May 24, 2017
19 Powerful (and Actionable) SEO Tips For B2B Companies
As a B2B business, strong SEO is necessary for a long-term lead generation. But B2B SEO can be a hair-grippingly frustrating nightmare...
- You produce reams of actionable content. Yet no shares, traffic or leads.
- There are a billion other competitors who rank higher than you in search engines.
- And even when traffic trickles in, it’s not converting.
Keep reading, and you’ll keep your hair - we’ve created the ultimate resource for boosting B2B SEO.
And no, you don’t need to be a basement dwelling “optimizer” to reap the rewards from our tips below. What follows are simple, actionable tips to help you rock search engine optimisation and ultimately, boost your bottom line.
The Difference Between B2B and B2C SEO?
Understanding the difference in goals between B2C and B2B companies highlights their innate SEO differences. The main distinctions between B2B and B2C companies are:
- B2B has multiple decision makers, whereas B2C companies usually have one
- B2B products are generally higher priced than B2C goods
- Longer buying cycles are the norm in B2B sales
- For all of the above reasons, B2B purchases are more research driven and competitive than B2C purchases
Most Important Pages For B2B Companies (in Terms of SEO) And Why
More often than not, the “journey” begins on the homepage. Your homepage must be designed to clearly articulate the “why” and convey an overall “feel” of your brand to hook decision makers. Here’s where you’ll begin to inform & convince leads on why you’re a capable, viable & profitable choice.
Solution/Product Feature Pages
Solution/Feature-specific pages have two primary goals:
- To drive home the benefits of your product/offer. It’s your chance to prove why you’re the best solution for their burning problem. Groove's ticketing page executes this perfectly:
It’s a light, but an effective page that explains in simple terms how the visitors will benefit from the product.
- To rank for keywords related solution/feature-specific pages.
So your feature/solution page shows how it benefits your lead?
Great. But that doesn’t mean they’re clicking your feature page first. Your visitors are in “pain”. They want a simple, effective solution that makes sense. Strengthening your feature-specific pages with keywords gives you a chance to reach your potential leads in the search engines.
Type the name of any popular B2B app into Google, and what are the first few searches that appear?
Alternatives to it!
Because they target businesses that are looking to switch from competitors, alternatives to popular B2B products are highly sought after. Plus, these keywords tend to have higher conversion rates.
Great content gives you an edge. It allows you to attract and target leads throughout different stages of the sales funnel.
Surface level content like ‘how-to’ posts quickly establishes authority and expertise, pulling leads from the top of the funnel. Further down the funnel, deeper, gated content can be used to secure leads via white papers, or trial software offers , etc.
Actionable SEO Tips For Higher B2B Traffic
Now that we know what pages matter most to you as a B2B company, let’s dive into some actual ways to boost their SEO rankings!
B2B SEO Tip #1
Make It Easier To Access Your Meatier Content
Our brains crave a predictable and logical structure that feels easy. And the structure of your site makes a huge difference on how easy and painless it feels to use. Organising your content in an intuitively navigable way has powerful SEO advantages. So what exactly does that mean?
Simply minimize the number of clicks it takes to reach your sites main inner pages. This means “link juice” will flow evenly to your pages, making them more likely to get indexed. This process is known as flattening.
B2B SEO Tip #2
Use Secure Browsing (Don’t Get Tagged By Google)
High-profile hacks of popular sites are always making headlines and stirring paranoia.
To discourage breaches, Google favours sites that support secure browsing by throwing them a little extra SEO juice. But in 2017, secure browsing is a must. You no longer have a choice. With the release of Chrome 56 in January 2017, websites that don’t run on HTTPS will be marked as “not secure”:
So if you’re a non-HTTPS site, here’s what your URL may look like in chrome:
Having a non-HTTPS or “insecure” site is even worse for B2B SEO. Remember, B2Bs have longer buying cycles, more decision makers to please, and higher priced products. There are a lot of trust and commitment involved with buying off B2B websites.
And a big red “not secure” sign in your site address is a surefire way to burn trust and kill your conversions.
To prevent your site from being labelled “insecure” by Google, ensure you’re using HTTPS or SSL. Simply speak to your hosting provider about upgrading. Alternatively, you can do this yourself with Google’s guide on enabling HTTPS on your servers.
B2B SEO Tip #3
Leave Breadcrumbs Down The Rabbit Hole
Is your site packed with pages or dense layers?
Show visitors how far “down the rabbit hole” they are with a secondary navigation system. Breadcrumb style navigation is a great option for added B2B SEO juice. It creates more internal links, boosts usability on-site, and has a stronger presence on SERPS.
Google states that breadcrumb navigation allows search engines to better understand your site and it’s structure. It also makes it clearer for potential leads to understanding your content path before they click.:
B2B SEO Tip #4
Use Keyword-Rich URLs That Are ”Semantically Accurate”
A URL slug is the exact address of a website or webpage. URL slugs for your webpages appear in search engine results pages, which means you can optimise them to give your search engine rankings a boost.
So, should you stuff ALL of your keywords in the URL?
That’s a mistake that most people make when optimising their site. Use the main keyword for your title, and use related/synonym keywords for your H1 and H2 tags.
So what about the URL? Use only one relevant term keeps your URL short. This is easier for searchers to understand and is proven to boost click through rates. For example, /blog/facebook-video-ads instead of /blog/facebook-video-ad-tips-to-boost-your-ecommerce-site/.
B2B SEO Tip #5
Maintain Mobile Friendliness
Mobile accounts for 40% of retail sales. And most people spend the majority of their time consuming digital media on mobile devices; with mobile now accounting for 60% of time spent. Google is well aware of this, which (as shown below) is why they favour mobile-responsive websites:
A responsive design is a no-brainer for that extra search engine visibility on Google.
B2B SEO Tip #6
Use Main Keyword In Your Title, And Use Related/Synonym Keywords For your H1 and H2 tags
Title Tag: Your title tag is one of the most important on-page SEO factors. You want to use your main keyword in the title tag when possible. The closer the keyword is to the beginning of your title tag, the more capable it is of generating an extra SEO boost.
<H1> tags: The general consensus is to wrap your Title in <H1>, but that would be like Google giving you a gun with two bullets and you only fire it once . Wrap your main keyword in a different context. Think of it as your second title. For example, if your title is “Gated vs Ungated Content: The Ultimate Guide”, then your <H1> could be “Here’s When You Should Gate Your Content”
Keyword Mention: Aim to drop your main keyword within the first paragraph or two. The earlier you drop, the better.
Images and Media: Include plenty images, gifs, or infographics. Images are proven to reduce bounce rates and increase time spent on site. This tells Google that people are finding the content on your site valuable, which improves your search engine rankings.
B2B SEO Tip #7
Rev Up Your Site Speed
Pages that load faster have better engagement, stronger conversions, a friendlier user experience, and better search engine rankings. Research about loading speed and conversions is shocking. It shows that:
Sites with 3-second load times get 22% fewer page views, 22% lower conversions and a 50% higher bounce rate than sites with 1 second load times.
Further research even shows that reducing page load time from 8 to 2 seconds can boost conversions by 74%. To improve your page loading speed:
- Find out your current speed with Google Page Speed
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Strip the “weight” by removing plugins that you don’t use
- Switch to a faster hosting company
B2B SEO Tip #8
Optimise Your Meta Descriptions
Many people forget to include meta descriptions for their pages. These descriptions are an important place to include relevant keywords for your content. Why?
Because they are used in the search results when your page is listed.
To optimise your meta descriptions:
Include your most important keywords in the description.
Google will often highlight where it thinks your searcher’s query is in your description
Keep it between 135-160 characters long.
Any longer and search engines will cut the end of, so move important keywords to the beginning of your description
Treat it as a mini advert.
Make it compelling and engaging while making it match your on-page content
B2B SEO Tip #9
Discover Pain Points By Surveying Your Audience
All great marketing starts with defining your target audience. When it comes to boosting B2B SEO rankings, we want to hone in on those pain points. What exactly do your customers want? And what needs of theirs are not being met?
Answering these questions will improve the quality of all your marketing activities, no doubt. But for SEO, it means crafting a better content strategy based on your customer’s needs. It also leads to super focused keywords and descriptions that reel prospects in - all because you “speak their language”.
Let’s say you have sales productivity software for closing more leads. You're naturally going to want content that focuses on helping sales reps.
After researching your target audience, you know the majority of your prospects are beginners and are still grasping the basics of cold selling. To boost your search engine rankings, you can tailor content and keywords around sales tips for beginners or cold selling.
To kickstart your paint point discovery:
Use social media for searchers like “I hate cold calling” or “how to cold call”.
By doing this, you’ll begin to picture how your prospects project their pain in their language.
Conduct surveys on your existing customers.
A simple question or multiple choice option question can work wonders here.
- Take advantage of existing data on site like Emarketer, Forrester, and Buzzsumo
B2B SEO Tip #10
Use Google Search Console To Discover Hidden Keywords
Google Search Console is a useful tool for any SEO. It helps monitor your traffic, optimise your rankings, and gives you a better understanding of your site’s search results. More often than not, you’ll discover keywords that you didn't think of optimising/ranking for before.
Check out the beginner’s guide to Google Search Console for more information.
B2B SEO Tip #11
Use Industry Relevant Conference Agendas To Your Advantage
Most B2B industries have recurring events and conferences. See what topics and themes they are based on and use that for a quick keyword or content inspiration.
B2B SEO Tip #12
Structure Content Throughout The Sales Funnel
A whopping 68% of B2B organizations fail to identify their sales funnel. This is a huge mistake. You have to know how potential leads will slot into your sales funnel before thinking about how to attract them.
Here’s a structure of a B2B sales funnel that contains the principles that should guide your SEO-driven content.
Top Of The Funnel (TOFU)
If traffic to your website is alarmingly low, that’s a TOFU problem. Your focus should be on attracting attention from the market. This is where content like podcasts, interviews, and articles generate SEO juice that hooks leads.
Middle Of The Funnel (MOFU)
If you manage to attract attention to your business, but not enough people are filling out your forms - or downloading - that’s a MOFU problem. To fix this, you could improve how you market your B2B lead generation hooks (webinars, ebooks, etc.) or create new ones on demand on SEO pain-points.
Bottom Of The Funnel (BOFU)
Leads at the BOFU are low hanging fruits in comparison to leads at other stages because they have already expressed interest in you. Content that works well at this stage can be:
- Case studies
- Instructional, in-depth how-to’s
Understanding the basic principles of a sales funnel help you create the right content at the right time stage of the customer journey.
B2B SEO Tip #13
Have Magnetising Content To Absorb More Leads And SEO Juice
Do you have problem-solving content at the top of your funnel? What about in depth, middle of the funnel content, like whitepapers and case studies that nudge prospects deeper down the funnel?
Remember, the B2B buying cycle is more research driven and travels through more decision makers. Strategically placed content that includes keywords isn’t an optional extra, it’s an absolute must-have.
B2B SEO Tip #14
Optimise Content Around Topics Not Keywords
There’s always been a heavy focus on keywords with SEO. But there’s been a shift in the way people use search engines. They’re no longer pecking fractured keywords and hoping for a solution. The average searcher is now comfortable asking complex questions, and they expect a rapid and accurate answer. In response, Google has recently shifted its algorithms to adapt to this change.
Algorithms now understand the topical context behind a search, synchronise that with previous similar searches, and pull up web pages that deliver the best solution. Research by Hubspot’s Anum Hussain shows how optimizing content for topics boosts impressions, links, and search engine results placement.
So, stop optimising your content solely around keywords.
Think broader, and gun for a specific topic you want to optimize for. Instead of multiple pieces of keyword focused content, have one main piece of “pillar content” that all your other pieces link to. Then, focus on tightly interlinking to that content on your own site, and attracting external backlinks from high domain authority sites. Think of it as establishing and proving your authority to search engines. You’ll be deemed as a reliable resource on the topic, resulting in better page rankings and more clicks.
B2B SEO Tip #15
Create A Glossary Of Terms Related To Your Industry
This allows you to rank for a number of search terms, especially if there's a lot of confusing terminologies. Plus you may get lucky and get featured in Google's quick answer box
B2B SEO Tip #16
Create A Free Tool For Your Industry
Some great examples of this are CoSchedule’s headline analyzer:
Your tool needs to solve your customer's pain point and have relevance to YOUR business. Over time, this will strengthen your authority in your industry and yield strong SEO returns.
B2B SEO Tip #17
Stress The Personal Benefits, BEFORE The Business Benefits
You might be a B2B company, but the decision to invest in your product/service? It’s still personal. Here’s how that translates into personable copy:
- You’ll boost revenue for your company, and be acknowledged as someone who made an impact. Maybe a promotion/celebration from your boss will result.
- You’ll improve your understanding of customer service, becoming the guy that customers want to deal with. And you’ll become your company’s go-to for closing big leads.
- With less churn in your business, you no longer have to frantically refill your leaking bucket of customers. You’ll be able to spend more time doing things you love with the ones you love. Letting your business do the heavy lifting, instead of the other way round.
You get the idea. If you get stuck, apply “the so what” trick to filter your copy.
B2B SEO Tip #18
Use The Right Language For The Right Audience
Facebook has close to 4 million complaint related conversations a week. To combat this, they aimed to get people communicating with each other instead of sending anonymous complaints.
So they tweaked their reporting message around one main persona. They honed in on teenagers of both genders to understand what the biggest problem was when reporting a post.
After talking to multiple teenage users, they found the word “report” triggered friction among teenagers. Teens didn’t want to feel like they were getting friends in trouble (Aka snitching). After changing the report button to “this post is a problem”, people were more comfortable with complaints and communicated better.
See how a minor language change dramatically boosted response?
Think about it, how would you like your lead to feel when reading your copy?
- Like them to consider you as someone who understands their needs, and speaks the same language as them?
- Or a third party, brashly nudging its way into the conversation to sell them something?
Using the right language is key to building trust and getting leads to open up. Which is why it’s important to use the right language and “jargon” when addressing visitors.
B2B SEO Tip #19
Address Their Objections
Wherever there is pain, there is always an option for growth/better understanding of customers. Want a quick way discover pain-points/objections?
Do some digging on your competition. Make a list of your top competitors and investigate their negative customer feedback. As well as review sites, social media is a great researching tool. Search in social media and search engines for “I hate [insert competitor]” or why “[insert competitor] sucks”. Look for common customer complaints and take note.
You’re likely to encounter similar objections and pain points to be addressed in your own copy.
Boosting your B2B sites search engine rankings isn’t rocket science. With the 19 tips above, you’ll be able to breakdown pages need an SEO boost and how you’ll go about it.
To summarise, here are the B2B SEO tips again:
Make it easier to access your meatier content aka flatten your site architecture
Use secure browsing aka add site-wide SSL
Leave breadcrumbs down the rabbit hole aka integrate breadcrumb navigation
Use keyword-rich URLs that are "sematically accurate"
Maintain mobile friendliness
Use the main keyword in your title, and use related/synonym keywords for your H1 and H2 tags
Rev up your site speed
Optimize your meta descriptions
Discover pain points by surveying your audience
Use Google Search Console to discover hidden keywords
Use industry relevant conference agendas to your advantage aka find topic ideas by scouring industry conferences
Structure content throughout the sales funnel
Have magnetising content to absorb more leads and SEO juice
Optimise content around TOPICS not keywords
Create a glossary of terms related to your industry
Create a free tool for your industry
Stress the personal benefits, BEFORE the business benefits
Use the right language for the right audience. Don't be afraid to use "jargons"
Address their objections
What was your favorite B2B SEO tip?