SEO for B2B Businesses: What Really Works?
As a B2B business owner, you’ve surely gotten a cold email or two (or maybe a hundred depending on your industry) promising to “get your website ranking #1 on Google”. But what does that really mean? Which keyword or keywords will you rank for? And ultimately, once you rank #1 for a keyword(s), will it bring you more business?
At Forecast Sunny, we’ve often had the experience of auditing a new client’s website and finding that they have a blog or a few blogs that get them a lot of organic traffic (i.e., traffic from search engines) because the blog ranks well on Google. In many cases, their sites will consistently get 1,000s or 10,000s of visits each month from these blog entries. But in most cases, the percentage of that organic traffic that actually ends up interacting with the business is close to or equal to zero. Why is that?
To answer that question, it’s important to understand how people use search engines. When someone sits down to search for something, they broadly fit into one of two categories: information seekers or solution seekers.
- Information seekers are users who are researching a topic. They could be students working on a report, or professionals looking to bulk up their knowledge, or possibly even competitors trying to find out what competing businesses are up to.
- Solution seekers have a problem they are trying to solve. They could be consumers researching product options, consumers looking to purchase a product or service immediately, or a Do-it-yourself type looking for a solution they can implement theirselves.
So in the earlier example, where our client’s blog gets 1,000s of visits per month but no conversions; it’s likely that most or all of the 1,000s of visitors are information seekers who get what they need (an answer to a question) and then leave.
These informational topics are typically the kinds of keywords that cold emailing SEO companies are referring to when they promise to get you #1 rankings. Why do they focus on informational keywords? Because, on a whole, informational keywords are easier to rank for than commercial keywords (those that will likely lead to a sale). Why are they easier to rank for? There’s less competition because top businesses are focused on ranking for solution keywords that will lead to sales.
The truth is that hacks and tricks don’t work for SEO anymore. Google has gotten too smart. You cant just stuff a blog post full of keywords and expect to rank. And while it’s true that, to a certain extent, a rising tide lifts all boats; one or two high traffic blogs isn’t going to impact your bottom line in the way that some SEOs want you to believe.
An effective SEO marketing plan needs to be part of long-term business strategy that you can build on over time and that naturally generates meaningful, relevant content. What does this look like in practice?
Make sure you have a solid grasp on your marketing. This needs to go deeper than just figuring out how much to spend on which ad platform. You should have a clearly defined marketing strategy that outlines your target audience, their main pain points, how your products benefit them, etc.
As an example, if you sell mopheads, you need to figure out if your target audience is high school custodians, buyers for institutions like colleges, or home makers. You need to make it clear to whichever audience is your target that your product is a solution for their pain point(s).
An effective SEO strategy helps potential customers find your product or service online, and highlights the features and benefits that are most relevant to them. By shaping your SEO around your business goals, you can build a successful plan of attack that drives traffic, leads, and sales for your B2B Business. And interesting, relevant content will be a cinch if you know your audience and what they need from you.