B2B vs. B2C SEO: What’s the Difference?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a familiar concept to most business owners and marketers. However, they may not know that a B2B SEO strategy should differ from a B2C strategy. Obviously, the core principle of aiming to rank higher in search engine results remains the same, but the process and tactics used to get there differ ever so slightly.
If you find implementing the subtle differences in this article challenging, you may want to seek the assistance of a B2B SEO agency. They will give you all the knowledge and expertise needed to propel your business up the rankings and successfully target your ideal clients.
B2B vs. B2C Target Audiences
The first major differentiator between B2C and B2B SEO marketing is the people you’re targeting. When you’re a B2C seller, your target audience is an individual, someone who is making a purchasing decision for themselves, or perhaps a gift for another person – they’re targeting the end-user.
On the flip side, B2B businesses are targeting decision-makers within a company. Additionally, this decision maker will vary depending on your industry, product, service, or business hierarchy – there are many more variables to consider. As a B2B buyer is purchasing for a company, not themselves – they often require approval from multiple people, meaning your marketing needs to convince multiple people that your offering is right for them.
The Customer Journey
Most B2C purchases are impulse decisions. From the second you conduct your first search, just a few minutes have passed before a purchase is made. Unless you’re a person who takes a great time to compare product pros and cons before making a purchasing decision.
This is contrary to B2B. As mentioned, multiple people often have to sign off and be convinced your products are best for their business. This means one person is conducting thorough research and comparisons, presenting this to decision-makers, and getting final approval – this must all happen before a purchase is made.
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A B2B search engine optimization strategy must factor this in. Rather than purchases, your conversions will be focused on data capture and lead generation. Capturing potential customers' information enables them to enter your sales funnel, where you can help convince all stakeholders to choose your services.
While B2B businesses use different tactics to close the sale, they still need to nail down the SEO basics to ensure they show up for competitive industry keywords.
B2B SEO Best Practices
1. On-Page SEO
This consists of optimizing keyword usage, metadata, titles, and website UX design to ensure you offer the best user experience and give bots information detailing what your pages are about.
First, you should think about the user journey you need to send decision-makers on. You can do this by answering the question: what information do they need before making an inquiry or completing a contact form?
Once you’ve decided the above and what pages will be on your website, you need to discover what search queries your target audience is using. Keyword research tools such as Semrush offer facilities for you to type in keywords and be presented with search volume data and ranking difficulty. Also, you can enter your competitors’ domain names and see the keywords they rank for. You should be able to make an exhaustive list that you can refine and select the terms you will use for each page.
Use the keywords you’ve researched to write compelling website copy that sells your product or service to decision-makers. Also, you should use these keywords in headings and metadata.
2. Technical B2B SEO Tips
Mainly, technical SEO refers to non-visual elements of your website that make the user journey more seamless and enable crawlers to freely and easily discover all of the content you want to be indexed. The three main aspects of technical SEO are page loading speeds, mobile responsiveness, and sitemap functionality.
In order to monitor your page loading speeds, you can use the free tool Google PageSpeed Insights. Nowadays, users are impatient. Society is used to having information on-demand as soon as they click a search result. If your pages load slowly, users will bounce before seeing any of your content. Search engines are smart enough to know this and punish slow-loading websites.
Over 54% of search engine queries are now entered on mobile, meaning the vast majority of your user base could be searching on mobile. This may differ slightly for B2B companies, with many people still working on desktops and laptops, but mobile is an incredibly important ranking factor.
A large portion of websites are now ranked purely on the mobile experience they offer, with Google putting more emphasis on the experience offered across all devices. B2B businesses should ensure that all their pages appear correctly on mobile, no text is too small to read, all elements are easily clickable, and no left to right scrolling at all. A great tool to test this is the Google Mobile-Friendly tool.
In order to ensure all of the pages you want to be indexed by Google are, you need to have a fully functioning sitemap and upload it to Google Search Console. This tells crawlers the pages you wish to appear in search results and those that should be dismissed. The smallest code error can result in all pages no longer appearing in Google searches and your rankings disappearing completely.
You need to keep up with the latest B2B SEO trends and take your users on a journey. The people you’re speaking to aren’t the only decision-makers, you need to provide them with the information needed to convince other stakeholders that your products and services are right for them. If you don’t do this, you’ll never get past the stage of approval for purchase. While the basic SEO principles are the same, you need to find creative ways in the sales funnel to reach and convince all parties – this can be especially challenging for large purchases. However, if you get both B2B SEO best practices and your sales funnel correct – you’re on to a winning strategy.
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