Until recently, there were few notable differences between B2C and B2B SEO. Both sectors favored keyword-focused search engine optimization – search queries prospective customers use while gathering information about a business problem.
However, that’s rapidly changing.
While B2C companies are continuing to reap benefits from traditional approaches, B2B firms must diversify their approach to achieve visibility. The reasons why have not only to do with the way Google is evolving, but how decision-makers pursue information.
Why Keywords Are Now Just One Tool – Not the Entire Toolkit
For many B2B enterprises, brand positioning is rapidly eclipsing keywords as a strategic priority.
Brand positioning can mean many things, but in a practical sense, it boils down to this: Having a clear, visible, positive presence on the many different independent platforms decision-makers turn to when they feel a brand’s own communications cannot be trusted to inform their decision.
Yes – if you pursue an end-to-end content strategy, B2B decision-makers will come back to your carefully-crafted materials. Early in the buyer journey, however, they are typically wary: They want answers from sources they know they can trust.
Markers of trust like testimonials on your website can help – but these are more effective when prospects view them on an editorially independent site.
This trend began in B2C – with sites like Yelp – but it is infiltrating B2B thought processes at all levels. While it’s still crucial to compete for keywords and develop content, you will get the most benefit from your internal content once a prospect knows you.
A Three-Pronged Approach for Brand Visibility in the New B2B SEO World
How can you position for success in this more complex B2B SEO arena?
Consider focusing on these areas:
Authoritative Third-Party Sites
Which platforms are your target customers going to when they need unbiased information? You can find ways to partner with these venues without compromising their integrity in the eyes of your prospects. Even the most prestigious publication accepts outside thought leadership pieces.
Paid Search Traffic
If a leading organic search position is no longer driving the results you want, it may be time to diversify into paid search. Although not all users will be interested in paid results, they bring greater psychological heft to your efforts by raising your overall visibility.
Remarketing is crucial for motivating people to move forward with their long-term decisions. Ideally, your remarketing presence will make your solutions visible in relevant, authoritative sites that your prospects already trust.
Going forward, the willingness to adapt to new methods, technologies, and user behaviors is crucial. Voice search and other innovations will continually complicate the B2B SEO landscape. The most effective B2B enterprises will expand their perspective to leverage these new opportunities.