The B2B Marketer’s Guide to Keyword Optimization
Keyword optimization is a vital part of content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). Choosing keywords for your online B2B marketing strategy may seem an easy task but it is actually more complicated if you consider the complexity of the B2B buying process.
Online users do not just click and purchase in the way they do when shopping from online e-commerce sites. With B2B, there is a research phase and an evaluation phase, wherein different sets of keyword terms might be used, before your customers reach the final stages of decision-making and purchasing.
In developing a keyword strategy, B2B marketers need more than an understanding of how SEO works. It is also important to study various search terms prospects may be using in the different phases of the buying cycle.
The involvement of multiple parties in decision-making and the vast lexicon of industry terms available also present unique challenges to B2B marketers. Whether or not you employ SEO specialists, it is still imperative that you know how to gauge the effectiveness of your SEO strategies.
The B2B industry uses specific terms – a lot of them – and the terms may differ from one organization to another. It is best to do some research on the keywords your prospects use. Hint: Consider the actual terms an average customer might actually use when doing a search for products or a supplier. Minimize the use of technical terms and get started on a string of generic keywords for optimizing your content. It also helps to know the demographics of your audience, and if you intend to target different audiences over time, your keyword strategy needs to reflect this.
Your B2B SEO strategy might include optimizing for different sets of keywords for different web/landing pages. B2B companies may sometimes incorporate several landing pages for various revenue streams. An optimized landing page for a specific product or revenue stream focuses on a specific search term. This would entail a little bit of work because more pages means more content, but aside from supporting your SEO campaign, it also helps make your website more relevant and credible.
The Google Keyword Tool helps you determine search volume for a search term on a monthly or yearly basis, and which keywords generate low to high competition (meaning, those which are also being targeted by many others). You can use it or any other keyword tool to choose popular keywords that only have low to moderate competition and at the same time gauge how a search term is doing as far as bringing traffic to the websites of competitors.
While Google frowns upon excessive use of keywords, strategic placement effectively boosts your website’s relevance. Some keyword placement essentials include the page title, home page content, meta-descriptions, the sitemap, and custom error page.
- Page title. A properly optimized website title page factors in on attracting more visitors and improving your page rank.
- Homepage content. Home page descriptions show up on the search engine results pages (SERPs) and thus greatly impact visitors and SEO ranking. B2B marketers with a lack of experience often fail to optimize their home page, sometimes not even bothering to come up with any home page content at all! Search engine bots and crawlers determine website quality, relevance, and page rank through your home page so it would be unwise to overlook this.
- XML and HTML sitemap. Do not underestimate the importance of a usable sitemap in SEO. Whether designed in XML or HTML format, search engine bots “crawl” sitemaps and use them to navigate the content and pages of your website as they rank your page.
- Custom error page. It is also a common for B2B marketers to ignore the possibility that potential customers might enter a wrong URL. Creating a custom error page helps not only in drawing more traffic but also in keeping your server secure.
- Meta-descriptions. Meta-descriptions are more for the benefit of users. A keyword-optimized meta-description, along with your optimized title page, shows up on SERPs. Be sure to make the meta-description keyword-rich, concise, and enticing enough to encourage users to click through.
Any self-respecting SEO specialist knows that keywords are dynamic and keyword optimization involves a lot of trial-and-error and entails constant analysis and keyword refinement. This is where analytics and keyword research tools come into play. There is always the Google Keyword Research Tool that anyone can use for free. If you want a more detailed analysis, there are several paid tools that you can avail of.
Focus on educating your audience. Unless your company is an undisputed industry leader, do not be quick to assume that your customers will be searching for your brand name. Even if your prospects reach the stage wherein they are aware of the products and services you offer, expect them to want to learn more and seek out other options available. Pick keywords that address customers’ needs and problems.
If there is one thing you should remember about keyword density, it’s that nobody likes a keyword spammer. Both website visitors and search engines will deem your website credible and trustworthy based on the relevance of your content as a whole and not on the number of times you used a specific keyword. Generally, a keyword density of 1% to 5% (one to five times every 100 words) should be enough.
Optimize for Various Buying Phases
In B2B marketing it is essential to get a good grasp of the different phases of the buying cycle in order to be able to meet the needs of customers at each buying phase. Bear in mind that customers will use specific search terms, perhaps more general keywords, at the beginning of their search for suppliers or products they would like to source – and use a different set of keywords later in the process as they get a deeper understanding of specific issues, prior to making a final decision.
Monitor Your Campaigns
It pays to scrutinize your web analytics very closely, for both paid advertising and organic visitors. Review not only keywords that bring traffic in but also those that prompt users to click other pages on your website. Analyze bounce rates, test alternate landing pages, test various keywords, customize your content accordingly – and over time, develop a keyword strategy that best suits your B2B business.