Select Great Keywords for the Most Effective B2B SEO Reach
Business-to-business (B2B) companies must work twice as hard as business-to-customer (B2C) companies to benefit from search engine optimization (SEO). B2B customers are pickier and harder to convert. So how do you find the most effective keywords to reach those customers?
A B2B SEO agency can help you propel your SEO to the next level. Here are ten SEO-boosting keyword research strategies from our experts:
- Know what customers want
- Select solution-oriented keywords
- Match competitor searches
- Avoid keyword restrictions
- Improve reach with content clusters
- Audit content and analyze data
- Prioritize using geotargeted keywords
- Assess buyer search intent
- include industry-specific terms
- Pick keywords people will link
There’s a lot to discuss, so get ready to take notes.
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10 Steps to Build the Most Effective B2B SEO Reach
No other aspect of SEO has a greater impact on your reach and visibility than keywords. Your word choice affects just about every step and element of content creation. That, in turn, determines how much of your target market sees your brand and if they interact with it.
Keywords playing a small role in B2B SEO is a myth. You need a solid plan to find quality keywords that can effectively push your business to your target market. Here are ten simple steps you can take now to polish your B2B keywords and make them more attractive.
1. Understand What Customers Look For
B2B clients are often clear-cut regarding their wants, so their decision-making journey looks different than individual customers. B2B transactions also have roadblocks in the form of decision-makers who must approve major purchases. You must prove your value to them before you can make the sale.
The first step of this is knowing what your target market wants. A fish farm that raises and sells catfish and trout has little chance of attracting a restaurant that specializes in salmon. However, with the right plan and keywords, it might work.
For instance, target content topics where trout and salmon can appear together. Writing articles where trout can substitute for salmon or vice versa can put the fish farm on the radar of a wider audience. Keywords that display topical authority help convince clients of your knowledge.
Most B2B SEO agency experts still recommend aiming for target markets you can work with using what you already have. However, high-value prospects may make it worth branching out. Account-based marketing (ABM) allows you to adapt to the preferences of your market.
2. Choose Keywords that Hint at Solutions
B2B SEO emphasizes the value of long-tail key phrases because they better reflect prospects' situations. A SaaS business offering project management software attracts more leads with phrases such as “how to streamline tasks” than “streamlining tasks” or “quick tasks.”
B2B searchers rarely look for information that does not lead them to a viable solution. In other words, someone looking for SaaS solutions never does it for fun; they want to invest in something to improve their business.
Prime keywords might also indicate transactional intent, such as “project manager demo” or “buy office software.” Some people also include superlatives and comparative words in their searches (e.g., best project management software or is _____ different from _____) for more nuance.
None of these will likely capture 100% of your target market, so you need a full list of usable keywords to expand your reach. If you have trouble finding rewarding search terms, hiring a local B2B SEO agency is one of the smartest ways to expedite the process.
3. Match Search Terms Competitors Use
Though the goal of SEO is to make your business stand out from competitors, using the same keywords as them is a common, reliable strategy to boost your SEO. If these keywords positively affect their business, they likely provide the same benefits for your business.
Of course, you do not want to pirate their entire stock of target keywords or reduce your strategy to a carbon copy of theirs. That is not only lazy, it means you have to wait for their strategies to work before building one yourself.
Think of how many retail stores quickly jump on trends when they happen, only to have nothing to fall back on when the hype dies down. The sudden NFT wave that hit the market from 2021 to 2022 is an excellent cautionary tale about blindly following trends.
Google Keyword Planner and other keyword generators are the best tools to get a granular look into what organic terms power your competitors’ SEO. If you are not keen on paying for a costly subscription for research, hire a B2B SEO agency to do it for you.
4. Avoid Limiting Your Keyword Choices
No single type of keyword or research strategy brings sure success, which is why you should always use a wide variety. At the very least, you should include short and long keyphrases to cover as many common ways people type keywords while searching.
For example, an apparel shop specializing in company uniforms should use “bespoke,” “apparel,” “uniform,” “workwear,” and “tailored” in target keywords. “Custom uniform” and “workwear supplier” are basic short-tail keywords any B2B apparel producer needs in their SEO arsenal.
“Uniform with company logo” is a decent medium-tail phrase, and “custom cotton tailored uniform with logo” is a more specific long-tail search term. Injecting variety into your B2B keyword strategy returns to the first point: familiarize yourself with your audience's thoughts.
On the other hand, overanalyzing what you should or should not include can paralyze your SEO efforts. Make sound, reasonable choices without restricting yourself to one strategy or a one-of-everything strategy. Consulting a B2B SEO agency can help you prioritize.
5. Use Content Clusters for Better Reach
An easy way to find great keywords for your business is by focusing on entire topics rather than single articles. Work towards connecting all your content ideas to a core theme rather than a series of standalone pieces.
Content is a powerful B2B marketing tool. It fulfills a broad array of goals without requiring major changes. For instance, content using choice terms and phrases builds brand awareness and online visibility on search engines and social media.
Content clusters are especially good at achieving these goals. The pages of a cluster boost one another directly or indirectly through internal links and break down a complex idea into several pages of supporting content.
Say your B2B business is recruiting, and you want to start a topic cluster to advertise services for hiring IT specialists. “IT jobs” is your central theme or pillar page, with keywords such as “software developers,” “IT recruitment services,” and “finding IT talent” as support page keywords.
6. Run Content Audits and Data Analyses
Clusters are the perfect segue into audits and analyses; the two go hand in hand in any fortified SEO strategy. It does not matter how airtight your cluster strategy is–once you run an audit, you will find gaps.
Accounting for all relevant keywords and topics is impossible when making clusters, and consumer demands change. Your current trending topics should change with them. Audits are a fantastic way to patch holes or even expand your cache of target keywords.
A B2B SEO agency would also advise using predictive analysis to discover which topics present the highest potential for your SEO strategy. This type of analysis directs you to topics that receive a lot of traffic but that you have not covered in depth.
Running an audit or analysis is also a great way to gain a fresh perspective on your strategy and its past failures and successes. It allows you to update your content or add new keywords that fit better with your audience’s search behaviors, which is vital to improving SEO.
7. Prioritize Using Geotargeted Keywords
Though a B2B business is not always limited to its area, including geotargeted keywords for better SEO reach makes sense. By adding place names to a target keyword, whatever content it supports boosts ranking for searches within or around that area, driving website traffic.
A food manufacturer that produces protein and cereal bars and sells them wholesale to retailers might not perform well in the market without targeted keywords. If they use search terms such as “cereal bar” and “healthy snacks,” they are unlikely to breach the top of search results.
Adding a city, county, or neighborhood name to their target keyword makes it clear who they want to reach. They attract meaningful engagement from prospects by restricting the keywords to their service area.
B2B SEO agency experts also recommend adding location keywords to content to strengthen the association with your business. Inserting geotargeted keywords into image alt tags improves SEO reach through search services such as Google Images.
8. Assess the Buyer’s Intent for Searches
Expecting your customers to adapt to meet you halfway is foolish. This makes you miss out when the situation requires you to adapt to your target market instead. A core aspect of good SEO is using keyword terms people understand.
You need to see eye to eye with your audience, and part of that is knowing how to source terms that fit what you want to say and match how people search online. Knowing customer intent is also relevant to your SEO.
For example, ‘best laundry service for hotels’ and ‘how to manage hotel laundry’ indicate intent to compare and learn, respectively. It is wise to prepare keywords for every type of buyer intent to maximize reach and draw leads, no matter what stage of the buyer’s journey a person is in.
Another benefit of using keywords based on the buyer’s intent is that they convey what the person wants from your business and the likelihood of them becoming clients. That makes it easier to know which leads to prioritize and invest resources to convert based on their keywords.
9. Include Industry-Specific Terminologies
Avoid using overly generic keywords to reach your target market. Instead, hone in on industry-specific phrases and terms (even jargon!) to improve your chances of appearing to and attracting your target market.
Using industry-specific terms shows your background in the business. A winning B2B SEO strategy highlights authority and expertise to gain trust and build credibility with your target market.
For instance, a SaaS business selling marketing software should go beyond just “marketing tool” or “sales software.” Adding specific terms such as “customer relationship management” or “CRM software for ecommerce" goes a long way in increasing visibility and reaching new prospects.
Finding this type of keyword is challenging– figuring out your niche without being too general or too specific to be useful. A B2B SEO agency assists in finding the most effective industry terms and keywords for your business and transforming them into content ideas aligned with customer search behavior.
10. Choose Keywords People Would Link
Winning trust and exerting authority are core issues in B2B SEO due to the extended period a lead spends in other stages of the buyer’s journey. Content and keywords that put your expertise and the benefits you bring on full display are crucial to move clients down the funnel.
Targeting shareable and exclusive content ideas brings more people to your business through others spreading it for you. Ideally, you want to be the talk of the town, and nothing gets customers more interested than backlinks from authoritative sources.
Aim to become a thought leader by building content around keywords that people in your industry search and sharing meaningful insights. Research firms are adept at this tactic because they know how valuable exclusive insider information is for a business and its clients.
A B2B SEO agency working with a marketing research firm might suggest using keywords such as “car sales statistics” and SEO titles such as “US Car Sales Figures 2023” to woo automotive clients. The goal is to target keywords that hold irresistible value for your audience.
Keywords connect you to your target market; for B2B businesses, that is half the battle. It takes time and effort to find and convert B2B leads, so keeping up a flow of engaging content is vital for extending reach.
Need help finding the right keywords to grow your B2B SEO reach? Contact Digital Authority Partners to learn how we can help.
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