As a B2B marketer, you are targeting other businesses—vendors, manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, others—and, more specifically, buyers within those businesses.
Your B2B SEO should be ensuring that you reach the right professionals at those companies via Google and other search engines.
Though some have been predicting the death of SEO, especially since Google tweaked its algorithms to eliminate the old practice of keyword stuffing, SEO is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
However, as search algorithms become smarter, your B2B SEO strategy has to keep pace.
Today, it is no longer about the number of times keywords appear in your website content but how relevant that content is to searchers' intent.
That means investing some time to know your target B2B audience—their interests and their needs—and creating relevant content related to those.
In short, you content must address user intent, but if your sole intention is simply to rank for a keyword, your B2B keyword strategy is already a lost cause.
But keywords still matter, so how do you know which keywords to use?
Your SEO campaign starts with keywords, which are signals of user intent. And that brings up a crucial question: How do you know you are on the right track?
The process is not as simple as it seems. Fortunately, tools are available to generate trending and relevant keywords within your niche. These keywords are curated by how many times they appear in searches within a specific period. One example of such a tool is Google Keyword Planner.
For example, if you are selling surgical masks to institutions for coronavirus, you should know how marketers are using search engines to source supplies.
You might create content around trending keywords such as "surgical masks for coronavirus," but you shouldn't ignore related keywords. Among the variations, for instance, might be these:
- Supplier facemasks COVID-19
- Supplier masks coronavirus
- Manufacturer surgical masks COVID-19
- Surgical masks coronavirus
So to attract the attention of people you are interested in reaching, you build content around the main keywords as well as the 4-7 related keywords that are ranking high but not many are using in their searches.
You get the idea.
When to Use the Keywords in Your Content
Another challenge with your B2B keyword strategy is when to use or not to use the relevant keywords.
As noted earlier, stuffing no longer works; in fact, the result would be the opposite of your intent. Instead of ranking, you will be penalized and sent to Google's version of purgatory. So with keyword placement, you need to pay particular attention to the following:
- Your article title
- Your subheadings
- The body of the article
You may ask, "How many times should I repeat the keywords?" The typical rule of thumb has been 10% (you repeat the keywords 10 times in a 1,000-word article). But, really, Google's algorithms now have become so sophisticated that keyword density is no longer a major factor.
In fact, attempts at ensuring a certain level of keyword density might blow up in your face, especially if the content ends up sounding unnatural because you insisted on adding more keywords.
So, even if keywords are crucial to ranking, you probably place more importance on keyword density than Google does.
Tips for Your SEO Strategy
Identify your audience's pain points
Marketers are all about the pain points of their customers. But it is not just a buzzword. Successful SEO campaigns are those that manage to answer the question of what those pain points are. What are companies and businesses desperately looking for in your industry? How can you resolve their problems? If you do not know, then your content has no chance of being found online.
One way to identify pain points is to seek out searches on Google to spot trends. Do not be afraid of keywords with only a few results. Since B2B SEO is targeted toward a specific niche, you can expect to find a relatively small number of searches from businesses. For example, a consumer might search for " face mask for coronavirus," but an institution might be looking for "NIOSH certified face mask" or "N95 respirator mask for coronavirus."
Use longtail keywords
Judging by the name, you know these are keywords that are more specific. Going by the example above, if the keyword is "face mask for coronavirus," the longtail keywords for B2B might be "N95 respirator mask supplier NY." A generic keyword may have one or two words, but a longtail phrase would have a minimum of three words.
It does not matter if your competition is already using them. If you apply SEO best-practices, you can still outrank them.
The best thing about this keyword strategy is the number of permutations you can use in relation to your main search phrase. You might not bring in more traffic with the longtail keywords, but they only serve to filter much of the noise. You know that the queries are from serious buyers.
Use similar or related terms
With keywords, the Thesaurus is your friend. Of course, you do not just throw random words out there. Using keyword-curating tools, you can find other variations of your head phrase, particularly one that ranks high. It's called covering your bases.
Some businesses might be using terms different from yours, but if your competition is already content with following trending keywords. Be different. Find those that work best for you, specifically.
While search tools are essential in that process, you still need to lay down the groundwork: Talk to your marketing team to identify the pain points, conduct a keyword search, and experiment with different combinations to hit your gold mine.
Narrow down your target even further
Now that you have a better idea of how to find your keywords, cut the fat. Your B2B SEO strategy depends on it. For instance, are you targeting Operations, Management, Marketing, Customer Service, Human Resources, or Sales at a company?
If you are targeting operations, for instance, some of the buzzwords you might be interested in finding keywords around are these:
- Capacity planning
- Asset management
- Health and safety
- Internal audits
- Inventory management/control
- Operating budget
- Plant operations
- Quality control
- Value chain
- Training and skills upgrading
Combine different keywords to get results, but do it methodically. You do need to know the correct terms that businesses use. You can then create content for each segment of the company you want to target.
Companies can be highly precise with their needs: They might, for example, throw in the serial number for a particular component in their searches.
Your B2B SEO strategy must be geared toward reaching the right decision-makers. CEOs, CMOs, and marketing supervisors or managers each approach their problem from a different angle. Getting insight on how they address a need is material to the success of your B2B keyword strategy.
You may like these other MarketingProfs articles related to Search:
- A Complete Guide to Anchor Text Optimization in Four Steps
- An 11-Step Plan for Improving Your SEO Strategy [Infographic]
- Five Ways to Get Keyword Ideas for Your Website: A Beginner's Guide
- A Marketer's Guide to SEO in 2022: Franco Valentino on Marketing Smarts [Podcast]
- How Many Words Do People Use When Searching Online?
- Three SEO Trends Marketers Need to Know in 2022