Do you want more organic traffic? Are you sick and tired of paying monstrous amounts of money on paid ads?
If you answered "yes," then it's time to find a B2B SEO agency with a tried and tested SEO strategy that can bring you more traffic and potential customers.
Don't forget rule number one if you're ready to hire a B2B SEO agency.
… Don't rush it.
The impact that an SEO agency can have on B2B companies is HUGE. And I don't just mean a positive effect - there are risks too.
The right agency can bring thousands of organic, relevant, and long-term web traffic. They can also establish a brand's reputation as an authority. And last but not least, B2B SEO agencies can help skyrocket B2B revenue.
TL;DR: Be meticulous when looking for a B2B SEO agency—the role they play is uber important.
To help you find an SEO agency that provides reliable SEO services, let me first help you avoid the bogus ones.
How to spot a poor B2B SEO agency
Other than promising guaranteed rankings, there are other red flags to watch out for when choosing a B2B SEO agency.
1. Can't identify realistic search engine optimization (SEO) goals
A good SEO agency won't guarantee rankings.
However, they have the B2B SEO tools, staffing, and know-how to identify SEO opportunities and deliver real improvements.
Apart from that, they should also tell you about the work involved and the strategy. See that they can explain every step in detail without relying on SEO jargon.
This brings us to the importance of having a clear B2B SEO strategy.
2. No clear SEO roadmap strategy
A trustworthy SEO agency should be able to give you a clear and detailed roadmap of where your money will go.
Their SEO strategy should include short-term and long-term improvements for your website—on-page and off-page. Short-term in the world of SEO, though, is 6-12 months. Anyone telling you that you should see results quickly is likely to be untrustworthy.
Remember, the recipe for B2B SEO success requires a bunch of ingredients, such as:
- Keyword research, planning and strategizing
- Content creation and optimization
- Link building
- Social presence to help with brand awareness
- User experience
- Content marketing
- Reputation management
If their SEO strategy only involves one of these ingredients, look somewhere else. There's a necessary time and place for each of these 'ingredients', and at various points throughout the SEO journey, each one might take a priority, but make sure your agency can provide support in all of these areas.
3. Emails you out of nowhere
You could be reading this post because you received an email out of the blue from a stranger.
It could read something like this:
You should notice quickly that the email above is spam.
The main worry is that they already have a 20-page SEO audit waiting for me.
No, real agencies don't just prepare in-depth SEO audits and send them via email for no reason. And while some agencies do offer free audits, you'll have to request one first. They can take anywhere from 8 hours to 160 hours to produce.
These 'audits' are generated by primarily free software and include a chunk of 'optimizations' that they claim will help you improve your website. In reality, they won't.
For perspective, an audit from any decent SEO agency would cost you between £600 and £10,000 depending on what's involved, the size of your website and the complexities of your website platform.
4. No online presence
This sounds like a no-brainer, but if an SEO agency doesn't have any online presence, then they're most likely fake.
I'm talking about an official website and social media profiles, at least on LinkedIn.
Even if they have a social presence, do a closer inspection and look for trust signals, like:
- Testimonials or comments from previous SEO clients
- Valuable and informative content
- Real followers
5. Low-quality writing
Lastly, please pay attention to their emails and posts on social media or their website.
You can quickly tell if an SEO agency is shoddy if they frequently make spelling and grammatical mistakes or they write in broken English.
Let's get one thing straight: to have a successful SEO campaign, you need nothing less than high-quality content.
The top B2B SEO service providers know this. That's why they always use precise grammar and spelling when speaking to prospects.
Imagine the quality of content they'll make for you if they can't deliver solid writing for their own communications.
How to choose a B2B SEO agency
Now that you know what NOT to look for, let's talk about finding an SEO agency the right way.
1. Ask the right questions
When talking to an SEO agency, it's essential to ask the right questions to determine their legitimacy.
Reliable SEO agencies should know how vital this stage is, especially for B2B prospects.
Here's a quick checklist of questions you should ask:
- What are the common SEO strategies you use to improve search engine rankings?
- How long have you been doing search engine optimization?
- What kind of results should I expect from your SEO services, and when can I expect them?
- Aside from standard SEO tools such as Google Analytics, what other SEO tools do you use and for what tasks?
- Can you tell me about your experience with past clients?
- What is your client retention rate?
- Can I speak to any of your clients?
- How can I track the changes made on my website?
- Can you tell me about the differences between B2B SEO and B2C SEO?
- What experience do you have with businesses in my industry?
- Do you work with multiple clients in any given industry/niche?
2. Request a technical SEO audit
A technical SEO audit is crucial to the success of any SEO campaign.
This will help your agency establish baselines, map focus areas, build a goal-driven strategy, and track improvements. For clients (you), a thorough SEO audit can serve as reassurance that you're getting your money's worth.
Most high-quality SEO agencies will either encourage an SEO audit before partnering with a business, or they'll use the first month or two of the relationship for auditing the website.
3. Make sure they do most of their SEO in-house
An SEO agency that does everything in-house is usually a better bet.
But the sad reality is many SEO companies outsource essential tasks. This includes copywriting, email outreach, and content optimization.
While there's nothing wrong with outsourcing itself, an SEO agency should be transparent about it. This shows that they're confident in their talent pool and their capacity for success—in-house or not.
If they do outsource, you should also complete some due diligence on the individuals or companies they outsource to.
4. Get to know the team
Regardless of whether they outsource small tasks, a good SEO agency should be proud of the people in their team.
Ask to connect with everyone in the team, particularly those involved in your campaign.
You can then chat with them over the phone, on a video call or face-to-face. Ask about their roles, their experience, and their plans for your website.
Remember, SEO is a complicated process through and through. Every single step should be handled by professionals who share the same level of dedication and competence.
5. Preparing to work together
If an SEO agency thinks you're a good fit, be sure to ask for a contract with deliverables.
Before you sign it, don't forget to read the terms carefully. Take a minute to understand the deliverables you can expect, and feel free to ask questions about them.
You can also pass it to your legal department to ensure the contract won't hurt you down the road.
A reasonably lengthy onboarding process usually follows the contract signing. This involves sharing access to your website and tools, discussing timelines, planning communication and reporting, and so on.
Is B2B SEO still relevant in 2022?
Still on the fence whether you need B2B SEO or not?
Take all the time you need.
In the meantime, I've gathered some facts that may help you decide if you should push through with your decision.
Driving targeted organic traffic from search results has always been an effective, long-term SEO strategy when it comes to lead generation.
The same rings true in the B2B space, even in 2022.
If you want sustainable growth, your company needs to tap into solutions that will attract recurring, organic traffic. And while B2B SEO campaigns often come with high upfront costs, the long-term results are almost always worth it. It is the most sustainable marketing channel, in my opinion.
Let's take a look at some facts:
- 89% of B2B buyers use the internet for research; plus, 71% of B2B researchers start with generic searches (Think With Google)
- 65% of companies invest in SEO to accomplish digital marketing goals (The CMO Survey)
- 46% of companies increased their SEO budgets over the past few years (Gartner)
With the high usage rate of search in B2B, ignoring SEO in favour of outbound marketing is practically a crime.
After all, B2B buyers with purchase intent tend to use search engines to research and compare products. It would be a huge oversight to be absent where prospective leads prance about with their wallets open.
With all that said, let's take a closer look at B2B SEO—what makes it different and how to make it work for your company.
B2B SEO: What makes it different
Finally, it's imperative that you find an SEO agency that knows how B2B SEO works.
A key differentiator between B2C and B2B SEO would be audience behaviour.
Unlike B2C customers, potential customers in B2B are more meticulous and purchase in different ways.
They'll take a look at spec sheets, landing pages, product comparisons, reviews, forums, tutorials — anything that can help them make the most out of their limited budget.
Statistics show that the average B2B buyer does 12 searches before engaging a vendor's website.
These searches, and the keywords used in them, relate to different stages in the B2B sales funnel.
Remember, we're not talking about someone searching for the latest gadget or fashion accessory.
B2B buyers are professionals in charge of making data-driven investment decisions for large companies. They have a professional responsibility to make the right decision.
It shouldn't be a surprise if they bide their time and run multiple searches using various keywords. However, this shouldn't be seen purely as a disadvantage. With effective B2B SEO, your business could have numerous opportunities to be discovered by prospects.
You should be targeting every stage in that conversion funnel. Those "How", "What", "Why", and "When" keywords can be just as important as the keywords in the final stage of the purchasing journey.
That's something a B2B SEO agency can plan for.
Here are a few things you need to discuss with your SEO agency:
1. Creating and optimizing content for the different funnel stages
It's no secret that your SEO content should match the search intent behind your target keywords. The intent is everything when it comes to B2B audiences.
What some B2B brands miss, however, is the importance of content formats.
For example, if you're optimizing for leads in the evaluation stage, you shouldn't try to rank how-to guides or listicles.
You need content that showcases your expertise and capacity to deliver results.
Some examples are:
- Original reports
- Case studies
- White papers
Your SEO agency should understand your buyers and where they are in the sales funnel. They should also be able to fine-tune your content strategy based on what your audience needs in each stage.
Your audience may still be in the early awareness stage or just inches away from engaging. What's important is your company will be present throughout their journey — not just when they're about to sign the check.
2. Adding personas to your keyword research recipe
Are your prospects currently looking for alternatives to a certain product? Do they need to learn more about your industry, or are they already close to purchasing from your competitor?
What are their roles, and what type of content do they need to further their research?
These are the things you need to discuss with your agency when building a B2B keyword strategy.
Building the right content is like planning a party and making the preparations. On the other hand, getting the right keywords is like addressing and sending out the invitations.
Keywords make sure your B2B content will be visible to the right audience.
It doesn't matter if a particular keyphrase has a lower search volume than another. What matters is your keywords should bring your personas precisely to the content they need.
You should take high conversion rates over search volume almost every single time you plan your content. If your content matches the intent of the person searching, your conversions rates should be strong.
Otherwise, you'll only waste money pulling in traffic that isn't ready for your bottom-of-the-funnel content — or already way past introductions.
3. Optimizing your B2B content marketing
I wasn't even scratching the surface when I talked about content formats.
There's a lot more depth in the B2B buyer's journey for case studies and videos to cover.
You need to offer eBooks, online courses, free tools, cost calculators, templates, and checklists to convince savvy leads to buy from you. Not only that, you need to optimize and rank all this content to make them discoverable by the right audience.
Your agency should already know this, especially if they have worked with B2B brands before. Discuss how these content formats will be weaved into your SEO campaign.
The caveat to this is always going to be budget. Your SEO agency can't do it all if you can't afford enough of their time to implement everything.
This is another reason to be thorough when picking an agency to work with - they will be honest and tell you that they have to adapt to your budget.
4. Mixing paid search with search engine optimization
As potent as SEO is at generating B2B leads, it's not meant to be a standalone solution.
A good chunk of B2B companies still use paid search ads (in combination with SEO) for a reason. And that reason is, it's simply more profitable that way.
Data reveals that organizations using SEO and PPC get 25% more clicks than those focusing on a single strategy. They also have 27% higher profits.
Don't be misguided by generalizations like "most searchers only look at organic results." As a matter of fact, 68% of B2B buyers look at ads during the research process.
Yes, organic results get a lot more clicks than ads, but in fact, running ads alongside a good organic presence can result in an increase on what one or the other can achieve individually.
Ideally, the same agency should handle your SEO and PPC campaigns. Smaller-scale SEO agencies may not have the resources for this, but there are SEO companies that can handle both. The data that can be passed between both is gold dust.
Generate tons of organic traffic with the right B2B SEO agency
Do you need help with your technical, on-page or off-site B2B SEO campaign?
Do you feel that your B2B SEO strategy falls miserably short compared to your competitors?
It's time we change all that.
You can reach your target audience generate relevant traffic and more leads and sales if you make thorough decisions backed by this guide.
Use this form to contact me.