B2B SEO: reach your business target audience organically

If you’re reading this, you probably already know something about SEO. But did you know that the approach for B2B can be very different than for B2C? In this article, I dive deep into the world of B2B SEO . In this article, you will learn how to become a thought leader in your market naturally and sustainably and support the entire customer journey of your business audience.

The importance of SEO for B2B companies

SEO is not only important for B2C; it is crucial for B2B companies. Why? Because your target audience, other businesses, are also looking for solutions online. And you want to be at the top of those search results, right?

B2B SEO optimization at a glance

Why B2B SEO differs from B2C SEO

First, let’s look at why B2B SEO is actually different from B2C SEO. From the core of the organization to the ICP, a B2B SEO journey is fundamentally different from B2C.

  • revenue per conversion is significantly higher;
  • the buying cycle of one deal is longer;
  • when search terms are used, the intent of this is even more important;
  • In B2B SEO, micro conversions become more important than usual.

Whereas in a B2C SEO project the focus is still sometimes on gathering as much volume as possible, in B2B SEO the focus is less likely to be on this. I think it’s fine to occasionally end up with the same amount of traffic from SEO after a stretch, but what is significantly more relevant and provides more conversion.

Often you’re not necessarily going for more brand awareness from SEO within B2B, but really for the micro/macro conversions.

Creating a B2B SEO keyword research project

So, you now know why B2B SEO is unique. But how do you begin your keyword research? There are some crucial steps (which often differ from a B2C approach to SEO). As discussed above, the intent of the searches are often even more nuanced and more important to find the right one in doing so. Pay close attention to this while conducting this examination.

Determine your CPI

Before you begin your keyword research, it is important to determine your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). Who are the decision makers? What are their pain points? This information helps you find keywords that really resonate.

The importance of industry-specific keywords

In B2B, it is crucial to find keywords that are specific to your industry. Generic keywords may be high in volume, but they are often not as effective as niche keywords that your target audience actually uses.

High intent search terms vs. informational search terms

Not all search terms are created equal. Some have a high buying intent, while others are more informative. For B2B, it is important to include a mix of both in your strategy because the buyer’s journey is often longer and more complex.

Within B2B SEO projects, I always look for the niche search terms that have less competition and less volume, but are very relevant.

Content strategy for B2B SEO

Now that your organization’s content strategy has been determined, it’s time to talk about the types of content you will create. From a B2B organization, there are multiple types of content that are relevant within the target customer journey.

Types of content that are effective in B2B SEO

In B2B, some types of content work better than others. Think white papers, case studies and webinars. These forms of content can help you demonstrate your expertise and build trust.

The importance of thought leadership

In the B2B world, thought leadership can really set you apart from the competition. Creating in-depth, valuable content not only gets you found in search engines, but also builds authority in your industry.

This is also important for customer retention through SEO. I have often enough had existing clients of mine look up something about SEO on Google and once again come across my website, which in turn led to positive confirmation that they are with the right specialist for their SEO.

Off-page SEO for B2B

We’ve talked about keywords and content, but what about off-page SEO? This is just as important, especially in B2B. The link building component is also important within B2B markets.

The importance of quality backlinks

Backlinks are the backbone of your SEO strategy. But not just any backlink will do the job; they must be of high quality. Consider links from industry experts, news websites and educational domains.

One difference from other routes is that I try to target these backlinks to a number of pages within the website. The focus is again on getting higher up the list for a few key search terms that generate a lot of qualitative conversions (especially when one conversion has a lifetime value of more than €100,000).

Outreach and organic networking

Getting those quality backlinks doesn’t just happen. Outreach and networking are essential. Whether it’s sharing your latest white paper or building relationships on LinkedIn, a proactive approach is key.

The influence of offline advertising on link building

Believe it or not, even your offline advertising efforts can affect your link building. For example, if you organize a great event, it can lead to online mentions and thus valuable backlinks. Make sure that within your link building strategy, appropriate resources are allocated to following up with participants of this to obtain an online link.

Measurability of B2B SEO

You now have a solid SEO strategy, but how do you measure its success? There are dozens of relevant metrics by which to express the success of an SEO campaign, but which ones are relevant to your organization? Ensure that the KPIs established do not get in the way of the ultimate business objectives.

KPIs and metrics for B2B

In B2B, KPIs are often different than in B2C. Consider lead quality, customer acquisition costs and lifetime customer value. These metrics will give you a clearer picture of your ROI.

Align your KPIs with the organization’s OKRs

It is important that your SEO KPIs align with your organization’s overall goals. This makes for better collaboration between departments and helps everyone stay focused on what really matters.

Tools for advanced SEO analysis

There are plenty of tools that can help you measure your B2B SEO performance. Whether you use Google Analytics or a more advanced platform like SEMrush, the important thing is that you can translate the data into actionable insights.

Importantly, this tooling is also linked to the internal CRM to determine the quality of conversions. For many organizations, the trick is not to obtain leads, but rather to generate a number of quality leads (it is ultimately about the number of SQLs for an organization).

Conclusion

We talked about the uniqueness of B2B SEO, from keyword research to content strategy and from off-page SEO to measurability. Clearly, an effective B2B SEO strategy is more than just optimizing a few keywords. It’s about building relationships, demonstrating thought leadership and measuring what really matters.

Action plan for implementing SEO in your B2B strategy

  1. Start with thorough keyword research: understand your target audience and their needs.
  2. Develop a content strategy: focus on thought leadership and value.
  3. Work on your off-page SEO: invest in quality backlinks and networking.
  4. Measure and analyze: important here is that you measure not only the number of leads, but also the quality of the leads.

Now it’s your turn. With these insights and action items, you will be well equipped to give SEO a central role in your B2B marketing strategy. Have questions about this topic or a B2B SEO issue lying ahead? Feel free to contact me.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 75 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 27 March 2024. The last update of this article was on 3 June 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.