B2B keyword research is like a map to amazing content writing so you can reach your marketing goals.
This article shows you how to find the best keyword opportunities for the job.
- The importance of choosing keywords by search intent
- Picking different keywords for each step in your buyers’ journey
- Best places to find B2B seed keywords
- How to leverage those terms to build a comprehensive list of keywords for your business
We’ll also show you how to use intuitive SEO tools for this keyword research.
- B2B keyword research is crucial for effective content marketing and achieving marketing goals.
- It involves selecting keywords based on search intent and aligning them with the buyer's journey.
- Finding B2B seed keywords and leveraging SaaS SEO tools is key to building a comprehensive keyword list.
Steps to Effective B2B Keyword Research:
- Consider the Sales Funnel and Keyword Intent:
- Match keywords with the customer's intent at each sales funnel stage (TOFU, MOFU, BOFU).
- Utilize informational, commercial, and transactional keywords accordingly.
- Include keywords potential editors in your niche may be looking for.
- Create a Sales Funnel/Buyer Journey:
- Tailor keywords to stages in the sales funnel.
- Use informational keywords for top-of-funnel content.
- Employ commercial keywords to create curiosity.
- Optimize money pages with transactional keywords and compelling CTAs.
- Conduct Keyword Research Using SEO Tools:
- Analyze competitors' keywords to identify missed opportunities.
- Explore seed keywords related to your industry.
- Refine keyword ideas using tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs.
- Consider keyword difficulty, search volume, CPC, and relevance to your offer.
- Aim for a mix of long-tail and short-tail keywords.
What Is B2B Keyword Research?
B2B keyword research refers to finding specific keywords to power up your B2B SEO.
That’s because B2B SEO is different from B2C SEO:
- Your business clients spend more time researching, reading lengthier texts and watching longer videos.
- Your customers are decision makers.
- The sales funnel is longer because B2B purchases aren’t spur-of-the-moment.
Your job is understanding your customers’ search intent to bring them to your page, convince, and convert them.
That’s why you need the right B2B keywords:
Why Is B2B Keyword Research Important?
Here’s the real question:
Why can’t you simply write high-quality content for your B2B audience, skipping the keyword research part altogether?
Your prospects won’t see that awesome content unless you optimize it for SEO.
Here’s how that works:
- When prospects have a problem, they do a Google search for possible solutions.
- Google shows them millions of results based on 200+ ranking factors.
- Potential customers only look at the top three to five results.
That’s why you should aim to dominate search result pages.
The right B2B keywords help you get back to the first step. When your content features the same words your prospects use:
- Google can index it better, making it more visible to potential clients.
- Your website visitors can understand the content better, thus increasing your organic traffic.
- Google sees a traffic increase and then boosts your page ranking even higher.
And you can reach your marketing campaign's goals, whether you need increased traffic, subscriptions, or sales.
Step 1: Consider the Sales Funnel and the Keyword Intent
Now that you understand B2B keyword research and its importance, this section will teach you two fundamental issues:
- Keyword intent
- How to choose the right kinds of keywords according to the sales funnel
Side note: Google displays search results based on your current customers’ search intent. That means you don’t have to match your prospects’ queries word for word. You must match their intent.
Enter the sales funnel.
Each sales funnel stage is associated with a different customer need and, therefore, a different search intent.
In the discovery and awareness stages, your prospects perform informational queries.
That’s a fancy way of saying they want to discover info to solve their needs.
Let’s say your product is a recruiting app. Your prospects are businesses that want to hire people online. So they’ll first search for “how to recruit people online.”
Pro tip: The best B2B SEO agencies recommend to look at the “People also search for” box to get other ideas for informational keywords related to your business.
But more on that in a minute.
For now, also notice the top companies that appear in this search result.
Prospects in these stages already know a few online recruiting apps and websites.
Customers now want to evaluate their options, so they use commercial keywords such as:
- Company names
- Products and service names
- Pros and cons
They may also look for navigational keywords that include:
Let’s look for “Globalization Partners Spain” if you want to hire people in that location:
Notice that the website is optimized for this search. However, two other websites have ads that rank higher on Google than Global Partners.
Customers who have reached the bottom of the sales funnel use transactional keywords. These words include an immediate action, such as:
These words should send prospects directly to your product or purchase pages.
And from there, they should be able to convert immediately.
When you search for “Globalization Partners download,” Google’s first result is the website’s “Our solution” page.
Side note: People can click on the solution immediately, i.e. connect with one of the brand’s experts.
Remember to also add this sort of CTA button for your money pages, so you can minimize bounce rates.
Insider tip: Don’t just focus on your customers. Your keyword research strategy should also include terms that potential editors in your niche are looking for.
If you write about niche topics that interest them, they will quote your articles and other resources. As a result, search engines will rank your website higher, and you can get more organic traffic.
Step 2: Create a Sales Funnel/Buyer Journey for Your Product
The previous section showed you different types of keywords for each stage of the sales funnel.
Picture these stages as slots or buckets.
You want to fill these buckets with the right type of keywords so your prospects can move faster through the sales funnel.
If they get stuck, they’ll exit your stage funnel.
- Hook your customers with informational keywords for the top of the funnel: Improve your content strategy with educational resources. White papers, industry studies, and ultimate guides are all great resources.
- Create curiosity with commercial keywords: Focus on your product’s benefits for the prospects, not their features. Create and discuss free tools meant for these customers’ needs.
- Build quality money pages that convert quickly: Use the right keywords to create FOMO and desire, and CTAs that create urgency.
Pro tip: Your sales and marketing teams should work together. Here’s how:
- Analyze previous customer interactions and purchases to understand your buyer persona and their needs.
- Tap into this knowledge to craft high-quality content using relevant keywords.
- Look at sales data such as customer segmentation, lead scoring, purchase history, and email automation to optimize your funnel.
Why is this step important?
- It helps define your competitive edge: Otherwise, you and your direct competitors would have the same SEO strategy.
- It allows you to attract different audience segments: Your B2B buyers are in different search funnel stages, so you must persuade them with targeted keywords.
Step 3: Do Keyword Research Using Your Favorite Tool of Choice
Until now, you learned:
- Three steps to create a buyer journey for your product
- How the sales cycle stage affects search queries
This step is where you will learn how to use an SEO tool to accelerate your keyword research process.
1. Conduct a Competitor Analysis
The competitive gap analysis step is an essential part of your B2B keyword strategy. Your competitors probably do a lot of heavy lifting regarding B2B keyword research.
That research is worth checking out, especially if these websites have higher ranking positions and conversion rates than yours. And while you can’t check their conversion rates, you can quite easily see if they are ranking well for a given keyword.
These findings will help you:
- Understand the opportunities they missed
- Reverse engineer some of their strategy
Follow the steps below:
- Find your competitors:
- On Google: Type related:yourwebsite.com in the Google search box.
Here’s who Google says Slack’s competitors are:
- Using a keyword research tool: Enter your website in the Ahrefs Site Explorer tool to receive a list of competing domains.
- Analyze your competitors’ keywords using an online tool, like SEMrush or Ahrefs: For example, the Content Gap tool in Ahrefs Site Explorer shows all keywords your competitors rank for. Copy these keywords and jot down their:
- Monthly searches
- Search intent
Let’s see how Ahrefs can help Slack identify missed keyword opportunities by analyzing its competitors:
Side note: We’ll show you how to interpret all these data points below.
- Check keywords your competitors use in Google Ads: Yes, even if you’re not using Google Ads yourself now. But your competitors obviously deem these keywords valuable – that’s why they’re paying for them. Focus on:
- Expensive terms with high cost per click: These are valuable keywords that accelerate purchasing decisions.
- More affordable terms: The keywords have less competition but a decent monthly search volume. That means your prospects look for these keywords, though few of your competitors write content optimized for these terms.
- The ad copy: These keywords are very persuasive for your customers. Otherwise, your competitors wouldn’t use them.
- Check your competitors’ link profile: The backlinks pointing to your competitors’ websites help you optimize your keyword research efforts. Not just your link-building Focus on:
- The pages with the most backlinks: The keywords these pages rank for are obviously valuable for websites in your niche. Write content optimized for these keywords (but much better than your competitors), and these websites will also quote you.
- The pages with the least number of backlinks: These show you keywords worth ranking for with less competition.
For example, Trello seems to rank particularly well for the “roadmap” keyword:
2. Look for Seed Keywords
Now you have a detailed list of keywords your competitors use in their content creation.
Lesson-moment side note:
- Short-tail keywords are just one or two words long: They are more generic and have a high search volume (many prospects are searching by them). However, they have a lot of competition too.
- Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific: These have lower search volumes but also have less competition, allowing you to rank easier.
- Medium-tail keywords are in the Goldilocks zone of keywords: They bring you more traffic from qualified leads and are decently easy to rank for.
We’ll get into the thick of everything in a minute.
For now, here’s how to build a list of seed keywords:
- Consider words and topics in your B2B industry: Focus on generic topics first and write down everything you can think of. Let’s say you run an influencer agency. Some keywords can include:
- Micro-influencer content
- User-generated content
- TikTok influencer marketing
- Content creators on Instagram
- Check the “People also search for” box: We discussed this option in Section 1. You’ll get some good keyword ideas here based on your customers’ search intent.
- Use Google’s related search option: Pick one phrase and Google it. Then scroll down to see Google’s related searches. This step is essential because Google reveals relevant topics for your potential buyers. Here’s how that looks for TikTok influencer marketing:
That means you have 11 more keywords right off the bat.
- Click on one of these keywords to get even more ideas.
- Use Wikipedia:
- Search Wikipedia for one of the keywords you brainstormed in step one.
- Open the Wikipedia page for that concept and look at the contents section. Each section offers a different keyword idea.
- Click on internal links to get to related pages. Look at these pages’ contents to identify other potential keywords.
Here’s what “influencer marketing” on Wikipedia shows you:
Use these seed keywords in the next step of your keyword research process.
3. Hone Your Keyword Ideas
This is the moment when you will need your keyword research tool.
Pro tip: At Breeeze, we love Ahrefs, SEMrush, and BuzzSumo.
Let’s use SEMrush this time:
- Open Keyword Overview.
- Type in one of your seed keywords.
- Click on related keywords. You will likely see an extensive list of terms.
- Set a goal to pick five to ten relevant keywords to power up your content calendar.
- Analyze these results in terms of:
- Average keyword difficulty score: Highly competitive phrases are more difficult to rank for. Focus on low-competition keywords if your website is new until your ranking starts to increase. Then, you can move to more difficult terms.
- Search volume: Keywords that people search for frequently are the most worth targeting. Pick keywords with high enough search volume and easy or moderate difficulty if your domain authority is low.
- Revenue: The CPC metric in SEMrush shows how much a hypothetical marketer would spend for this keyword in Google Ads. More expensive keywords are better, but you must correlate this variable with the others above.
- Your offer: Keywords that match your offer exactly are known as golden keywords.
- Pick your keywords. If you don’t have ten terms yet, rinse and repeat with another seed keyword.
Example time: You’re a B2B business selling office supplies.
All the research you did before showed you that “Office desk supplies” would be a good seed keyword.
Insert this seed keyword in SEMrush:
The tool shows you this is a hard keyword to rank for. You can also see that the intent is commercial, and the CPC is $0.77. The US search volume is 1,000, and the global volume is 2,300.
Look at related keywords:
- Arrange these keywords by volume. Look for options with:
- Lower keyword difficulty scores
- Higher organic search volume
- Commercial intent
- Higher CPC
- “Desk pad” seems like a good option.
- Now arrange these options by keyword difficulty so the tool shows you the easiest keywords first:
- “Made in USA office supplies” has a very good CPC but a low search volume. You can jot down this keyword for later.
- Look at your advanced filters and set the keyword difficulty to a better range, for example, between 30 and 60. Also, choose a decent search volume interval of 1,000-2,000 searches per month.
- “Essential office” appears as a good choice here, so write it down.
Pro tip: The best keyword research services recommend to choose a mix of long-tail and short-tail terms for your keyword list. Long-tail search terms are easier to rank for, but shorter-tail, competitive keywords will increase your authority in the long run.
This guide showed you how to find the best B2B marketing keywords on Google, Wikipedia, and by researching your competitors. You also know how to use Ahrefs and SEMrush to uncover more keyword opportunities to reach your marketing goals.
But this keyword research campaign is part of a good B2B SEO strategy.
You must also write great content, build your link profile, and optimize technical SEO elements. Breeeze.co can make all that a breeze.
Let’s schedule a strategy call, and we’ll help you make a solid search engine optimization plan for your B2B business.