B2B SEO – How It Works, Strategies & Costs

How does B2B SEO differ from B2C SEO or any other kind? What is the ideal B2B SEO strategy? How much do B2B SEO services cost? If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, you’ve definitely ended up in the right place. 

In today’s article, we’re looking at all the basics of SEO for B2B, so keep on reading!

Does a B2B company even need SEO?

Sure! 

While in the past, it was widely believed that SEO only spoke to B2C companies, the truth is that even if you own a pretty well-known brand, you’ll still need SEO for the likes of content marketing. 

Besides, SEO isn’t only limited to organic search — there’s a type of SEO that works for YouTube, a type of SEO that works for Pinterest, and even one that applies to Etsy if you can believe it. 

The main purpose of SEO for B2B is to improve the rankings of any company, but lead generation and acquiring customers are actually more important in this case. 

People these days spend a lot of their time on the Internet, and not just because of what happened at the beginning of 2020. They use the Internet for shopping, watching videos, interacting with friends and family, and they use Google for queries all the time. 

They also ‘ask’ Google the location of a business, so SEO is pretty much essential if you want to secure a great online presence and make sure you’re getting enough revenue. For example, let’s say you manufacture ultrasonic scalers and your ideal buyer persona is a dentist — sure, they might find you through indirect agents such as distributors, but this might not always be the case. 

In case they’ve damaged their ultrasonic scaler, they might look for a similar option online, compare the price, check the components, look at where it’s manufactured, see whether there are any discounts, and so on. Of course, this example turns the dentist more into a customer rather than a company buying a product, but it’s pretty relevant for making a point — since advanced dental equipment isn’t used by regular customers. 

In a nutshell, SEO can help you stand out from the crowd and address the right audience — provided that you utilize the right techniques. 

How does B2B SEO differ from B2C SEO?

While the main goal of SEO, regardless of whether it’s for companies or customers, will always remain ranking site content so that it outperforms that of competitors, there are some differences between B2B SEO and B2C SEO. Let us look at all of them. 

A longer sales cycle

The sales funnel for a B2B firm is a little more complicated than that for a B2C company. 

Because some of the products that address business owners or those that are decision makers within a company are often more expensive (sometimes much more expensive) than traditional products (think of comparing a piece of software made for a corporation to the laundry detergent that everyone can order online), it will take longer for these people to make up their minds. 

While a B2C marketer can use a variety of techniques without really worrying that their products might not be bought by any consumer, a B2B marketer and SEO needs a much broader picture — they have to understand how long it takes and how hard it can be to take someone from the awareness phase to the action phase. 

The point that we’re trying to make is that everything will be different – from competition analysis to keyword research – as everything needs to be customized so that the product owner gets traffic from the right individuals. 

Multiple buyer personas

Coming up with a picture of your ideal buyer persona should be one of the top priorities of B2B companies. You should have someone do as much research as possible so that you don’t accidentally end up trying to sell an expensive piece of software to a 20-year-old in college who doesn’t even have any money. 

Create at least 2-3 buyer personas — whether they be people who actually own the business (by the way, using SEO and marketing to target these specific individuals can be extremely challenging), people in HR or COOs, or technical leads who might be able to give recommendations in terms of software to their senior managers.

Try to be as creative as possible and think of what these people are doing on a day to day basis – what are their interests? What about their hobbies? Are they likely to look for your product or service in their spare time or only when they are at work? Do they go to conferences or other networking events? Try to answer these questions as best as possible. 

A change in keyword targeting

When it comes to B2B SEO, the most surprising fact is that low volume keywords actually tend to do better — strictly because they have lower competition, and therefore, they are easier to rank for. 

Finding the right keywords isn’t that difficult if you know what you are doing — and what we mean by this is that the product or service needs to be studied by the marketer and SEO so that they can at least have a clue of what keywords they should research. 

As for the actual process, the sky is the limit when it comes to keyword research — you can use anything ranging from SEMrush or Ahrefs to Keywords Everywhere.

Long-tail keywords can prove to be way more valuable for B2B SEO than short-tail ones, especially since they help you acquire the right type of people on your website. No matter how good you are, you always run the risk of having people like college students checking out your website, but the point is that there should be as few of them as possible — the rest of your audience has to be made up of your ideal buyer personas. 

Establishing authority

This might not be strictly related to SEO besides the fact that you can establish authority by writing guest posts, PR, and being showcased in online newspapers and magazines (even if this is paid).

But when it comes to marketing to B2B people, interacting with them directly is sometimes far more important. Naturally, we don’t know when things are going to go back to normal, but the CEO of software development companies should always consider going to events in their field but also outside of it. 

Speaking at events, showing up on podcasts, using video marketing to your advantage, or LinkedIn marketing (just don’t spam anyone) are all things you can do to improve your success rate. 

Tips for improving your B2B SEO

Creating the perfect strategy right from the beginning is difficult for everyone, so you shouldn’t feel like SEO is impossible for you. Just go back to the start. 

How might SEO be able to help your ideal buyer’s purchase journey? When are these tactics going to come in and help them make a decision? 

The truth is that most B2B buyers tend to use pretty generic search terms when they aren’t convinced that they are going to make a purchase. But as they begin to learn more about a specific topic and even check out several alternatives in terms of products and services, they’ll start to use more specific keywords. 

In the later part of the decision-making journey, your ideal buyer persona is most likely to use a long-tail keyword and include something like ‘price’ or ‘purchase’, so their query will clearly have a buying intent. 

Setting the right SEO objectives

Getting on the first page for a specific search term is great, but if that keyword has a low search volume, low competition, and worst of all, no business owner or decision maker is ever going to perform a query using it is not going to bring you anything of value.

In B2B, you shouldn’t aim at the SEO result per se — instead, you should look at the number of conversions you acquire over a certain time period or the leads you get from organic search. 

Try to come up with a plan on how you can improve both of these and set achievable goals such as increasing the number of leads coming from organic by 10% in the following 2-3 months or acquiring a fixed number of conversions by the end of the trimester. 

Optimize after you’ve learned what’s not working

If you end up understanding that you aren’t marketing to the right people and that you have no chance of making enough sales, you don’t have to shut everything down and start all over again from scratch. 

Some things in your strategy might be good, but you might have to get rid of others. Besides, if you suddenly decide to chuck all of your website content in the bin, you’ll lose most of your organic traffic — including that low number of people who might be your ideal buyer personas. Even if they’re few, they might still be there. 

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Adjust your keyword research strategy depending on the different funnel stages

As we have mentioned in a previous paragraph, your ideal buyers are going to use different search terms depending on the stage they have reached within the sales funnel.

While targeting generic terms related to what you do is always a good idea for awareness and to get people to develop an (albeit mild) interest in what you do, you also have to target pretty specific keywords for those individuals who are just finding it hard to decide whether they want your product or that of a competitor. 

Work on your content strategy

You’re obviously going to need content in order to rank for a number of keywords, be it low or high. Blog posts can show people just what you do, and some of them can be quite descriptive. 

If you work in web development, for example, you can have your programmers write several posts about technical issues they have fixed or how they’ve dealt with a specific challenge. 

If you’ve built an app, you can simply showcase it in one of your blog posts and even include some footage of it so that people who might want to create an app see its functionalities. Remember, your content should always focus on explaining what you do without over-promoting yourself — but you are the main focus here. 

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Acquiring backlinks

Despite what some SEOs might try and tell you, link building is anything but dead — and it’s not going anywhere, either. It’s one of the most important factors that Google uses in ranking websites, and even though everyone tries to buy links, they can be acquired naturally. 

You can use paid link building like PR, for example, or get a link from a company in your field. You can also promote your content across several different social media channels or even use Google Ads.

The point is that you use all of the techniques and means you have available. Although you might be a member of a startup team, and you might think that marketing is less important compared to working on your products or services, the truth is that it matters a lot. Even if you build the best product in the world, if no one knows about it, you aren’t going to make any sales. 

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How much does B2B SEO cost?

It depends on several different factors, such as the B2B SEO agency you work with and your expectations — and also the size of your business. In most cases, B2B SEO companies tend to charge anything between $750 to $1,000 a month for search engine optimization services for small businesses. 

One-time projects tend to cost much more, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you if the B2B SEO firm asks for $6,000-$7,000 or more.

Consulting tends to cost at least $100, and that’s only if you decide to work with an SEO freelancer and not a company — companies tend to charge more, somewhere between $200-$400/h. 

Need help with your SEO or digital marketing efforts? We have lots of plans and courses available. Get in touch to find out how we can be of assistance!

 

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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