If you want to build a great B2B SEO strategy, you’re on the right page.
We use this winning plan to create personalized SEO campaigns for our B2B customers.
We used the same steps for growing our sister agency’s traffic from 500 to 70,000 visitors per month:
We’ll reveal the steps below, teaching you:
- What B2B SEO is
- The differences between B2B and B2C SEO
- How to conduct keyword research
- Actionable tips you can implement for your B2B company today
Keep reading below.
What Is a B2B SEO Strategy?
An effective B2B SEO strategy is the art and science of optimizing your website so that other businesses can find you in the vastness of the internet.
B2B SEO management aims to:
- Increase your visibility in search engine results pages.
- Drive more qualified traffic to your website.
Basically, optimizing a website for business-to-business (B2B) searches helps the right decision-makers find your website and not just your mom and a handful of bots.
And then, these people can become paying customers.
B2B vs. B2C SEO Strategy – Key Similarities and Differences
B2B and B2C search engine optimization share similar principles and strategies, including:
- Keyword research
- On-page optimization
- Content marketing
- And more
In both cases, you aim to appear professional, knowledgeable, and trustworthy while playing by the confusing and ever-changing rules of Google and its algorithms.
However, a B2B SEO strategy:
- Is geared more towards lead generation, building relationships, and establishing thought leadership.
- Deals with more complex and longer sales cycles.
- Addresses an ideal target audience of decision-makers and business leaders, so there’s less social media marketing involved.
- Focuses on tactical, informative content that addresses your target audience’s pain points and provides detailed solutions.
- Uses keywords with lower traffic but higher corresponding cost-per-click.
Whereas B2C businesses' SEO strategies:
- Revolve more around generating traffic, building brand awareness, and driving sales.
- Deal with shorter buying cycles.
- Address potential customers who are run-of-the-mill people.
- Rely heavily on social media.
- Leverage engaging, relaxing, or humorous content.
- Typically involves using high-volume keywords with low competition and low cost-per-click.
Now that you’ve seen the key differences between B2B and B2C SEO, let’s see how you can create a winning B2B SEO strategy that helps you achieve your business goals.
Step 1: Create Your Buyer Persona
Creating your buyer persona is essential for B2B SEO because the people you’re targeting – and we can’t stress this enough – are B2B decision-makers.
- They do thorough research on different products before choosing the right one.
- They require in-depth information and arguments.
- They can change their minds easily and pick a better offer because they’re less loyal customers.
- They can be very different from each other but still have the same pain points.
Remember: At the same time, these B2B prospects are also real people who respond to the same psychological and physiological triggers.
That makes your job 200 times harder.
Take, for example, a babywearing company. These companies are targeting:
- People with babies
- People who have friends with babies and want to give them a helpful gift
These shoppers are typically young Millennials or Gen Z-ers with a medium income and enough free time. They’re generally interested in mental health, gentle parenting, and traveling.
Babywearing company Lenny Lamb knows all this, and the proof is this post below:
But can you be similarly precise when creating a B2B buyer persona?
Ask yourself, who would purchase an Ahrefs subscription for a company?
You can say very few things about these people’s ages, socio-economic backgrounds, and interests:
- A medium to low-income mom starting her fitness coaching company can easily purchase Ahrefs.
- A high-income SEO manager at a 1,000+ company can also renew the business’s Ahrefs subscription.
Pro tip: To create a useful buyer persona for your B2B search engine optimization campaign, focus on your ideal customers’:
- Job responsibilities
- Metrics that measure job success
- Goals and objectives
- Major pain points
- How they gain new information
Let’s take the example of Ahrefs.
- The buyer persona is an SEO manager or is otherwise the primary SEO decision-maker in the company.
- Their job is measured through metrics like increased traffic, new leads, and website engagement
- Their goal is to get more relevant traffic steadily to ultimately increase sales.
- The major pain point is not knowing what content to publish to differentiate themselves from the competition.
- They primarily gain new information through Google and marketing emails.
Does Ahrefs step up to this buyer persona?
We’d say it does. Ahrefs website opens with the promise to solve their customers’ precise pain point:
Besides, Ahrefs has a slew of free tools their B2B buyers can test, such as backlink and authority checkers. Its blog is a treasure trove of how-to guides, and Ahrefs even has an Academy offering free courses.
Basically, everything this B2B company does is tactical to help its customers get more relevant traffic.
And that’s what you should do too.
This brings us to the next point.
Step 2: Do Your Keyword Research
We already discussed B2B keyword research, but it’s definitely worth taking you through the main steps in this guide.
Why do you need this part?
Keyword research helps you write tactical content that fits your B2B customers’ search intent.
If you don’t know what your prospects’ search queries are, you can’t write content that addresses their problems or solves their needs.
Here’s how you do that keyword research:
- Pick a seed keyword related to your niche: This should be a short keyword connected to your business area, either directly or indirectly.
- Use this seed keyword in various tools to find longer potential keywords: These search terms better fit customer intent. You can use Google, Wikipedia, Reddit, Quora, YouTube, and keyword tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush. We’ll show you how to use them below.
- Rinse and repeat: Write all the best keywords down. After you get a few topics for this seed keyword, move on to another concept related to your business.
Let’s say you have a company that retails office lighting products.
Your first seed keyword can be “office lighting,” which is exactly what your company does. Now, let’s see what your potential customers want to learn before buying these products.
Input this seed keyword in Google and check the “People also ask” section:
Now move on to the bottom of the Google search results page and find more long-tail keyword ideas in the “Related searches” section:
You can do the same using other engines, such as Wikipedia or Reddit, where you get other topic ideas:
Pro tip: A keyword research tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs will give you more insights into your chosen keywords.
And that will help you write even more tactical content to rank higher on Google. Here’s the thing:
- Google shows you keywords your potential customers are typically searching for.
- A keyword research tool shows you which keywords are easier to rank for and more profitable.
Let’s test Google’s ideas with SEMrush. First, let’s look at “types of office lighting:”
This low-volume keyword is easy to rank for (the keyword difficulty score is 25) and has a good CPC of $1.
That’s a great keyword to use.
SEMrush gives you other keyword variations you can include in your article to rank higher:
And if you click on one of your competitors, you see what other keywords they’re ranking for. That means you can mimic their strategy or find missed opportunities to leverage:
Now, let’s take another keyword that Reddit suggested, “best office lighting for eyes.”
Notice that the keyword difficulty is slightly higher, but the organic search volume is over 400% times larger. And the CPC is higher, too, at $1.34.
Now, you can rinse and repeat, searching for and shortlisting the most profitable keywords for your B2B SEO content strategy.
Step 3: Split Up Your Keywords According to Stages in the Sales Funnel
Great, you have a list of relevant keywords.
Why is it important to split it according to sales funnel stages?
- Google shows your potential buyers search results based on their search intent.
- But people have different search intents based on the sales funnel stage they’re in.
- When they search for “type of office lightning,” their intent is commercial – SEMrush told you that. That means your customers are trying to investigate different available solutions.
- When looking for “best office lighting for eyes,” their intent can be both informational and commercial. Therefore, your prospects:
- Might just be looking for relevant information, or:
- Might be already marketing qualified leads looking to purchase something.
Side note Pro tip: Create an Excel spreadsheet with all these details for your target keywords. Here’s a header you can copy:
Now let’s see how we can tie all this info together with your B2B sales funnel stages to boost your search rankings:
- Top of the funnel: Your prospects are just becoming aware of their problem and searching for solutions to their needs. They’re using informational keywords, which answer their questions or offer generic information.
- Middle of the funnel: During the middle of the sales funnel stages, your prospects evaluate different products or services. They have a clear intent to purchase something. That’s why middle of the funnel keywords include:
- Navigational keywords: To find a particular website or page
- Commercial keywords: To find a specific company or service
- Bottom of the funnel: People in this stage are ready to purchase. That’s why you should use transactional keywords such as “buy office lighting.”
Question: Should you only target transactional keywords for the bottom of the sales funnel to get more paying customers?
The answer is no.
- The keywords we researched above have high CPCs too, and:
- They educate your audience, establishing you as a thought leader for the long term.
- Informational keywords open your brand to a new market you would otherwise miss.
Take, for example, B2B lighting company Lampefeber; the keywords they’re ranking for are just 7.1% transactional:
So, what should you do now?
- Take your list of keywords for all sales funnel stages and arrange them in the order of priority.
- Start writing articles for the keywords that help you reach search intent (and, therefore, your marketing goals) faster.
Step 4: Create Engaging Content Across the Different Stages of the Sales Funnel
Take the first topic Google suggested for our “office lighting” seed keyword: “What kind of lighting is best for offices?”
What type of article would you write for this?
Let’s click on the first result. The article is a compilation of factors affecting office lighting choice and how to choose the best office lighting.
This article answers the search question, but it’s pretty basic.
It lacks high-quality images, examples, tools for comparing office lights, and well-researched statistics.
Remember: High-quality content creation entails helping your prospects with all the information they need so:
- They can solve their problem immediately.
- They won’t return to Google for more in-depth explanations.
Other factors help you rank higher on Google, too:
- Handwritten, valuable content ranks higher than AI-generated content.
- Using keywords tactically is more effective than keyword-stuffing your article. So, include your primary key term in the:
- First 50 words of your first paragraph
- At least two to three times inside the article
- Long-form content assets above 2,300 words have more chances of reaching the top of the search results page:
- Bullet points, bold text, and images help readers understand your point faster. They can also skim the text easier and get the info they need.
Remember: Choose the right types of content for your B2B content marketing strategy according to your target customers and current goals.
- Top of the funnel: Blog posts, whitepapers, industry studies, how-to guides
- Middle of the funnel: Ebooks, listicles, webinars
- Bottom of the funnel: Customer success stories, personalized email newsletters
And, of course, there’s the backlinking issue. But we’ll get to that in a second.
Step 5: Interlink and Optimize Your Product/Service/Money Pages
After creating and editing your content, you should focus on the linking structure.
Add links to other blog posts you have created, as well as your product and service pages to:
- Help your readers navigate your website easily and create a better user experience.
- Guide users to other relevant content on your website, thus increasing dwell time and reducing bounce rates.
- Give your old content a boost, potentially improving its SEO.
And all that improves your website’s authority.
- Don’t just link to your money pages to accelerate sales. Link to other relevant blog articles or tools that provide value to your prospects.
- Place the most important internal links higher inside the page.
Insider tip: Use SEMrush or Google Search Console to understand which keywords and articles you rank for. Then, link to these articles from new blog posts using the keywords you rank for as anchor texts.
Step 6: Build Great Backlinks to Your Most Relevant Pages
Search engine algorithms love backlinks because they show authority. And you shouldn't neglect them either; they're part of your off-page SEO efforts.
You can build backlinks in two ways: actively and passively.
Active strategies of B2B link-building entail reaching out to relevant creators in your niche. You can practice:
- Guest posting: Find the most relevant websites in your niche and offer to write insightful, relevant content.
- Broken link-building: Use a tool like Ahrefs to identify dead links on these creators’ websites. Then, offer to replace the dead links with content you’ve produced.
Here’s what a list of broken links on the Search Engine Journal website looks like. You can easily find some link opportunities here:
- Relationship-based link-building: You can network with relevant people in your niche and send them new content you’ve created. They will be more likely to open and respond to your outreach message if you already have a relationship.
- Roundup posts: Creating roundup posts with expert insights means those experts will link to your content from their own website or social media, thus increasing your online presence.
- HARO: This strategy entails enrolling on the Help A Reporter Out website and responding to questions in your niche with relevant insights. If your answer gets picked, prominent journalists may quote you.
- Brand mention search: Use SEMrush or Google Console to set brand mentions alerts. If some websites are quoting your content without linking to it, they’re likelier to add your links too.
But you can try passive link-building too. That means earning those backlinks instead of building them.
1. Post content for potential link-builders: Instead of simply creating content for your prospects, generate content for authoritative websites in your niche that could quote you.
Remember the compilation “What kind of lighting is best for offices?”
You can take this to the next level with an industry study based on your customers’ preferences.
- Identify the factors affecting this issue based on their answers.
- Create relevant industry stats with pie charts and tables.
- Interpret these results.
- Offer potential solutions.
2. Create useful tools: We used this strategy for some of our clients, including our sister agency, inBeat. This influencer marketing platform created a bevy of tools for marketers, most of them free. This strategy increased inBeat’s authority, and it also gained it a ton of backlinks from authoritative websites (and some low-authority ones):
If you’ve followed along, you now know how to create a winning B2B SEO strategy, from building your buyer persona to building backlinks.
And if you need assistance along the way, Breeeze is right here.
Book a free strategy call, and we’ll give you personalized advice to take your successful B2B SEO strategy to the next level.