There’s no question that B2B SEO strategies differ from their B2C counterparts. This is especially true when it comes to keyword research, as items like buyer intent, brand awareness, and longer sales cycles all play a greater role before a purchasing decision can be made. As a result, it’s likely you’ll see less traffic overall and for each piece of content you create.
Now the good news is that typically B2B brands don’t need a ton of clients – and therefore reaching thousands and thousands of potential clients isn’t the be-all end-all. Instead, the emphasis must be on the quality of the lead – as 10 quality leads are always better than 100 questionable ones.
B2C prospects oftentimes have high intent to purchase, therefore from an SEO perspective, it’s best to focus on bottom-of-funnel or transactional keywords (“booking a dog hotel”).
B2B prospects oftentimes have low intent to purchase, they need to be carefully nurtured until they trust and know enough about your brand to make a purchase. Therefore from an SEO perspective, you can focus on awareness or informational keywords (“what is commercial construction”) at the top of the funnel.
Whether your focus is B2C or B2B, one thing remains true and consistent – your leads need to be nurtured and carried through the funnel until they reach the point where they are ready to make a purchase. Craft an SEO strategy that takes into account every stage of the buyer’s journey – from start to finish.
B2B Ideal Client Design
Many brands simply observe who is buying from them, few design who they want to buy from them. Designing your ideal client(s) will help you in many areas, but betters SEO efforts specifically by giving you more direct pain points only from the clients you want more of.
An ideal client design should cover many of the areas standard user profiles do (demographics, age, interests, etc.) but the new items to consider will ensure you’re focusing on a more specific audience:
- Profit analysis – which clients are most profitable?
- Personality – which clients do you like to work with (roles, size, industry, etc.)?
- Retention – are some clients easier to retain than others?
- Longevity – which clients have business models that will be around in 10 years?
With this ideal client, or buyer persona solidified, your SEO strategy will be more targeted and specific. In other words, it will be more effective.
Understanding Your Sales Funnel
In addition to understanding your buyer persona, it is also important to understand your sales funnel. This will help you when you begin your keyword research.
Your sales funnel should be specific to your business and its sale patterns. Look at historical data and key metrics to uncover where your clients have been engaging with your business most.
Gather data on purchasing behavior, how long the buyer’s journey tends to be, why clients may leave your business.
It is important to understand your sales funnel so that you can reach your ideal clients at every stage.
To uncover specific details about your sales funnel, talk to sales teams, look at KPIs related to sales, and review your buyer’s journey.
Identify and Address B2B Client Pain Points
Once you understand who your client is you’ll need to identify their pain points. In order to create content that resonates, B2B brands must do their due diligence in understanding the challenges of their audience.
Here’s how to get started:
– Unearth client pain points (call them, send surveys, ask them on social media)
– Create original content solving those pain points (don’t rehash existing articles)
– Apply technical SEO to adhere to Google’s algorithms
– Have a strong backlink profile and E-A-T profile
Once these pain points are fleshed out and are better understood, you can begin sharing your expertise in an effort to empower your audience and win over their loyalty.
In turn, your audience will begin to look at you as “the expert” and the trust will soon follow.
Pick your most important client design and create a content map touching on their challenges, their questions, and topics they want to know more about. You can also look at this in terms of your sales funnel to determine the best type of content for each stage of the buyer journey.
Then it’s time to take this list and start doing keyword research to ensure what you’re writing about is actually being searched for.
B2B SEO Practices for Keyword Research
B2B keyword research is based on client pain points throughout the buyer’s journey.
Using those pain points as keyword research topic ideas throughout the buyer’s journey is an effective SEO strategy.
Map out the buyer’s journey before diving into keyword research:
- Awareness: The client becomes aware of a problem it needs to solve.
- Lead: The client expresses interest in your specific solution.
- Trial: The client may try out a free offer or other test run to determine further interest.
- Purchase: The client has made a decision and makes a purchase.
Consider what questions to use to solve a potential buyer’s pain point.
Let’s look at this example:
Client Pain point:
Difficulty creating blog content.
How can I create quality content for our blog?
What are common content creation methods?
With their pain points and questions understood, you are in a better position to address their needs effectively.
Ideal Client Keyword Research
Now that you have your list of buyer questions and pain points, it’s time to do the keyword research to find the keywords or keyword phrases that satisfy your buyer’s intent.
Because you’ve done the work and gotten to know your ideal audience well you should conduct keyword research around your ideal client/buyer persona.
This will help you target specific words and phrases that your ideal clients are searching for, ideally placing your site at top of mind and top of SERPs.
Common B2B Keyword Indicators
High-relevance keywords. In the B2B space, relevant keywords or keyword phrases take precedence over high-volume keywords or keyword phrases.
Medium to low competition. Lower competition keywords (KD% or the numbers in green via SEMRush data) will give you a chance to rank higher.
Top of the funnel (TOFU) keywords. B2B clients have a longer sales cycle. Search for TOFU keywords to move them along the funnel.
Solution-oriented keywords. Keywords or keyword phrases related to your product or service.
Again, hone in on keywords that your target audience is using at every stage of the sales funnel.
Target Buyers at Different Stages of the Sales Funnel
Because the B2B sales funnel is more complex than B2C, it is useful to target buyers at each level of the funnel for optimal results.
As a buyer or potential buyer moves through the funnel they will be asking different questions or seeking out different topics. Your SEO strategy should cover all the bases.
In order to do that, you should map out a keyword strategy. One tool we often use is the Pillar/Cluster strategy. A pillar is an overarching topic. This targets the very top of the funnel, where buyers are only just beginning to become aware of your business offerings.
Clusters are related to the pillar but may cover related topics in greater detail. This targets the middle and lower levels of the funnel where buyers may begin evaluating and comparing your business to another.
The pillar/cluster strategy is useful for creating meaningful content and increasing your ranking on SERPs as these pillar/clusters interlink.
Implement Product/Service Landing Pages
Create and optimize product or service landing pages. These landing pages can even serve as topics for your pillar/clusters, as discussed above.
These pages are more sales oriented which helps customers across the sales funnel and earns your business more site traffic. It helps to target a variety of different locations that you serve to attract more customers.
Scale your Content Strategy
Content that attracts prospective customers needs to cater to the awareness phase of the buyer’s journey.
That could mean creating informational content in the form of ads to get in front of your ideal customers. Or creating blogs that help your audience hone in on their needs.
Your content strategy is not stagnant. It will need to adapt and grow over time.
To ensure your content strategy is scalable, create content that targets all areas of the sales funnel, not just at the lower level of the funnel.
Remember, scalable content is not all about rankings. It needs to earn you backlinks and drive engagement as well.
Promote your Content and earn Backlinks
Once your content is created it needs to be promoted. This goes beyond social media likes and retweets. Promoting your content should also involve links to other sites and sources to gain traction online.
This process should be ongoing and continually updating to meet the current needs of your business. SEO strategy is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time and patience to build up successfully.
The final step is promoting your content. Promoted content will earn you backlinks which will increase site visibility and traffic.
Backlinks are important to any SEO strategy, especially in the B2B space.
Conclusion – B2B SEO Keyword Research
You have the keyword research knowledge to start creating your B2B SEO strategy. Remember: B2B transactions have a long sales cycle. To be successful, make sure you are constantly doing these things:
- Designing your ideal client
- Understanding your sales funnel
- Identifying and addressing your B2B clients’ pain points
- Conducting ideal client keyword research
- Targeting buyers at all stages of the sales funnel
- Creating and optimizing product/service landing pages
- Scaling your content strategy
- Providing novel content and solutions that solve their pain points
- Promoting that content to earn backlinks
Subscribe to our newsletter for more branding articles!
Recommended For You