3 Tactics to Boost Your B2B SEO Strategy

February 17, 2021
Contributor: Rupal Bhandari

B2B marketers need to understand how SEO fits into their buyer’s purchase journey, set appropriate SEO objectives, and adjust their strategy to developments in search behaviors or channels.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a crucial component of the digital marketing strategy for B2B businesses. 67.6% of organic online traffic clicks come from the first five organic results on the first search engine results page (SERP) (full report available to Gartner clients). Organic placement among those search engine results helps a B2B company gain visibility and credibility and improves marketing outcomes. 

Yet SEO remains a challenge due to the mix of technical know-how, analytics, buyer persona and journey insights, content marketing capabilities and link-building capabilities needed to make it successful. Frequent updates to search engine algorithms and lack of visibility into users’ search behaviors can further make SEO daunting for a B2B marketer. 

Instead of getting overwhelmed by the number of moving parts in a B2B SEO strategy, B2B marketers should focus on getting the essentials right. To boost overall SEO success, they need to understand how SEO fits into their buyer’s purchase journey, set appropriate SEO objectives, and accommodate developments in search behaviors or channels into the SEO strategy. 

Understand how SEO fits into the buyer's purchase journey

A B2B buyer spends 27% of the time in the purchase journey independently researching online, potentially using at least one search engine during the online research. 

In the initial stages of the purchase journey, the B2B buyer typically explores a need and likely uses broad, generic and nonbranded search keywords. However, as the B2B buyer progresses through the journey and starts to register interest or make a purchase, a switch to product- or brand-specific search terms happens (full report available to Gartner clients).

Examples of the evolution of search keywords based on buyer stage

Marketers must use journey mapping techniques alongside keyword research. This will help them know how their buyers search and identify the kinds of keywords buyers use at different stages of the purchase journey. Marketers then must align the B2B SEO strategy with the buyer’s purchase journey so that the SEO keywords and corresponding content complement the buyer’s intentions or needs (articulated through search).

Set appropriate SEO objectives

Many marketing teams perceive SEO success as attaining a certain position on the SERP for strategically important keywords. This means objectives for an SEO campaign usually look like “attain position zero for keywords x, y and z and position one for keywords l, m and n.” However, it's important to understand that although top SERP positions give brand-boosting visibility, they should be viewed only as a milestone and not as the end goal itself. Businesses should set SEO objectives that focus on business performance outcomes.

Examples of SEO objectives that focus on business performance outcomes:
  • Deliver 5,000 additional conversions from organic search by the end of 2021
  • Increase leads from organic search by 20% in the next three months 

To set SEO objectives aligned to business performance, it is important to understand how SEO contributes to the marketing pipeline. Then use the understanding of buyer behavior to quantify precise metrics for the objectives. 

Examples of SEO strategy evaluation questions in relation to business objectives

Adjust B2B SEO strategy to developments in online search

Online search evolves constantly. Sometimes changes in the search engine algorithms prompt that evolution. For example, Google typically adjusts its algorithm 500 to 600 times a year. Other times, user behaviors prompt changes. For instance, the use of long-tail keywords in search have increased due to the increased popularity of voice-based search and search via virtual personal assistants (full report available to Gartner clients).

Given the ever-evolving nature of the discipline, B2B SEO strategy cannot be static. Instead, B2B marketers must monitor, reevaluate and restructure their SEO efforts to accommodate developments in search algorithms and buyer behaviors. 

B2B SEO strategy: Assess strengths before introducing optimization tactics

Any B2B business currently operating in a digital environment likely already has an SEO strategy in place. Answer the questions below and use your responses to better understand the weak points of your current SEO strategy. Any updates or adjustments designed to boost the SEO strategy should ensure that the strengths of the current SEO strategy can be retained.

Assess SEO strategy strengths and weaknesses using the following questions:
  • How much of the current website traffic is organic?
  • How much of the organic website traffic ends up turning into customers?
  • Is the business currently ranking above or below competitors on SERP for key keywords?
  • What are the highest search volume keywords that the business currently relies on?
  • How often are new keywords introduced to the SEO strategy?

Curate relevant and valuable content that aligns with your buyers’ needs and purchase journey with the help of our Lead Management Guide.


Rupal Bhandari

Rupal Bhandari covers sales and account management markets. She received her master’s degree from the University of Delhi, India, and has created content for some of the world’s leading technology products and companies. Connect with Rupal on LinkedIn.

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