Insights

SEO for B2B Companies

Author - armstrong-admin
07.10.2020

The traditional routes to marketing for B2b companies tends to be through sales departments word of mouth, partnerships and print advertising. Yet with 67% of b2b purchases now influenced by digital (Source: Blue Corona) the importance of having an SEO strategy target online customers has never been higher.

Some b2b businesses, however, remain stuck in a traditional marketing rut and see SEO as something that is either a quick fix or an optional add-on to a marketing campaign. This kind of thinking is outdated and SEO should at least be considered one of the vital components of marketing long term.

How should a b2b business approach SEO?

While b2b SEO is much like b2c SEO when it comes to the basics there are some key differences in the approach. B2b searches are generally more niche than those in the consumer sector where there is often huge competition with thousands of websites competing to be on the first page.

With keyword competition often saturated, b2c businesses are often forced to use paid advertising channels to survive and grow with only so much space available on the first page of search results.

While there is of course competition for b2b businesses, this is likely to be much smaller particularly when it comes to the manufacturing sector where a business might be seeking to feature high in the search results for individual components or even part numbers offered by a limited range of suppliers.

If the business is one of only a handful of suppliers, an SEO strategy may simply revolve around optimising for these part names and numbers. Traffic volume may be small but conversions per visit  higher than in b2c where customers can visit multiple websites and research more widely before making a purchase.

The 3 Key Components of a B2B SEO Strategy

The 3 components of an SEO strategy are centred on link building, content and on-site optimisation. All of these will naturally apply to SEO for b2b websites but the sector has found it difficult to replicate what comes easily to b2c site owners, particularly when it comes to link and authority building.

For example, a website geared towards consumers will have a wealth of material to write about on a blog. A service website such as an estate agent will have news coming out on a daily basis about property markets, mortgages and so on. Having this wealth of newsworthy information is not going to be the case with a manufacturing website.

A company that supplies nuts, bolts and other unglamorous items will have a much smaller pool of content ideas to work from. Then there is the challenge of making this content an interesting read if the aim is to get more than a handful of people interested.

Link building, therefore, also comes with challenges. The most reliable and best way to build inbound links is to build them naturally from other sites linking to content but this is unlikely if the content isn’t interesting or noteworthy. Building up the kind of content other sites will link to takes a lot of effort and this effort doesn’t always pay off unless the content produced is good enough for others to reference.

This leaves on-page optimisation, which is done in much the same way as it would be on a b2c website. Here optimising pages for the keywords a potential customer will use is the aim and keyword rankings should be tracked long term to ensure the strongest and, just as importantly, the correct pages are ranking.

The importance of user engagement

Alongside these core aspects of SEO there is a fourth area to consider in a b2b SEO campaign and that is engagement. The relationship between the time a user spends on a website and the depth of the visit i.e. the number of pages they click through to during a visit often has an impact on the decision to make a purchase or fill in a contact a form.

What is less well understood is the impact user-engagement can also have on SEO.  If a website is engaging this will be shown in low bounce rates and longer periods of time spent on web pages. Then there is dwell time or the amount of time spent following a click from a search result to a website. If dwell times are high then there have been hints from Google that this may have some influence on search engine rankings.

Dwell time may not be officially acknowledged as a ranking factor but b2b website owners would do well to consider its importance.

How can user engagement be improved on b2b websites?

It’s obvious that to improve dwell time a website needs to display enough interesting and engaging content to keep a user interested. While text content is one area to consider, video can really drive up the average time spent on a page.

Yet there are still thousands and possibly millions of b2b websites that are very basic in design and fail to bring products and services to life. This presents a compelling opportunity for those businesses that do focus on presenting their businesses to an audience that has become accustomed to  successful business presenting themselves as such online.   

Presenting a business in new and interesting ways through animation, photography and clever web design plays an important part not only in how a business is perceived but in improving dwell time and making it more likely a potential customer learns more about the business and makes that important decision to hit the contact button.   The ideal approach to b2b SEO is to ensure that the basics of SEO, link building, on-page optimisation. Content should be reviewed regularly and particular attention paid to areas such as website design,  video, photography,  presentation of products which will help improve engagement rates and perception of the business.