These days, SEO is a frequent acronym used among marketing professionals as they develop and implement their marketing plans and campaigns. SEO has become an integral part of marketing strategies for any organization that wants to survive and strive in the digital era of the internet. But as a B2B marketer, you might be asking yourself how does SEO work for my business?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of boosting your brand’s visibility on search engines, namely Google. Its goal is to increase your organic web traffic and lead qualified internet users to download your resources and fill out your web forms. SEO requires your team to optimize digital assets by:
Editing digital content
Writing new, SEO-friendly content
Technically, SEO is part of search engine marketing (SEM). SEM focuses on placing your brand’s digital assets at the top of search engine results. While there are other SEM strategies, SEO is the most effective for B2B businesses.
Defining SERP and Indexing
Two other terms are critical to SEO. A search engine results page (SERP) is what appears when you type a query into Google. A complex algorithm determines the order of SERPs, but SEO helps improve ranking. Your business wants to be on the first page. Page one results have a 71% CTR while pages two and three have a combined CTR of 6%. Indexing refers to adding web pages into Google search. Non-indexed sites won’t show up on SERPs. WordPress websites are automatically indexed. Google crawlers also follow links and discover websites to add to their index.
The Three Types of SEO
There are three types of SEO:
On-page SEO includes activities carried out on webpages that will be published (e.g., inserting keywords, links, or meta tags)
Off-page SEO includes activity performed on a webpage after it goes live (e.g., sharing, liking, or commenting on the post to build engagement)
Technical SEO includes behind-the-scenes website setup activities (e.g., creating SSL or XML sitemaps)
For the best results, your team should use each of these tactics.
The Process of Keyword Research
Your website should appear in search results when internet users type in relevant keywords. SEO empowers your brand to rank for keywords. For example, a digital marketing agency may want to rank for the keyword phrase “SEO strategy.” Your team must conduct keyword research to determine which keywords your business should rank for. Keyword research is in-depth research into keywords that receive ample search requests. Once your team identifies these keywords, they can begin including them in their content. As a result, your content will rank higher with search engines and additionally, appear higher on SERPs. When conducting keyword research, here is a recommended approach:
Consider Your Prospects’ Online Searches
Research search queries people are using to find your business, similar companies, and even competitors. These keywords can be found through Google Autocomplete, Google Search Console, Reddit, or even SEO tools like Ahrefs. Make sure to include every stage of the sales funnel. If it helps, replicate the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, decision) and designate topics or key phrases that prospects might be searching for. When creating keywords consider:
What are the problems that your personas face?
How could they be searching for ways to overcome these pain-points?
How are you the solution?
What are the main features of your product or service?
What are the keywords driving the highest amount of organic traffic for your competitors?
Use SEO Tools
Type these words and phrases into SEO tools like Ahrefs. These tools reveal volume, competition, keyword difficulty, and more. With this data, you’ll be able to distinguish and create a list of the best keywords to optimize your website and content for.
Optimizing B2B SEO for Businesses
SEO tactics are useful in any industry. However, there are a few B2B-specific SEO tactics every B2B marketing team should know.
Promote Thought Leader Content
B2B businesses make many sales through their thought leaders. Ask your brand’s top thought leaders to write blog posts and other content. Publish them on your website, and link to them on your professional networking sites.
Publish Original Research
Publishing proprietary data on your website will attract attention from bloggers and journalists in your niche. They will link to your website, boosting your SEO without extra effort on your team’s behalf. You’ll also further establish your business as a credible source.
Pick High-Value, Low-Volume Keywords
B2B businesses should focus on high-value, low-volume keywords. Long-tail keywords, which contain 3 or more words, are also preferable. They are more specific and may fit your brand better. This is especially important if your product solves a niche problem.
Use Keywords from Disrupted Industries
If your product is disrupting an industry (or two), include keywords from the industry you’re disrupting. They will probably be more popular than those for your new product, and you’ll be able to draw attention away from older solutions.
Create Keyword-Specific Landing Pages
There’s a good chance that your brand will have multiple top keywords. Create landing pages for each keyword. These landing pages should offer valuable content that centers on the relevant focus keywords, as well as support keywords.
Your content team may feel pressured to create a large quantity of content for the sole purpose of promoting your keywords. However, search engines are getting better and better at identifying keyword-stuffed content. Plus, customers won’t trust your brand if they come across content that’s less than the best. Ensure all of your content prioritizes value—while staying SEO-friendly.
Diversify Content Types
Most blog posts are about 500 words. Most of your website’s blog posts can be this length. However, include additional staple blog posts of 800+ words, eBooks, white papers, guides, and other critical content. Use these longer pieces to collect valuable customer data—and further analyze your audience.
How to Work with a B2B SEO Agency
B2B SEO agencies provide expert SEO advice and content that helps your brand increase web traffic and generate more leads. Working with them should be a collaborative, streamlined process. When you begin working with a B2B SEO agency, be sure to:
Assign a dedicated agency contact
Communicate your goals and business vision
Establish a clear brief review and feedback loop
At the end of the day, a B2B SEO agency will help you improve SEO—and fast. Working with them effectively will only help your team reach its goals faster.
The Bottom Line
SEO gives you the tools to provide the right audience with the right information at the right time. It helps establish your company as a credible source, generate leads, and, ultimately, boost sales.
Want help with your brand’s B2B SEO efforts? Let’s talk.
For most of us, social media has become an integral part of our everyday lives — whether you’re a marketer or not. With over 3 billion users worldwide, social media is now an essential channel for communicating and connecting with friends, colleagues, and, most importantly, target audiences. You may think only B2C companies are allowed to have social media creative fun — but wait! B2B companies can also find ways to build and spike their social media engagement too. The landscape of B2B social media has completely transformed in the past few years. B2B companies have begun to fully embrace their brand and social media content to engage, attract and inform their audiences. So how can your B2B company successfully use one of the influential marketing channels? Let’s take a look!
4 B2B Social Media Strategies For You to Try
Work on Your Brand Tone
If your audience can recognize your company based on its logo, they should be able to do the same with your brand voice. When posting on social media, your tone should be identifiable and your own. Having this unique voice will make your brand stand out among your competitors while additionally helping with your brand awareness. Don’t forget to use those brand colors to encourage brand association! Most importantly, this should reach beyond social and bleed into your other content as well (website, email, etc.) If you’re having trouble creating a brand voice, look back at blogs or landing pages and try to adapt the same tone to your social messaging.
Test Out Content and Posting
There’s only one way to see if alternate types of content will work — you have to test it out! Every audience is different, so it’s worth trying to experiment with what grabs their attention the most. While there are numerous social media experiments possible, here are a few to try on your channels:
Test out various hashtags for impressions
Adjust your posting schedule (more posts vs. fewer posts)
Place CTAs and links in different places in posts
Put a paid campaign behind alternate posts (image vs. text vs. video)
Test platform features to track views and clicks (polls, stories, etc.)
Change to smart content instead of everyday posts
Recognize Your Channels’ Audiences
Despite what social platforms you use, it’s important to realize that not every channel has the same audiences, which means you should be tailoring your content accordingly. The most important platform to note for B2B marketers is LinkedIn. As one of the world’s largest online professional networks, this channel is one of the best ways for B2B companies to reach targeted audiences and potential prospects. With LinkedIn being a more professional setting, users join to find resources, connections, and knowledge within their career path or industry. As a B2B company, it’s important to use your LinkedIn account to establish your expertise and be a trusted thought leader within your industry to attract engagement and leads. With this in mind, LinkedIn social posts should be meaningful and educational, using content like blogs, webinars, whitepapers, case studies, videos, infographics, etc.
Let the Numbers do the Talking
Now that you’ve posted your social content, it’s time to analyze the metrics. However, you shouldn’t be focusing your attention on vanity measurements like likes and comments. Instead, look at metrics such as clicks, engagement, views, impressions. These numbers give a more accurate picture of how your post resonated with your followers and audience. Using platforms like HubSpot, you can also track WHO is interacting with your social media post (website visits, landing page clicks, etc.) As a B2B company, this is super valuable as it enables you to follow more qualified leads. While these are only a few strategies, it just goes to show that B2B companies can get in on the “social media action” too. Just remember: The more you work on your B2B social media strategies, the more you’ll be on your way to figuring out best practices.
Looking to implement a B2B social media campaign? Let’s talk!
Picture this: You’re scrolling through social media and see an ad from one of your favorite brands. It’s amusing and witty and, honestly, makes you chuckle out loud. You’re captivated by the cleverness as a consumer, but as a B2B marketer, it makes you feel down. Why do B2C companies get to have all the creative fun? As a B2B marketer, you should be able to apply fun and fresh ideas to your B2B content marketing as well. Here’s the good news: you can! And more importantly, you should. The ways of B2B marketing are beginning to shift to allow more engagement with potential clients through content marketing. With new resources and technological developments available, marketers can now experiment and attempt new B2B content strategies to find ones that best fit their brand.
The Benefits of Mixing Up Your B2B Content Marketing
Your audience doesn’t get bored
Are you using the same content over and over again? As an audience member who gets unvarying content repeatedly, it can get stale and monotonous pretty quickly. Your largest missed opportunity results from being too cautious with your content. Being creative and bold with your B2B content marketing allows you to experiment with new avenues and find which content your audience connects with most.
Positions your company as innovative
As you explore more with new strategies, your content will begin to diversify. By not being basic or consistent, your audience will notice that. As a result, they will continue to look to you for more inventive ways to learn about your brand and products.
Makes content creation easy
If you are worried about not having enough substance to support your content, look no further than what you already have. By repurposing old content, you are still emphasizing any features or benefits about your company or products to your audience but just in new, exciting ways. That blog article you wrote? Make it a webinar. The social post you created? Convert it to paid media. Don’t give yourself more work than you have to.
Content to Try if You Haven’t Done So Already
Time to spice it up! Catch your audience’s attention with these different ideas:
According to Hubspot research, more than 50% of consumers want to see videos from brands more than any other type of content. This means if you aren’t already creating videos, you’re likely falling behind. Videos have become dominant in content strategy, especially when it comes to social media. Audiences look to video marketing as a new medium that provides information, entertainment, and education.
As podcasts have significantly increased in popularity over the past few years (U.S. weekly podcast listeners averaged seven podcasts a week in 2019), this is another new medium that your brand can experiment with. Like blogs or whitepapers, podcasts can help your brand establish an influential presence in your industry, positioning your team as experts and thought leaders.
Paid media can be a whole other strategy of its own, but it’s important to incorporate it into B2B content strategies. In the 2019 Content Marketing Institute research overview, they found that 71% of the most successful B2B content marketers use paid methods to distribute content. If you currently aren’t using paid media, you could be missing out on opportunities to engage with targeted audiences that might be interested in your products.
Any Creative Owned Media
This can vary based on your resources, but trying new initiatives like interactive PDFs, new social media features, or infographics (the fourth most used type of content marketing according to Hubspot) are bound to capture audience engagement. If you’re STILL are running short on ideas to spice up your B2B content marketing, check out these examples done by other B2B companies.
The Power Behind Strategizing Your Content
Finally, produce content that your audience WANTS to see. Don’t create content just because you think your feed is a little dry. Creating an idea without any intentions or initiative is a waste of time and resources. Every piece of your B2B content marketing should be backed by strategy with an end goal, whether it’s capturing leads, ramping engagement, or establishing brand awareness. In this case, quality does come before quantity. As B2B content marketing is continuously evolving, that means your content strategy should be doing the same. Use these pointers to start assessing what improvements can be made to your strategy, and you’ll be on your way to having content that your audience can’t help but engage with.
Don’t fret over running out of content. Let us help! We’re here to generate the perfect B2B content marketing strategy that best fits your brand.
Webinars are one of the most efficient methods of content marketing out there. However, they’re really only effective when they’re engaging. Think about it— how many times have you tapped out ten minutes into a webinar because it was so… boring? Don’t worry, you can admit it here. We’ve all sat through videos that definitely didn’t have webinar best practices in mind. We’re here to teach you how to make sure your webinars aren’t the ones that have people clicking out ten minutes in.
Choose specific topics
Webinars are a great lead generation tools. But their main purpose is to serve your audience, not boost your email numbers. When a webinar holds a viewer’s attention, Adobe found that the average attendee stays onboard for 54 minutes. When considering whether you should invest the time and money it takes to produce a webinar, give some thought to what your topic is going to be. The best webinars are specific, thorough and address certain issues that are important to their audience.
Add value with thought leaders
Consider hosting a panel of thought leaders in your industry, doing a deep-dive on a niche topic, or hosting a detailed how-to video in the form of a webinar. If the ideas you’re considering have been done before, or are a thinly disguised sales pitch in the form of a webinar, hold off on execution until you have a more fleshed out topic to talk about. Wordstream gives this great piece of advice: “If you claim that your webinar is truly amazing, be sure you can live up to your own hype.
Don’t talk at the camera
I know, this seems like Webinars 101. But we all know there are plenty of webinars out there that don’t follow this very simple rule. Many people look at webinars as videos for people to watch, and technically they are. But this outlook can lead to some pretty dull videos unless you have the energy of a YouTuber. A better way to look at a webinar is to think of it as something that viewers are engaging with, so it’s your job to be engaging. Nobody likes being talked at, so talk to them as if they can respond directly to you. When the webinar begins, welcome your audience and give them a quick rundown of how the presentation is going to go. Let them know the topics you’ll be covering and in what order— this will allow viewers to know whether the webinar is relevant to their interests and if they should skip ahead or join later.
Use technology to your advantage
You’re obviously pretty technologically savvy if you’re hosting a webinar, but take it a little further. Rather than using screenshots of a website you’re discussing, do a screen share and walk your viewers through the process. Use markup capabilities or even a slide presentation to illustrate your points. However, I cannot stress enough, do not read slides. Do you enjoy having slides read to you that you are completely capable of reading yourself? No? Then don’t put your viewers through that! While it’s perfectly fine and even to use slides to enhance your presentation or give your viewers some visual examples of what you’re discussing, it’s the opposite of fine to use them as a crutch. Don’t read slides in webinars, presentations, meetings, or anywhere, really. A great way to avoid falling into the trap of robotically reading along with your slide presentation is to write a script. Whether you choose to rehearse and memorize the script or just create a list of talking points to make sure you reference, having that backup document with you will keep you from going off on tangents or losing your train of thought as well.
The more the merrier
Consider bringing another person on board. Or two people. Or a whole panel! While a one-person presentation is sufficient, having more people onscreen partaking in an organized discussion is a great way to keep a conversation lively enough to hold a viewer’s attention. Another way to engage your audience is to actually engage. If they’re viewing the webinar live, dedicate a portion to viewer questions that they can send in via a hashtag. There are even webinar platforms that allow you to insert polls and other interactive aspects into the presentation. Just because you’re not hosting the webinar in front of a live audience doesn’t mean you can’t act like you are!
OK, so people won’t be leaving your webinar with a cool gift bag, but there are other things your viewers can leave with:
PowerPoint slides (Adobe also found that 50% of webinar attendees download presentation slides— so it’s worth the effort!)
Search Engine Journal also suggests making your takeaways only available during the webinar or from your webinar promotion. This makes the materials exclusive, and people are more apt to take advantage when there’s a time limit. Sure, these things aren’t as cool as a Soda Stream or whatever, but they’re valuable in other ways. Make sure these materials end up in your viewers’ inboxes no more than 24 hours after the webinar ends— you want to stay at the forefront of their minds!
The internet is a vast, infinite hole of everything you’ll ever need to know. What makes up just about everything on the internet from the B2B-centric articles that you read to the games you play is all content. In the modern age of internet jargon, we tend to think of articles or blogs when we hear the word “content,” but there’s so much more to it than that. Webinars? Content. Video posts? Content. Social media feeds? Content. According to HubSpot, content is any piece of your marketing plan that continuously demonstrates who you are and the expertise that you bring to your industry — which brings us to the topic of this particular piece of content: your B2B company’s content strategy.
Why you need a strategy
You don’t put anything out into the world without any purpose behind it, do you? (At least, from a business perspective, I’m not going to draw any conclusions about your personal Twitter feed.) So why would you release content willy-nilly, without thinking about your strategy for rolling it out? But where to start? First off, think about what role content plays in your company’s marketing strategy. What kinds of content marketing ideas do you have that not only fall seamlessly into your company’s strategic marketing process and maybe even enhance it?
When creating your content strategy template
It’s understandable to be intimidated by the idea of creating a bigger picture plan for content that you’re used to just creating when you get the chance. However, you’ll quickly realize that doing this allows you to have more purpose behind your work, and it might even begin performing better once it’s more tailored to your audience. Here at SmarkLabs, we have ten tenets in mind when brainstorming our content strategies:
Have you ever looked at a webpage and seen that the last thing they released was from 2017? Or even earlier? Did you stop and think that maybe they’re not even in business anymore? The key to any content strategy template is regular publishing — not only do you want to stay at the top of potential customers’ minds, but you don’t want them to write you off for inconsistency.
Content should provoke action or have a goal
With each piece of content that you create, make sure there’s a reason behind it. Maybe you’re not trying to make a sale with a specific blog post, but perhaps you’re trying to establish trust with your audience, position yourself as a thought leader, or inform people of your services. There might not always an action taken after consuming a blog or video of yours, but there should always be a goal behind it.
Content is relevant to the buyer’s journey
Nobody is going to read or watch something that doesn’t serve them in some way. Try to make sure your content reaches your potential customers at an appropriate time in their buyer’s journey and, hopefully, even moves them forward to their next step.
Clear documented production process
Chances are, you’re not the only one at your company producing content. Whether you’re working with a team of writers, videographers, and graphic designers, you’ll want everyone on the same page when it comes to the production of these items. If there are deadlines, everyone should be well aware of them and given ample time to produce their pieces.
Align content with the strengths of the brand
This is yet another opportunity to get your company in front of people who may not be familiar. You want it to emphasize your strengths, not your shortcomings. What do you want people to know you can do?
Prioritize original content
Sure, you might not break new ground with each blog post you write or video you create. But that doesn’t mean you should just regurgitate what’s already out there. Whatever you create, you want it to be on-brand for your company and add a little something new to the conversation.
Set a clear plan for promoting content
How active are you on social media? Do you regularly send out newsletters? How big is your reach, and how do you plan to grow it? These are things you should ask yourself when creating your content strategy template. Some things, like visual content, work better on social media, while written content might perform better in a newsletter.
What about SEO
For a while, there was a conversation about how important SEO really was in the world of high-quality content marketing. Needless to say, it’s still pretty important — it just takes more thought than it used to. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing. We’re talking about thorough keyword research and targeting now.
Think about tone and style
Your content is an extension of your brand, so it should seem like it. If the rest of your content marketing ideas are conversational and light, your videos shouldn’t be bland. If your marketing materials are strictly professional, you shouldn’t be using slang in your blogs.
Prioritize visual content
Humans are naturally drawn to visuals over blocks of text. If you’re writing about a topic that’s explained better with charts, have a graphic designer on your team put something together that will really enhance the piece. This is especially important if the piece is shared on highly visual mediums like Instagram.
Two weeks into the new year and still not seeing any progress on your company page? You may be sitting behind your laptop right now, wondering how in the world you can get out of the “startup” social phase and begin growing and establishing new leads from LinkedIn. According to Top Dog Social Media, 50% of B2B web traffic originates from LinkedIn, making your company page essential for a successful B2B business.
How can I upgrade my LinkedIn company page and see more traffic?
Believe me, you’re not the first to ask, and you won’t be the last.Boosting your company page can seem like a hassle and take months to see results. However, by implementing certain tools, you can start seeing results much earlier. That’s why we’ve created a list of three steps to begin executing today.
Daily posts at the correct time of day are essential to increasing web traffic, along with attracting engagement. According to research provided by Hubspot, “On average, the best time to post on LinkedIn is between 3 PM and 5 PM CDT on Wednesdays.” Now, does that mean you can only post between those times on that day to become successful? Absolutely not. But you’ll see that this is during the time of day where people are either getting out of work or have a break in their day, giving them time to consume certain media. Being consistent with your company page is another crucial aspect of a successful media channel. Try to post three to four times a week and make sure you’re active by engaging with followers on comments, or shares.
To initiate web traffic (and maintain it), you need to establish trust with your followers. Give them a reason to follow your company page.
How can you achieve this?
Provide your audience with beneficial industry insights. Don’t get me wrong, posting updates, blogs, ‘meet the team’ inquiries are essential to a company page, but adding sharing latest industry news establishes credibility.
Take a step back and analyze your company page for a minute or two. Ask yourself, “what am I lacking?” Or “where are my successes within my page?” Initiating these tools and analyzing your page will benefit you, starting 2020 on a high note!
Addison Hesterman is an Account Manager and Marketing Specialist here at SmarkLabs. She graduated from Iowa State University and has a passion for helping businesses grow!