B2B SEO: A Short Guide to Generating Leads & Increasing RevenueMarch 5, 2019
Getting traction for your business isn’t easy. There are dozens of marketing channels you can pursue and countless hacks and trends you can chase. Finding the right channel or combination of tactics that will generate high-quality leads and increase your revenue takes time, testing, and continual optimization. When searching for the next big thing, many B2B leaders often overlook a proven tactic: B2B SEO.
You may be thinking:
Oh, come on. SEO is ineffective. It doesn’t work anymore. Besides, it’s way too hard to break through the noise and get someone’s attention.
Before you write me off, hear me out for a moment. Here’s what you need to know: B2B SEO is one tactic you can’t afford to miss. Based on trends in the marketplace, SEO has the potential to generate a ton of new business for your brand.
According to studies, the vast majority of B2B decision-makers will:
- Search online to start their buying process
- Avoid your company until they do their research
Know what this means for you?
These trends mean that your B2B brand must have a solid SEO plan in place to create awareness and compel people to do business with you. In this post, I want to help your business create an SEO strategy that will generate high-quality leads and boost your bottom line.
Here’s what we’re going to explore:
- Treating SEO as a marketing channel
- 1 must-know fact about SEO before you get started
- 4 B2B SEO best practices
Let’s dig in!
Treating SEO as a marketing channel
To make your B2B SEO work, the first thing you need to do is treat it like a marketing channel.
SEO isn’t something confined to your IT Department, it doesn’t happen by accident, and your goal isn’t to increase traffic. As a marketing channel, SEO is like anything else you do to create awareness, generate new leads, and most importantly of all—increase your revenue.
What do you need to do to make this work? Simple.
Like your other marketing channels, you have to spend money, time, and create a strategy to accomplish your goals. Fight the urge to pawn off this work on an intern or tack it onto someone’s to-do list as an afterthought. SEO can be a tremendous source of revenue for your business. But it’s not easy. It will take a lot of time and energy before you will see results.
But here’s the deal:
After you create momentum, your SEO will continue to pay off for you like compounding interest. Month after month, your monthly organic visitors will continue to climb. For you, this means more and more people will become aware of your business and eventually turn into new customers.
Here’s the point I want to make:
Unlike other marketing channels, such as social media, Google, or radio and television, which require you to continue to spend money to generate new leads or sales, SEO will continue to work for your business after you build momentum. In other words, you don’t always have to spend money to make it work.
This doesn’t mean you can indefinitely neglect your SEO strategy after you get the ball rolling. But this does mean that SEO will continue to work for you even if you’re not actively working on it.
All of this sounds great, right?
Before you jump into building your SEO strategy, there’s one thing you need to know.
1 must-know fact about SEO before you get started
SEO isn’t a marketing channel that will provide you with overnight success. It’s not something you can turn on and off with a push of a button either.
Instead, search engine optimization is like fitness training—it takes time and perseverance, and explosive results aren’t guaranteed. This isn’t what you want to hear, but it’s the truth. My goal is to shoot straight with you and make sure you’re not getting conned by an SEO snake oil salesman making you an offer you can’t refuse.
Let me break it down for you like this:
Search engine optimization takes time. Depending upon what you read, you’ll see that results from SEO can take 2–6 months or up to one year. In either scenario, plan to buckle up and get to work! Know what you’re getting into? Great.
Let’s take a look at some practical ways you can build a successful B2B SEO strategy.
4 B2B SEO best practices
There are a ton of different tactics you can pursue. But like most things in business and life, what you do to succeed really boils down to following a few fundamental principles. In light of this reality, I’d like to share with you four B2B SEO best practices.
#1. SEO strategy
B2B SEO isn’t only about ranking your site—it’s about helping your business get discovered.
This sounds obvious on the surface. But hear me out.
When it comes to SEO, there are several equally important things you’ll need to do, such as:
- Optimize your site
- Create user-friendly and Google-friendly content
- Increase third-party reviews
- Build backlinks
A big part of your SEO strategy will include keyword research. But this isn’t the place you should start. I want to emphasize from the get-go that building a B2B SEO strategy is more comprehensive than researching keywords relevant for your business and writing blog posts on those topics.
Your goal is to increase sales by creating awareness for your business online, which includes the several items I just listed above and more. When you develop your plan, be sure to take a comprehensive approach and not only focus on keyword research. There are many pieces to the SEO puzzle that work together, and keyword research is one piece—not the only one.
#2. Keyword research
A key component to your B2B SEO is identifying the keywords and keyword phrases you’re targeting. For the sake of over-communication, keywords are the phrases people use in search engines to find what they’re looking for (e.g., “digital agency,” “B2B SEO,” “what time is it?”).
Before you optimize your site or create one more blog post, there are three questions you need to answer to find out what keywords you should target:
- What product or service do I offer?
- What keywords are relevant to my products?
- What keywords are my target market using?
The first question sounds obvious, but you have to start here to build a successful B2B SEO strategy. Remember, your goal is to increase revenue—not increase your traffic per se.
Think about it.
If you target keywords that do not support your products or services, then you’ll end up driving the wrong traffic to your site, which means it will not convert into new business.
Not a good idea.
Instead, ask yourself this question, “What keywords are relevant to my product?”
By asking this question, you’ll identify product or service categories relevant to your business. What is more, you’ll also be in a position to discover additional keywords (or questions people ask in search engines) pertinent to your product or services.
The third question you want to ask will help you narrow down the searches your target market makes that are relevant to your business. In general, the keywords and phrases they use will be similar in some ways. But answering this question will help you to identify other ideas you can pursue in your SEO strategy.
After answering these three questions, identify the primary keywords you want to focus on, keep them on a spreadsheet to track and get to work creating content and making it rank!
#3. Promote your content
Content without marketing is just content.
In other words, if you don’t promote your content, then your target market won’t find it. After spending time creating an amazing piece of content, at a minimum, there are three promotional tactics you should consider:
- Link building
- Social media promotion
- Paid advertising
When it comes to link building, here’s what you need to know:
Link building is when you get other websites to link to your site.
From writing guest posts to creating an infographic or how-to guide other sites can link back to, there are hundreds of tactics you can use.
For what it’s worth, link building does take time. But this tactic will result in driving long-term organic traffic to your site. Don’t let the challenge of this tactic scare you away. It’s best to put together a link building plan and work your plan.
Now, as for the next two tactics, these are geared more toward short-term results. There’s a chance both of them can provide indirect SEO results. But since it takes time to build your SEO traffic, it’s a good idea to use short-term supplementary tactics.
Alright, the second promotional tactic you’ll need to consider is social media.
Share your content through your social media channels as well as relevant social media communities. Regarding this last point, identify social media communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, and elsewhere, that are relevant to your business. Engage these communities, build relationships, and, when it’s appropriate, share the content you create with them.
Finally, you can boost short-term traffic to your site through paid advertising. There are several options you can choose to do this. But we’ve seen clients have success with advertising on Facebook. If you go this route, one of the key metrics you’ll need to measure when promoting your content, such as a blog post, is how much you pay per click. Your goal is to keep this cost as low as possible.
#4. Build your brand with third-party reviews
For better or worse, this B2B SEO tip has HUGE potential.
According to a study by Avanade, 61 percent of B2B buyers research third-party review sites before they consider doing business with you.
Did you catch that?
That’s a lot of potential customers you may or may not reach.
On the one hand, if you don’t get reviews on third-party sites, then most B2B buyers WILL NOT do business with you. On the other hand, if you get positive reviews on third-party sites, then the majority of B2B buyers will approach your business.
Not only will reviews on third-party sites generate more leads, but these reviews will boost your local listings (and more), provide backlinks, and drive traffic to your website among other benefits.
Here’s the deal:
You have to get more third-party reviews to boost your SEO and build your business.
To do this, there are two primary tactics you can use:
- Claim your listing
- Ask for a review
The first thing you must do is to claim your business.
What listings you claim or third-party sites you target will depend upon your business industry. But there are a few core listings you should consider:
- Google My Business
- Better Business Bureau
This list will get you started. But take the time to identify the third-party review sites most relevant to your business. The next thing you must do is ask for a review. This sounds obvious, but many business owners overlook this step.
And I totally get it.
It can feel awkward—even uncomfortable—to ask your customers to leave a review. There will be times when you can ask a customer face-to-face to leave a review. But more often than not, one of these tactics will help you to generate more reviews:
- Ask with an email
- Create an automated email follow-up
- Include links on your site to “Review us on Google”
- Provide an incentive
By actively pursuing reviews, you’ll be able to build a ton of momentum online.
Get started with B2B SEO today
The ideas in this post are just scratching the surface.
What I shared with you today may not be a comprehensive guide. But if you follow these principles, you’ll be well on your way to creating a B2B SEO strategy that will generate new leads and increase your revenue.