SEO for B2B services and products: How to get started?

the start of my very own stock photo collection for presentations

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to provide some free consulting on how I would start SEO for a new B2B services or products company.

Here are my notes:

wooden tetris

#Sandra’s advice on how to start

There are different kinds of web visitors. Try to find groups and segments, and the info that they are looking for.

These include:

  • Existing clients
  • Potential clients
  • Job seekers
  • Investors / stakeholders
  • Journalists

Learn as much as you can about your web visitors, clients and potential clients.

  • What are their interests?
  • What do they read?
  • What are their work goals? What do they need to achieve?
  • What are trends and changes affecting the industry?
  • What are the challenges?
  • How do clients select a product/service?
  • What are the painpoints?
  • What happens when a project fails?
  • How long is the evaluation time before a product/service is purchased?

Build a persona description for each important web visitor group. This will help you create web pages and blog posts tailored to this type of web visitor.

Interview clients (if you are allowed to) and client-facing staff (if you are not).

Analyse the websites of competitors.

Remember, products and services that achieve a similar solution to yours are also competitors. I encountered technology companies that argued there’s no competition for their new service. Many times they ignored substitutes.

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#Factors influencing SEO (cross-clicks, anchor texts?)

Follow best practices for on-page SEO.

Remember that page titles and meta descriptions are the very first texts that a web visitor will see in the SERPs. Prepare these two with care.

For any web page, these elements remain important:

  • Page title
  • Heading 1
  • Heading 2
  • Internal links within the main body of the text
  • Backlinks from relevant, high quality websites with good anchor text

Follow the tips in this article on RankBrain:

  • 301 redirects for missing pages
  • rel=canonical tags for duplicate content
  • optimize structured data and alternative tags
  • resolve any broken links

Publishing long paragraphs without headings, bullet lists, images is a recipe for failure. Many people scan thru a web page before they dig in.

“(…) readers spend less than 10 seconds on a webpage before moving away. So you need to ensure your readers do not have to make an effort to read your content.”

Remember that Google is looking at many additional factors. It measures engagement.

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#Keyword research

Think in topics.

Consider search intent. Are search words informational or transactional? Always check the SERPs to see what kind of results display.

Voice search is changing how keyword research has been done in the past couple of years. Expect more 3-word phrases, more questions, more variants as people search by speaking to Cortana, Alexa, and Google Voice Search.

Vespa speedometer

#Content/Inbound marketing

Content should be “useful” for your clients, help them achieve their work goals faster, educate them.

Who cares if you are the world leader? Can you solve my business problem? Are you a reliable provider? This is more relevant to me.

Here’s a good test:

  • Is it useful?
  • Is it aligned (with both reader needs and business goals)?
  • Is it unique?

Regular blog posts:

  • Blog as often as you can without comprising on quality.
  • Produce short, useful videos (20 to 30 seconds long).
  • Share your slide decks.

You need both: Quality and quantity.

If you can: Try two new blog posts per week. Higher frequency helps you find what will stick faster.

“Create Diverse, Easily Consumed Content”

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#Platforms (B2B) – target, content, frequency

Find out what your competitors are doing (special industry platforms?, Twitter? Linkedin? Whatsup groups? Chatbots?)

Linkedin is probably the best B2B social media platform of the moment.

Build communities of people interested in your service.

Promote your content on social media.

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#Measurement and evaluation

Tools I use regularly include:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • Ryte.org
  • SEMRush
  • Linkdex
  • Brightedge

Measure the number of leads to try and find what kind of pages or marketing activity will convert better.

Find out how many sessions you need to convert a web visitor into a lead.

Get a tool like OpenInbound.com or Leadberry.com to see the customer journey on your site.

WordPress plugin for OpenInbound:

OpenInbound

Drupal module for OpenInbound:
https://www.drupal.org/project/openinbound
Measure usability with Hotjar or Crazy Egg.

pattern to be used as a background for slides or a website?

#References on internet marketing for further studying

I read a huge amount of SEO news. Regular reads include:

Moz.com
Backlinko.com
Searchengineland.com

Be careful, even wary, of case studies, success stories, sweeping generalizations, easy fixes.

reminds me of Karl Valentin's explanation: "Wann ist ein Fremder unter Fremden"

#Consider the interdisciplinary nature of SEO

Technical aspects, content, interaction design, usability, marketing strategy need to play together.

Build a small, agile team.

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