The type of company has everything to do with how you should approach your SEO strategy. In other words, a B2B company is different than a B2C company (very different, in fact). Unfortunately, too many SEO agencies put a focus on B2C approaches and don’t consider that this is different when working with a B2B company. It’s usually more difficult to work with a B2B company; however it is possible and it is something that these companies should take seriously. If you’re a B2B company looking for an SEO agency or looking to create your own SEO strategy, it’s important not to get swept up in the B2C rage.
How B2B SEO Strategies Differ from B2C Approaches And How to Get Started
There are differences between the two types of companies in all aspects of business, and in SEO they are a bit subtler. You still have to worry about many of the same things—web design, Google updates, quality content, etc.—but some of the specifics of these different things should be slightly altered. Below are a few differences between the two types of companies and how you can
- Goals. The goal of a B2B company is to work with someone long-term, while a B2C company might just want someone to make a purchase once.
SEO Considerations: The goals of your customers are everything, so almost all aspects of SEO will need to change slightly. This includes keyword research, web design and content, and link building, which are discussed below. In general, the goal of a B2B company should be to generate leads while a B2C company should focus on increasing awareness.
- Buying Cycle. While B2C businesses want customers to buy right away with one visit, B2B businesses want a customer to come back again and again. In some cases, the person searching isn’t even the end-purchases that a B2B company wants.
SEO Considerations: When it comes time to research keywords, B2B customers are probably going to research more general terms as well as jargon in the industry. Keep this in mind when it comes time to try and rank for certain keywords. You will want to attract people at all different points in the buying cycle, so the keywords you choose should reflect this.
- Content. B2B customers are usually out to make a long-term decision about something and it’s often using the company budget, so it’s important. In other words, these customers will do quite a bit of research and reading when it comes to what your company offers.
SEO Considerations: A B2B company will want to put a focus on things like case studies, white papers, and other content-rich pages. This is what your customers are really after and will help them make their decision. Google likes to see this in a website, so it will not only help you gain a sale but it will help give you that added SEO benefit.
- Time Spent Online. B2B customers usually spend less time on social media and more time going around reading blogs in order to find information (whereas B2C customers are often the opposite).
SEO Considerations: This is a great opportunity for you to analyze your link building efforts. Make sure that you are earning backlinks in the right places. We all know that backlinks are a great way to help the Google bots crawl your website, but don’t forget that they are also there to attract the right audience. So if you’re a B2B company: Spend more time guest posting on blogs and getting quality content out there and less time trying to grab the quick attention of someone on a social media site (this is not to say ignore social media, just try to spread out your time and really focus on where it counts).
- Time on Site. B2B customers are far more likely to spend more time on a website because they want to really learn and make their long-term decision.
SEO Considerations: This is a great time to focus on the stickiness of your website. Make sure that you use quite a bit of internal linking to keep people on your site and reading all of your great content. Then, use a web analytics program like Google analytics to check the time on site data and adjust when necessary. Check the time on specific pages, the depth of the visits (are customers moving around the site?), and whether or not the number of return visitors is growing.
Once you understand what encompasses B2B SEO, getting started is pretty simple. You need to decide whether or not you want to have an in-house SEO expert or an SEO agency getting your strategy together. It doesn’t seem as though the decision really matters between B2B and B2C because it is just a matter of preference. You can learn more about making the decision here.
The trend in 2013 will surely be SEO agencies, so if you do decide to go this route, make sure that the agency understands that you’re a B2B!