There’s no question that B2B SEO strategies differ from their B2C counterparts (more on this here). 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?
Identify B2B Client Pain Points
In order to create content that resonates, B2B brands must do their due diligence in understanding the challenges of their audience. 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.
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
In order to address client pain points, you need to know exactly who to target. You can do this by creating buyer personas.
Defining B2B Pain Points
Now that you have your ideal clients defined, it’s time to address their pain points. 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.
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 and using those pain points as keyword research topic ideas throughout the buyer’s journey. Map out the buyer’s journey before diving into the keyword research:
Awareness: The client becomes aware of a problem it needs to solve.
Consideration: The client considers what solutions are out there for its problem.
Decision: The client knows the solution and now needs to choose a vendor.
Consider what questions to use to solve a potential buyer’s pain point.
I will use the following as an example.
Difficulty creating blog content.
How can I create quality content for our blog?
What are common content creation methods?
B2B Keyword Research
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.
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.
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 three things:
- Identifying B2B client pain points
- Creating buyer personas
- Providing novel content and solutions that solve their pain points
Now that you have your B2B buyer personas & pain points defined, and a list of keywords to target, go out and dominate search results.
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