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SEO for Growth

How to Create a Growth-Focused B2B SEO Strategy

Looking to use SEO to acquire customers? Learn how to create a comprehensive B2B SEO strategy that drives traffic, builds brand awareness and generates leads

17 mins read time
Jeanna Barrett
Jeanna Barrett

Jul 14, 2022

Wondering how to grow your B2B brand and think SEO might do the trick? We couldn’t agree more! A solid B2B SEO strategy will increase brand awareness, improve your search rank, and grow your traffic. Here, we’ll give you our best tips to get you started.

What Is B2B SEO?

B2B SEO, in theory, is a lot like B2C SEO. The goals are primarily the same (growth, traffic, revenue), but in practice, the methodology and tactics you implement might be quite different.

SEO consists of three distinct silos — technical, on-page, and off-page. Optimization of your web pages helps search engines find, index, and serve up your content and information to users. It isn’t enough to simply build and publish a website — SEO ensures that your target audience will be able to find it.

But B2B SEO does so much more than improve your searchability. It helps boost a broad range of marketing outcomes for your brand.

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Ultimately, SEO for B2B brands helps achieve long-term, sustainable growth. Want to know how? We’ve got you covered. But first…

Are There Any Differences Between B2B SEO and B2C SEO?

As we mentioned above, B2B and B2C SEO have many of the same goals but are typically approached in different ways. Some of the biggest differences are detailed below.

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.Let’s take a deeper look at what sets B2B SEO apart from B2C:

Demonstrate Expertise Through Thought Leadership

Thought leadership positions your leaders and your brand as experts — the voice of authority in your industry. This instills confidence and trust in your audience, which is critical for B2B brands. Often, thought leaders feel they need to be seen as controversial or even unpopular, but in reality, that’s not what’s going to move the needle for your brand.

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Ultimately, any thought leadership content your brand publishes should be digestible, backed by research, and based on your unique perspective. Don’t expect to get far if you’re saying the same thing as every other “expert” in your industry. And don’t stress over being either too likable or too off-putting. Your thoughts and insights should stand on their own.

Low-Volume Keywords

Let’s say you’re a B2B brand that offers project management software. Obviously, you have to rank for the keyword “project management,” right? Not exactly. A high-volume keyword like that might be helpful at the very top of the funnel but will also include a much wider audience — anyone from a student researching a paper on time management and productivity to an individual who simply wants to streamline their personal to-do list.

Instead, B2B brands should be looking at low-volume, high-intent keywords with less competition.

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Generally, these will be long-tail keywords and will bring in visitors looking for exactly what you have to offer and are much more likely to convert.

Lower Conversion Rate

This might sound like a bad thing, but hear us out. B2B products and services often come at a much higher price point than standard B2C. Additionally, the sales cycle and buyer’s journey are much longer. However, that just means that when you use SEO to target your niche ideal buyer, you’re much more likely to get the sale. Instead of casting the widest net and hoping for the best, you’re casting a single line in the exact spot where you know you’ll find the biggest fish.

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Overall, conversion rates vary widely between B2B and B2C, and the tactics that work for one, as seen above, aren’t as likely to work for the other. Knowing what, when, and how to offer content to your audience is the surest way to boost your conversion rate.

Content for Decision Makers

This is a key difference between B2B and B2C SEO. You’re speaking directly to business decision-makers, and their concerns are substantially different from the average consumer. For instance, an influencer-backed TikTok video may not sway them to make a purchase, but an in-depth, data-backed case study might. 

Consider carefully the types of content your audience wants to see. 

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Other types of content, including webinars, infographics, and how-to videos, are highly effective for B2B audiences as well.

B2B SEO Success Stories

Want to see how some of today’s top B2B brands win with SEO? Here are our top picks:

HubSpot

The inbound marketing platform is killing it when it comes to SEO. And they should be, as SEO makes up one of the key principles of inbound/organic marketing. HubSpot knows their buyer persona inside and out and serves up the content that matters to them. In return, they get close to 16 million organic hits every month.

 

Take Note 

This UK-based transcription service offers a number of tools to B2B clients, but they eventually realized that to sustain growth and serve customers better, they would need to take a more decisive action. Take Note marketing director Thomas Carter credits their SEO strategy with helping them achieve the results they were looking for. Over the course of a couple years, the brand was able to grow traffic, sales, and revenue up to 22 percent. Carter says, “I think for us, SEO is the way to grow within such a competitive market.”

 

Canva

The design platform is a bit of an anomaly here, as it has both B2B and B2C customers. Another anomaly: They rank incredibly well for high-volume keywords like “template” and “brochure.” But that’s because they’ve put in a ton of blood, sweat, and tears (metaphorically, of course) into nailing their SEO strategy. They dive deep into search intent, and the content and products they offer are specifically designed to solve their audience’s pain points. And the payoff? 38.7 million organic hits every month.


Jotform

Jotform is a lead gen form builder for B2B brands. Since its inception in 2006, founder Aytekin Tank has had a lot of time to perfect his approach to SEO and brand building. In 2021, the company underwent a massive rebranding, focusing on user experience and data-driven growth.

“By making upgrades that reach the largest number of people, even modest tweaks will have an outsized impact,” Tank says. “And had we not compiled and analyzed the data, we might never have noticed this blind spot. Instead, we would have spun our wheels working on something that wouldn’t have the same returns.” The result? Jotform now has more than 10 million users and gets 160 million views per month.

20 Tips for Creating a High-Growth B2B SEO Strategy

Want to emulate the success stories above with your own B2B SEO strategy? We don’t blame you! Even if you aren’t an SEO expert or don’t have one on your team, there are tactics you can begin employing now to get on the road to SEO results. You may also want to consider hiring an SEO agency to help you craft and implement your strategy so you have more time to focus on other areas of brand growth. 

1. Establish Objectives for SEO

When it comes to SEO objectives, think beyond traffic and keywords. We know it’s pretty hard to buck that trend when they are consistently the most monitored SEO metrics.

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Sure, you will always want to keep these metrics in mind, but remember that your goals aren’t just to do SEO well — they should be about what your SEO strategy does for the brand. For instance, you might want to set an objective of increasing conversions by X percent in X amount of time or bring in X leads via organic search over the next year. Those objectives matter more to your bottom line and your brand’s ongoing growth.

2. Start with a Buyer Persona to Define Your Decision-Makers

For SEO to work, you must have a clear understanding of your buyer persona. In B2B SEO, these will often be high-level decision-makers. But you need to know much more than their job title to effectively market to them. 

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A buyer persona will have the basic demographic information of your target audience but also include psychographics and behavioral attitudes that help define who they are, what they want, and how you can deliver.

3. Interview Your Customers

Once you’ve identified your buyer persona, dig a little deeper and find real-life decision-makers who align with those attributes. These will likely be existing customers, and they offer a wealth of untapped insight and potential.

Interviewing customers can be as simple or as involved as you want to make it. You may send out an email with a survey link or extend personal invitations for a phone or video chat with select customers. However you go about it, make sure you outline questions that will provide answers on pain points, search intent, and overall satisfaction. Here are some sample questions to get you started: 

  • How did you first discover our brand?
  • When you found us, what was the biggest problem you were hoping to solve?
  • Had you tried other products or services prior to ours? What made you switch?
  • What’s the biggest benefit you feel you receive from our product/service?
  • If you were telling a peer about us, what would you say?
  • What goals do you hope our product/service will help you achieve?

4. Conduct Keyword Research Based on Your Buyer Intent

B2B buyers tend to be much more specific with their searches. They aren’t looking for “holiday sweaters,” but instead, they’re seeking answers to questions such as, “What’s the best time management product for the construction industry?” Your keywords should always focus less on volume and more on search intent.

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While you’re at it, remember to conduct a competitor keyword analysis as well. Determine the keywords they’re ranking for, and identify gaps where your brand can step in.

5. Identify the Keywords You Already Rank For

If you have access to a keyword tool like Ahrefs or Semrush, use it to stay on top of your current keyword rankings. By inputting your domain, you should be able to retrieve a report of every keyword and its performance. 

You're likely to find there are some keywords you don’t want or need to be ranking for, and you can make adjustments to your content to solve that. You might also notice keywords that are ranking but leave room for improvement. You’ll know then to focus your efforts on those pages that offer growth opportunities. Additionally, you’ll see where you’re already ranking well, so you don’t create duplicate content that will compete for ranking with what you’ve previously published.

6. Map Keyword Research to Each Stage of the Buyer's Journey

The B2B buyer’s journey is slightly different from the B2C version. It’s typically longer, with a few extra stops along the way. 

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Consider the questions your buyer persona is asking at every step along the way, and be sure your keywords are aligned with where they are in the journey and provide the answers they’re seeking.

7. Conduct an SEO Audit

SEO audits are deep dives into your website that help identify issues so you can create a plan to resolve them. Ideally, you would conduct different audits for different needs, including technical SEO, on-page SEO, content, and more. 

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Google’s tools are easily accessible, but they require some skill to understand and interpret the information. SEO industry tools like Ahrefs and Semrush provide unbeatable data and insights, but they also come with a learning curve.

If it feels overwhelming, it could help to seek the support of a reputable SEO agency or consultant. They can conduct a full audit on your website, compile uncovered issues, make recommendations to fix them, and even build and implement an SEO strategy based on the data.

8. Create Personalized Landing Pages for Each Audience Type

You might find that even within your buyer persona, there are different audience segments that have varying search intents. Make sure you’re delivering content that leads each segment through their own buyer’s journey.

Creating landing pages for each of these segments is one of the most effective ways to increase conversions. But that involves optimizing each new landing page for SEO, including site architecture, user experience, and clear-cut CTAs (one action per page).

More landing pages typically mean better SEO performance, so don’t hesitate to create pages that are tailored to each audience segment and their unique search intent.

9. Optimize Your Product Pages

Every product or service you offer should have its own dedicated page optimized for search. You want to be sure that anyone who lands on the page immediately knows what it’s about and how it fulfills their original search intent. Here are a few ways to optimize your product pages:

  • Avoid duplicate content. Even if some of your services or products are similar, you want to be sure the content on each individual page is totally unique. Duplicate content can result in penalties and pits your pages against each other when it comes to rank.
  • Use keywords strategically. Keyword stuffing will never work in your favor. Instead, make sure your priority keywords appear in the right places, like H1 tags, page URL, and meta description. Try to work your focus keywords into the top part of the page — “above the fold.”
  • Create longer content. Short pages simply don’t rank well, and yet it seems to be the norm on B2B websites. Top-ranked B2B pages typically feature long-form content, most often around (or even more than) 2,000 words.

10. Create Content That Helps Your Reader Take Your Preferred Action

A little caveat here — it isn’t just about the action you want them to take; it’s also about the action they want to take. That’s why search intent plays such a key role in your B2B SEO strategy. 

Additionally, consider your buyer persona — in this case, they are most often decision-makers and B2B product buyers. Think about the content subjects that appeal most to them, and offer the solutions they’re looking for at their particular stage in the buyer’s journey.

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Once you understand the information they want, you’ll be better prepared to deliver it how they want it.

11. Diversify Content Formats to Engage Your Audience Where They Hang Out

Your buyer persona is probably hanging out on social media in their spare time, but are they constantly browsing Instagram on the clock? Probably not. Consider where they are spending their time and the content formats that are most appealing and effective in that context.

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For instance, you may want to post long-form thought leader pieces on LinkedIn, but you can also flip the format and have the same thought leader appear on a branded or external industry podcast. 

Remember that content repurposing is one of the most impactful SEO adjustments you can make. Turn blogs into infographics, or turn an ebook into a video series. The options are limitless, but so is the potential.

12. Use Schema to Help Google Understand Your Content

Schema markup is a type of vocabulary used in your website’s coding that helps search engines understand the content and deliver users exactly what they’re looking for.

When done correctly, schema can help position your website to appear in Google answer boxes and rich snippets, highlighting your products and services exactly when your buyers need them.

13. Improve Your Internal Linking Structure

External links (backlinks) often get all the glory, but optimizing your internal linking is a quick and simple way to boost your SEO results. 

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Internal linking can improve page authority and rank. So when you have a high-performing page, be sure you’re linking to pages that need some improvement. It’s an instant lift that will pay off dividends in the end.

14. Build Relevant Backlinks to Your Content

We said above that backlinks get all the glory, and honestly, that’s because they are pretty powerful tools to ramp up your B2B SEO. In simple terms, a backlink is what results every time an external site links to yours.

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Acquiring backlinks takes some effort. You want to be sure all the links in your backlink profile are from high-authority, reputable sites. And it helps even more if they’re relevant to your industry. This is where outreach comes in, as you look for opportunities to guest post or use a resource like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to contribute your industry insights.

15. Consistently Create Valuable Content

Every single piece of content you push out should have a clear purpose that aligns with your overall SEO strategy. Your blog should be structured in a way that offers value to the reader without being too sales-y or self-promotional. Create categories that speak to your buyer persona wherever they are in the funnel, and build the content around that. For instance:

Top of Funnel: They are still looking primarily for information. They may not know what problem they’re trying to solve or even that they have one. Avoid promoting your brand here, and instead, offer high-quality content that positions you as a trusted voice on the subject.

Middle of Funnel: They know that they have a problem, and they want a solution. You might choose to mention your brand here, but avoid pitching a particular product or service. For now, stick with in-depth content that talks about solutions and offers comprehensive how-tos and information.

Bottom of Funnel: They are nearly ready to make a purchase. At this stage, they may want to know how your brand stands out against the competition and see actual use cases that help them make a decision.

16. Promote Your Content

The content you create is important, but equally critical is how you distribute it.

Paid Ads

PPC in conjunction with SEO is a powerful way to get your brand seen. Just remember that when your PPC campaign ends, so too do the results. However, PPC is a great way to promote a new product, a rebrand, or a specific campaign. Pair it with SEO so you reap the rewards of both immediate and long-term results.

Social Media

Find out where your buyer persona is spending their time, and make sure you have a presence there as well. It might be LinkedIn, or it might be a niche social media platform. Wherever it happens to be, make sure you’re posting consistently and pushing out engaging content. 

Emails

Emails are fantastic for nurture campaigns or abandoned cart campaigns. Build a solid mailing list and use careful segmentation to make sure you’re getting the right message to the right audience. 

Influencer Partnership

Influencers aren’t just celebrities. Today, there are influencers in nearly every industry, and partnering with them can deliver major results. You’ll have a built-in, engaged audience who wants the content you’re ready to share. 

Guest Posting on High-Authority Sites

As mentioned previously, guest posting is the best way to establish your backlink profile. Look for opportunities with industry blogs and websites, or contribute to media outlets through resources like HARO. 

17. Pay Attention to Core Web Vitals

Google is all about user experience, and if you want your brand to be found, you’d better be all about it, too. Google’s Core Web Vitals measure elements like load speed, page responsiveness, and scrolling stability.  

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Core Web Vitals contribute to page experience, which is one of Google’s primary ranking factors, so getting this right is absolutely imperative to your SEO success. 

18. Improve Technical SEO

Technical SEO is often described as “low-hanging fruit” and we are here for it. Tech SEO issues can typically be easily solved — if you know what and how you’re solving them — and they have a huge impact on your search performance.

Tech SEO deals with how search engines crawl, index, and render your web pages.

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Don’t let that fruit comparison fool you, though. Technical SEO can be complicated if you haven’t done it before, and there’s always a risk of exacerbating existing issues. In this case, it’s always wise to seek the help of a qualified technical SEO expert.

19. Align SEO Strategy with Offline Marketing Efforts

Wait. How can SEO support and supplement offline marketing? You’d be surprised. Think of the people who have actual interactions with your leads and customers — it’s your sales team, right? And customer service? Imagine your lead gets off the phone with a sales rep and decides to immediately Google your brand, looking for reviews, testimonials, or case studies. A strong sales enablement strategy will ensure that your online and offline sales efforts are aligned. 

20. Test and Track Results

SEO is a long game, and you aren’t going to see mind-blowing results right away. In fact, most of the time, it takes six to nine months to start seeing truly meaningful results. We promise — it’s worth it in the end. 

However, your SEO strategy will bring you a lot of data, and you can start monitoring that right away. You’ll be better prepared to make informed decisions and start testing different tactics to see what might bring maximum growth. 

Some of the metrics you’ll want to track include:

  • Organic traffic: so you have an idea of if/how your website is being found and how many users are clicking through
  • Keyword rank: to understand if you’re focusing on the right keywords or if there are opportunities to rank for lower-volume, high-intent keywords
  • Bounce rate: to identify when visitors are dropping off your site and make adjustments to keep them on the page
  • Pages per session: track this along with session duration so you know how many pages visitors are going to and how long they’re staying engaged
  • Domain authority: also called Domain Rating or Trust Flow, depending on your SEO tool, this measures the quality of your backlink profile and site health

The Brands That Win at SEO Are Those Focused on the Customer

Your B2B brand has an opportunity to be one of the winners. These tips will help you get a jump start on an effective B2B SEO strategy, but that will only take you so far. SEO can be complex and time-consuming, and you may find you need help and support from a trusted expert.

When you get there, FPS will be here. Our team of SEO experts know exactly what it takes to craft a B2B SEO strategy that delivers results and long-term, sustainable growth. Let’s schedule a strategy chat today and find out how we can help your B2B brand grow.

Jeanna Barrett

Jeanna is the Founder & Chief Marketing Expert for First Page, an award-winning, fully distributed marketing agency. Jeanna has a combined 17 years of inbound marketing experience at venture-backed startups, digital agencies and Fortune 500 companies, with an expertise focus on business and tech. She's been named 'Top 40 Under 40' of brand marketers and 'Best in the West' for financial technology marketing. In 2016, Jeanna left the U.S. to lay roots and build her business in Belize, and in 2021 First Page was named #43 in fastest growing private companies of Inc. 5,00 Regionals: California.

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