As buyer demographics change, B2B marketers have had to shift priorities to adapt. According to Hubspot, 61% of marketers consider improving search engine optimization (SEO) and growing their organic presence to be their top priority.
The rise of digital-native decision makers has highlighted the need for B2B experiences to reflect modern B2C shopping. One thing that hasn’t changed is that first impressions are of the utmost importance. What has changed, however, is where those impressions are happening. For this new batch of buyers, search results are the new elevator pitch.
More than 70% of B2B decision-makers say they start researching their purchase though a generic search. Accordingly, search engine optimization has been an important pillar of B2C marketing for some time now, and with changing buyer behaviors and preferences, it’s no longer viable for B2B brands to sit on the sidelines.
SEO is the practice of attracting high-quality traffic and increasing visibility for a website through search engine results. Search engines employ bots to crawl webpages to determine factors such as expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. These factors establish the rank of the website, impacting where on a search engine results page (SERP) the site will appear.
Anyone who has ever used Google knows how intimidating the pages upon pages of search results can be, so trying to ensure you’re ranking high on the list can be daunting. Luckily, B2B brands can learn from the experience of B2C brands to start implementing SEO best practices to reach the right customers, and drive consistent, high-quality traffic.
SEO can be broken down into three fundamental categories: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. We’re going to dive into on-page SEO – an essential factor to start improving your website’s search rankings, visibility, and value.
What is On-Page SEO?
On-page SEO entails adjusting the visible elements of your webpages, such as product descriptions, blog posts, imagery, videos, page titles, page descriptions, and keywords. These elements are not only easy to notice, but easy to improve. The majority of these elements can be adjusted directly in your content management system (CMS) and don’t require specialized or technical support.
With on-page SEO, it’s important to keep in mind that Google doesn’t rank websites as a whole, but rather as individual pages on a website. Take the following key steps to improve the on-page elements across your website.
5 Steps for On-Page SEO Success
1. Keyword Research
What are your buyers looking for? What keywords do they use to search for what you offer? How do their keywords differ at varying stages of the purchasing journey? To better understand who your buyers are, and their goals, leverage keyword research to discover and evaluate search intent, better understand your target audience, and craft valuable content that converts.
While there are many resources for conducting in-depth keyword research, some of our favorites include: Wordstream, Wordtracker, Google Ads Keyword Planner Tool, Google Trends, and Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence. Once you’ve identified your short and long-tail optimized keyworks, include them across critical areas throughout your site, including:
- Page Titles and Descriptions
- Headings and Content
- Image Titles and Alt Text
To have the biggest impact on your target audience each step of the way, organize your keywords and map them out based on each stage of the customer journey. For instance:
- Introduce your brand and drive awareness with an optimized Homepage, hyper-relevant blog posts, and interactive video content.
- Inform visitors in the consideration stage with a value-driven About Page, beneficial product guides, and impactful case studies.
- Incentivize and motivate decision-making with product demos, robust product or pricing detail pages, and an accessible contact page.
2. Title Tags
After researching and identifying the keywords your customers are looking for, create a unique title tag for each page on your site to include those targeted keywords and phrases. Check that your titles are both search-friendly and click-friendly, to better impact search rankings and motivate customer engagement.
Be specific and compelling, but keep your tag under 50-60 characters: the descriptions are used to guide bots to the page, but should be short enough for optimal display in users’ search results.
For example, this search result for “wholesale polyresin garden gnome” shows the item’s color, material, and wholesale status, plus the name of the merchant:
Avoid repetition and “keyword stuffing” to ensure the keywords are incorporated naturally so searchers can understand the relevancy of your content.
3. Page Descriptions
While page descriptions aren’t used by bots to rank your site, they are important to give context to a search result and help encourage the search user to take an action. These descriptions (often referred to as meta-descriptions) do not appear on the site, but rather, within the code. A clear and enticing description explains what viewers can expect to find when they click through to the page.
Make sure your meta descriptions are easy to read, under 155 characters, and include relevant keywords, which will be displayed in bold text on the SERP.
For example, here a search result for “wholesale 3D fabric pinwheels”:
Craft complete and compelling sentences that use action-oriented language to communicate the value, benefit, or solution searchers can expect from the content or product.
4. Identify Areas for Improvement
It’s important to frequently monitor for opportunities for improvement and identify problem areas that may be negatively impacting your SEO efforts, search volume, and conversions. Regularly conduct a comprehensive audit to check the health and performance of your site’s speed, crawl-ability, security, and content.
Using an automated website crawl tool is a simple solution to inspect your on-page elements to illuminate risks, diagnose technical issues, and gain actionable insights to remedy and improve your SEO performance.
Among our favorite all-in-one crawling tools are:
- Moz Pro: includes a free 30-day trial, with full access to insights and reporting
- SEMrush: provides complimentary crawl services for up to 100 pages
- Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest: offers free registration for personalized SEO recommendations
5. Establish Trust
Trust is a major factor in SEO. Trustworthiness has many sources, including customer reviews on third-party sites, accessibility, transparency of information for your customers, and more.
To boost trust and establish credibility, your site should:
- Include easy to find contact and customer service information
- Have easy to locate and understand policies, including shipping, returns, and privacy terms
- Highlight reviews and customer testimonials
- Identify and feature your business’s staff and leadership team
- Spotlight awards, customer success stories, and media mentions
Another element of trust used in determining ranking is secure protocol, or HTTPS, indicated by a padlock symbol in front of your URL in the browser bar.
This is the secure version of HTTP, designed to prevent attacks that can steal your customers’ data during sign-up or checkout.
If your site doesn’t already have HTTPS, you’ll need to invest in a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate from your web hosting service or a reputable SSL vendor.
Continuously Invest in Your SEO Strategy
SEO is a continuous process, not a one-time event. By implementing the basics and best practices of on-page SEO, you’re on your way to performing better in search results. But what’s next? Now is not the time to get complacent. Just as buyer habits are ever-evolving, Google and other search engines are constantly changing their criteria, so stay abreast to ensure you’re maintaining your rank.
On-page SEO is a starting point. As you continue to optimize on-page elements, you can begin investing in off-page and technical SEO – the behind-the-scenes elements that boost your rankings, but require more time and technical expertise.
Need hands-on help developing and executing a sound SEO strategy? Get in touch to talk to a search expert about how we can help your website rank higher, bring in more traffic, and convert more visitors.