There’s no question that getting to the top of the Google search page is an important goal as a business looking for new clients. But what if you’re a B2B business? Is it still as essential or should you focus on other marketing methods and B2B SEO?
According to Statista, 53% of B2B marketers felt that email marketing was the most effective form of lead generation. Search engine marketing came in second, with only 44% of marketers believing that it was the most effective lead generation technique. Content marketing and live events came in strongly as well.
So according to your typical B2B marketer, SEO marketing is still important. For this reason, your traditional B2C and B2B company should still strive to improve their SERP. That’s about where the similarity ends, though.
Is SEO Still Relevant for B2B Companies?
According to Forrester, not only is it still relevant, but it is becoming even more so. In the past, many B2B marketers preferred to rely on personal interaction as a way to generate leads. Networking events still have value, but perhaps not as much as they once did.
Why? Because 68% of B2B decision-makers prefer to do their own research online, without any assistance. This means that charm is not going to carry the sale.
SEO For B2B Marketers Don’t Want to Rely on Salespeople
In fact, 60% of decision-makers won’t rely on salespeople as their primary source of information. While your sales pitch could get your company a second look, it’s not likely to be the deciding factor.
Most decision-makers will prefer to do their own independent research to help them make up their minds. This has a two-fold impact on your sales strategy. Not only are the people you want to sell to go to check up claims you make, but they’re also less likely to ask for your advice in the first place.
This requires a fundamental change in the way you approach sales in future, with a special focus on upping your digital marketing game.
It’s No Longer About Filling the Funnel
According to Forrester’s, 39% of attendees at the B2B Marketing 2018 Forum stated that their marketing efforts were shifting from focusing on filling the funnel to marketing to the client over their complete life cycle. The reason cited was that “filling the funnel” was no longer sufficient.
That makes sense because it means that the focus has shifted from the number of leads through to the quality of leads. Let’s be fair. Here, drawing the client to your landing page is one thing; getting them to actually commit to buying is something completely different.
You need to nurture those leads by providing timeous information that matches the stage of the client’s buying cycle. If they’re still in the research phase, going in with a hard-sell could spook them. At this stage, it would be better to focus on thought-leadership articles.
The rest of the content that you provide has to be thought through similarly. That content has to be outstanding to impress tough B2B decision-makers. They’re looking at everything with a fine-tooth comb.
How to Use Content to Your Advantage
Start by rethinking the way you use the content. In the past, it was a case of “here’s the problem, we’re the solution, and you should buy from us.” The marketing world has shifted now, though. The buyer now is the one with the power. As a result, it’s more effective to get them thinking about the solution first and then leading them to seek out your company.
That’s where thought leadership content is going to be useful. What information is your target market looking for? Why would something like the solution you’re offering be best for their pain points? What supportive information could you provide that will help lead your target audience to seek you out?
You don’t want to whack them over the head and tell them that your solution is best – you want them to come to that conclusion on their own. From there, getting them to make the right sales decision is a lot easier. The key is to come up with sterling content that’s solution-orientated, not sales-related.
What Makes for Great Content?
Of course, this is going to mean putting more effort into the content you produce. Here’s the thing, though, it’s only going to benefit your company in the long run. Not only will carefully craft content help win your target market over, but it will also help you score more brownie points with the search engines.
Now, granted, Google considers more than 200 different factors when it determines your page’s search engine ranking, and it’s not telling us what all those factors are. But it has repeatedly told us that high-quality content is what we should be focusing on.
It’s how it determines whether the content is high-quality or not that is interesting here. We may not know exactly what the search engine’s criteria are, but we do know the most important ones.
Firing off a 300-word blog should be the exception rather than the rule. Ask yourself how much useful information can you convey in 300 words? According to Hubspot, longer-form content typically performs better in organic searches.
The other problem with short-form content is that it’s not going to keep the reader on the page for long. So unless you’re writing a short introduction to a video or infographic that will keep eyes glued to the screen, try to work in longer-form content.
It’s a basic metric – if the website is relevant to the search results, visitors should stay longer. If they bounce back to the search results straight away, that’s bad news for your site. Prevent this by creating quality content that keeps them interested.
Another aspect here is to make sure that the site is laid out well. People need to be able to easily scan the information on the page to check that it is what they were looking for.
The battle for SEO dominance is just as important to B2B marketers as it is to B2C marketers and it’s becoming more important every day. Your best bet going forward is to create high-quality content that is valuable to your target market, and that will cause them to seek you out.