B2B demand generation is what your brand does to create interest and awareness. Making other businesses conscious of your business is a key factor in leading them to investigate you more and eventually becoming your customer.
Companies existing in the business to business industry often live and die by demand generation. B2B demand generation requires diligence, hard work, and reliable actionable methods that create demand and increases your overall brand awareness.
You can generate demand through a variety of channels, including paid ads, content marketing, and influencer marketing. However, having a strong search engine presence is essential.
Here is why B2B SEO is vital for your business and some key principles you can use for B2B demand generation.
Why B2B SEO Should Be a Priority
Type “B2B SEO” in Google and hit “Enter.” At present, you’d be rewarded with more than 41 million results offering a range of perspectives on how businesses can optimize their search marketing efforts to reach other business clients.
Is this an important exercise for demand generation? You bet it is! Here are a few statistics that illustrate why B2B SEO should be a priority:
- 89% of B2B researchers go online for information-gathering purposes and 90% use search engines in their efforts.
- Google currently has over 70% of the global search engine market share, meaning you should focus your efforts in this direction.
- On average, B2B buyers won’t contact a salesperson until more than half (57%) of the buyer’s journey is complete, so brands must find ways to be visible at all times.
If you’re a B2B marketer, there’s a good chance that someone is searching for your products or services right now or trying to confirm that you are the right choice…and they’re doing this without any input from a salesperson.
The best way to boost your visibility and deliver what the customer wants and needs is through strong B2B SEO.
3 SEO Principles for B2B Demand Generation
To get B2B SEO right, it’s vital that you already understand your audience. You may be marketing to several types of decision-makers and stakeholders in the companies you’re trying to reach.
Your B2B SEO strategy should answer three questions:
- For what is our audience searching?
- How can we satisfy their needs?
- How will we show the search engines that we are a top choice to satisfy these needs?
Now that you know what questions to ask, here is how you should concentrate your B2B SEO efforts:
1. Focus Keywords on Two Metrics
Keyword research can go on indefinitely, which is why you need a strategy. When you conduct your initial research for SEO, use two metrics to create your list – search volume and CPC.
Search volume is how many times people enter a keyword or search term into the search engine each month. If your business ranks well for a high-volume keyword, it’s going to get more organic traffic.
Google Trends is a useful and free tool that gives you search volume for a keyword as well as growth and geographic popularity data. However, you might also need to consider seasonality. For example, searches for “ski jackets” begin to increase as the temperatures dip across the country.
Another metric you’ll want to use when choosing keywords is their cost per click (CPC). This is a measure of how competitive a particular search term is in Google. It also tells you how likely someone is to buy.
Combining search volume and CPC, your goal should be to create a list of no more than 100 keywords. You can narrow down your choices by choosing ones with search volume above zero and CPC as high as possible.
Finally, group your keywords by intent. Google has worked hard to improve its algorithm so that it determines the audience’s intent. Instead of creating a piece of content for every keyword, group your terms by intent for better SEO.
2. Create “Hub” and “Sub” Pages
According to HubSpot, nearly half (47%) of buyers view three to five pieces of content before they speak with a sales representative. Knowing this, it makes sense to have relevant and engaging content available for potential customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Often a business customer will have a broad idea about what they need to get accomplished, but more specific content can point them further in the right direction. If you’ve ever clicked on a general article about something and then ended up reading three or four related pieces of content on a website, you understand the concept.
At some point, people will “Google” any number of terms on which you chose to focus for SEO purposes. Your brand should create “hub” and “sub” pages around related terms.
The hub page is a deeply researched long-form piece of content with plenty of images and/or videos. It is linked to sub pages, which are focused on your secondary keywords. Hub pages are also referred to as pillar pages that link to multiple cluster content pages.
For example, Drift has a hub page that is a “Guide to Chatbots.” It also has roughly a dozen sub pages linking to it with titles like, “How Does a Chatbot Work?,” “What Are the Benefits of Chatbots?,” and “How to Create a Chatbot.”
When you build these hub and sub pages, you have a stronger chance of giving customers what they want, and they will stay on your site longer. Since Google’s goal is to help searchers find the most accurate information possible, you’ll be rewarded with improved rankings by using this approach.
3. Optimize the Page After It Publishes
Too many digital marketers make the mistake of walking away from their content once it’s been posted. Not every post is going to be a winner. In fact, 90% of your leads will come from 10% of your content on average.
After publishing your page, take another look at the top-performing pages as a roadmap for further optimization. You can optimize any page on your website, whether it was posted a month or a year ago.
While it may be tempting to go back in and try to optimize a non-performing post to make it better, a more productive strategy is to take a well-performing post and supercharge it. By optimizing a post that is already doing well, you increase the chances of making your post “go viral.”
Google values freshness, so if your page was published over a year ago, it’s worth it to go back and update some of the content. The search engine giant also wants you to have accurate content, so see if there is anything you can refine to make the information more useful to visitors. Finally, check your links to confirm they are still working and even consider linking to new or more credible sources. Then conduct link building outreach to improve the authority of your content even further.
Purchase Advertising on Industry Sites and Social Media
Advertising is a little different than SEO, but it’s a viable method of demand generation and you don’t leave anything to chance. Google and other platforms such as Facebook have ad generation built into their framework.
There are many types of ads including search ads, display ads, video ads, and sponsored posts. You must join an advertising network such as Google Ads, develop a budget for your ads and create campaigns based on the methods you want such as display and video ads.
These platforms allow you to target your ads to specific industries and demographics, so only businesses connected to that industry will see the ads. The goal is to create ads that develop interest and demand in your product, service, or brand.
It’s important to manage your campaign and not create it and forget it. For an advertising campaign to work, it must be targeted and tweaked to be most efficient in developing demand. This is done through A-B testing, where you make a small change in an ad and see if it increases interest.
This is connected to SEO in that you must create keyword lists to connect with each ad campaign.
Create or Sponsor Videos and Podcasts
We talked about creating blogs and guest posting, but two highly popular methods of media are online videos and podcasts. You can create your own YouTube channel or podcast and generate content that creates demand, but not all the videos and podcasts should be sales-related.
Instead, they should be informative about your general industry. If you don’t want to create videos and podcasts, then you can sponsor existing popular posts and channels to help create demand.
If you create your own content, then make sure the descriptions are keyword optimized to help not only ranking on search engines but also the content sites.
Use Influencer Marketing to Create Demand
YouTube, blogs, Instagram, and other social media platforms created a new type of celebrity known as influencers. These people have millions of subscribers and viewers that watch their videos or read their blogs.
Influencer marketing goes a little further than simply sponsoring a video or podcast. By using influencer marketing, the influencer uses or mentions your product or service within their content. In exchange, the influencer is either provided the product for free or paid like a celebrity spokesperson.
This can be particularly effective for B2B demand generation if the influencer is within your industry.
A successful B2B sales cycle doesn’t just happen. It requires a multi-channel approach that raises brand awareness, builds credibility, engages the customer, and measures valuable business KPIs. Your business can use these three SEO principles for B2B demand generation as part of its comprehensive strategy to increase the return on its digital marketing investment.