What is B2B search engine optimization?

In this article we answer the question, what is B2B search engine optimization? B2B buying journeys begin with a search and B2B search engine optimization aims to increase the visibility of your website in the organic search results. By increasing organic search visibility the aim is to attract relevant B2B prospects to your website. These are prospects who researching their challenge and have an immediate need.

Key takeaways: What is B2B search engine optimization?

  • B2B search engine optimization (B2B SEO) refers to the tactics and methods you can deploy to generate more traffic from search.
  • B2B search engine optimization is an ongoing process for increasing organic traffic.
  • Search engines want to surface the best results for a search query, and they look at over 200 factors when evaluating a website.
  • The result is that search engine optimization is a complex mixture of audience need, competitive ecosystem and understanding the technicalities of search engines.
  • Search engines want to show the best answer in response to a search and to rank in the search results, you must meet the criteria that search engines set.
  • To rank in organic search the content on your website must be of genuine value to your audience.
  • Having great content is not enough, your content must be promoted across various channels, have links pointing back to it from trusted third-party sites and it must be accessible and understandable for search engines.

B2B search engine optimization (B2B SEO) refers to the tactics and methods you can deploy to generate more traffic from search. Organic traffic is often the best form of traffic a website can receive. This is because you don’t pay for every visitor you receive and if you have undertaken optimization, the traffic you attract should be relevant to the product or service you offer. In this article, we answer the question “what is B2B search engine optimization?”, we evaluate search engine optimization for B2Bs and explore the various components of B2B SEO.

Why B2B search engine optimization?

B2B search engine optimization is an ongoing process for increasing organic traffic. Organic traffic is non-paid traffic generated from search engines. We already know a majority of online journeys begin with a search. Somewhere between 50% and 70% of searches are people looking for information. A B2B buyer is likely to begin their customer journey with a search, searching to solve a business problem. By carrying out search engine optimization, digital marketers try to ensure that their websites have a prominent position in the search results. This is important because almost every buying journey begins with a search.

A common misconception about SEO is that it is a process of adding tags to a page and ensuring the page mentions a few choice keywords. In reality, it’s far more complicated. We’ve come a long way since the early search engines that could be influenced in this way.

Search engines want to surface the best results for a search query, and they look at over 200 factors when evaluating a website. Criteria on which websites are evaluated are always evolving. The result is that search engine optimization is a complex mixture of audience need, competitive ecosystem and understanding the technicalities of search engines. No one knows what perfect formula will get your website to the top of search results, what is clear is that your content must add value to attract organic traffic.

How much does B2B search engine optimization cost?

B2B search engine optimization is a very time intensive process that requires technical expertise to optimize a site, subject matter expertise to be able to offer something of value to your audience and an ability to create content in a format search engines will like. Taking steps to increase traffic from search engines can be costly whether you are paying for your own time or employing someone else. SEO becomes more cost effective as you increase the amount of traffic you receive from search because you aren’t paying per visitor.

What technical expertise do I need for B2B search engine optimization?

Most SEO journeys start with a website audit. This is a technical task that evaluates your website from a search engine optimization perspective. The audit will highlight issues in your code, site structure, and other areas. Once the audit is complete, technical expertise is needed to apply recommendations to the site. For example, the audit may reveal that your pages need better title and meta tags or identify an issue with the way redirects work on your site. You need a level of expertise to fix such issues.

What subject matter expertise do I need for B2B search engine optimization?

Search engines want to display the best results to their users. This means that your content must offer something of value. To offer something valuable, you must have subject matter expertise on a topic and a unique perspective. If your content is the same as everyone else’s and you can’t offer new information or a unique viewpoint, it’ll be difficult to compete.

How important is content in B2B search engine optimization?

Search engines attempt to understand what web pages are about, how well pages answer a question and if the answer is better than the millions of other pages they could show instead. To rank at all, your subject matter expertise must be evident in your content. You must have the skills to create content that search engines will understand and crafting good content takes time. The investment of time to create content is much greater than other forms of traffic acquisition. It takes time and expertise to craft great content that your audience will value. Search engines want to show the best answer and to rank in the search results, you must deliver content that shows that you have the best answer. Search engine optimization is a tactic where people with great ideas and great things to say will succeed, if their content is optimized.

What should I think about when starting B2B SEO?

Search engine optimization is a combination of great content that people will value, marketing that promotes this content and technical factors. The content on your website must be of genuine value to your target audience, your content must be promoted across various channels, have links pointing back to it from trusted third-party sites, and finally, it must be accessible and understandable for search engines.

Optimization occurs on several fronts, on page, on-site and off site.

On page optimization

On-page optimization is about making sure that you have the best content and that content is well structured. The most fundamental part of on page optimization is making sure that you have the best possible content for a particular query. On-page optimization will then look at page structure, headings, and accessibility of a page. Once you have the best content, on page optimization will help search engines understand and index the page.

On-site optimization

On-site optimization looks at the optimization tasks that can be undertaken which impact the entire site, for example increasing the speed of your site or adding a search engine friendly sitemap. On-site optimization practices are often technical in nature.

Off-site optimization

Off-site optimization is where you try to encourage others to link to your site from their own websites and share your content across social media. Off-site optimization is the most difficult form of SEO but also the most valuable. It’s linked to content marketing where great content is promoted across appropriate channels. Off-site optimization is an evolution of PR. Traditional PR was about trying to get journalists to talk about you in their physical publications. Modern PR is about building relationships with publications and websites in your niche.

What should I look for in a B2B SEO agency?

There are thousands of search engine optimization agencies fighting for your business. Firstly stay away from any agency that can guarantee results. In search engine optimization nothing can be guaranteed. SEO is a mixture of technical and content factors. Technical changes should give you quick wins, but should be completed within the first few months of engagement; content should be the ultimate focus area for any SEO agency. Finally, as a B2B business it’s important you select an agency that has expertise in B2B search engine optimization.

What is B2B search engine optimization?

Search engine optimization is a time-consuming digital marketing tactic. It’s reliant on being able to offer your visitors content of value, so much value that your visitors are willing to share it with their peers. Search engine optimization is not free, there is no on/off switch, and it’s completely algorithmic. Rankings are based on how valuable your content is, compared to that of your audience. Start increasing your rankings by creating value for your audience.