The Ultimate Guide: How to Use SEO for B2B Marketing

27 July 2023
10 minutes

In short

It’s no secret that search engine optimisation (SEO) has the power to transform marketing efforts and attract potential clients or customers. By strategically employing SEO for B2B, businesses can enhance brand visibility, increase conversions, and establish credibility within their industry. But it’s not always easy to know where to start, or what activities you should be prioritising and when.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of B2B SEO and explore its importance for building brand awareness and driving sales and conversions. We will also provide actionable SEO strategies to help you unlock untapped B2B SEO potential and offer top tips on creating a successful B2B SEO campaign. So, pull up a pew, grab something energising and prepare to discover how to unlock untapped B2B marketing potential with SEO.

What is B2B SEO and how is it different to B2C SEO?

Before diving into the world of B2B SEO, let’s define what it entails and how it differs from B2C SEO. While both involve optimising websites to rank higher on search engine results pages, B2B SEO focuses on meeting the specific needs and challenges of business-to-business interactions. In B2B SEO, the target audience is other businesses or decision-makers within those businesses, rather than individual consumers.

B2B SEO involves understanding complex sales funnels and the longer decision-making process inherent in B2B transactions. Additionally, B2B keywords often have lower search volumes compared to B2C, which can make keyword research and targeting more challenging. The low conversion rates in B2B also mean that the focus of SEO strategies should be on driving high-quality leads rather than sheer volume.

A graphic on a computer screen showing SEO for B2B planning

Why is SEO important for B2B marketing?

In many ways, SEO is integral to B2B digital marketing success. Here are some of the key reasons why B2B companies should invest in SEO for their marketing efforts.

  • Increased brand visibility: B2B SEO helps improve brand visibility by ensuring that your website ranks high on search engine results pages (SERPs) when potential clients search for relevant keywords or search terms. This increased visibility makes it more likely for businesses to be discovered by their target audience during their decision-making process.
  • Boosts conversions: An effective B2B SEO strategy can generate high-quality leads that are actively searching for the products or services offered by your business. By reaching decision-makers at various stages of their buyer journey, you increase the likelihood of converting these prospects into customers. Providing you deliver great content to support the journey, of course — more on this later…
  • Establishes industry credibility: Consistently ranking high in search results positions your B2B business as a thought leader in the industry. By offering valuable and authoritative content, you build trust with your audience, reinforcing your credibility as a knowledgeable and reliable partner.

What do search engines look for when ranking B2B businesses?

As search engines strive to provide users with the most relevant and valuable results, they employ complex algorithms that analyse a variety of factors to rank businesses. 

Understanding these ranking factors can help you optimise your website and content to improve search rankings and gain a competitive edge.

Let’s explore the key elements search engines consider when ranking B2B companies and discover actionable tips to improve where you appear in the results.

Ranking factors for B2B companies

Content relevance and quality

Search engines prioritise high-quality, relevant content that addresses the specific needs and queries of B2B audiences.

Tip: Focus on creating informative, in-depth content that showcases your expertise and thought leadership in the industry. You should also conduct thorough keyword research to identify relevant topics and incorporate them naturally into your content to optimise for search intent.

Backlink profile

A strong and diverse backlink profile is a crucial ranking factor for B2B companies. High-quality backlinks from reputable websites signal to search engines that your content is trustworthy and valuable.

Tip: Reach out to industry influencers, thought leaders, partners and customers/clients to foster collaborations and generate authoritative backlinks.

Website user experience

Search engines value websites that offer a seamless user experience, across all devices.

Tip: Ensure your website is mobile-friendly, loads quickly and has intuitive navigation to improve user engagement and search rankings. You should also regularly monitor and optimise your website’s performance and usability to enhance user experience.

Site security and HTTPS

Search engines prioritise secure websites with HTTPS encryption to protect user data and ensure a safe browsing experience. Secure websites are more likely to rank higher in search results.

Tip: Obtain an SSL certificate to enable HTTPS on your website and demonstrate your commitment to data security.

Domain authority

Domain authority is a metric that measures the overall performance and authority of a website. Websites with higher domain authority tend to rank better in search results.

Tip: Focus on producing high-quality, shareable content to attract more high-quality traffic and backlinks, which can contribute to an increase in domain authority over time.

On-page SEO

Optimising individual pages for relevant keywords, meta tags, and headings is essential for achieving better search rankings.

Tip: Create well-structured content with proper formatting to improve the readability and searchability of your website. You should also conduct on-page SEO audits regularly to identify and fix any issues affecting your website’s visibility.

Social signals

Search engines consider social signals, such as shares, likes and comments, as indicators of content relevance, brand authority, and popularity with your target audience. An active social media presence can positively impact search rankings.

Tip: Engage with your audience on social media platforms, share valuable content, and encourage social sharing to increase social signals.

Local SEO

If your company is targeting specific geographic areas, local SEO is crucial. Optimising for local search terms and setting up Google My Business profiles can improve visibility in local searches.

Tip: Include location-based keywords in your content and ensure consistent business information across online directories.

people working together to come up with an seo strategy

How to build an effective B2B SEO strategy

Developing a solid B2B SEO strategy is essential. Here, we’ll go through the process step-by-step to help you get on the front foot.

  1. Create detailed customer or audience personas: Understanding your target audience is crucial. Gather your team and develop detailed buyer personas for the different decision-makers involved in the B2B purchasing process; the gatekeepers, purse string holders and so forth. Identify their pain points, preferences and search behaviour to tailor your content and SEO efforts accordingly.
  2. Conduct comprehensive keyword research: Thorough keyword research is essential for B2B SEO success. Focus on relevant long-tail keywords that align with your audience’s needs and target specific stages of the buyer’s journey.
  3. Develop a solid backlink acquisition strategy: Building authoritative backlinks from reputable websites with good domain authority is crucial for B2B SEO success. As part of your content creation strategy, focus on producing valuable assets that naturally attract backlinks from industry influencers and publications. Collaborating with B2B SEO agencies or working with content strategists like Contentoo can also help you establish valuable connections and gain exposure in your industry.
  4. Create a comprehensive, actionable content strategy: Develop a content strategy that addresses your audience’s pain points and provides valuable solutions. Focus on creating informative blog posts, whitepapers, case studies and other assets that are relevant to your audience’s needs. Make sure each asset is optimised for the channel, or channels it will be published or distributed on. Providing a great user experience is also critical for boosting search engine rankings. This brings us neatly to our next point…
  5. Optimise all key elements of your content: It’s natural to want to publish content as soon as possible but it’s critical to devote time to ensure that your content is optimised for search engines and user experience. Use relevant keywords naturally throughout your content, headers, and meta tags and incorporate relevant and helpful internal and external links to improve the overall SEO performance. Another smooth segway to our next point…
  6. Build an effective internal linking structure: Creating a strong internal linking structure within your website enhances user experience, streamlines the customer journey and improves search engine crawlability. Refer back to your personas and do a little role-playing to imagine how people will travel through your site and what they will need and when. For example, it’s a good idea to add links with CTAs to relevant case studies on key commercial pages to show how your product or service works, and benefits customers, in the real world.

How to create B2B content that delights, entertains and converts

High-converting content is the backbone of any successful SEO campaign. This section will cover the best practices for crafting B2B content that resonates with your target audience.

  • Find gaps in existing content: Identify gaps in your industry’s content landscape and create content that addresses those gaps. Focus on offering unique insights and solutions that position your business as an industry leader, solve your customers’ problems or make their lives easier.
  • Make sure every content asset serves a clear purpose: Every piece of content should have a specific objective, whether it’s educating, solving the aforementioned problem, or guiding the buyer’s journey. This purpose-driven approach helps build trust and authority with your audience and helps establish a solid ground for a mutually-beneficial business relationship. It also helps Google and other search engines to understand the page intent and index it appropriately.
  • Offer real value to your readers: B2B buyers need useful, relevant and helpful information to support their decision-making process. Offer useful insights, supporting data and actionable tips to demonstrate your expertise and provide tangible value to your audience. Think about the content format too. If you are conveying a lot of complex information then perhaps a video “how-to” or an infographic would be more helpful than a lengthy guide that might be hard or inconvenient to digest. If you do go down the video route, make sure you optimise the clip for search too.
  • Be honest: Transparency and honesty build that all-important trust with your audience. Avoid overly promotional content and prioritise authenticity to establish credibility. You want them to feel listened to and valued, not sold to and like they are just another company on your lead list.
  • Make your content easy and pleasant to digest: Always format your content for easy readability with headings, bullet points and concise paragraphs. A well-structured and digestible content format improves user experience, keeping visitors engaged and encouraging them to explore more.
planning content to improve seo ranking

Best Practices for B2B SEO

Adhering to best practices is very important when establishing and executing your strategy. In this section, we’ll explore the three main pillars of B2B SEO: On-page optimisation, off-page optimisation and technical SEO.

  • On-page optimisation: This involves optimising individual pages for relevant keywords, ensuring that each page aligns with the specific needs of your target audience. For example, including keywords like “how to use SEO for B2B marketing” in your page titles, meta descriptions, and content will help to improve search visibility.
  • Off-page optimisation: This tactic refers to building a strong backlink profile by actively seeking opportunities to collaborate with other industry players. For example, if your business specialises in content marketing as we do, leveraging keywords like “content marketing agencies” and “content strategy services” in guest posts and collaborations can increase the visibility of your content and website.
  • Technical SEO: This approach ensures your website’s technical aspects, such as site speed, mobile-friendliness and crawlability, are optimised for search engines. Good technical SEO means that search engines can efficiently crawl and index your content, improving your chances of ranking higher in search results. There are plenty of tools out there to help you gather data and insights for accurate measurement, many of which like Google Analytics and Google Search Console are free and easy to implement and manage.

How to measure the results of your B2B SEO activities

As with all aspects of your marketing, measuring the success of your B2B SEO efforts is crucial for refining and optimising your strategies, making sure you learn from any mistakes and that you capitalise on successes. In this section, we’ll delve into key performance indicators (KPIs) to track, such as organic traffic, keyword rankings, conversion rates and ROI.

  • Organic traffic: Use these metrics to monitor the growth in organic traffic and assess the effectiveness of your SEO efforts in driving relevant visitors to your website. Pay attention to referral traffic and channels/traffic sources as well as the usual page visits, time on page etc. This will help you identify tactics that can boost your activities even more in the future.
  • Keyword rankings: Tracking the rankings of your target keywords will identify opportunities for improvement and help you gauge the success of your B2B SEO strategy.
  • Conversion rates: With this metric, you can measure the percentage of website visitors who convert into leads or customers. Analysing conversion rates helps you understand the effectiveness of your content in driving valuable actions from your audience. Then you can concentrate on doing more of the same.
  • ROI: Calculating the return on investment for your SEO campaigns will help you to justify the expenditure on B2B SEO services or resources.

Top tips for creating and delivering effective B2B SEO campaigns

Now’s the time to put all your learnings together and start developing and executing your strategy. Here are some tips and insights to enhance the effectiveness of your B2B SEO campaigns:

  1. Stay up-to-date with SEO trends: Stay informed about the latest SEO trends and algorithm updates (especially Google) and adapt your strategies accordingly. As the SEO landscape evolves you should regularly update your content to remain relevant.
  2. Conduct regular website content audits: It’s always a good idea to set some time aside to conduct a thorough audit of your website content. This will help you identify opportunities for updating or repurposing assets and that all links and page elements are working well. It will also ensure your buyer journey(s) are optimised, that you have incorporated any new keywords or search terms and that you are making the most of your B2B SEO strategy in general.
  3. Monitor competitor activities: Keep an eye on your competitors’ SEO tactics and identify opportunities and potential threats. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses can help you refine your SEO approach. There are plenty of tools out there to help you achieve this, some of which we will explore in a later section.
  4. Leverage customer feedback: Utilise customer feedback to improve your products, services and content offerings. Tailoring your SEO strategy to address customer pain points and barriers to use will enhance the relevance and value of your content and ensure it resonates with your target audience.
graphic showing seo tools with a magnifying glass

Tools and resources to help with B2B SEO

New tools spring up all the time, many of which have freemium or low-cost versions. They are generally pretty straightforward to use and, when used and monitored regularly, can significantly boost your B2B SEO strategy. Here are some to consider.

  • Keyword research tools: Utilise keyword research tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz to conduct comprehensive keyword research and identify relevant keywords for your content. They can also help you ‘spy’ on the keywords your competitors are ranking for.
  • Backlink analysis tools: Tools like Majestic, Semrush and Monitor Backlinks help analyse your backlink profile and identify opportunities for link building. As with the keyword research tools, these helpful platforms can also reveal what your competitors and peers have been up to.
  • Content optimisation tools: Leverage tools like Yoast SEO or Surfer SEO to optimise your content for search engines and ensure it meets best practices.

Start your journey to unlocking your B2B SEO potential

As the landscape of B2B marketing continues to evolve, SEO remains a vital aspect of a successful digital marketing strategy. By understanding the intricacies of B2B SEO, implementing effective strategies and measuring results, your business can enhance its online presence, generate high-quality leads and establish itself as an industry leader.

Remember, B2B SEO is an ongoing process that requires continuous adaptation to changes in search engine algorithms and customer behaviours. By staying committed to best practices and consistently optimising your content, your business can thrive and you can continue to attract and convert your target audience and maintain a competitive edge.

Harnessing the power of B2B SEO to strategically attract and engage potential clients can significantly impact your company’s success. But you needn’t do it all alone. If you would like to find out how the talented team at Contentoo can help with content creation, strategy and SEO get in touch today. We would love to help.

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