7 Practical tips to unlock your new B2B SEO advantage

http://Upp%20B2B%20Header http://Upp%20B2B%20Header

If your company operates in the business-to-business space it’s likely that you’re constantly competing for digital domination in your core markets. Now more than ever, it’s essential that search engine optimisation (SEO) is a core part of your B2B digital marketing strategy. However, with every B2B marketer and SEO specialist in the land vying for the top spot in the search engine results pages (SERPs), you’ll need to make sure your website is hyper-optimised to consistently rank higher than your competitors.


However, this is no mean feat, with SEO more competitive than ever before in the online marketplace.  To strike gold with the SERPs, you’ll therefore need an intelligent keyword strategy, a significant investment of time to keep ahead of the ever-shifting algorithms and a fair bit of sleeves-rolled up luck. But those who commit to optimising their brand content with the right keyword plan of attack will reap the benefits and increase their search visibility to drive those all-important sales-ready leads.


In this 7-Upp series blog, we share some practical advice on how you can build your keyword strategy and integrate this into your organic search and wider marketing strategy to gain real traction.

1. Know your B2B audience's search behaviours

Before conducting any type of B2B keyword research, you need to know your target searcher’s intent, and for that, you need to have a deep understanding of your audience, getting to know their key behaviours almost as you do those of your nearest and dearest.


Developing personas or audience profiles will help you identify key demographics and their attitudes, beliefs, and needs. This can really put yourself in the shoes of your customers, understanding their pain points and providing the answers to the questions they’re searching for online in a natural and intuitive way. A good B2B SEO agency can help you to create personas so you can segment your audience and start to create content that’s tailored to their specific search queries.


Segmenting your keyword strategy based on the likely behaviour of your different personas or buyers can be transformed by actually speaking to your customers to understand their buying mindset. Keywords used at different stages of the buying cycle should also be considered to capture leads who don’t follow the often mapped out linear customer journey.


When it comes to brand level search, don’t make the mistake of assuming that every potential buyer will have heard of your brand or full product or service offer however dominant a name you believe you are in your market. When first researching potential suppliers, buyers will often widen their keyword searches to broad search terms to gain a wide view of potential suppliers and to identify any challenger brands who may be offering a new approach and/or pricing model. So think about how buyers may categorise what you offer in the widest possible sense, as well as the specifics. For example, buyers looking for a healthcare logistics specialist may start wide by searching for logistics companies, only refining their search when they choose to apply more specific filters. So remember, you need to think wide too and cover all bases.

2. Think like your B2B audience in search mode

Once you have worked out your audience demographics, you’ll need to identify topics and themes related to your industry or niche to base your content (and crucially keywords) on. These topics could be subjects that frequently crop up in sales or customer conversations, or even what you choose to post about on social media. Make a list of all the challenges and service/product solutions that come to mind as these will form the basis for your keyword research.


Once you’ve brainstormed these topics, you’ll need to align these with your audience’s interests, pain points and challenges. Remember to ask for input from those in customer or client-facing roles, they’ll most likely have great insight into the problems faced by your prospective audience. Then try to predict the key phrases you think they might use to find content and solutions on each identified search subject. Once you’ve gathered all this information, you can start using keyword research tools to refine your list and discover which topics are worth the most to your business in terms of potential search volumes.

3. Use keyword research tools to find your 'space to play'

Google Search Console, Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush are just three of the many tools available that can help you with your keyword research – they happen to be our current keyword tools of choice. These platforms, along with others such as Moz, Moz extension for Chrome, Ahrefs Google Trends and even ChatGPT can provide insights into search volumes, competition, and related keywords to give you a good start point for working out your strategy.


Ideally, you will want to find the keywords that have high search volumes and low competition – that is, fewer people competing for the same keywords. This will often mean identifying a niche or gap in the marketplace to fill with your content. Sounds tricky? It can be, but luckily there are a couple of techniques you can use to help identify these opportunities, including the use of long-tail keywords.


A long-tail keyword is a phrase that’s usually made up of around three to five words but why are they so important? They’re often used by people who have refined their search and are closer to the point of purchase. Because they’re so specific, they’ll generally have a lower search volume than short (or head) keywords. This means there’s less competition, making it easier to lure prospects towards your site, generally at a lower cost per lead. There are a few ways to find long-tail keywords, including the ‘related searches’ and ‘people also ask’ fields on Google.


SEO tools like those mentioned can be useful for sizing up the competition. In addition to supplying long-tail keywords, they can also show you which keywords your competitors are ranking for. Going after the keywords with less competition can supercharge your content strategy and bag you more conversions, so it’s worth spending time to get to grips with these search nuggets.

4. Prioritise keywords based on relevancy and intent

Low competition keywords are nothing without search intent. Knowing how to capture your audience is all about understanding the intent behind their search query.


Essentially, there are four types of keywords, each with a specific purpose:


  • Informational keywords are search queries used by people who want to find out something and will often be used alongside words like ‘how’, ‘what’ and ‘why’.
  • Navigational keywords are used by those who want to be directed to a particular site or page.  The user might already know the name of the product or service they want to find but are looking for a website or location. For this reason, these keywords might be used alongside location-based words e.g. ‘B2B agency in Manchester’ or ‘near me.’
  • Commercial keywords are also known as ‘branded’ keywords which are normally used when researching brands, for example when someone is checking reviews or comparing companies. ‘Versus’ is a common indicator of this type of keyword.
  • Transactional keywords include words like ‘sale’ ‘buy’ and ‘deliver.’ These keywords show the strongest intent to purchase and are most often used to drive traffic to landing pages via paid search ads.

It’s not always easy to determine the intent behind a search query, especially with only one or two keywords, but an SEO tool like SEMRush can really help. Using the keyword overview tool, you can check the intent of up to 100 keywords so you can categorise and prioritise your keywords accordingly.

5. Check out what's currently being rewarded by the SERPs

After all your hard work researching and identifying keywords one aspect that often gets overlooked is monitoring what is currently being rewarded by the SERPs. By looking at what currently appears on page #1 for your chosen target keywords you can get a view of the content approach that is currently being rewarded and identify opportunities to inform and improve your content.


Start by analysing your competitors’ content that ranks well in the SERPs. This will help you to identify the strategies they’re using to work out if there are any gaps you can fill with your content. Monitor Google Trends to understand the popularity and search volume trends for your core target keywords. This can help you align your content strategy with current user interests. This can be combined with features such as SEMRush’s ‘SEO Content Template’ and Surfer SEO to build your SEO intelligence so that you can increase your chances of driving your rank up page.

6. Optimise content with a focused targeted keywords plan

Now that you’ve refined your keywords, you need to ensure all your content is optimised so your audience can find exactly what they’re looking for. As a rule, your landing pages should be optimised for transactional keywords, with clear call-to-actions to keep prospects engaged and moving towards conversion. Blog posts are where all your informational keywords should live, with product pages adopting a healthy mix of all the types of keywords mentioned above. 
We’ve discussed the importance of search intent and tailoring content to needs, so don’t turn prospects off with pages stuffed full of keywords, hoping it’ll pay off – it won’t. Your content still needs to be readable and follow the principles of good UX design and accessibility.
There’s no hard and fast rule as to how many keywords you should be aiming to include per page, but it generally depends on the type of content you’re producing. For most product pages of around 500 words, it’s thought that one primary keyword followed by 2-3 secondary keywords is sufficient, whereas a blog post of around 1000 words might use as many as five. The key is making your copy flow and sound as natural as possible.  

7. Monitor your performance and continually keep refining

So, you’ve optimised your website for all your keywords – job done, right? Not quite.


As we know, market trends and algorithms change all the time, so you need to keep on top of new developments and update your keyword lists regularly to improve your visibility and ensure you’re hitting the top of the SERPs. We would recommend at least a quarterly review subject to how your keywords are perfoming.


Tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console can help you monitor the effectiveness of your keywords by tracking click-throughs and conversions and how well they’re ranking in direct comparison to your competitors.  Tracking keyword performance can also help to unlock data around wider trends, identifying new opportunities for content development, as well as areas for improvement in terms of engagement and conversion. All of which are essential for the success of a B2B search marketing strategy.

We understand it can be difficult to keep on top of every new SEO development, that’s why we’re here to help. As experts in B2B SEO strategy and content planning, we can help you with all aspects of your B2B website optimisation, from keyword analysis and strategy, though to content optimisation and conversion rate optimisation (CRO). Visit B2B Websites Services | UPP B2B for more information.