SEO strategy

Role of SEO in Digital Marketing for B2B Companies

As business owners and B2B marketers, we are always looking to get maximum visibility for our brand and in return get more long-term revenue generating customers.

This can be done before by putting money into online ads and letting paid advertising algorithms drive more traffic to a brand’s website or content. Scaling marketing efforts now is not as simple. With increasing market saturation ad costs have increased, which means that ROI has decreased.

The growing complexity of digital marketing strategies and increasing pressure to reduce costs, and maximize results is a very real constraint that a lot of businesses have to work with in today’s economy.

SEO or search engine optimization fits in as the solution to this new paradigm very well. SEO is still very underutilized while being an extremely efficient and cost-effective digital marketing strategy. B2B businesses can no longer push SEO for later and need to understand its value now.

The Importance of SEO in B2B Digital Marketing

B2B decision makers will carry out at least 12 web searches on average when looking for a solution to their problem, and well before engaging with a website with an enquiry. 71% of B2B users also start their product research with a search query (source).

This is proof enough of the power and influence that search engines hold over the decision making process. Relying solely on paid advertising can put a big dent in your marketing budget in terms of ROI. And in a time when marketing budgets are being slashed, businesses that invested in SEO are still witnessing rapid growth.

Let’s take a look at why small and big businesses alike must invest in SEO services –

Organic traffic that is consistent and reliable creates a sustainable business

Paid advertising might seem like a reliable way to get leads and traffic, until you are suddenly looking at budget cuts. In tough economic conditions, most businesses face budget cuts and must to pivot quickly to new and reliable digital marketing strategies.

Those who had already invested in SEO, continued to enjoy increased organic traffic because they are showing up in more search results. This allows them to explore B2B SEO strategy for more organic traffic.

Getting results from SEO takes time. However, it is far more sustainable than ads when it comes to building consistent and reliable business traffic.

Increased inbound leads lead to higher conversion rates

A system that has leads coming in for you (without spending money), instead of you reaching out to them is one of the biggest benefits of SEO in digital marketing. Organic inbound leads are also more likely to get converted as they are already interested in your business and content.

There are many avenues to bring in inbound leads, but it all begins with SEO. Users signal a search intent when using search engines. And a strategy that puts a user’s intent and pain points front and center wins in that search journey. This strategy does not need ads or sales agents. Creating content for the sales funnel, writing blog posts that targets low volume keywords and long tail keywords, and technical SEO strengthens your website’s on page SEO. However writing good quality content that speaks to the customer’s pain points is the foundation of an effective campaign.

Educational content is a more effective way to build trust with potential customers than outbound marketing or direct selling. A winning SEO strategy is the one that aims to help, lets the customers come to you instead of interrupting them with cold calls and other disruptive outbound tactics.

Shorten sales cycles

An SEO strategy coupled with content marketing can be very effective in helping your sales teams close faster. SEO optimized content that speaks towards the awareness, interest, decision and action stages of a potential customer, allows for your Sales team to spend less team convincing that same customer through the lower stages of the funnel.

It also allows for your ideal customer to reach you at their schedule instead of being forced or disrupted by your sales team. By the time they are ready to contact sales, they are already convinced and quite knowledgeable about what your business has to offer.

Such a strategy can lead to fewer emails, fewer meetings, and fewer calls for the sales team. This can save your sales team a lot of time and energy, while at the same time allowing them to pursue more strategic objectives. A more productive sales team means better profitability for the business.

While SEO can shorten the Sales cycle, B2B SEO takes some time to start bearing consistent results. It is important to note that B2B SEO is a long-term strategy. And anyone who promises you otherwise does not know what they’re talking about.

Starting early and with a thorough plan can definitely save you some time and money, but keep in mind that SEO takes months to fully bear tangible results. And the reason it takes time is that it takes time to build your website’s authority and ranking in search engines.

There are a number of factors that impact your website ranking –

  • Quality and quantity of your content
  • Number and quality of backlinks to your website
  • Average time spent on your website
  • The user experience of your website, etc.

That being said, it is a worthwhile investment for the increase in sales revenue that your business will witness. An SEO optimized website will get you a lot more visitors from search engines, making it a powerful tool to grow your business.

What SEO brings to the table for B2B businesses

Most customers now begin their purchase journey with an online search. If you don’t optimize your website to rank higher on the search engine results page, potential customers will find your competitors before they find you.

SEO drives discovery and to a certain extent conversion as well, making it very important for any B2B business.

A good B2B SEO campaign can be the difference between stalled revenue growth and experiencing rapid customer acquisition or retention.

SEO gives a big boost to your businesses credibility

SEO in digital marketing can also play a big role in helping create a positive reputation for your business.

Websites ranking higher on the search engine results page are typically considered to have high quality, be trustworthy, and be authoritative on a subject matter. This in turn boosts the credibility of your business.

This boost in credibility is a direct result of working on improving the factors that positively influence SEO.

SEO increases traffic to your website

SEO also helps bring more traffic to your website. Working on foundational SEO principles, such as creating valuable content, optimizing for keywords, and creating more backlinks, and high volume keywords all have a direct impact on your website traffic.

If SEO is done right, the each piece of content will automatically get more value and be surfaced more often to search users.

SEO helps you reach more relevant people

Marketing campaigns usually work on a model with a defined target audience. SEO instead helps you target customers that display intent. Intent that is displayed at any time and anywhere, irrespective of the buying funnel they are in.

This is because of the use of keywords in SEO. Using keywords instead of demographics helps you target in a more granular manner, while also increasing the likelihood of targeting potential customers who will be more willing to do business with you.

Intent is a powerful signal. And intent can be captured with the use of keywords in SEO. This is especially useful for niche businesses.

Keyword research tools coupled with competitor research can help you refine your keyword list by understanding what keywords your competitors are ranking for and their backlink strategy. This information can help you create a better SEO strategy than your competitors.

More and better quality inbound leads

Good SEO tactics do increase the traffic coming to your website. Great SEO tactics also help you get higher quality inbound traffic to your website.

When people search for keywords related to your products or services, they are more likely to be interested in what you have to offer. This means that the leads you generate through SEO are more likely to be qualified and interested in buying from you.

As a consequence lead generation is a very viable outcome of SEO. To make it effective, you will need to map content to each stage of the buyer’s journey and pair that with the right keywords strategy, resulting in a lead generation engine that brings in high quality leads every time.

SEO improves website usability 

SEO is a very structured and practical digital marketing strategy. It is based upon a set of principles, which when used in the right combination can produce very effective results.

Creating high quality content, fixing your website’s navigation system, building a logical sitemap, building a responsive website that is optimized for different form factors, and adding backlinks to enhance every webpage are some of the ways SEO inculcates good website hygiene.

These ways also directly result in improving the website’s user experience and making it easier for a potential customer to find what they are looking for.

SEO brings in a quantifiable approach to measuring results

SEO can really help you drill down into the details of your campaign results. You can track changes to your rankings, conversions, website traffic and more.

You can also track the pages customers most interact with, keywords that perform the best for you, and the specific actions a customer took on your website.

Furthermore, platforms like Google Analytics provide a comprehensive view of this information to help you with analysis and figuring out which SEO strategy is working best for your business.

SEO enables you to track the impact on your marketing spend as well, helping build a case for it to senior management.

SEO helps you perform better in local searches

This benefit of SEO is especially useful for small businesses that operate in a particular sphere of geographical influence. Local searches usually tend to be further down the buyer’s journey, with potential customers that are more willing to make a purchase.

There are special SEO tactics that cater to optimizing your business for local searches. Good local SEO tactics include – creating a My Business page, listing your correct name, address and phone number, and incorporating local keywords into your content.

80% of local searches lead to conversions (source), making this one of the most attractive benefits of SEO for B2B businesses.

SEO helps you build a competitive advantage

It is likely that your competitors might be investing in SEO. This means that you can outrank them on the search engine results page, just by analyzing their SEO strategy.

Assessing your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses from an SEO perspective and building a counter strategy can help you beat the competition to get more website visitors and higher quality leads.

Competitor analysis can help determine your content strategy and also highlight areas of improvement for your website (e.g. improving your site load times, making your site mobile-friendly, and more).

Having the right skill set for an effective SEO strategy

SEO is undoubtedly a technical skill, in fact in involves a whole range of skills in addition to experience honing those skills. SEO is also a rapidly evolving technique and the best SEO professionals must keep abreast of the ever-changing search algorithms.

In light of the technicality and the fast pace of changing search algorithms, it is important to consider you truly have the capacity in house to take this on, or whether you should turn to outside experts to help you build your program.

It might be worthwhile to hire a specialist SEO agency that can free up your in-house marketing team’s bandwidth to focus on strategic business objectives.

An agency can also bring in diverse perspectives as a result of their varied experience across industries. SEO services geared to SMEs are available from such agencies, including this one.

Here are a few blogs that can help you in your SEO journey –

  1. Importance of SEO, SMO and SEA for B2B Lead Generation
  2. 7 Tips On How To Optimize Website Content For SEO
  3. Benefits of Content Marketing for Local SEO
  4. The Truth About Inbound Marketing vs SEO

SEO is important for a B2B business to build a sustainable lead generation pipeline and improve brand awareness. Even though SEO takes time to warm up and generate results, it is a very viable and sure shot way to see a tangible bump in your revenue goals.