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B2Bs often struggle with SEO for a few crucial reasons; perhaps the biggest is the misalignment between self-perception and user perception. B2B tech companies want to make it clear that their offering is unique, but their websites are often written in an encrypted language that very few people understand. When websites do this, they limit their reach by alienating the target audience: users searching for a solution who didn’t know about your solution.
Luckily, there are SEO hacks that can get B2B tech companies out of this rut and drive qualified leads from non-brand terms.
Here are the 5 main themes we’ll cover to kick-start success for your B2B SEO campaign:
- Align keyword strategy
- Understand your query’s intent
- Optimize & create content for Google’s perceived intent
- Optimize the conversion funnel
- Use paid search insights
1. Align Keyword Strategy & Demand with In-House Experts
Before you start doing keyword research and defining a keyword strategy, align with your in-house experts. Find out what terms are most valuable, what the team wants to achieve visibility for, and how it relates to the business. In a technical space, it is best to get an insider’s perspective on the most important terms. That way, you can better tie the insights to your keyword research process. Unlike in other industries, the intent behind more specialized content requires extra attention and interpretation.
While getting alignment on keyword strategy is essential, it is also important that you keep an eye on demand. Often, in-house experts can lean into the technical nature of a product offering. That technical angle does not always align with how users are searching. Make sure you keep a close eye on your aligned keyword strategy and be prepared to provide a POV on why a term with no volume is suboptimal to optimize for (even if it means sacrificing the exactness of your targeting from a specialized level). Optimizing for terms that have little-to-no demand will not end up paying dividends in the long run.
Keyword research and strategy is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of assessing your keyword strategy and aligning with your product for accuracy. Investigate competitors (both direct and indirect) to uncover success from their non-brand strategies as well. This should show you which direction to go based on how competitors capitalize on content gap opportunities. Finding new keywords will be pivotal in driving relevant non-brand traffic that the site.
2. Understand & Validate Your Query’s Intent via SERP Research
SEO in the B2B tech space revolves around understanding keyword intent. When you search middle-funnel terms, they usually yield navigational results (landing pages helping a user investigate a topic rather than define it). Middle-funnel searches indicate that the user’s knowledge is past that informational surface. However, in B2B tech, those seemingly navigational searches often result in informational SERPs.
Take the term “endpoint security,” which is a specific search with commercial intent. This is proven by the sheer amount of ad competition for the query (shown in the SERP image below). Our client wanted a product/solution landing page to rank, but the page had difficulty breaking into the top 5 positions. The landing page’s content was short-form and conversion-focused. After viewing the SERP for this query, we discovered that the “endpoint security” query intent was actually informational according to Google:
Now that we’ve uncovered Google’s perceived intent behind what we thought was a navigational term, it’s time to figure out how to make our content rank for these specialized queries.
3. Optimize & Create Landing Pages for Google’s Perceived Intent
After your research, break out the head-term pages (which almost always yield informational SERPs) from your conversion-friendly (transactional) pages. You’ll have different strategies for both of these query classes.
Create Informational Content to Drive Head-Term Traffic
B2B sites tend to have thin product & solutions pages. This speaks to their struggles to drive non-brand traffic and proves that it’s essential to gear your content to the SERP’s intent. In this case, it means creating comprehensive long-form content that covers the intent of the query far better than a short 300-word conversion page.
What happens when you optimize your head term landing pages for the correct intent, as we recently did for a B2B tech client? The results speak for themselves:
In this example, we identified the need for informational pages to rank for important solutions keywords. We launched these informational pages in October 2019, and they have been successfully growing in impressions and clicks ever since. Now, many of these pages rank in the top 1-10 positions after never having cracked the top 20.
Optimizing landing pages for Google’s perceived intent is a sure-fire way to grow traffic for important head terms. As you embark on your head-term journey, pay close attention to your SERPs and make sure to validate your point of view through your own research.
Target High-Intent, Low-Volume Transactional Keywords on Existing Product/Solution Pages
Now that we’re driving head-term traffic with our long-form content, our next step will be bringing in more qualified users through high-intent, low-volume transactional terms.
For these pages and their respective keywords, consider leveraging combinations of “solutions,” “services,” and “platform” modifiers. These modifiers tend to yield SERPs that align with the intent of a product/service offering rather than informational content. By optimizing these thinner, conversion-friendly pages with more focused terms, we can successfully drive the most qualified traffic to these types of pages.
Alternative Strategy: The Quasi-Informational Page
An alternative strategy is to optimize a single landing page for both informational and transactional intent. In these cases, you would create a quasi-informational page for a product/service page. By optimizing the page with long-form comprehensive content, you cover intent and drive traffic. You would then optimize this page with related transactional terms for your respective product/solution to increase its odds of ranking for transactional terms. While this is not the recommended strategy because of the difficulty in satisfying both intents on a single landing page, it is possible to have success through these means.
4. Optimize the Conversion Funnel & Nurture the Prospect
User experience is a huge variable in achieving a successful B2B SEO campaign. It is essential that your informational pages not only satisfy the search intent of your target keywords but also aid in the conversion process by driving users to the next stage of your funnel. Since the bulk of your volume will be driven through these types of pages, ensuring that your user funnel is well-optimized will be critical in moving your user along their journey and getting them to the place they need to be. Acquiring new non-brand traffic is only a piece of the puzzle.
Here is a good example of pushing users to that next stage via an effective on-page CTA. This sends users to their respective product & solution pages.
5. Use Paid Search Insights
The last piece of a successful B2B SEO strategy is aligning with your paid marketing channels to find new paths to success. Searches for B2B tech products and solutions tend to be low-volume because of their highly specialized nature. As a result, it is critical to find new outlets by gleaning conversion data from paid channels. In doing so, you can effectively find new terms to pivot into on the organic side, which can drive more leads. By using this 1st-party paid data to your advantage, you can create content that aligns with keywords that are proven to convert.
In addition to optimizing around high-converting keywords, consider terms that are less efficient on the paid side (high CPCs, high CPAs). You can also find terms that successfully convert on the paid side but have no organic coverage at all! Learn more about performing a PPC vs. SEO analysis to find ways to uncover organic opportunities.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions and would like to get in contact with 3Q’s SEO team, drop us a line.