B2B SEO 101: How to optimize your website for B2B searches
If you've been asking yourself "what is SEO?" it's time to stop the search. Seriously, enough with the Googling! You've found the answer you're looking for. And that answer is this blog post.
All jokes aside—if you own a business, chances are you've heard the term tossed around. It gets tossed around a lot. If you have a business website (which, these days, all businesses should) then you need to be paying attention to SEO. But what is SEO, really? And why does your company need it, especially if your target customers are businesses? Let’s break it down.
What is SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, a type of marketing that focuses on optimizing a website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). A good SEO allows your website (and your business) to be found online by people and businesses who do not know about your company yet but are searching for the same type of products and/or services you offer.
But I already have a website
Yes, and sadly, if your website does not have good SEO, it might as well not exist.
Think about it this way: when you're looking for something online, what do you usually do? You go to a search engine like Google or Bing and type in what you're looking for. Then, you scroll through the results until you find a website that looks promising. More often than not, you don't even make it to the second page of results. In fact, according to a recent study, the top 3 results receive over half (55.2%) of all traffic, with the first result on the SERP getting 28.5% of all clicks. The second result gets 15.7% of clicks (stats from Sistrix).
This means that if your website isn't ranking on the first page of Google, you're missing out on a lot of potential traffic—and customers. In other words, if your website isn't optimized for search engines, it might as well not exist, because no one is going to be able to find it.
What is B2B SEO
B2B SEO is search engine optimization specially intended to reach the decision-makers of a company. That is a very specific goal that needs a very different strategy from a business selling to consumers.
Here are the two aspects to pay attention to:
1. On-page SEO
This refers to the optimization of your website's content itself, in order to make it more relevant and findable by search engines. This means creating blog posts, articles, infographics, or even videos that deep dive into topics relevant to your product and/or services.
On-page SEO also includes “technical SEO” or the optimizations you make to the backbone of your website. This includes things like the meta description and title tag, alt text on images, and structuring the content so that both users and search engines can easily find the information they're looking for. This also includes your load speed, a responsive design, and your XML sitemap.
2. Off-page SEO
This refers to the ways in which businesses can increase their perceived expertise in a given topic by having high-quality pages link to them on that topic. This can be done through engagement on the page or post, such as commenting on blog posts or articles, or through other means such as social media.
The Difference Between B2B & B2C SEO
Understanding the difference between B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) SEO is critical if you want to make sure your website is optimized for maximum visibility.
So, what exactly are the differences between B2B and B2C SEO? Here are the major ones:
1. Target Audience
The main difference between B2B and B2C SEO is the target audience. As you might have guessed from the name, B2B SEO is focused on optimizing a website for businesses, while B2C SEO is focused on consumers. But what does that mean in terms of actual optimization tactics?
2. Use of keywords
One of the biggest differences is the use of keywords. When businesses are searching for products or services online, they often use very specific, industry-specific jargon that consumers wouldn't necessarily use. These are called low-volume keywords and are often long-tailed.
Long-tail keywords are highly specific phrases that do not yield a lot of results but can catch those most interested in the subject matter. They tend to be longer in order to generate more useful results.
For example, a business owner will search for “how to use a chatbot for customer service” or “benefits of chatbots for customer service” as opposed to a more general search “what is chatbot” or simply “chatbot.” In this case, you want your landing page or blog article to include these specific phrases in order to rank in your potential client’s searches.
Another big difference between B2B and B2C search engine optimization has to do with content. Because businesses are usually looking for very specific information, they're more likely to respond well to things like blog posts that dive deep into a particular topic.
Positioning yourself as a thought leader and expert in your industry will go a long way - both with Google ranking and your potential clients who found you in their SERPs.
When you're writing blog posts or landing pages for your business, you generally want to take a more professional and data-driven approach than you would for B2C content. This is because B2B content tends to be geared towards informing and persuading potential customers further down the sales funnel. Different types of content are used at different stages of the sales funnel, and often the content is quite specific.
For instance, someone searching for a PR agency won't just search "PR agency" - they'll be looking for an agency that specializes in their industry or market, such as "Houston restaurant PR agency." Having specific content for each industry you serve makes each piece of content much more valuable from an SEO perspective. Plus, it shows potential customers that you're knowledgeable about their industry and that you have the resources to meet their needs.
Lastly, the link-building strategy for a B2B website will be different than for a B2C website. One of the best ways to improve your visibility in search engine results pages is to get other websites to link back to yours. But when you're trying to build links for a B2B website, you'll want to focus on getting links from other websites that are relevant to your industry. That way, Google will see your website as being an authority in your industry, and they'll be more likely to rank it higher in search results.
For a B2C website, on the other hand, you'll want to focus on building links from websites that get a lot of traffic but might not necessarily be relevant to your industry.
How to Climb to the Top of the SEO Mountain
Now that you have a good grasp of what B2B SEO is, it’s time to ask the question - how do I do this, exactly? Without getting too technical, here some tips to help you improve your ranking:
1. Create your decision-maker persona
Creating your decision-maker persona is an important first step in effective B2B SEO because it allows you to focus your efforts on the right target audience.
The goal is to figure out WHO you’re going to target with your SEO. In B2C, this is pretty easy to identify: it’s your customer. If you sell baseball gloves, then 100% of your marketing should focus on people who play baseball. Easy. But in B2B, this step is a bit more complex since your target customer a person, in a specific vertical industry. You need to figure out WHO inside of that business you need to get in front of so you can understand what types of things they google for. In our example, this decision-maker could be the product manager, someone in charge of inventory, or the CFO.
As we often talk about here at Craft, make a list of questions you need to know about your target buyer. The more detailed, the better. Just like a customer persona, a decision-maker persona details who they are, which industry they’re in, what their position is, who they consult for making a decision and more. Find out more about customer persona here: Customer-first Strategies: Identify Your Target Persona and Other Tips.
2. Choose your search keywords
Now that you have your target persona, it’s time to find out how they search for the products and/or services you offer —your keywords. The most effective keywords are those that people input on Google when they’re ready (or almost ready) to buy. For example, if you’re selling CRM software, a good keyword may be “easy-to-use sales CRM software.”
Many reputable companies who play the SEO game well, actually optimize their landing pages around these keywords.
Here’s how you can find your keywords:
Use keyword research tools like SEMrush, SEO Powersuite, KWFinder, Ahrefs, etc. They all do very similar things - choose the one that fits your budget. These tools will also help you perform “competitor keyword analysis.” You can input your competition’s website and find out the keywords they are using. Pretty sneaky, but also pretty effective.
Use Google Autocomplete. This is a simple tactic that’s great for finding long-tail keywords. All you need to do is start typing relevant terms and have a look at Google’s suggestions.
Practice social listening. See what people are discussing online and evaluate your brand sentiment.
3. Go big on your on-page SEO
On-page SEO is one of the most powerful tools in your digital marketing arsenal. It can help your website rank higher and draw more traffic. On-page SEO is an optimization technique that focuses on making sure all the elements of a webpage are optimized for search engine algorithms. This includes optimizing titles, headings, meta tags, content, images and structure. By doing this, search engines are able to better understand your webpages and rank them accordingly.
When it comes to on-page SEO, there are numerous ways you can use it to improve your website’s performance. Here’s a quick guide to getting the most out of your on-page SEO strategy:
Make sure that all of your title tags and meta descriptions accurately reflect the content found on each page.
Title tags and meta descriptions are pieces of HTML code that provide information about a web page. A title tag is a clickable headline that shows up in search results, while meta descriptions are brief snippets that summarize what users can expect to find on the page.
Here’s an example:
Title Tag: The Best Restaurants in NYC | NYC Food Guide
Meta Description: Get ready to explore the city's tastiest dishes with our expert-approved list of New York City's best restaurants! From pizza to tacos, we've got it all.
See, it’s not enough for web pages to simply exist; they must be discoverable by users or else their impact will be limited. That’s why it’s so important for websites to have accurate title tags and meta descriptions — these are key signals for search engine bots that help them determine what a particular page is about, which directly impacts its ranking in search results. Additionally, having title tags and meta descriptions that accurately reflect the content on the page helps improve user experience by ensuring that visitors know exactly what they’re getting when they click through from a search engine result.
Once you have implemented all these techniques into your website design and content creation process, spend some time reviewing everything to make sure there are no errors or omissions. Check for spelling mistakes and broken links as well as any incorrect code or server errors that may be causing issues with search engine crawlers. Once everything looks good then you can launch your website knowing it is properly optimized for success.
Focus on creating high-quality content with relevant keywords throughout.
Content is the heart of your business. It’s what sets you apart from your competitors and helps you build relationships with customers. But it’s not enough to create content that is interesting and engaging; it also needs to be optimized for search engines. That’s where keywords come in.
When it comes to SEO optimization, keywords are key (pun intended). Using the right keywords throughout your website allows search engines like Google to identify what kind of information you offer and rank you accordingly in their search results. When choosing keywords for SEO purposes, make sure they are relevant to your industry and target audience, but not overly competitive - otherwise, it will be difficult to rank high on the SERP.
Additionally, try to include long-tail keywords (or phrases) in addition to single words as they tend to have less competition while still being highly targeted toward specific audiences.
Focusing on quality content with relevant keywords throughout will help boost your search engine optimization rankings, which means more traffic for your website or blog - leading to increased conversions over time. Plus, by creating quality content that resonates with your target audience, you can establish yourself as an authority figure within your industry - giving potential customers confidence in doing business with you or subscribing to/buying from your services or products. Ultimately, a focus on both quality content and relevant keywords is essential for success these days.
Ensure that all images have descriptive alt text so that search engine crawlers can better understand them.
Visuals are everything. But what happens when a search engine crawler visits your website? Does it have enough information to understand the images on your page? The answer is no—unless you have descriptive alt text.
Alt text (also known as “alternative text” or “alt attribute”) is a piece of HTML code that provides a description of an image on a web page. It enables search engine crawlers to better understand what the image is about, which helps them determine how to rank the page in their search results.
By taking the time to add descriptive alt text to all of your images, you can ensure that search engines can accurately interpret and index them. This makes it easier for potential customers to find you online through organic searches and helps boost your overall SEO rankings.
In addition, alt text also helps improve accessibility for people who rely on screen readers or other assistive technology when browsing the internet. By providing an accurate description of each image, these users will be able to get a better understanding of what’s on the page without having to actually see it. This makes your website more accessible and user-friendly.
Tips For Writing Effective Alt Text:
Keep descriptions short and simple - no more than 125 characters
Avoid using phrases like "image of" or "picture of"
Focus on keywords related to the image's content
Focus on keywords related to the image's content
If necessary, include additional information such as size or color
Avoid using generic phrases like "photo" or "graphic"
Don't stuff keywords - only use keywords if they are relevant
Make sure all images have an appropriate alt tag
Make sure you have an internal link structure in place so users can easily navigate through your site.
You want your website to be easy to navigate, right? After all, if you can’t get people to stay on your website and explore what you have to offer, then how can you expect them to buy from you? This is where internal link structure becomes so important. Internal links are the pathways that help guide users through your website and make sure they’re able to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily.
An internal link structure is a network of hyperlinks within a web page or website that allows users to navigate between different pages. It should be well-thought-out and organized in order for it to effectively lead visitors through your site. This helps create a more user-friendly experience and makes people more likely to stick around.
There are several benefits associated with having an effective internal link structure in place. First, it increases page views since people will be encouraged to click around and explore more than one page on your site. Second, it keeps visitors on your site longer since they have more content available that is easy to access. Third, it helps improve SEO because search engine crawlers can easily find their way around your site due to the navigational links that are in place. Fourth, it improves user experience as visitors don’t need to search for information because it’s already been provided in the form of linked pages or posts.
Last but not least, including internal links can reduce bounce rate by drawing attention away from other pages on your website that might not be performing as well or providing as much value as others.
4. Build backlinks for your website
Backlinks are an essential part of any successful SEO strategy. But if you don't know what you're doing, backlink building can quickly become a minefield. How do you know which links will help your site and which will hurt it?
Do Get Quality Links:
Quality over quantity is key when it comes to backlinks. You want to focus on getting links from authoritative sources that are relevant to your industry or niche. That way, search engines will see that you have earned high-quality links through natural means, increasing your credibility in their eyes. Plus, quality links are more likely to drive actual traffic to your site—which is the whole point of link building in the first place!
Don’t Buy Links:
Buying links used to be a common practice among website owners looking to get ahead in search engine rankings, but these days it's a big no-no. Search engines are wise to this tactic and could penalize sites that buy links instead of earning them naturally. So save yourself time and money by avoiding this outdated practice altogether.
Do Monitor Your Links:
Link building is an ongoing process, not something that can be done once and forgotten about forever. To keep your link profile healthy, you'll need to monitor it regularly for broken links or suspicious activity (like sudden spikes in low-quality links). That way, you can take immediate action if something starts going wrong with one of your backlinks. It's also important to make sure that none of your competitors are linking to questionable sites—because if they do, it could damage your reputation as well as theirs!
Go the Extra Mile in your B2B Marketing with Advanced SEO Techniques
I mean, why not? Since we’re already here, might as well go all out.
1. Optimize Your Website for Voice Search
These days, more and more people are using voice search to find the answers to their questions. And if you want your business to be found, you need to optimize for voice search. This means using long-tail keywords that closely match how people speak. For example, rather than using "SEO company," you would use "What is the best SEO company in California?"
2. Implement Schema Markup
Schema markup is code that you can add to your website to help search engines understand your content better. By adding schema markup to your website, you can give search engines specific information about your business, such as your address, hours of operation, and reviews. This information can then be displayed in rich snippets, which are small blocks of text that appear under your website's listing in the search results.
3. Publish High-Quality Blog Posts
Another great way to improve your website's SEO is by publishing high-quality blog posts on a regular basis. Not only will this help to improve your website's visibility, but it will also show potential customers that you're an authority in your industry. When writing blog posts, be sure to include relevant keywords and phrases throughout the body of your post so that it can be easily found by those who are searching for it.
4. Utilize Social Media
Social media is a great way to promote your content and connect with potential customers. And when used properly, it can also help improve your website's SEO. Be sure to post links to your website's content on all of your social media channels, and encourage others to share it as well. You should also make it a point to interact with those who leave comments on your posts—this shows that you're active and engaged with your audience, which will only help to improve your reputation online.
5. Monitor Your Progress
Last but not least, it's important to monitor your progress so that you can see how effective your SEO efforts are.
How to Measure the Success of Your SEO Efforts and Adjust Your Strategy Accordingly
SEO can be a lot like dating.
You put yourself out there.
You hope for the best. Sometimes, you get ghosted. Other times, you hit it off immediately and things just work.
But as with any good relationship, once you're in it, you have to put in the work to make sure things are still going strong. You have to communicate, keep things fresh, and adjust your strategy as needed—otherwise, things will fizzle out eventually.
The same is true of B2B SEO. You can't just set it and forget it; you have to constantly check in to make sure your efforts are bearing fruit, and adjust your strategy as needed to keep things going strong.
So how do you measure the success of your SEO efforts? And how do you know when it's time to adjust your strategy? Here’s a 10-point checklist you can use:
Check your website traffic.
Compare year-over-year data.
Look at your organic search traffic growth over time.
Examine where your organic traffic is coming from geographically speaking.
See which keywords are driving the most organic traffic to your website.
Check how much time users are spending on your site and how many pages they're viewing during each visit.
Determine whether you're seeing an increase in the number of backlinks pointing to your site.
Take a look at social media metrics.
Consider conducting user surveys.
Adjust your strategy accordingly.
Once you've taken all of these factors into account, it's time to adjust your strategy accordingly. If you're not happy with the results you're seeing, don't be afraid to change things up and try something new—after all, that's how relationships (and SEO) grow and improve over time. Remember, SEO isn't a static thing; it's ever-evolving, which means your strategy should be too.
Get started on your B2B Search Engine Optimization
If you feel like there is still so much to know about B2B SEO, that’s because there is. And we are here to help you take a look at your current strategies and see where we can help improve and optimize your marketing efforts. Reach out today!