SEO Strategies in 2019

How to Rank and Generate B2B Organic Sales

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How to Rank and Generate B2B Organic Sales

This article will show you how to apply proven strategies to grow your B2B sales and revenue.

At OneIMS, we’ve worked with hundreds of B2B companies and we’ll detail all that we’ve learned implementing an SEO strategy for our clients to grow their leads and ROI.

This guide covers the following ideas:

  • What makes B2B SEO different from B2C SEO
  • Improving user experience on your website
  • Leveraging media content to improve organic visibility

That said, user experience and content significance to search intent are vital for B2B search engine optimization.

The only way to achieve this is with content that is genuine and answers the questions that people are searching for.

SEO should play a role in your B2B marketing plan. Whether that includes producing video content for your company’s YouTube channel or articles for your blog, content is king in the cyber environment.

The process of generating business’ leads through content promotion and search engine optimization is termed “inbound marketing.” According to HubSpot:

Inbound is a method of attracting, engaging, and delighting people to grow a business that provides value and builds trust. As technology shifts, inbound guides an approach to doing business in a human and helpful way. Inbound is a better way to market, a better way to sell, and a better way to serve your customers. Because when good-for-the-customer means good-for-the-business, your company can grow better over the long term.”

A better illustration of this definition is that inbound marketing aims to attract, engage, and delight the ideal customers with high-quality content and great customer service.

That’s why creating valuable content is the number #1 rule you need to adhere if you want to rank your pages high in the organic search results.

Once you have good and useful content, then you can develop a plan for getting inbound links (or backlinks) — from other trusted industry sites.

These are some of the finest quality potential clients for your company because they looked you up for a solution to a particular issue.

However, it isn’t that easy for most businesses as 63% of brands have problems generating traffic and leads.

top-marketing-challenges.jpg

The B2B SEO plans leverage the latest upgrades in Google’s machine learning system for ranking, which is based on real results from businesses.

Why Your Business Needs to Be Visible Online

Having your business appear in front of as many users as possible is an obvious significance, there’s nothing grand there.

However, where most B2B marketers get it wrong, would be to concentrate on talking about their products’ advantages and features, rather than what their clients are trying to find.

Various keyword research tools such as the Keywords Everywhere plugin will provide you with a general idea of what is being searched for, but often the best way to uncover ideas is to look at the “suggested searches” that appear at the bottom of the results page.

Your clients want to research your services and products online when they want. Your company products should provide a solution to a particular issue.

You may be the company that they contact first, simply by showing up at these moments when prospects are trying to find an answer.

Make no mistake; your competitors are currently investing in online marketing through research and content generation. The ones that don’t fully use strategies and the tools at hand will lose out on lead opportunities.

Your website should present a clear path — that guides the user to the solutions you provide.

You have a responsibility to address buyers’ questions so that they can see how your products or services can help them. Given that your ideal customers use Google search to ask questions, it’s your company’s job to provide useful answers.

Your Google positions are of extreme importance as companies even hire teams of professionals to enhance and track these positions.

The “black hat” techniques that worked years ago no longer have worth in the current search engines algorithms. Steer away from them.

Collaborations, email outreach, and guest posting are methods that are effective when it comes to building an online presence and establishing relationships with industry experts and websites.

With good relationships come high-quality links, brand citations, guest post opportunities, interviews, partnerships, and so on. Why is this important?

Well, according to a study by Accuranker and Ahrefs, there’s a huge correlation between the number of external links that a page has and its position in the organic listing. In a nutshell, more backlinks = higher rankings.

The best way to control search engine optimization in your organization space is to have a content creation program that includes posts offering substantial value.

Over time, you’ll be known as an authority in your space, and you’ll reap higher positions (and high-quality leads) as a result.

Many B2B companies have fallen far behind on their SEO strategies and are using techniques that are old or have nothing to offer.

I must mention that optimizing your website for the search engines is a procedure that is slow.

Studies have shown that it can take as much as a year or more for quality articles to rank on Google and to be found. And this is if the material is optimized for search queries that online consumers are typing into Google.

Choose Google Over Keyword Research Tools

Now you’re probably thinking, what on earth are you talking about? I’m not stating that research tools do not have their worth in B2B SEO advertising but they are being misunderstood.

SEO tools such as Long-tail Pro, Keyword Everywhere (Free), and SEMrush are an excellent way to study the overall volumes of popular terms.

They can validate your assumptions about which keywords to go after for your business.

The issue is, the information is taken by most marketers at face value. The reality is, these numbers are rough estimates and shouldn’t be used to anticipate the amount of traffic.

Additionally, spending time focusing on research and optimizing your content has a means of turning your writing into something which provides the reader value.

A good example is keyword density. This search engine optimization metric that’s old-school still has value now as Google continues to improve its machine learning abilities to better understand user intent.

Be Mindful of Social Media

Almost everyone loves surfing social media networks and sharing content on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. It seems like an excellent method? Wrong!

Go ahead and have a peek at the amount of traffic coming through these stations to your site, and you will be surprised.

google analytics

Is 9% of your total traffic worth 30% of your time? Organic Search is where it’s at!

Posts on Twitter and Facebook continue for specific periods of time until they are gone.

The traffic that leaves the social network site and does the click-through to your site expires along with the post and is restricted as well. There is value in sharing on these platforms, but not to the extent that many marketers think.

YouTube and Pinterest are great choices for traffic since they’re search-engine based, are. Youtube has extreme SEO value and adding YouTube videos to your articles is advised.

Studies have also shown the usefulness of YouTube among brands, with respect to the content distribution.

Image result for 57% of B2B marketers state that SEO generates more than any other marketing initiative

If you aren’t convinced that the majority of your organic social media marketing is a waste of time, compare your natural search traffic to your social network traffic in Google Analytics. You’ll be amazed!

By all means, do it, if you are able to justify spending an hour sharing on media over creating website articles.

B2B SEO

Search engine optimization is the process of making your web pages visible to people who use search engines. Now, B2B SEO entails reaching professionals and businesses via search engines.

When examining B2B SEO, there are major categories of SEO that should be considered, these are On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO, and Technical SEO. These are the three pillars of SEO, no matter the size of your business or the vertical you operate in.

 

a). On-Page SEO has to do with the content and everything else that goes into making a particular page rank.

b). Off-page SEO deals with the activities (especially links of votes and citations) that happen on other websites across the web that will improve the ranking of a particular page in search engines.

c). Technical SEO refers to the things that go on behind the scene which makes your website to adapt easily to the technology that powers the search. This includes HTML, sitemap, canonicalization, etc.

Even though it’s necessary to have a good knowledge of technical SEO, it isn’t really specific to B2B SEO. When considering SEO in B2B, more attention should be paid to on-page and off-page SEO

What Makes B2B SEO Different?

It’s important to note that despite the fact that B2B SEO and B2C SEO are similar, in the sense that the same principles apply to the two concepts, they aren’t entirely the same and there are features that distinguish one from the other.

This difference is majorly due to the difference in the way B2B and B2C work.

Here are some ways that B2B SEO differs from B2C SEO:

1. Long-term Investment

Due to the fact that B2B purchases are long term investment, there’s a need for the SEO plan to be weighed and analyzed by multiple decision makers.

This means that the page will have to be optimized to answer tactical questions from practitioners, and also answer a wide range of questions for managers.

2. B2B SEO Uses Low-Volume Keywords

This is due to the fact that B2B space is smaller than that of B2C; therefore, there’s a need to target a lot of high-value but low-volume keyword that are easier to rank for in Google.

3. Higher Conversions for B2C Keywords

Despite the fact that there may be a lot of people searching up stuff on the web with regards to the industry, most of them aren’t out to make purchases. They’re simply in search of information or tools that could simplify their work or life.

There is less eCommerce competition for keywords related to B2B keywords.

4. B2B SEO focuses on Thought Leadership and Branding

The major aim is to make a lasting impression of the brand in the prospects and customers’ minds. The focus isn’t entirely on generating an outright sale.

The aim is to generate demand for your products and services.

Having understood what B2B SEO is all about and what distinguishes it from B2C SEO, let’s now explore the strategies you should adopt in 2019 so that you can rank higher than the competition and generate sales:

1. Create Search-Relevant Landing Pages

It’s true that at every stage of the buying cycle, your audience has different questions which they’re constantly searching for answers.

Hence, your landing pages should be created to answer the different questions that pop up at the differing levels of the sales funnel.

To be able to meet the needs of your target audience at all levels, it’s advisable to have a B2B buyer journey map, this will enable you to know the thought pattern of your buyers and what influences them.

Over the years, as this has equally evolved from the traditional to a more simplified map.

You can make the journey map by conducting customer interviews, surveys, and research. In turn, this will help you get first-hand information from the target audience.

It’s a lot easier to create a good and valuable landing page when you have a B2B buyer journey map. Let your landing page be relevant to the search of your target audience.

For example at the awareness stage of the sales funnel, your landing page should have a broad range of keywords, this is because you will be able to attract a large audience base through your content and then convert them in the long run.

The landing page at the awareness stage should contain phrases that are specific to your brand as well as the target audience that it is meant for.

For landing pages that attend to the target audience in the consideration phase, let the content revolve around comparing your brand to that of a competitor. This is because potential customers in this phase are interested in comparing your product with other available ones.

Your landing page at the consideration phase can look like these ones below. These are the two screenshots of the landing pages of two rival companies “Drift” and “Intercom”.

 

And here’s for Intercom:

 

In their respective landing pages, they compare their brand to the other rival which gives their targeted audience an impression that their brand is better than the other.

The bottom line here is that you need to make your landing pages more valuable to your potential customers.

Take advantage of the opportunities available at every stage of the sales funnels to cater to the needs of your target audience by creating valuable content on the landing page.

Doing this will help you retain your audience and also attract new ones and keeping them engaged in every phase will increase the chances of them converting.

2. Improve User Experience Across Your Entire Website

How pleasant or unpleasant user experience is on your website can affect visibility and ranking on search engines.

Search engines are out to show the best results to the user’s query, this is why you need to think of the quality and value your content will add to the user before uploading it to your website.

Online users avoid spam websites that are slow to load and doesn’t offer useful information.

If your website is perceived as being low quality, then its bounce rate will be high. Search engines such as Google tend to rank sites with low bounce rate higher than sites with high bounce rate.

Below is a chart showing the ranking factors that Google considers in the SERPs. Bounce rate is the 4th, according to a study by SEMrush.

The reason search engines consider bounce rate as a determining factor for ranking is that it’s believed that if a user spends more time on a web page, it means the page is useful to the user.

If the search user bounces off quickly or within seconds (especially when the page hasn’t answered their question), then in Google’s eye, the page is poor quality.

And since it is only relevant pages that Google wants to rank high, then it will automatically push pages with low bounce rate to the forefront of search engine results pages.

To improve user experience, there are certain things you can do to ensure that users get engaged with your site and stay longer.

Below are some of the techniques you can use to improve the user experience on your website:

1). Make Your Posts Easy to Read  

Everyone that comes to your page will only stay if your content is easy to read. The more people read your content, the lower the bounce rate and the higher the organic rankings — all things being equal.

To make your post readable, ensure that the sentences are persuasive and clear, paragraphs are short, use sub-headers, bullet points, and make use of relevant images.

More importantly, ensure that the content is helpful.

2).  Write in the Inverted Pyramid Style

The Inverted Pyramid Style is a great way to create an interesting and helpful article.

This concept consists of addressing the most important information at the top of the post (“The Lead”) and the least important at the bottom of the content.

The Inverted Pyramid Style was invented more than a century ago. It remains the best formula for creating a helpful and engaging piece of content, including blog posts, videos, and so on.

Why should you follow this style?

Well, it’s because most readers tend to just scan through a page without settling to read and if the vital information is scattered all over the page, it will be hard for them to see the value in your website.

However, if the important information is at the top, you can capture the interest of the users before they bounce.

3). Break Ideas into Multiple Sentences to catch User’s Attention

Make use of trigger words or phrases to capture the interest of the reader. This will keep them interested in your content and reduce the bounce rate.

4). Improve Current Page Designs

Poor usability is a major cause of high bounce rate. If the user experience is awkward, there is every possibility that the user will exit the site immediately.

Analyze and improve the current page design on your website, you can do this by using tools like Optimizely, Google optimize, Click flow, and Crazy Egg.

5). Website and Page Speed

The speed of your site or how fast it loads can affect your ranking because it plays a role in determining the quality of user experience.

If your web page takes more than 3 seconds to load, then it’s probably slow. 40% of online consumers frown at it.

Nobody wants to waste time on a website that takes forever to load. If your site doesn’t load quickly, the visitors will exit and look for a better one and this will increase the bounce rate of your site.

Your site speed does not only make you rank high in search engines, but it will also increase your conversion.

3. Keep Your Content Up-to-Date

A lot of people tend to ignore this strategy because it doesn’t look like it’s relevant, but it has been proven over the years that updating and republishing content has the potential to increase your organic performance.

Aside from updating the title of old articles on your website to include the current year, revise the article and include current information. Remove outdated information that no longer holds value.

Side note: Updating the date on your post has two benefits:

  • The click-through rate from users will increase
  • It can improve your ranking for trending search queries.

Search engines like Google value relevancy and up-to-date posts and will increase the visibility of recent posts more than it will do to older posts. If the date on your blog posts is not updated, search engines will think that the content is outdated.

If you don’t want your content and website to be viewed as dated, constantly revisit old articles and update them with recent insights, also state when the update of the post happened in the title or in the body copy of the content so that the users can see it.

Also, ensure that the date on your entire website is current to avoid being pushed to Page 31’ by Google.

4. Pay More Attention to Topic Clusters Instead of Keywords

Your website can not just end up on the first page of search engines because your content is focused on keywords. Keywords are no longer enough to rank you high, the context around them also matters.

To create helpful content, you should equally cover all the closely-tied keyword clusters. For example, here’s an illustration showing the clustered keywords related to Workout routines:

You need to consider what your target audience is looking for instead of focusing on the different ways you can phrase search queries. To be able to accurately do this, you need to know your audience.

The type of content you create is largely dependent on your audience, their age, interest, location, and so on. If you don’t know your audience well you will not be able to create content that will appeal to them.

Another important thing you need to do is to organize content into clusters.

Don’t focus on standalone keywords. But rather, organize your content into different themes.

Clusters are smaller pages that are linked to from the pillar page. These smaller pages explain sections in more details.

Clusters are important because they satisfy the user’s intent. The user is able to get the exact information that they are searching for, and other related questions or subtopics that are equally important.”

The cluster also creates an internally linked content which enables Google spiders to crawl over the page and rank each page high on the search engine.

In addition, you need to research keywords and use them sparingly in the content.

Even though Clusters are very efficient, you should not sweep keywords under the carpet as keywords act as signposts to Google’s spiders and signal topics and also give hints about the nature of the content on the website to search engines.

You can make use of keywords tools such as keyword Explorer by Moz, SEMrush, Ahrefs to ensure that the right keywords are appropriately placed all over the content.

Since most of these third-party keyword tools get data from Google, you might as well stick to Google’s own Keyword Planner.

When deciding on which keyword tool to use, ensure that it enables you to monitor a high volume of keywords which should be broken down into relevant themes.

Doing all of these will improve the ranking of your page in the organic search:

Some Helpful Ways to Add Value to Your Posts

Content marketing gives you an edge in the search engines. You’re able to outsmart your competitors, especially when they’re not creating useful content or building trusted links.

In order to create relevant content, though, you need the right keywords. Google’s autofill suggestions provide you with an insider monitoring privilege on the phrases related to your keyword phrase.

In the example below, you will see that it’s probably wise to cover other closely-related topics, such as “ecommerce website SEO” and “SEO for small businesses” when you’re primarily writing about general SEO strategies.

autofill suggestions

An article that answers a range of questions around a subject stands a huge chance of performing well in the organic search listings.

Use Autofill Ideas to Craft a More Helpful Content and Richer Experience

You can install the Keywords Everywhere plugin for Chrome. It’ll show you relevant keywords displayed alongside your main keyword with the monthly search volume, and competition.

Here’s an example of related keywords from Keywords Everywhere plugin:

You should definitely try Keywords Everywhere plugin — as it provides some very insightful search numbers beside the search queries.

Next, take a look at the searches related to the segment that appears in the bottom of the SERP (search engine results page).

This listing includes ideas for content. Don’t just add items, make sure you examine the user intent and decide if this topic makes sense for your primary idea.

5.  Build a Variety of Backlinks

The importance of backlinks (links pointing to your page from other websites) in SEO cannot be overemphasized.

And when you’re executing an SEO plan for B2B company, you need to put in more efforts into building backlinks.

This study from Moz shows the correlation between Google rankings and number of backlinks from other websites to the page.

Backlinks are important for search engines and for Google, in particular, it’s a vital determining factor in its algorithm. Without links, it’s almost impossible to rank in search engines.

Even though links are important for ranking, not every link is a good link. There are links that are of low-quality and getting such links could get your website penalized.

However, building high-quality links is essential if you want to outsmart your competition.

Some of the effective ways to build/earn trusted backlinks are:

  • Influencer marketing
  • Creating data-driven content and letting others know about it.
  • Email outreach.
  • Guest posting

And so on.

Since B2B search engine optimization deals with the practice of optimizing your company’s website to appear in the search engine so that you can attract professionals, top-level managers, and founders to your business, it’s important that the quality of links you build to your content pages add more value to your page.

When linking from other websites to your page, do it naturally. Make sure the referring page also has useful information.

If search engines such as Google discover that your website earned a lot of high-quality links, your website may be flagged for a website review.

Hence, you need to take things easy — and don’t try to build too many links (no matter how trusted they are) within a short while.

This is a different case if your website is authoritative in the industry.

But there is a way to escape getting into this fix; all you need to do is to use about five medium quality links for every high-quality link you use.

You can build backlinks from product pages, directories, blog, author bio sections, forums, and new sites.

Endeavor to mix up your links from different sources.

6. Get Video Traffic With YouTube SEO

YouTube is one of the most popular search engines currently and it has more searches than Yahoo and Bing. The earlier you take advantage of video marketing, the more traffic you’ll generate for your business.

Especially in this mobile age, Video content has become an integral part of inbound marketing. According to Cisco, 79% of the world’s mobile traffic will be driven by content.

 

YouTube videos usually rank among the top ten on Google search results. This makes YouTube a very viable avenue for your business.

Using YouTube to generate traffic, leads, and sales is often neglected by business executives — probably because a lot of them don’t know that YouTube is a search engine.

You can, however, boost your ranking by making engaging videos and optimizing the videos for YouTube SEO. YouTube SEO is so potent that it’s been used by some brands to double their site traffic.

To get traffic, leads, and sales from your video content, follow these simple steps:

a). Make Your Video SEO-friendly

When uploading your video, ensure that it has a file name, a title as well as a description.

Source

This will enable the YouTube algorithm to understand the content of your video and determine how it will be ranked in YouTube search results.

i). Video title: The title has to be clickable to increase your click rate.

Also, include keywords in the title especially at the beginning. You can also add a subheader, this will increase the number of clicks you get.

The title should be more than five words; this will increase the ranking in search engine results pages.

ii). Video description: As stated earlier, including a relevant description will enable YouTube to determine what your video is about. More importantly, it can increase your CTR.

You can create short and concise blog posts that will give a detailed description of the content of the video.

A lot of video creators don’t add descriptions to their YouTube videos and if you do this it will give you an extra edge over them and keep viewers interested in your video. This will, of course, increase your ranking.

iii). Video Transcription: You can turn your video description into a script of the entire video, by using a video transcription service. This will help YouTube to determine the ranking of your content.

b). Make Longer Videos

Videos are also like contents, the longer the videos; the better the ranking in YouTube search.

Long videos have more traction than short ones.

Although the average video length on YouTube is 5 minutes, coupled with human’s attention span being low, if your video is truly helpful and interesting, even if it’s 25 minutes long or 2 hours, viewers will still enjoy it. After all, most people spend hours watching Netflix movies.

This doesn’t mean that you should create a long, boring, and useless video. If the video is long, ensure that all the information contained in it is relevant to the viewer.

c). Create Custom Thumbnails

A strong thumbnail usually lets viewers know what the video is about. Creating a custom thumbnail that makes use of title card and compelling image can increase your views and, in turn, improve your video ranking on YouTube.

Even though YouTube SEO is neglected by a lot of business managers and executives, you can make the best out of it and adopt it as a B2B marketing strategy.

It’s a great opportunity to build interest, trust, and loyalty to your brand, so ensure that you make proper use of it to your benefit.

Conclusion

2019 promises to be a great year to dominate your industry.

Especially now that Google Rankbrain and AI are able to rank useful content based on the searcher intent (purpose) and not necessarily on the keywords.

Yes, it’s good news. Why?

Because if you invest a portion of your marketing budget to create high-value content, Google will reward your business will new leads, new customers, and new sales.

It’s that simple.

That said, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a broad subject and there are several self-acclaimed experts that will try to throw their advice at you.

But we don’t do that at OneIMS. The truth is that you can experiment on your own.

When you find what works for you, make sure you stick to it. In the end, all of the SEO strategies that we’ve shared on this page may not be right for you, but one or two have the potential to double or triple your leads, grow sales, and increase profits.

The aim of this article is for you to concentrate on creating real, quality, and highly relevant content that best serves those looking for questions related to your organization.

A lot of B2B businesses have got it wrong, by practicing the tips listed you can differentiate yourself.


Written By Samuel Thimothy

Samuel Thimothy has deep expertise and experience in online marketing, demand generation and sales. He helps businesses develop and execute marketing strategies that will improve their lead generation efforts and drive business growth. He serves as the VP at OneIMS, an inbound marketing agency and co-founded Clickx, the digital marketing intelligence platform that eliminates blind spots for brand marketers and agencies.