Organic search has an amazing ability to send targeted traffic on a continuous basis, but it is getting harder and harder to build an organic search presence.
There are many factors at play here, including the higher competition in just about any business sector, plus Google’s growing unwillingness to send clicks elsewhere, instead of keeping those users engaged with search result pages.
So if your B2B business is seeing less and less of Google traffic, you are not alone.
Using the tactics below, you can remedy the situation and improve your Google rankings.
Here are three essential SEO tactics for B2B business to generate high-quality leads from organic search:
1. Get Your Site Discovered at All Stages of the Discovery (Pre-Buying) Journey
While B2C sales are often driven by impulse shopping, B2B buyers are willing to do their homework prior to making the final decision.
In B2B, content is the most important component of the buyers’ journey, which can directly influence purchasing decisions. More than half (62%) of B2B customers admit they can finalize their purchase selection criteria based solely on digital content.More than half (62%) of B2B buyers admit they can finalize their purchase selection criteria based solely on digital #content. Click To Tweet
According to a 2015 Forrester study, 74% of B2B buyers spend more than half of their time researching a product online before buying it offline.74% of #B2B buyers spend more than half of their time researching a product online before buying it offline. Click To Tweet
This means that B2B SEOs must pay close attention to both:
- Search queries with informational intent to create optimized “problem -> solution” type content
- Branded search queries (those that include their own brand or product name, as well as that of their competitors’)
Here’s a great example of a SaaS brand doing that right — take a look at PayKickstart. They have separate landing pages optimized for:
- Niche, specific landing pages that explain how the platform helps businesses in each sector they target (Example)
- Competitive landing pages (explaining why their platform is better than that of a competitor: Example)
- “Problem -> Solution” landing pages (explaining how the platform solves an existing specific problem in their niche: Example)
This SEO strategy serves a target customer at each of their research stages:
- Planning stage: Initial research — when the customer is only looking for possible apps to set up their digital entity
- The decision stage: When the customer has collected possible options and tries to make a choice
- Set-up stage When the target customer is in the process of set-up and facing a specific problem.
Your keyword research and content optimization strategy should address all of these stages that normally include the buying journey in the B2B sector:
|The stage in the buying journey||Keyword research tactic|
|Initial research (planning)||Core term extension (traditional keyword research)|
|Decision / choice making||Branded keyword research (including your and your competitor’s brand names)|
|Set-up stage||Niche question research|
2. Plan a Separate SEO Strategy for Each Possible Decision Maker
In B2Bs sales and marketing, there’s almost never a single decision maker to target. Nowadays, the decision making unit (DMU) usually consists of about 7 people which is more than a few years ago. Harvard Business Review reported the DMU growth back in 2017:
“The number of people involved in B2B … purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today.”
In many industries, a decision making unit may include at least the head of marketing, the head of operations, and the head of sales. And let’s not forget multiple people who may be doing initial product research and presenting the options to the actual decision makers. You need to target those people too.
Google’s study confirms that purchase decision-making process may include lots employees beyond the C–suite (i.e. executive-level managers).
Obviously, all the decision makers will all have their own needs for any product they are researching. All these diverse opinions and priorities should be addressed in the SEO strategy.
All the possible decision makers are likely to discover your product through different paths and different landing pages, so you need to plan your SEO strategy accordingly:
- Work with your sales team to better understand the decision making unit of your target customer
- Research your competitor’s traffic-driving keywords and organize those keywords based on your identified decision makers
- Plan an SEO content strategy accordingly to match each identified search query to a person within your target customer’s DMU to a landing page tailored to that particular decision maker.
For example, let’s say your B2B product is a lead generation platform that enables businesses to capture and organize lead information. You would need to develop a SEO content strategy to identify key, organic competitors and gather keyword data through tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush:
From there, you would create a spreadsheet with your findings and include:
- The stage in the pre-buying journey (see tip #1)
- The actual decision makers / personas that are likely to be use this search query
- The landing page this search query needs for our own tool to be findable through it:
Each content piece should target a specific decision maker and keyword, and needs to keep that persona in mind, including the search intent behind the query.
To help with search intent optimization, use Text Optimizer which uses semantic analysis to help you better understand the topical relevance and underlying concepts:
3. Get Your Brand Associated with Your Competing and Related Entities
Making sure your brand is placed inside Google’s “map” of your niche is important for Google to know what other entities (brands) it is associated with.
Google’s Knowledge Graph (i.e. Google’s understanding of the world) is a crucial ranking factor. You need to be connected to other brands in the niche for Google to know where you belong.
Getting your business into Google’s Knowledge base is an on-going process that consists of:
- Email outreach to get your brand included into listicles featuring (or ranking) your competitors
- Publishing your own listicles, including your brand alongside your better-known competitors
- Creating a detailed, semantically optimized About page
- Making sure your brand is featured wherever your competitors are featured, including conference websites, awards, etc.
- Creating optimized content for branded queries including [your brand vs. competitor] and [competitor alternative]
Bonus: Monitor Leads, not Just Organic Search Clicks
Finally, your clicks from organic search may still be lower than a few years ago, but what really matters for a B2B business is leads.
Make sure your goals are set up properly inside Google Analytics for you to be able to monitor your conversions.
Another useful tracking tool to use to monitor your organic traffic performance is Finteza — it allows you to build conversion reports based on multiple criteria, including the traffic source, landing page, and audience demographic:
There are even more customer journey analytics tools for you to try, so you definitely have some options here.
B2B SEO may take a lot of time, but it is well worth your (team’s) time because your organic presence is something you can keep building on, without the need to continually invest in it.
By using the ideas above, you will create a powerful SEO strategy, ensuring long-term findability of your business and products. Good luck!