Today, as soon as people become aware of a problem or a need, they primarily go online in search of specific solutions. This is true not only in B2C, but also in B2B. The major search engines - and Google in particular - are almost always the first port of call. In the meantime, up to 98 percent of mobile queries in Germany can be attributed to the search engine leader with the six coloured letters. Companies that want to remain competitive (on the web) must not ignore this development! It is imperative to ensure that one's own target group's typical search queries always land far at the front of the Google ranking.

Search engine marketing has numerous highly effective approaches to this. In the sub-area of SEO optimization (search engine optimization), Google's procedures regarding the evaluation of internet presences and search queries as well as, last but not least, the prerequisites of the respective target group are centrally adopted and transferred to the own presence of the website.

Due to the very small-scale factors and the numerous (alternating) effects of these, an efficient procedure and ultimately maximum success in search engine optimization cannot be achieved without a suitable SEO strategy for B2B. Which conditions you need to create for such a strategy and what to pay special attention to in SEO optimization B2B, you can read in the following.

Technical and content SEO measures that must not be missing!

All measures that serve to bring the own presence of the website in the so-called organic search results of Google to the top, fall into the field of search engine optimization. The following approaches and corresponding contexts must be taken into account.

In strategic search engine optimization, the focus is directed in particular to the challenges or needs of your own target group and their solution. Here it is essentially a matter for you to signal to the search engine as clearly as possible that you are making a particularly good contribution to mastering them with your web presences.

The focus of this SEO area - which can be extended to all areas of search engine marketing in terms of the basic way of thinking - is on classic questions from online marketing: Which target group should be addressed, how should your own company be positioned, what problems or wishes are typical customers confronted with and how can they be motivated to enter into a buying process by providing appropriate solutions?

In this context, content marketing is always an important aspect. Content that is tailored to the target group and its customer journey is the most important catalyst today - because it is primarily desired - leading to the ultimate solution to the problem. Put simply, the following applies: Those who offer value-added content for their own target group will rank higher.

The offpage optimization includes all marketing measures to increase the Google ranking, which you carry out outside of your Internet presence. Very important here - because extremely SEO-powerful - is the favoring of backlinks or an active link building, i.e. the generation of links that lead from other websites to your own. Because these are a clear sign of quality for Google: content that is often linked to must logically be highly relevant in Google's view. Social media activities, technical SEO and also Google Ads are sometimes also counted as offpage SEO, but they basically form their own specialist areas of (search engine) marketing. However, the transitions and effects are actually partly fluid.


Which ranking factors are essential?

In fact, there are several hundred factors that influence the Google ranking - i.e. standards by which the search engine determines the quality of websites and thus their rank. To take all of them into account is hardly possible even for companies that have been doing SEO for many years - and de facto not necessary. However, some of them are essential:

  • User Experience: Ideally, your users will follow the paths you have planned on your web presences and eventually convert to customers. If your pages are coherently structured and the corresponding content is quickly and easily accessible, this favours a good user experience.
  • Content: The quality of the content you offer has become one of the most important factors for Google ranking. The search engine evaluates in particular how much your content is used and disseminated.
  • Keywords: Keywords in texts, alt texts, meta data, etc. should be strategically adapted to your target group and the relevant goals of your company on the Internet and kept up to date.
  • Mobile website: Google applies the mobile-first approach. Today, only the mobile versions of websites are used for ranking, which means that your internet presence must be mobile-optimised.
  • Loading time of the website: The so-called pagespeed, i.e. the time your website takes from being called up to being usable, should be kept as low as possible. Fast servers, but also web design and an appropriate preparation of the content play important roles here.

What are the specific challenges of B2B SEO?

In fact, search engine optimization in the B2C and B2B area differs in some fine, but important aspects.

As a rule, B2C is to focus on one decision maker, the considerations to be made here on the customer side often have only a small scope. In B2B, on the other hand, there are practically always several purchase decision-makers, the products sold are complex and involve high investments. Therefore, the customer journey in this area is more and more complex and therefore also the adoption of this in the SEO optimization. Corresponding requirements have to be considered especially within the SEO content. The persuasion work to be done by the latter is significantly more detailed in B2B than in B2C. Furthermore, the demand for B2B products or their target group is often lower, which means that the search volume is smaller. Therefore, the keyword strategy has to be worked out very precisely. To find out exactly and as comprehensively as possible which keywords your target group primarily uses can be even more decisive for success than in B2C.

What can the right SEO strategy for B2B look like in 2021?

In the following, we will go through the individual phases step by step until the finished SEO strategy for B2B. It is important to clarify that this is not a comprehensive strategy that will lead to maximum success in every business context. Think of the listing more as a summary of the key points to consider in any strategic consideration for search engine optimization.

As already mentioned several times, the recording of your own target group is extremely important for the success of search engine optimization. By setting up buyer personas, you define your typical customers. These are profiles of fictitious interested parties that, in contrast to the classic target group approach, also take into account professional problems and needs as well as expertise, purchasing barriers, media affinities etc. This is of course extremely useful with regard to the content, which has to be coordinated on a very small scale, especially in B2B.

The SEO audit is the foundation of the SEO strategy for B2B - everything else is built on it. In the course of the audit you will recognize what already works well and where it still hangs. Furthermore, unused potentials will be revealed. The following areas are to be particularly scrutinized during an SEO audit:

  • Technology: Are search engines offered optimal conditions to crawl and index the website without problems?
  • Onpage and content: Is there up-to-date, easy-to-receive content that is aligned with the buyer personas and are the keywords used appropriate? Have important SEO factors, such as headlines, title tags, meta description and alt tags, been used to good effect?
  • Usability: Are there beneficial structures in place - do visitors intuitively find what they are looking for?
  • Backlinks: Are there backlinks and how should the number and their quality be assessed - are there perhaps toxic links? Is there a suitable ratio between NoFollow and DoFollow links?

In a kick-off meeting, get all those responsible or affected by the SEO measures around the table. This is, of course, primarily your marketing, but also the IT and sales belong to it. Here, among other things, impressions of customer profiles, technical requirements as well as possibilities and, last but not least, department-specific goals are collected. In addition to crystallizing a basic roadmap and all-encompassing SEO goals, it should quickly become clear in the meeting which measures can be carried out yourself and which should perhaps be handled by an external partner. In particular, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the distributions of responsibility for SEO?
  • What resources are available for SEO in the relevant departments in the first place?
  • Who has the necessary access?
  • What approval processes need to be gone through?
  • Who is responsible for adding new content?
  • Are there sufficient, or any, internal resources for regular content creation?

It is almost always worthwhile for you to prepare your employees for SEO optimization through training with an external professional. Depending on the level of knowledge, different workshop approaches are possible here. If all participants are then on a common, current level, the work can usually proceed all the more efficiently.

A central part of any SEO strategy for B2B is a comprehensive keyword analysis. Due to the low search volumes in the B2B sector, it is even more important for you to have a precise knowledge of the challenges or needs of your buyer personas and the keywords used by them. This is the only way to identify and prioritize the perfect search combinations. For you, this means a deep consideration of your services and an equally intensive comparison of these with your customer profiles. Furthermore, a close exchange with specialist departments, sales and support is necessary. This sometimes results in very important keywords that are not obvious. Sometimes it is even necessary to keep distance from technical terms and to focus more on words that describe the problem in general. Other important sources of keyword research are competitor analyses, trade magazines and forum entries as well as reviews.

It should now be clear where the strengths and weaknesses of your website and your team lie, what goals you are pursuing and what internal resources are available at all. Now it's time to constructively put all the relevant points on paper. The SEO roadmap is a list of priorities. In the rarest of cases, it is implemented one-to-one. This is basically because search engine optimization is highly dynamic. Starting with changes in Google's algorithms to new outstanding features of your competitors or a change in the behavior of your target audience to possibly occurring general economically drastic crises, many things can make a restructuring necessary. However, you should still focus on your planned path or the goals to be achieved. The roadmap is an ideal means of (cross-departmental) orientation. At best, it presents transparently what is currently being worked on, which steps will follow and what may have been put on hold. Your employees can still see exactly when who or which department is required. All in all, it ensures a sufficient view of the big picture as well as progress and stagnations.

Already with the first SEO measures you should aim to be able to evaluate them comprehensively. Without measuring successes and possible failures, you will never proceed efficiently. The need for course adjustments may be recognized much too late without controlling and a targeted planning of future important marketing measures is practically impossible. Therefore, you should make monthly reports and consider at least the following KPI's in this regard:

  • Top 10 rankings
  • Changes in focus keywords
  • Keyword chances of the current position eleven to 30
  • Organically generated hits and leads
  • Technical performance
  • Competitor SEO
  • Conspicuity
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