SEO Guide for B2B Businesses

Demystifying Google’s Algorithms: An SEO Guide for B2B Businesses

That spot on Page 1 of Google, which brings with it an avalanche of inbound sales queries and recognition as an industry leader—that is the holy grail of digital marketing. Tantalizingly close but so hard to capture. 

The only difference between myth and marketing is that—marketing dreams are real and attainable! The page 1 rankings exist, and you, like everyone else, have a good chance of reaching them.

Industry stalwarts sitting on prime digital real estate make it seem effortless. However, digital hot spots are not easy to hold on to, unless you have deep pockets, an established business, and a grade-A SEO strategy. 

What is B2B SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is what makes your website—and, by extension, your business—discoverable in the virtual world. Think of it as a map that brings Google’s users searching for you to your doorstep. Without strong SEO, your goods or services—regardless of their technical excellence, affordability, or effectiveness—will remain unknown and untouched in the digital world. 

While for many, SEO is perceived as a B2C concept, in today’s digital-first ecosystem, it is a channel that cannot be ignored by any business. After all, the institutional decision-makers you want to engage are also online—in their personal as well as professional avatars. 

According to Mediapost, organic search drives 51% of all visitors to business-to-business sites, whereas paid search drives 10% and social 5%. Understanding and aligning with Google’s SEO algorithms is key to ensuring that anyone looking for information within your industry gets a glimpse of your business. 

SEO Guide for B2B: Best Practices

Currently, Google considers over 200 ranking factors to decide whether your organization deserves to be shown to its users. And while SEO in this competitive landscape might sound daunting, following a set of B2B SEO best practices can set you on the right path.  

Understand How Search Algorithms Work

Search engine algorithms dictate how websites are ranked and displayed in search results. By assessing factors like relevance, quality, authority, and user experience, algorithms ensure that users receive the most relevant and useful information for their queries. 

Google’s SEO algorithms (Google, currently, has 71.98% of the search engine market share and receives 2.3 trillion searches every year) are constantly evolving and shifting to adjust to user behaviour, new technology, and SEO manipulation with one, single goal: user experience.

Hence, for any business, whether B2C or B2B, the underlying principle of its SEO strategy should revolve around providing user delight.

Implement SEO Basics

The first—and easiest—step towards setting your SEO house in order is keyword optimization. If your target audiences use certain words and phrases to look for information related to your offerings, then you want to have these on your website. 

However, it is not as simple as strewing relevant keywords across your website content; Google algorithms have developed some clever ways to parse the content and judge the relevancy of your content. 

We recommend undertaking detailed keyword research to find words and phrases that reflect B2B audiences’ search intent and your industry terminology. Then optimize your on-page content with high-quality, targeted content around these chosen keywords. This includes optimizing titles, headings, meta descriptions, and content structure.

Along with the content, you must also do a hygiene check on your technical SEO, such as site speed, mobile-friendliness, secure connections, and crawlability. 

Quick tip: Find competitors who have good SEO rankings and review the content on their website. 

Improve Content Quality and Relevance

Content is the magnet that attracts users to your site. The stronger the magnet, the longer users will stick around, and the higher the chances of converting them. 

Unlike a B2C audience, where a fun vibe, visual appeal, and product offers are enough to hook users, a B2B site has to offer more substance. 

Decision makers often stumble on sites looking for specific information and, in many instances, will not decide on buying a product or engaging services based on just a website visit. A business website in the B2B ecosystem is usually a platform to introduce the offering and the company and build credibility.

Hence, a B2B SEO strategy needs to include evergreen content useful to industry professionals, offering proof of a business’s capabilities and fostering confidence. Examples include:

  • Thought leadership articles
  • Case studies
  • Whitepapers
  • Informative videos
  • In-depth information about your services

Quick tip: Position the business as a problem solver. Generate content that addresses customer pain points and offers solutions; become a place where professionals from your industry can seek advice and answers.

Focus on Topical Content & Semantic Understanding

Instead of relying on keywords, Google algorithms such as Hummingbird and BERT aim to interpret the context, intent, and relationships between words in a search query and use this to provide more relevant results. 

Naturally, these upgrades have led to a more refined and precise outcome for users. B2B websites can optimize their websites to improve semantic understanding by:

  • Creating content that is more natural and incorporating conversational phrases. 
  • Including related keywords to support primary keywords. This will provide richer context to Google while searching for websites that match the query.
  • Linking related pages within your website to provide additional context
  • Adding Schema markup to make the structure of your content clear to Google and display your content as rich snippets.
  • Organizing content into thematic clusters and providing deeper and longer content that covers the topic comprehensively.

Earn Trust through Backlinks

Once you have published your web pages with properly optimized content, it is time to build credibility and authority with backlinks. 

Backlinks are links from other websites pointing to a page on your website and are one of the most important ranking factors for Google. In a study by Ahrefs that encompassed over a billion pages, lack of backlinks was found to be the biggest reason a page didn’t rank.

However, not any backlink will do. Over 10 years ago, Google introduced the Penguin algorithm to stamp out manipulative link-building practices and tackle low-quality content. The algorithm rewards natural, authoritative, and relevant links while downgrading manipulative and spammy ones.

For a B2B website, generating high-quality backlinks is best done through guest blogging, networking and collaborating to create content, and producing useful and widely shared content like reports, studies, and research. Additionally, B2B marketers can benefit from reaching out to resource pages, engaging on social media, and harvesting broken links and unliked mentions. 

Quick tip: Building backlinks is a slow and steady process, get started as soon as possible, be patient, and stay invested for the long run.

Enhance User Experience and Technical SEO

User experience has a direct connection to the SEO ranking of all websites, including B2B ones. 

Google wants the people it directs to your website to find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently and have a good time doing so. 

So when users find your website easy to navigate, fast, and informative, they are more likely to stay longer and interact with your content. This time spent on your website tells the search engines that users like your site, potentially leading to higher rankings.

While optimizing your website for user experience, be sure to build intuitive navigation, improve site speed, and include mobile responsive design. 

Don’t forget to also spend some time on technical SEO factors such as schema markup, XML sitemaps, and canonical tags. Adding these codes and data makes it easier for Google to index and understand your website.

Utilize Local SEO for B2B Businesses

If your company does business in a certain geography, then local SEO should be at the top of your SEO to-do list. Optimizing your website to ace local search criteria can help you appear to local potential customers. 

The first step towards activating your local SEO strategy is to spruce up your Google Business profile with updated information on your business. It’s also important to add local citations such as the details of your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) on various directories and websites. 

With this basic step out of the way, we recommend adding dedicated local landing pages to your website with content customized for users in those locations. Try adding local testimonials, reviews, and relevant information to build credibility with users. 

Quick Tip: Keep your information on Google and local directories updated. Encourage satisfied clients to leave a review, and address negative comments promptly.

Optimize for Voice Search

AI assistants like Siri and Alexa have entered homes and businesses en masse, putting voice search queries on an upward trajectory. More than 1 billion voice searches take place every month, and over 50% of adults report using voice searches daily. 

Optimizing websites for voice search is a no-brainer. However, it requires careful consideration as voice search queries are worded differently from text-based ones. They are longer, more conversational, more specific, and usually in the form of a question. 

Along with the rest of the SEO best practices mentioned above, while optimizing for voice, target long-tail keywords, especially question keywords, in your content. 

Adapt To AI And Machine Learning Integration In Search Engines

AI-driven algorithms are used to understand user intent and website content to rank and display content that aligns with search intent rather than just keywords. 

It is critical for B2B marketers and business owners to craft content and optimize their pages to manage these expectations (read our blog to learn more about how generative AI is being used in marketing).

Measuring and Analyzing SEO Success

Lastly, keep tracking and measuring the effectiveness of your B2B SEO efforts. SEO is not a one-time effort; keep observing your activities to understand their impact and course correct, if necessary. 

You can use one or more tools to interpret critical factors and gauge the success of your SEO. Some of the most popular free tools for SEO monitoring are Google Analytics and Google Search Console; both are foundational tools and a must for every site. 

They can be paired with paid tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs, which provide advanced keyword tracking, backlink analysis, and competitive research. For link analysis and on-page SEO, Moz can be a supplementary piece of software you can use to round off your SEO toolkit.

All in all, you need to keep track of a lot of diverse types of data around key factors such as:

  1. Organic Traffic: Total number of sessions, new users, returning users, pageviews from organic sources, etc.
  2. Keyword Rankings: Positions of target keywords in search results
  3. Conversions: Number of leads, inquiries, or sales originating from organic search traffic
  4. Click-Through Rate (CTR): Percentage of clicks compared to impressions
  5. Bounce Rate: Percentage of single-page sessions or quick exits
  6. Pages per Session: Average number of pages viewed in a single session
  7. Dwell Time: Average time users spend on a page
  8. Backlinks: Number, quality, and relevance of incoming links
  9. Technical SEO Health: Indexing status, crawl errors, mobile-friendliness, and site speed
  10. Local SEO Metrics: Local search rankings and Google My Business insights

Are You Ready To Lead The Pack In B2B SEO? 

There is very little doubt that B2B companies can reap rich benefits from SEO, whether in the form of direct sales or indirect brand building. However, nothing is free or easy on the Internet. 

The digital ecosystem is highly mature, and to stand out in this crowded, competitive field, you need to commit time, effort, and resources.  

As you fine-tune your approach, consider partnering with a trusted digital marketing agency that understands the nuances of B2B SEO and can help you amplify your online presence. 

Get in touch to learn how Asset Digital Communications can tailor a B2B SEO strategy for your business!