When you want to drive hits to your website, you want to engage in Search Engine Optimization – SEO.  SEO is the central pillar of virtually all online content marketing, and if your online B2B operation is going to thrive, you need to have a solid SEO strategy in place.

In this guide, we’ll quickly outline everything you need to know to take your first steps into B2B SEO.

The Basics – How Does SEO Work?

Fundamentally, SEO means building a business website designed to be highly visible when leads run Google searches related to that business. In online marketing, search engine placement is everything. If someone runs a Google search relevant to your business, but a link to your site isn’t on the first page of search results, the website might be extremely hard to visit.  On average, less than 10% of searchers even bother looking past the first page of results.

So, you’ve got to be near the top of the results.  This is accomplished by having plenty of content on your website directly related to the searches being run, along with a lot of other tweaks and tricks which we’ll now start talking about.

The Three Types Of SEO 

Fundamentally, there are three different aspects to SEO:

  • On-page SEO – This is everything on your website which is directly visible to visitors, and largely concerns the creation of the content which people will be viewing.
  • Off-page SEO – Off-page means it’s happening on other sites, so this would encompass activities such as promoting your website on social media, or other websites adding links to your pages.
  • Technical SEO – This refers to non-visible activity relating to the construction of the website, making it more accessible to the technology powering web searches.

There’s often a lot of overlap, but virtually all SEO efforts will fall into these three categories.

What Matters To SEO?

There is a huge list of factors surrounding your website which will all influence your search engine ranking placement.  Some of the most important and/or most easily affected are:

  • Keyword relevance
  • Answering common questions
  • Your site’s reputation
  • The number (and reputation) of sites linking to yours
  • Page load speeds
  • Use of proper meta-tags
  • Mobile friendliness
  • Social media popularity
  • Frequency of content updates
  • Proximity to the user (for local searches)

All these – and more – are utilized by Google to decide on what sites to present to a user running a search.

Best Practices in Targeting and Using Keywords 

Keywords and key phrases are the single most important element in B2B SEO, so let’s focus on that.

I. Researching Keywords

One of the most basic things you need to know to optimize your website for B2B SEO is what terms or phrases your would-be customers are typing into Google. Fortunately, there are many tools – including one provided free by Google – to help you determine this. These tools will generally show you popular keywords, but also give other critical information such as how difficult targeting each keyword would be.

Don’t only do this research on your own site. Look into your competitors as well.  Which keywords are they targeting? Depending on the situation, these may be keywords you’ll want to target, or, if they have those keywords locked up, you might want to avoid them entirely.

A few other tips:

  • Keyword research can be as deep and in-depth as you want it to be, but we suggest taking it easy. Spending more than 30-60 minutes in a single session is probably more than enough.
  • Relevance is far more important than sheer numbers. In B2B SEO, it’s about quality rather than quantity. A few great leads are better than a ton of bad leads.
  • Categorize the keywords you find, so that you can use appropriate keywords together in the same piece of content.

Also, perhaps most importantly:

Utilize low-volume keywords. <H2>

You want to avoid targeting keywords which are too popular. You don’t want to go head-to-head with too much competition. Searching for “office supplies,” for example, only brings up the very biggest in office supply stores. A smaller shop would never be able to compete.

Instead, they should focus on low-volume keywords, also called long-tail keywords. Keeping with the above example, a smaller office supply store might try targeting very specific products such as “Ticonderoga #2 soft-lead pencils.”  Or they could target specific markets with a keyword like “small business office supplies.” Basically, the more specific the keyword is, the more likely that you can lay claim to it.

II. Creating effective content that ranks <H2>

So, you’ve got plenty of keywords you think you can hit. How do you start creating content that utilizes them?  Here are some thoughts:

  • Understand you’re creating leads, not sales.  Impulse buys in B2B are rare. For the most part, you’re looking to establish yourself and be memorable to your visitors, so they’ll come back as they go through their purchasing journey.
  • Focus on thought leadership.  Being a thought leader is a great way to be memorable – particularly if you’re presenting ideas which are directly relevant to your target market(s)!
  • Write for multiple readers.  Anyone from an intern given an assignment, to the CEO of a company, may be looking at your content. If it’s not possible to write for everyone at once in a single piece, look to target different levels of decision-makers with different pieces.
  • Write for the reader, not yourself.  In other words, don’t be pushy or salesy. You want to create content that visitors will genuinely enjoy seeing or learn from.  Always turn relevance back towards them.
  • Create a variety of content.  Experiment with different mediums and lengths.  Don’t constantly do the same thing.
  • Deep tactical content is highly effective.  2,000+ word guides written at an expert level tend to be very popular and will be shared on social media among your target audience.
  • Make a content calendar.  Don’t create your content ad-hoc. Make a schedule and stick to it as best as possible.

And finally:  Understand that SEO takes time to be effective.  This will be a months-long journey, at the least. Measure your progress frequently and celebrate every time you advance in the rankings.

ALM Corp. Makes Webpages That Rank

Need a hand with your B2B SEO?  Since 2010, we’ve been helping companies create websites and content that boost their associated businesses.  Contact us to learn more about our digital marketing solutions and services.