10 Commandments for B2B Search Engine Optimization

How different is B2B Search Engine Optimization compared to B2C Search Engine Optimization?  What are the Best Practices for B2B Search Marketers?
The basics of SEO like Keyword Research, Targeted Content and Meta Data is no different for B2B SEO. The major difference is in Target Audience and Intent of Search Queries. B2B Marketers address an audience that is mature, not impulsive and follow a purchase process. B2B search queries clearly reflect the searchers status in the purchase cycle (Exploring, Considering, Ready to Purchase)

B2B Decision Cycle
B2B Decision Cycle

The ultimate goal of most B2B Search Marketing programs is Generating Inquiries.  This article lists the 10 Commandments for B2B Search Engine Optimization; The Best Practice for B2B Search Engine Optimization.

Commandment 1: Know Your Customer / Target Audience.
Clearly define your Target Audience. You should know who you are targeting. Audience Definitions like “CXOs of Automobile Corporations in United States??? or “Middle Management in Advertising Agencies in Europe??? is a must for a successful B2B SEO campaign.
Difference from B2C
: B2C Target audience is far wider and generally segmented on Socio-Economic and Demographic parameters.

Commandment 2: Design the website for your Target Audience.
Most B2B site address multiple target audience; Prospects, Existing Customers, Investors, Job Seekers. It is very important to focus the SEO for Prospects and Existing Customers. Investors, Job seekers may not be targeted in the B2B SEO program. Design a website that the prospects and customers can relate with. Include Industry Solution, Technology Solutions, Product Application in the main navigation or otherwise prominently on the website.
Test website’s usability frequently and keep the design and content fresh. It is advisable to make minor updates every quarter and major design change once a year. A professional Site Audit helps improve usability and conversion.
Difference from B2C: B2C websites are broader in their appeal and target multiple groups for every product/ service.

Commandment 3: Keyword Research: Forget your Terminology, Forget Google’s Traffic Prediction, and Optimize for Industry Lingo.
Optimize for the search terms the target audience uses and this may vary by industry. Let your organizations internal definitions and Search Engines Traffic Predictions take the backseat.
Difference from B2C: In most B2C scenarios Search Engine’s Search Volume and Predict data gives accurate information about the search terms target audience uses to find a product/ service.

Commandment 4: Keyword Targeting: 1 Keyword per page.
Do not target too many Keywords in a page. Remember you are targeting matured audience that is not impulsive. Limit to 1-2 Keywords per page. The keywords targeted should be related and relevant to one industry, product or solution.
Difference from B2C: Recommend Targeting 2-3 keywords per page on B2C websites.

Commandment 5: Link Strategy: Go for the Hubs; do not bother about the Spokes.
Target links form Industry Hubs and Authority pages. Few links will do the job (get your website visibility and traffic). Get Links from customer and vendor websites. Use variation of your product/ service as link text.
Difference from B2C: Spread out the links over more number of Link text.

B2B Search Engine Optimization
B2B Search Engine Optimization

Commandment 6: Leverage Paid Search Data.
Analyze the paid search data to identify converting keywords, include broader variations / Generic Variations of these keywords in your SEO Program.

Commandment 7: Industry Strategy: Sub-domain/ Multiple Domains.
At times the target audience across industries is very different and it may be a good idea to have sub-domain or multiple domains. You may not be able to address concerns of multiple industries on one website. If your ERP solution is targeted for Manufacturing and retail industries, you must consider and analyze sub-domain/ multiple domain strategy.
Difference from B2C: B2C websites are generally designed to up-sell, cross-sell. Consolidating products on one domain is the preferred strategy.

Commandment 8: Competition: Track Your Competition.
Identify and track your competition. Monitor the changes in the Keywords competition is targeting to track the industry trends and Optimization Strategy.
Difference from B2C: B2C websites are generally track competition for tactics

Commandment 9: Reputation: Monitor and Defend your Brand.
Your Brand is your biggest asset on the web. Defend your brand with all your might. Optimize your website for misspellings and phonetic variations. Set up alerts to monitor copyright violations.

Commandment 10: Get Social: Blog /Network: Be Thought Leader and Follow Thought Leaders.
Blogs allow informal, interactive communication with your audience. Create thought leadership blogs and run opinion polls and reviews to understand your customer better. Also, follow Thought leaders to understand the pulse and the trends of the industry. Recruiting a CBO (Chief Blogging Officer) may be a good idea.

Bhaskar Thakur

Digital Transformation & Marketing Leader , Growth Enabler, Recreational Runner, Learner & Seeker. On this blog I share my perspective on Technology, Entrepreneurship, Startups, Growth, Health, Running and Biking.