In this tech-savvy world, any business that wants to succeed needs to have a strong online presence. Part of that goal is ensuring that their websites or social pages show up in their target audience’s search results. For a B2B business, that means targeting business professionals searching for products and services.
That’s where SEO, or search engine optimization, comes in.
SEO is the practice of optimizing your content and pages to encourage Google and other search algorithms to pick them up and put them on the front page. As over 90% of users tend to stop on the first page and the first search result gets a CTR of 28.5%, SEO has become an integral part of any marketing plan.
Everyone wants to rank on the first page of Google, but competition is stiff. Search algorithms are also getting more complex by the day — it’s no longer enough to stuff a page with as many keywords as possible and hope for the best. To secure a spot at the top of the rankings, more and more businesses are turning to a B2B SEO agency to handle their SEO.
What is B2B SEO Agency?
A B2B SEO agency, at its core, is simply an external agency that handles SEO activities for its B2B clients. An agency’s SEO services can include:
Before an SEO agency can start improving a website, they first have to understand its current performance. Through detailed site audits, they can identify existing penalties from algorithm changes, low-quality backlinks, or areas with messy and confusing navigation.
Keywords are the building blocks of SEO. An SEO agency comes equipped with an understanding of how potential customers search for different types of products and services and how search engines are refining searches through semantics, user intent, and related keywords.
Most B2B businesses have existing websites that could be improved with a few tweaks here and there. A B2B SEO agency can help with reorganizing pages, updating blog content, rewriting site copy, adding meta titles and descriptions, cleaning up duplicate content or broken links, and so on.
One of the best ways to get recognized by the algorithm is by putting out quality content. Problem is that quality content is hard to produce, especially if the in-house marketing team is also juggling other responsibilities. By working with an SEO agency, businesses can outsource website copy, blog posts, external posts (e.g. guest posts), and other forms of content, like photos, videos, and infographics.
Search algorithms favor sites with quality inbound and outbound links. Outbound links are easy enough to produce, but inbound links from reputable sources are a bit more difficult. An SEO agency can identify good opportunities for link building from high-quality, industry-relevant sites and cultivate relationships with those sites.
A good website needs to be responsive across all devices. Technical SEO services from a B2B SEO agency can ensure that a site loads quickly, renders correctly, and provides a secure connection for its users.
Monitoring and analytics
SEO rankings are rather dynamic, with how frequently Google updates its algorithms. What worked today might not work tomorrow, so constant monitoring is an essential part of any SEO strategy. SEO agencies have experience in using various tools and techniques to keep track of rankings, engagement, traffic, and conversion.
Working with a B2B SEO agency comes with a range of benefits, especially for businesses that have been lagging behind their competitors’ rankings. It can help increase visibility and traffic, ultimately leading to more leads and conversions and a higher ROI — something any business will appreciate.
Putting Together a Winning B2B SEO Strategy
Hiring a B2B SEO agency is only one part of a winning strategy. While they certainly make the job easier, business owners and marketing teams also share the responsibility to ensure their SEO efforts are a success. Here are a few important steps for putting together a solid B2B SEO strategy:
1. Create Detailed Buyer Personas
When the target audience is as clear as possible, marketing to them becomes easier. A buyer persona is a data-based profile of the business’ ideal client, including key characteristics like their pain points, values, occupation, preferred research methods, information sources, and typical buyer’s journey.
Knowing these characteristics allows for a well-tailored SEO strategy. For example, a business that knows its clients prefer reading articles on LinkedIn can focus on that type of content rather than spreading itself thin across various social media sites. Keep in mind, however, that B2B businesses shouldn’t confuse the individual for the business they represent.
2. Understand the Sales Funnel
A business’ sales funnel is meant to complement the customer’s buyer’s journey. While the customer is in their awareness stage, the business needs to focus on outreach and providing information about their products and services. When the customer proceeds to the consideration stage, that’s the business’ opportunity to convince them to buy. Lastly, if the customer makes it to the decision stage, it’s the business’ role to make a purchase decision as frictionless as possible.
The information gained through a business’ sales funnel is a valuable foundation for an SEO strategy. Being able to trace customers’ habits and pinpointing successful marketing activities will allow businesses to build websites that effectively connect with their target audience.
3. Do Keyword Research
As mentioned, keywords are an incredibly important part of an SEO strategy. For every second that passes, users make over 100,000 searches. Finding the right keywords that their target audience uses will increase a business’ chances of ranking on the front page.
Many online tools are available for both free and paid use, designed to help businesses identify good keywords to target.
4. Outline a Content Strategy
After defining buyer personas, sales funnels, and keywords, the next step is generating content guided by those definitions. Potential clients want to see a veritable wealth of information regarding a B2B business’ products and services. When the content on a site clearly addresses their pain points and illustrates the benefits of the particular product or service, it’s an effective motivator.
B2B businesses should focus on original and data-oriented content. For example, if a business is selling commercial roofing services, they could conduct original research on the benefits of the various types of commercial roofing they offer. This will not only convince potential clients, but it can also encourage other similar businesses to use their data and link back to their research.
5. Focus on Sitewide Optimization
A website is made up of many moving parts. While this means that there are a lot of opportunities to mess something up, it also means there are a lot of areas to perform well in. There’s the technical side, like addressing 404 errors, building a good sitemap, ensuring an HTTPS connection, and improving loading speed. Next is the on-page side, such as creating descriptive URLs, composing SEO-friendly title tags and meta descriptions, and building backlinks. Lastly, there’s the content quality side, including ensuring the content is well-written, relevant, and valuable for the target audience.
6. Continue Tracking Performance
Good SEO is not a one-and-done thing. It’s a continuous cycle of change and improvement. What new terms are customers searching for? What practices are now being penalized by search algorithms? Is the website still ranking on the first page? How well are competitors’ websites performing?
Tracking performance will make it easier to identify new opportunities and areas of improvement, compared to taking shots in the dark.
B2B SEO Best Practices to Follow
B2B SEO is a difficult art to master. At a minimum, businesses should consistently publish quality content and ensure their sites are fast and responsive. Beyond that, there’s a range of other important best practices, such as:
Avoid “black-hat” SEO practices
Who doesn’t like shortcuts? Search algorithms, that’s who. Businesses who attempt to rank high by shady practices like keyword stuffing, link buying, surprise page redirects, invisible text and links, and plagiarized content will find themselves penalized instead.
Update old content regularly
Many businesses make the mistake of leaving old content as-is. Updating old content with links to newer pages or data from newer studies can keep it fresh and relevant for users that come across it years later. Old content can also be repurposed into other formats, such as videos or infographics, as part of a content strategy.
Focus on long-tail, low-volume keywords
B2B buyers turn to search engines when they have a problem they need to solve. It’s better to focus on a question-and-answer approach that uses longer keywords, instead of short, generic, and high-traffic keywords. Long-tail keywords typically result in more conversions as searchers are closer to a purchase decision.
Utilize topic clusters and pillar pages
Also known as the “hub and spoke” strategy, this involves creating several pages revolving around a key topic and interlinking them on a central page. This helps search algorithms understand the context of your website and accept it as an authoritative source.
Optimize for the local area
Keeping updated information about its name, address, and phone number on online directories (e.g. Google My Business, Yelp, the BBB, and local chambers of commerce, etc.) can help a business show up in rankings and build credibility.
Choose the right B2B SEO agency to work with
With how complicated SEO can be, working with a B2B SEO agency is a very attractive option. However, businesses that don’t exercise due diligence when choosing an agency might find themselves disappointed (or worse, penalized) by subpar SEO practices.
Choosing Between B2B SEO Companies
When looking for a B2B SEO agency, businesses should always ask the right questions. Get to know important details like:
- What SEO strategies do they [the agency] use to improve rankings?
- How long have they been doing SEO?
- Do they have case studies about the results they’ve achieved for past clients?
- Do they do their SEO in-house? If not, are they at least transparent about outsourcing?
- What SEO tools do they have experience in using?
- Are they aware of the differences between B2B SEO and B2C SEO?
- How do they monitor results?
- Do they have experience working with other businesses in the industry?
- Do they accept multiple clients from one niche?
- What’s their customer retention rate?
Aside from those details, it’s also important to get more hands-on knowledge. Try out their services by requesting an SEO site audit before committing to a partnership. This is helpful for both the SEO agency and the business — the agency gets a clear picture of the site’s current performance and determines what they need to focus on, and the business gets a preview of what the agency can do, as a reassurance that they’ll be getting their money’s worth.
If the site audit goes well, it’s now in the business’ best interests to get to know the team that will be handling their SEO needs. Afterward, if everyone agrees the partnership is a great fit, it’s good to ask for a contract with clear deliverables. Read through it carefully and feel free to discuss the terms and conditions to create a contract that benefits both parties.
Work with a Trusted B2B SEO Firm!
Working with a B2B SEO agency can be a big step forward for your business. At Flyrise, we take pride not only in our comprehensive SEO services, but also in our values of integrity, transparency, and client success above all else. Every SEO campaign we create is tailor-made to meet each of our client’s unique goals.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you with SEO strategies designed for long-term success!