Wherever you are in the evolution of your B2B marketing strategy, you have probably figured out a thing or two about marketing channels. You may have noticed that spending money on PPC ads works, but unless you’ve unlimited cash reserves for online marketing, it might not be something you can rely on.
If you’re hoping to stick around, mastering B2B SEO and acquiring organic traffic from search engine queries should be at the top of your to-do list.
The bad news is that getting on-page SEO right, especially for business-to-business companies, is much more complicated than getting results from paid ads. Even if you throw unlimited money at SEO, without the right strategy, you might never get it right.
But what about SEO hacks like tit-for-tat link building? Well, the truth is, there aren't any. Trying to buy your way to the top of search engine results pages (aka "Black Hat SEO") will eventually work against you. With every update, Google gets smarter at figuring out what searchers want and which sites provide them value. When (not if) Google cops on to your dodgy SEO, it's lights out, permanently.
Whether you do it in-house or contract a B2B SEO agency, SEO costs money. But unlike paid ads, search marketing that wins with content can still generate qualified leads years after your initial investment.
Every effective B2B SEO strategy is built on and around great content.
Always useful, or "evergreen" content, is something that should still be exciting and relevant to searchers years from now. Tweaking it a little bit will help keep it up to date with organic search trends.
A B2B search engine optimization strategy is like a jigsaw puzzle. Some pieces will fit in different ways than others. Done right, every piece of content you have will be an asset to your business.
Keep in mind: we are not saying that you don't have to invest in promoting your content. But having top-class content on your site is about more than just SEO.
Whether you are a SaaS company, an eCommerce brand, or a cybersecurity solution vendor:
Content helps define your brand.
Defining and building your brand through producing content means getting SEO right, but the reverse is also true, i.e., you can create a powerful brand by winning at SEO.
To see why, take a look at what Google likes.
The first page of Google search is filled with content Google’s algorithm thinks that people enjoy and find helpful.
Brands that consistently appear on the first page of search results drill down into their target audience’s search intent and create information for them that is trustworthy, accessible, and relevant. This information rises to the top of Google search engine results by generating backlinks from other trustworthy sites.
If the content on your site:
Delivers a good user experience (i.e., it makes it easy for searchers to find the information they are looking for).
Is trustworthy and delivers high-quality insights.
Fits the kind of topics your buyer personas and target audience search for online.
Is part of a content strategy.
And is backed up by solid technical SEO fundamentals like a good internal linking structure.
You are not only guaranteed to not fail at SEO but also improve your website’s ability to help customers find useful information. Furthermore, by creating great content, you will create long-term value for your business by building brand awareness.
The basics of content marketing are the same whether your monthly marketing budget is measured in the hundreds or millions. However, as a startup, getting started with SEO by focusing on content is especially valuable. The value comes from three key areas:
Content that builds SEO authority.
Content that increases your keyword reach beyond your primary keywords.
Content that defines your brand identity beyond SEO.
Let's go a little deeper into these three areas, one by one.
This content helps your site's SEO by improving your organic search performance for your primary keywords—the ones you target first and foremost.
You know that you need to do this. But figuring out how to get links can be a bit of a mystery. Well, the answer is simple: you create content that attracts backlinks. Simple but not easy.
It's not easy, partly because SEO is competitive. Your startup is probably not the only business trying to get ahead in your niche. Some websites can gain authority over time just by producing high-quality content that gets shared and linked to.
The fast track to building authority, however, is to conduct outreach.
This means reaching out to reputable sites in your business sector and offering them guest posts that deliver real insight to their readers. These guest posts can then organically link back to supporting content hosted on your blog. The three steps to this process are:
a) Create high-quality thought leadership content on your website.
b) Pitch websites in your business niche with topical ideas their readers will find interesting.
c) Write guest posts that link back to content hosted on your site.
When you post on reputable third-party websites, you will also attract backlinks from the readers of the sites who will use your content to support their own thought leadership efforts. As a result, your domain authority will gradually snowball, becoming bigger with each backlink.
What startups sometimes forget is that their potential audience is much larger than just those people looking directly for their product.
We could call this your business's “wider audience.” These individuals will have a vast range of interests related directly or indirectly to what you’re selling.
Rather than just being directly focused on the product, content that targets this audience is what can help your SEO efforts multiply.
For example, imagine that you’re a startup selling a password manager-based product. After some keyword research, you figure out that the primary keyword you want to rank high for is probably "password manager."
A potential customer will look for your product’s primary keyword when they know they need it. They are going to directly search for products like yours. However, before a potential buyer looks for your product, they will probably search for information on the issue your product is built around solving.
So your potential customer might look for long-tail keywords like "password storage" or "how to save multiple passwords." Both these search terms then become important first-order keywords for your B2B business to target with relevant content.
The best way to capitalize on these keywords is to aim directly at them with high-quality "evergreen" content that answers your customers' questions and brings them onto your site. Once your customers are on-site, you can funnel them towards your offers, deals, or even more content.
Brand identity and brand awareness are topics you’ve probably thought about quite a lot. But I bet you didn’t know that SEO can also help with your brand image.
To oversimplify a complex topic, your brand identity is a mirror image of how your customers feel about you. A positive feeling is not something you can magic out of thin air with SEO, but here are three things that great SEO website copy and strong brand identity have in common.
Functionality. Both your content and your brand should have a great user experience and do something for your reader. They should be able to take away something that is of benefit to them. This benefit should be evident from the moment they click on your site and be interesting enough to keep them there.
Recognizability. When someone looks at your site, reads your content, or uses your product, they should know it's "you." A recognizable identity that comes through your content can pay dividends in the long run.
Believability. You should never host or produce content that is not believable. Your customers shouldn't doubt your credentials when they consume your content.
If all the copy on your website meets these three criteria, your users will have a better experience, and your search marketing performance will improve too.
Google ranks content similarly to how your potential customers rate your business. Ultimately, the best solution becomes the most popular.
SEO, in this sense, is not the goal, but the result.
SEO wins happen when a good business generates excellent content that people appreciate. For B2B companies, understanding this is vital. Otherwise, SEO work is just a wasted effort.
We recommend that companies produce three main types of content for SEO success:
Evergreen content for winning secondary keywords.
Thought leadership for building authority.
Web copy for improving brand identity.
To talk to a B2B SEO agency about how content can help your startup with lead generation, contact us today.
Written by Robert Galvin