We all know how important SEO is for reaching potential customers or leads.
In fact, over 49% of marketers agree that organic search brings in the highest returns on investments (ROI).
It’s not always clear what works with organic search. Google considers over 200 ranking factors when ranking pages.
However, it’s universally agreed that good content is the most important – for both B2C and B2B SEO.
What makes for good B2B SEO content? Are there different approaches to B2B SEO you should take vs. B2C?
Below, we’ll explain why organic B2B SEO content matters, what makes B2B SEO unique, and give you an actionable B2B SEO strategy to grow, convert leads, and beat competitors.
Why Organic SEO Matters for B2B
Apple’s new privacy updates now make it increasingly harder to retarget ads. According to the latest data, only 4% of users allow iPhone apps to track their data.
This means organic content is increasingly more important (than it already was before) in reaching B2B and B2C customers.
It’s now far harder and more expensive to reach customers with traditional digital ads, so an organic SEO strategy becomes even more important.
Traditional digital advertising also doesn’t work as well for B2B customers.
After all, what’s the point of blasting 100,000 people on social media, when none of them are your target audience?
B2B vs. B2C SEO – Key Differences
There are key differences between a B2C and B2B SEO strategy to consider:
- Your B2B Customers Are Different – Unlike B2C, which aims at a large mass audience, the people purchasing your SaaS products are mid-level to C-level executives, or the people directly reporting to them.
Oftentimes, they’re looking for a product to solve an immediate business problem, and are already deciding among multiple competitors they’ve already thoroughly researched. To convert customers, your messaging needs to resonate.
- The Sales Cycle is Much Longer – Most companies are slow to make decisions.
Oftentimes, the on-the-ground staff (who are most affected by the problem) need to make a case (via presentations) to their managers in order to get the procurement or purchase approved.
This process can take weeks or months, and may even require you taking a few extra steps to get to the sale, including a phone call or product demo.
- The Right Content and Keywords for User Intent – Search intent is becoming more and more important as Google continues to roll out algorithmic updates such as RankBrain and “people-first” content updates.
The high-value content demanded by Google means keywords and content spinning alone is not enough to have your business rank first.
This also means that your B2B customers are looking for more nuanced content and personalized solutions, which should benefit you if you have the right B2B content and SEO strategy.
Here are the steps you need to take to implement an effective B2B SEO strategy and to maximize ROI:
- Step #1: Know Your Audience
- Step #2: Personalize Your SEO Content
- Step #3: Niche Down Your Keywords
- Step #4: Reach Your B2B Customers on the Right Channels
- Step #5: Simplify Your Price and Product Offerings
- Step #6: Use Video
- Step #7: Batch Create Your B2B SEO Content
- Step #8: Record Product Demos and Use Webinars
- Step #9: Make Shareable and Related Content
- Step #10: Build Backlinks and Collaborate to Amplify Credibility
- Step #11: Sort Out Your Technical SEO
Step #1: Know Your Audience
Unlike B2C, B2B customers are rarely as simple as a single person buying a single product.
What qualifies as a purchase in a B2C case is often just the beginning (lead) in a B2B case.
When targeting leads, marketers often make the mistake of only targeting C-level or manager-level executives with decision-making power.
Yes, these higher-ups are often the ones making the ultimate procurement or purchase approvals, but they seldom are the ones directly affected by the problem your product solves.
9 out of 10 times, it’s the line sales person or the lower-level group of employees who are most frustrated by the problem you’re hoping to solve.
By the time these frustrated employees have found your solution, they have probably spent countless hours trying to fix this problem.
In fact, 60% of B2B customers have already done their research and come up with a shortlist by the time they are ready to talk to your sales person.
To convert these customers, you need to understand their search journey, define their problems, provide relevant information, potentially map out solutions, and understand their organization’s hierarchy.
An effective B2B strategy should have content, sales page, and landing pages that directly address both stakeholder preferences: decision-makers as well as solution-seekers.
An actionable content strategy is providing 1-page high-level summaries for decision makers, and longer explanations for solution-seekers.
Step #2: Personalize Your SEO Content
Once you’ve defined your ideal B2B customers, it’s important to tailor your content to their exact problems.
According to DemandBase’s B2B buyer study, 76% of B2B buyers say they now expect more personalized attention from solution providers according to their specific needs.
This means that it’s becoming increasingly more important for you to be specific with your SEO content.
For example, Facebook offers advertising to everyone, but if you visit their case study content blog, you’ll notice that they niche their cases down by company size, geographic regions, industry, objective, and even specific products.
Of course, your product may not be as far-reaching as Facebook, but the same strategy applies.
If you’re offering an app developer solution, consider writing blogs that target specific solutions not just to generic apps, but to particular types of apps such as health or educational apps.
Even if your product is not catered to that particular industry, by writing articles tailored to that industry, you’ll demonstrate to the customer that you understand their industry and problems.
By niching down, you’re ensuring that your content will rise to the top of Google’s search engine rankings, building better trust with your customers, and standing out from competitors.
Step #3: Niche Down Your Keywords
As is the case with content, niching down the keywords you’re hoping to rank for also is incredibly helpful with B2B SEO and Google page rankings.
Try searching for the keyword “email marketing tools” in Google:
You may have noticed that Google’s algorithm now is more likely to give you educational or informative content (“11 Free Email marketing tools” and “20 Best Email Marketing Tools”) vs. outright sales content as the top organic results.
All the paid ad spots are dominated by the big email marketing companies (e.g. Mailchimp or SendinBlue), while all the organic content is dominated by informative content.
Again, this is a result of all of Google’s algorithmic fine tuning.
If you’re a small email marketing company, how do you compete in the example above?
Google’s algorithm prioritizes results that are informative and human-first, so prioritize keywords which you can reasonably rank for, and develop content that best and most authentically answers that keyword query.
For example, if you search for “email marketing tools for beauty,” you’ll notice that a smaller email marketing company, Smartmail, is now one of the top results:
This illustrates how smaller B2B businesses can stand out with longer-tailed keywords, as well as with their content.
If you think all keywords have been saturated, you’ll be glad to know that 15% of all Google queries have never been searched before.
And, when it comes to B2B, ranking for keywords with just hundreds of results could still lead to valuable leads and conversions.
Step #4: Reach Your B2B Customers on the Right Channels
Like is the case with B2C, it’s important that you map out your B2B customer’s journey.
Below, you’ll find a sample marketing funnel:
We all know good content (paid or organic) is the thread that runs through the entire marketing funnel, but equally important for B2B is where this content needs to be.
Blogs, ads, email marketing, infographics, and even social media content can be just important (if not more important) for your B2B content strategy.
Oftentimes, the people who are your future customers may not be in the market now, but may easily be in the future.
This is why it’s important to also cast as wide a net as possible, but on the right channels.
For example, if you’re targeting e-commerce marketers, it may not make sense to run a Facebook ad blasting a bunch of people you suspect to be marketers.
Social media still also makes sense.
For example, if you’re targeting a potential B2B customer such as a programmer or developer, consider reaching these potential customers in Reddit threads that they hang out on, Twitter handles they interact with, or Youtube channels they watch.
Google’s search evaluator guidelines also state that discussion forums such as Reddit or sites with seemingly lesser authority may still rank high if the information provided is deemed valuable to searchers.
It’s important to research where your ideal B2B customers are hanging out online, and where they go to find solutions to their problems.
Oftentimes, being genuinely helpful and having your sales staff empowered to interact in these forums organically is a great way to reach the right customers.
A helpful link to your product solutions doesn’t hurt either.
Step #5: Simplify Your Price and Product Offerings
According to Gartner, 77% of B2B buyers state that their latest purchase was very complex or difficult.
Part of the reason for this is that SaaS companies want to extract the most revenues and lifetime value from a customer when setting up pricing schemes.
However, this can sometimes alienate potential customers.
There’s nothing more frustrating than finding the right product, only to have to go to a competitor because the SaaS product you’re after offers too complex a pricing plan.
Take for example, Klaviyo’s pricing plan below, which changes in complex gradations based on the number of email contacts you have:
The problem with this pricing structure vs. a more simple tiered structure are: A) it assumes you have a static understanding of how many email contacts you have or plan to have; and B) it makes it unclear how much you’ll actually have to pay on a slippery sliding scale (which often means expensive).
Klaviyo is a great tool, but their pricing could easily discourage a B2B buyer during their pricing research. A solution-seeker would much rather take a screenshot of the prices, than have to develop an Excel model to understand the potential costs.
Likewise, Junglescout is another great e-commerce SaaS tool that overwhelms with too many product pages:
The 16 product pages are great for showcasing Junglescout’s robustness, but it’s terrible for SEO.
Search engines often respond better to one page that is great rather than several average pages.
Likewise, consolidating these product pages into a few pages will make the content denser and favorable to search engines.
Google is now able to parse out relevant answers and favors long-form content in search results.
Step #6: Use Video, Even for B2B
Youtube is the world’s #2 search engine with over 2.6 billion unique monthly visitors and 22.8 billion visits per month in 2022 (more than Facebook, Amazon, Wikipedia, and Instagram combined).
What’s surprising is that so few SaaS companies take time to truly develop their video content or strategy.
Google is increasingly even favoring Youtube video results in regular text searches, and it can now even generate subtitles and chapters automatically.
Try searching for a term like “how to master email marketing” and chances are videos will be some of the top results:
Google indexes chapters in the video, and lets users search directly for moments within a particular video.
Video is instantly more dynamic. Failing to show up in video results may mean your business is losing out on valuable less-competitive video traffic.
Step #7: Batch Create Your B2B SEO Content
Creating so much content can be incredibly demanding on your limited resources. This is why we recommend batch creation of content.
In practice, for example, you could write a single YouTube video script for a product demo, and then adapt this same script for your blog.
The blog can then be further chopped up with key and shareable quotes pulled out for posting on social media sites such as LinkedIn or Reddit.
This one piece of content now serves 5-6 different purposes for your B2B marketing and SEO needs.
Social media postings and videos will also show up on search results, so having your content out there on multiple channels is a great way to increase your brand presence online.
Step #8: Record and Upload Product Demos and Webinars
According to Hubspot’s study of B2B buyers, “a product demo” (54%) is the second thing someone wants to talk about after price in a sales call.
Oftentimes, product demonstrations are not available to users on a SaaS company’s website unless they schedule a call for quotation or demonstration.
This is incredibly frustrating.
A great way to solve this frustration (and boost your SEO efforts in the process) is to record your product demos and post them to your YouTube channel (pending any confidentiality or trade secret concerns).
In most cases, B2B customers want to do as much research as possible themselves before wanting to talk with sales.
Requiring them to book a product demo with a real person is time-consuming and shouldn’t be the only way to see the product in action.
A pre-recorded demo solves this frustration and helps you get even more leads – all while boosting SEO.
If you’d like customers to be able to ask questions during the pre-recorded demo, consider running pre-recorded webinars with software such as Webinar Ninja.
Webinar Ninja has a great hybrid feature allowing you to pre-record presentations, but still be present for Q&A or receive Q&A via email.
Video content builds your credibility, is easy to upload to your YouTube channel, and reaches a wider audience.
Step #9: Make Shareable and Related Content
In addition to SEO content, Semrush also offers thought leadership across a wide range of related topics.
Browse their blog, for example, and you’ll find related content on everything from marketing psychology (“4 Powerful Psychological Factors that Influence Buying Decisions”) to blog posting (“How to Format Your Blog Post: 7 Effective Tips for 2023”).
Their blog broadly targets topics that may have a far wider audience than just simply those who are in the market to buy SEO software.
This is a brilliant tactic because it creates a strong brand impression, reaches new and future customers, and automatically ranks Semrush for keywords outside the domain of pure SEO.
Their blog content is also incredibly helpful, generating lots of backlinks, which further build up their domain authority – factors which help them rank on Google’s first page.
Focus on creating B2B content that isn’t just sales-oriented, but on many related topics which help establish yourself as an industry thought leader.
Step #10: Build Backlinks and Collaborate to Amplify Credibility
Backlinks (links to your content by reputable sources) are super important to building your B2B SEO strategy.
It may seem incredibly difficult: why would anyone want to share my boring content?
You have to recognize that B2B content is unique and serves the purpose of educating or informing; it doesn’t need to be the most exciting, so long as you offer novel and shareable insights.
A great strategy to get your links shared is to commission studies yourself or with a more reputable 3rd party research agency.
People are much more likely to share an article if it’s framed as a study, and more so if it doesn’t read like a sales brochure.
Another way to generate links is to actively guest post on industry blogs or niche sites to help get your business out there.
Collaboration can also extend to other things like your webinar content strategy.
Take Tiktok Advertising, for example, which regularly conducts webinars in partnership with companies such as Shopify.
Below is an example of a webinar titled “Creating Holiday Ad Campaigns That Convert” that Tiktok conducted with Shopify:
This partnership helps build instant credibility for both brands with customers, as it’s providing a helpful topic that doesn’t appear too “sales-oriented.”
Had the webinar invite came from one company, your sales-detection meter would have probably avoided it.
Lastly, try to get featured on your suppliers, your biggest buyers, or strategic partners’ pages.
Take, for example, Amazon’s Seller Partners network page, which helps build the links and authority to those B2B suppliers to Amazon.
Step #11: Sort Out Your Technical SEO
We focus on technical aspects last not because they’re unimportant, but because they should be secondary to developing good and personalized content.
Technical factors certainly do matter in the hypercompetitive world of SEO.
Not optimizing for mobile or page load times may cause you to rank on the 15th page instead of the first or second page of Google – making you undiscoverable by potential customers.
Too often, marketers focus on the technical aspects of B2B SEO strategy without recognizing the importance of content and personalization.
For B2B SEO, personalization is perhaps even more important as you niche down on those keywords and ideal customers.
For B2B, resonance with your potential customers is equally important as reach.
Now I’d like to turn this back to you. Is there a killer B2B SEO strategy you think I’m missing?