How to Build a Successful B2B SEO Strategy

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Since 2015, business-to-business (B2B) digital advertising spending in the United States has increased by nearly 500%, going from $2.91 billion to almost $15 billion. 

This remarkable shift has occurred alongside a static trend within B2B traditional advertising, which includes magazines and television advertisements. 

For organisations worldwide, this rapid change has highlighted the need for digital optimization processes, and nothing has proven to be quite as successful as SEO

B2B search engine optimization (SEO) is the online science of crafting web pages designed to show up for search queries made by your target audience through various techniques such as keyword research and meta descriptions. 

By tailoring your online messaging around the needs and questions of your audience, you are making your website accessible, usable and reliable — which will only lead to more relevancy and increased sales.

Create Your Buyer Persona(s)

The first step in creating a B2B SEO strategy includes creating buyer personas. 

A buyer persona is a characterization of a brand’s typical customer. This involves understanding critical information about your target consumers and B2B buyers, including:

  • Demographics: Gender, age, income, etc., of typical customers.
  • Objectives: Aka, search intent. What are members of your audience hoping to achieve? What problems do they need to solve? What are their pain points?
  • Behavior: How do these customers interact with your brand? Do they visit your online store many times before making a purchase? Is there a particular channel they use most for communication?
  • Budget: What is your target audience able or prepared to spend? 

The more data you have about your buyer personas, the easier it will be to craft a targeted marketing strategy.

Perform Technical SEO Audit

Before adding anything new to your site, make sure to perform a technical SEO audit to discover any issues that could be fixed for an easy win and highlight the areas that need devoted attention. 

An SEO audit can be accomplished by reviewing the following:

Check for 404s.

Uncovering and changing broken links is a critical aspect of the SEO audit. While Google doesn’t punish you directly for broken links, it can still hamstring your rankings because of the increased bounce rate. 

By using tools such as Google Search Console, you can find these broken links and fix them before they cause significant damage to your SEO scores. 

Audit sitemap.

Performing an XML sitemap audit can go a long way towards improving your SEO. 

An XML sitemap helps search engines understand your website while crawling it and tells search engines exactly where each page is.

It also contains valuable information about each page on your site, including

  • When a page was last modified.
  • What priority it has on your site.
  • How frequently it is updated.

Double check analytics tracking.

In the SEO world, data is king. Double-check that your analytic platforms are performing correctly and feeding you real-time information on the status and rankings of your pages. 

If not — or if you do not have an analytics tool you use — Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools are free tools that allow you to submit your website to their search engines for indexing. These services also allow you to keep an eye on your site's general performance from a search engine perspective. 

These tools also allow you to:

  • Test your site's mobile usability.
  • View backlinks to your site.
  • Disavow spammy links.

Check for HTTPS. 

In 2014, Google announced that they wanted to see HTTPS everywhere and that secure HTTPS websites would be given preference over non-secure ones like HTTP in search results and rankings. 

Businesses must ensure that their site is secure with HTTPS, which can be accomplished by installing an SSL certificate on your website.

Core Web Vitals report.

One of Google’s latest algorithm updates for page experience, Core Web Vitals went into effect in 2021. Core Web Vitals measures and tracks three important search signals: 

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): How long does the largest image or text block on your website take to render. 
  • First Input Delay (FID): The time between when someone first interacts with a page to when the browser processes that interaction. 
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): How often a web page moves when users are interacting with a site. 

By understanding and improving these metrics on your site, you can increase the performance and user experience of your web pages. 

Internal linking.

Internal link building is a search engine optimization technique that helps to increase your organic search engine ranking. 

Links are one of the primary ways that search engine algorithms determine the relevance of a page. Having internal links interspersed throughout your pages can indicate that the content is valuable and can bring greater visibility to your website. 

Toxic backlink audit.

Backlinks are links on other websites that connect back to yours. They are essential to your SEO and to ranking well in search engines like Google, and can help to give your store credibility and authority with search engines. 

When performing the SEO audit of your site, review the backlinks you have coming into your site. This is an area where quality is greater than quantity — anything attached to your name or website can potentially harm your credibility or reputation. 

Check content metadata.

Metadata describes HTML elements that directly communicate and clarify website information for search engines, which is critical in effective Search Engine Optimization for retailers. These elements include page titles, description tags and other protocols, and they may describe purposes, characteristics and general content.

Content metadata can provide a powerful tool for tailoring and targeting potential ecommerce audiences. By informing Google about the nature of your content, you're letting them do the hard work of bringing users to your website. 

Review site speed. 

Search engines prefer sites that load quickly, and page speed is an important ranking signal.

There are several ways you can speed up your site:

  • Use fast hosting.
  • Use a fast DNS provider.
  • Minimize HTTP requests.
  • Use one CSS stylesheet instead of multiple CSS stylesheets or inline CSS.
  • Ensure your image files are as small as possible.
  • Compress your web pages.
  • Minify your site’s code by eliminating any unnecessary spaces, line breaks or indentations in your HTML, CSS and Javascript.

Audit URL canonicals.

Duplicate URLs and content can confuse search engine algorithms as they are often used to manipulate search rankings or win more traffic.As a result, Google and Bing advise webmasters to fix any duplicate content issues they find to avoid any potential penalties.

You can fix duplicate content issues by:

  • Preventing your CMS from publishing multiple versions of a page or post.
  • Using the canonical link element to let search engines know how and where the main version of your content resides.

Audit mobile friendliness.

A ‘responsive’ website design adjusts itself automatically so it can be navigated and read easily on any device.

Google is transparent that its algorithms consider having a responsive site a significant ranking signal. Furthermore, with the introduction of Google’s mobile-first approach to indexing content, a responsive website is now more critical than ever.

Ensure that your website is fully responsive and will display in the best format possible for mobile, tablet or desktop users.

Perform Keyword Research.

Keyword research allows businesses to understand and discover how many people are searching for any given phrase. Once you understand what your buyer personas and audience are searching for, you can change your keyword strategy to match. 

Keyword research is not limited to search engines, but can involve social listening — seeing what your audience is discussing online through social media channels like LinkedIn. By tailoring your content and website to match your audience’s interests, search volume may decrease overall, but will ultimately be more valuable. 

A keyword tool is a great way to generate ideas backed by data. Google Ads Keyword Planner is one of the best available — with it, Google essentially tells you the popularity of certain search terms.

Other research tools available to help you include: 

Competitor analysis.

A competitive analysis can help a business identify the leading market players, determine their strategies for success and identify resources your company could use to dominate the market. With a thorough competitive analysis as part of your initial business plan, you'll be positioned to outshine your rivals and draw loyal customers.

Using research tools and methods can allow you to have up-to-date competitive intelligence on where your competitors rank and how you can best usurp them. These tools and methods include:

  • Social media: Use Pages to Watch features or add them to your social media analytics tool.
  • Search engine results (SERPs): Ahrefs and Semrush analyze which target keywords your competition ranks for and how they acquire backlinks to their website. 
  • Online coverage: Set Google alerts for B2B brand names to learn when and why they get mentioned by the media/influencers. 
  • Traffic volume and sources: SimilarWeb provides free website traffic analytics, plus an overview of referrals.

Create Topic Clusters and Pillars

Before diving into creating topic clusters and pillars, it is critical to understand what pillar and cluster pages are:

  • Pillar page: A piece of long-form content that serves as a basis for topic clusters on any given topic, such as white papers or eBooks.  
  • Cluster page: When selecting a topic for a pillar page, you’ll have to decide which relevant keywords within that topic you’d like to rank for. Each keyword gets its own dedicated page — which becomes a cluster page. 

From your pillar page — which acts as the central hub of content for the topic — you can craft different topic clusters related to the page and connect them through internal linking and broader advertisement. It is an SEO strategy that will help search engines to discover specific pages and topics and ultimately help improve your rankings.

Develop and Optimise Landing Pages for Key Products or Services.

First impressions matter — particularly regarding your business and products. Landing pages are the first impression of your solution and the start of the customer's journey through your ecommerce site. It will either keep visitors on your site or lead them to bounce. 

The following characteristics typically make up a strong landing page:

  • A call to action.
  • Attention-grabbing headlines and headings.
  • A clear, concise message about the product or service.
  • Content that's digestible, not overwhelming or long.
  • A visually appealing appearance. 
  • Emotional triggers to drive sales.

Once you have performed your keyword research, you should understand what keywords drive searchers to your site and product pages. Utilise those keywords using the SEO tools from above to develop your landing pages further, and optimise them for search engine results.

Off-Site B2B SEO Strategies

When building out SEO strategies, you must not forget the off-site side of it. Building out a devoted off-site B2B SEO strategy can go a long way in raising your rankings and increasing search engine results. 

The following are among the best techniques for improving your off-site SEO: 

Backlinks.

Backlinks — as mentioned above — are links on other websites that connect back to yours. They are essential to your SEO and ranking well in search engines like Google.

When creating backlinks, ensure that you keep quality at the top of your mind rather than quantity. Because backlinks can add credibility or authority to your store, when other sites link back to your content, they essentially endorse the quality of that content. 

If the source of the backlinks are of lower quality, it'll negatively affect your perception. 

Guest posting.

Guest posting — sometimes referred to as guest blogging — is when someone from outside your company writes a blog that will be published on your website. The writer will usually work in the same industry or be an expert on the subjects accomplished with that organisation. 

Guest posting can benefit both the guest blogger and the host company by building out broader brand awareness, bringing in fresh ideas and by lending the credibility of both participants. 

PR.

Public relations (PR) refers to everything a brand does to raise awareness among a broader audience. As opposed to advertising, which promotes a specific product or service, PR is specifically about boosting overall brand reputation. 

Your brand reputation is essential to the success of your business. In the age of social media and 24/7 connectivity, bad press about your business can spread like wildfire. If you build your brand with effective public relations, you can help reduce B2B marketing and sales costs while increasing customer awareness and recognition. 

Build helpful tools for your industry. 

Building helpful tools and calculators are a quick way to increase customer satisfaction. 

When trying to build out an effective off-site strategy, having tools on your website that vendors and customers will link to can add value to your content and raise credibility.

Understand the Complexities of Your Sales Funnel

When building out your SEO strategy, you must research the different types of content and materials needed for each part of the sales funnel. Writing for the top of funnel — typically about bringing awareness to your business — is a much different process than writing for the button of funnel — helping those who already know they’re in line to select your product (or already have).

Furthermore, crafting strategies for each section of the funnel is different for B2B as opposed to B2C. B2B content marketing must be more informative, professional and data-driven — business purchases are often much greater and have much more at stake.  

Building out content and mapping researched keywords to each section of the funnel can increase the value of your strategic plan.

Expansion, Expansion, Expansion

The goal of most businesses in the ecommerce sphere is ultimately growth. What can they do to bring greater awareness to their products and services and drive success and growth?

As a small business grows, so does the ongoing need for additional content and an overall content strategy. If your business is reaching thousands or hundreds of thousands of people, just a few pieces of content won’t be able to cut it. 

Building out your B2B SEO content strategy is essential to the success of your business, as quality content creation can:

  • Increase brand visibility and brand awareness. 
  • Build loyalty and trust. 
  • Drive high-quality, organic traffic to your website.
  • Build solid and lasting relationships with your customers. 
  • Allow you to answer customer questions. 
  • Position your brand as a thought leader. 
  • Move customers through the sales funnel. 
  • Deliver genuine value to your customers and community.

As you scale, make sure that your content scales along with you.

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The Final Word

The success of your B2B SEO strategy depends primarily on the focus and attention it receives. As SEO has become a refined science, the algorithms have become even more favorable for businesses. 

By focusing on your audience and their needs, you’ll have all the information you need to craft customer-targeted content and collateral. With the influx of tools and techniques available, nothing is stopping you from optimizing your site to its fullest potential.

FAQs for B2B SEO Strategy.

Is the meta keyword tags important?

The answer here is multifaceted. 

There are many different types of meta tags, some of which are not particularly useful. The primary types of useful tags are:

  • Title tag. 
  • Meta description.
  • Meta robots, which include 'noindex' and 'nofollow' tags. 

Outside of those, the relevance of meta tags can vary. While they are unlikely to harm page SEO rankings, your time can often be better spent elsewhere.

Do I need SEO for my B2B business?

In the modern, digital ecommerce world, the answer is: absolutely. 

SEO helps B2B websites and pages rank higher in search engines like Google and Bing. Digital marketing and advertising have grown significantly in the last decade as companies worldwide have begun to focus on SEO in earnest. 

Without SEO, you’re only going to find yourself falling behind.

Should I hire someone to manage my SEO efforts?

If you have the available resources, then hiring an SEO-focused professional should be near the top of your list. 

Considering how much SEO can help your businesses, the more resources and employees you have dedicated to the process will only serve to help you in the long run. 

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How is SEO different for B2B2C companies?

The primary difference between B2B and B2C SEO is, of course, the introduction of the consumer into the process.

This affects SEO because it redetermines who the end customers are. When directing and crafting your content, you must be able to focus both on another business as an intermediary while also understanding that eventually, this will get to the customer. 

It’s a complex system that requires a bit more nuance than usual, but with the rise of remote work and scalability, it’s a must for forward-thinking companies.

B2B SEO vs. B2C: What’s the Difference?

The SEO goals of B2B and B2C vary because they focus on different things. B2B ecommerce is the selling of goods from one business to another business, whereas B2C ecommerce is the selling of goods from businesses to individual consumers.

These differences work out in the SEO process through: 

More Complex Sales Funnel.

Crafting strategies for each section of the funnel are different between B2B and B2C. 

Content and collateral created for B2B lie near the bottom of funnel, which tends to be more informative, professional and data-driven. 

On the other hand, content built out for B2C exists near the top of funnel, existing to bring broader awareness and consideration to a topic. 

Lower Conversion Rates. 

The driving goal behind any SEO campaign is to increase conversion rates and lead generation — how many people can you get to sign up and look at your product or service.

Because of the nature and size of their business, B2B decision-makers are more likely to have lower conversion rates than B2C. However, this isn’t all bad news — when the B2B companies do convert, it’ll likely result in much greater sales. 

Lower Search Volume Keywords.

B2B keywords are often more likely to attract a smaller audience, allowing for more technical keywords to be used. This will ultimately lead to a low volume SEO but higher conversion rates. 

On the other hand, B2C keywords are a bit more tricky, as companies need to try to find keywords that aren’t too broad and aren’t too niche. Finding the sweet spot in the middle is challenging but can bring higher search volume when done correctly.

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