In our first post on B2B SEO, we focused on the “what” of SEO – what it is, where it came from, and the factors that contribute to SEO success.
Understanding SEO is all well and good, but knowledge is most powerful when it’s put to use. With that knowledge as a foundation, it’s time to move into the “how” of B2B SEO. In this post, we’ll take a look at 3 techniques that B2B business can use to improve their SEO rankings.
1. Focus on Local SEO and long-tail keywords.
There are three main factors that you should consider when choosing your keywords: frequency of search, level of competition, and relevancy.
You can start choosing keywords by conducting a bit of research to find what your customers are searching for. An IT firm, for instance, might use “IT company” or “IT services” to start. From there, you can use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner or this keyword tool to generate suggested keywords – terms that are related to your initial keyword phrase.
It’s helpful to use a tool that will show you the average monthly searches for specific keywords, so that you can make targeted selections based upon the amount of search traffic that certain terms receive. Maybe “IT company” is searched less than “IT services”, or maybe “Maryland IT services” is searched more than “IT services in Maryland”. The differences in terms are subtle, and search engines are also improving in determining the semantics of search queries so that similar terms yield similar results, but search volume data is still helpful in deciding which keywords to target.
Many tools (Google, Hubspot, Moz) will also show you the level of competition around certain keywords – that is, how many businesses are focusing on the same keywords. Obviously, the more competition around a certain phrase, the more difficult it is to rank for.
That’s why, for most businesses, concentrating on local SEO and long tail keywords is the most effective strategy. Note that long tail keywords are keywords that are composed of multi-word phrases, as opposed to short, broad keywords.
Long tail, local keywords are generally searched less frequently, but they also tend to have less competition and be more relevant to your business. Consider our fictional IT company. If they’re based in Frederick, Maryland, then the search term “affordable IT company in Frederick, Maryland” is much more relevant to them than the term “IT company.” People who search that are likely in Frederick, Maryland, and are considering options for purchasing IT services. They’re further along in the buying process, which means that they’re more likely to buy.
So, it’s not only easier to rank highly for local, long-tail keyword terms, but the traffic that these terms generate is also be more likely to turn into customers.
2. Nurture your network of backlinks.
B2B firms are uniquely positioned to create a reputable network of backlinks. As we discussed in our previous post, backlinks are one of the primary tools that Google and other search engines use to determine where to rank your site, based on the premise that lots of people linking to you means that your site is trustworthy.
Our tip for B2B firms is this: use your real-life network to generate a network of backlinks.
Here’s how it can work: the depth of service that B2B firms provide nearly always results in deep relationships with clients and vendors in related industries, and you can put those relationships to SEO use by asking your clients and vendors to feature content from your site. Our IT firm in Frederick, Maryland might ask their hardware supplier to mention them in a blog post about server installations, for example.
Who are your best customers? Consider asking them to give your website a shout out on their own site’s blog – or even just to mention you in passing, while linking to your site. Do the same with businesses that you buy from, or from your trusted vendors. As a B2B business, you can leverage your business relationships to create a network of backlinks to your site.
And offer to return the favor! After all, outbound links to reputable sites are yet another factor Google uses to determine page rank, and your partners are sure to appreciate it.
3. Start a blog to showcase your expertise.
Finally, marketing your expertise is something we talk about a lot. When it comes down to it, as a B2B firm, your expertise is the reason your customers do business with you (as we explain in this ebook). They trust and respect your opinions and services because you’ve proven your expertise. Starting a blog is the perfect way to showcase that expertise in a way that will resonate with your audience – and it will help you with SEO, too.
That’s because a blog offers endless chances for targeting long-tail keywords. Every time you publish a blog post, you add another page to your site for search engines to index. That’s good in itself (page/word counts and frequency of content updates are two more search engine rank factors), but when you specifically gear those pages and posts towards longer keywords, you’re SEO rank for those terms skyrockets.
For instance, if our IT company writes a post titled “5 Data Security Techniques for Doctors’ Offices”, they’ll be able to focus on a particular industry in a way that offers much more depth, insight, and SEO possibilities than a single services page would.
Blogs offer chances to showcase your expertise, and they offer chances to be found. Don’t miss out.
Next Steps for B2B SEO
Are you ready to rank high? Put these three techniques to work, and start measuring the results. Your customers are looking for you. With a focus on local, long-tail keywords, a reputable backlink network, and a good blog, they’ll be able to find you on the first page of Google search.
If you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry. At New North, as a Frederick, Maryland search engine optimization company, we’ve helped many B2B firms just like you get found online. Get in touch with us right here, or give us a call at 240.575.5887 to find out how you can connect with an audience that’s looking for you. And keep an eye out for Part 3: Running a B2B SEO Campaign.
Jon is an inbound strategist with a passion for helping clients take the mystery out of their marketing. His goal is to write about digital marketing using as little jargon as possible. He’s watched a few too many Pittsburgh sporting events.