic. “This project tripled their organic traffic and has been consistent ever since.”
B2B SEO vs. B2C SEO
B2B SEO and B2C SEO abide by the same ranking factors, but how they go about ranking are two different ball games.
Appealing to businesses is a different beast than promoting products or services directly to consumers.
For instance, a B2B strategy has:
- Complex sales funnels that take longer to get decision makers through each phase
- Low-volume keywords with more technical and educational content
- A lower conversion rate compared to B2C marketing
- Content creation catered to decision makers in businesses rather than individual consumers
You’re marketing to a specific subset of business contacts, rather than a broad demographic of people, so you need a more defined SEO strategy.
Why use SEO for B2B companies?
Reaching a large, widespread audience with your website — and subsequently, your product and/or service — is possible with SEO.
Using SEO for your B2B company can also:
- Increase website traffic
- Improve lead generation
- Grow your conversions
- Save money on paid ads
- Show up in more search engine results pages (SERPs)
- Build more credibility
- Grow your businesses
But that’s not enough — let’s cover some real-world success stories that showcase the power of SEO for B2B.
Our team at HawkSEM worked with wealth management firm Moneta Group to ramp up its SEO efforts.
The firm wanted to improve its organic visibility in four key markets, so our team of experts built geo-specific web content, developed citation profiles, and expanded the keyword reach of the Moneta Group website.
In the end, Moneta was able to:
- Increase their organic keyword portfolio by 326%
- Grow organic keywords in the top 3 positions by 164%
- Boost Google Analytics goal completions by 23.5%
Results like this are possible when you partner with a renowned B2B SEO agency.
B2B SEO checklist
Don’t forget any of these essential steps when crafting your own SEO strategy for your B2B company. Keep this checklist handy so you can mark off each step as you go.
Create your buyer persona. Create a clear profile depicting who your B2B marketing strategy needs to target.
Structure your sales funnel. Put together a plan for moving customers through each step of the funnel to increase conversions.
Conduct keyword research. Find the best keywords for your business to create website content around to reach a wider audience.
Create your content. Put together high-quality content that will generate more website traffic and increase conversions.
Optimize your content. Make sure your web pages are fully optimized in accordance with Google’s algorithm preferences.
Promote your content. Increase views, backlinks, shares, and more to improve the likelihood that people see your content.
SEO for B2B is an essential strategy for any business-to-business company to put together. It helps increase organic traffic, boost brand awareness, and generate more sales and conversions.
However, if you’re not interested in putting together a strategy like this yourself, get help from the experts. Our SEO team would love to create a custom strategy for your business. Reach out to HawkSEM for a free consultation.