May 3rd, 2021
7 minutes

B2B SEO tips and best practices that actually yield results

The importance of keyword selection and precise targeting in B2B compared with B2C

This article by Semrush provides an interesting summary of the salient points differentiating an SEO strategy for B2B from a B2C strategy (e.g. keywords, content, the sales funnel). It also offers an opportunity to reiterate, for example, the importance of precise targeting in B2B (Business-to-Business), much more so than in B2C (Business-to-Consumer).

Unlike B2C, which targets a broader audience, and uses everyday language, and high search volume keywords, in B2B, it is more beneficial to use precise keywords that resonate with your target(s) and reflect their typical needs and pain points. We consequently avoid generic terms and preferably use technical keywords that position you as an expert in the field, or keywords describing clearly-identified business requirements. Underpinning this, your ability to acquire good SEO positions is what’s at stake, using terms that have real business potential.

An effective B2B SEO strategy will therefore involve clearly defining your positioning in terms of both target and also “comfort zone”. Indeed, there is sometimes more to be gained by positioning your business on a keyword that sees slightly lower volume but also less competition for ranking. A highly competitive keyword will consume a great deal of your energy, while you could more easily position yourself on search terms that match more precisely with a) what you offer and b) what your prospects are looking for. In short, more precise targeting will generate you higher quality leads.

Google is increasingly moving from being a search engine to an “answer engine”

For 20 years, Google has positioned itself as a “search engine”, with this mission clearly stated on its website: “ Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. That’s why Search makes it easy to discover a broad range of information from a wide variety of sources.”

With just a third of SERPs reportedly generating clicks to either an organic result (SEO) or an AdWords advert (SEA) in 2020, even a casual observer must have noticed Google’s shift to position itself as an answer engine (i.e. providing the answer before any click), further promoting paid ads, for example.

This trend is likely to continue to intensify with the growing volume of searches from mobile devices, which are nowadays the source of up to 70% of web traffic.

Google Page Experience: extra time to improve your UX (and your SEO?)

Every day, 3.5 billion searches are run on Google, and 75% of users behind these searches never venture beyond Google’s first SERP (search engine results page). The race for the top spot has pushed companies in recent years to invest time, resources, and energy in optimizing their organic search presence by creating pages and content designed to boost their ranking on Google, and thereby increase their visibility. Indeed, if you are beyond the first page, you are visible to just 25% of internet users.

As mentioned earlier, Google aims to provide the best answers to its users. In this regard, and with a view to continuous improvement, Google is taking its algorithm a step further by incorporating a “user experience” dimension into the equation, measuring how users perceive their experience of interacting with a web page. The idea here is to make the web more user-friendly by considering responsive design, navigation security, secure connections (HTTPS), and other guidelines related to intrusive interstitials.

The roll-out of this update to Google’s algorithms in June 2021 to implement Page Experience had a greater SEO impact on e-commerce sites and sites with large audiences. In B2B, especially for SMEs, the impact is more limited, as UX, while important in terms of loading and response times, is just one criterion among hundreds of others.

For instance, while loading speed has long been important, given the hundred other SEO criteria, this factor only adversely affects you if your site is exceptionally slow to load. In other words, do not overlook the cost/benefit ratio when considering the time spent on SEO and web design strategy. Taking the example of page loading speed again: utilizing the cache and optimizing image sizes are the minimum requirements to improve this factor. Making a site significantly faster would entail a lot of specific development and coding work; however, unless you have a substantial budget, and/or dedicated teams in this area, then depending on your resources, maybe this does not need to be a priority.

In SEO, while it’s important to keep all optimization criteria in mind, trying to actually excel in every area could prove time-consuming and so call the profitability of your efforts into question. The top priorities for any SME software publisher/IT service company targeting a B2B sector are still the quality of content, SEO optimization, and link building. The return on investment for the other aspects remains quite limited. Ultimately, it also depends on your size; this conversation would be different for websites with substantial traffic, where a 5% increase in that traffic could represent much higher stakes in terms of revenue.

A word too about refreshing and maintaining content

Create content for your website on a regular basis, share it on quality media, target the right keywords, meet your audience’s requirements while showcasing genuine expertise through your content… Everyone has been creating content for years now, and the winning formula is that quality trumps quantity to deliver real added value to website users. There are two clear challenges here, namely keeping visitors satisfied and the SEO aspect.

While the trends are towards creativity and an increase in content, it is equally important to look after your old content. During internal discussions at Magnetic Way, and reviewing the performance of our clients’ websites, we noticed that some of the top-ranking blog posts are quite a few years old by now. However, even if it remains well-indexed and visible on Google, and has a real impact on your business and reputation, it’s crucial not to forget about older content and to pay some attention to updating it from time to time.

Revitalizing older content to boost its long-term impact

An article that was relevant or generated buzz a year or two ago might not chime with current taste, and its keywords, topic, design and links might perhaps need a little refresh.

To identify content to be reworked, start with the principle that certain subjects (legal, technological, service offerings, your brand’s DNA, etc.) are bound to evolve over time. Typically, an article related to a legal change in your industry will need to be updated as the legislation progresses. Another way to proceed is to monitor traffic on your pages over time: is it holding steady? Still trending upwards, or perhaps now on the decline?

Once you’ve identified the posts, there are a number of possible steps to take, including reworking the titles, adding more meta tags, incorporating new keywords, updating links, diving deeper into the subject, adding Calls To Action, changing the images or inserting a video, and so on. However, be sure to indicate in the article that it has been updated, e.g. “originally published on XX/XX/XX, updated on XX/XX/XX”.

Leverage existing content to create new content

Updating content sometimes significantly lengthens it, so it might prove useful to split one post into two.
The form of content can also be re-examined, so for instance written content could be adapted into different formats to suit use with different media such as infographics, webinars, videos, ebooks, pull quotes or podcasts.

Damien
Damien Andrieu During my over 17 years of experience in marketing for the IT and software industry, I've learned the transformational role marketing can have on business. To transform something, one must listen, understand, recommend, envision, and implement. This quest for results and impactful outcomes keeps me motivated everyday.
Google Partner
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