Being a B2B business owner myself, I understand first-hand what it takes to create, launch, and maintain a successful B2B SEO campaign. And even though I’ve been in this industry for a long time, I still don’t “know it all,” simply because SEO is still a very young industry and tactics and methodologies are constantly evolving. But even though the “right way” is changing there are still plenty of chances to misstep and sink your B2B SEO campaign.
Here are four common B2B SEO mistakes site owners should take note of:
1. Targeting keywords that matter to you but not your target audience.
In every B2B industry there is a certain set of jargon that everyone loves to throw around. And while some of those keywords may be incredibly important to proving your worth and authority (you have to look like you know what you’re talking about, right?) if your B2B SEO campaign relies solely on those industry keywords you might actually be missing the boat when it comes to connecting with your target audience. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what keywords you think are the most important; it matters how your target audience searches. B2B SEO is about positioning your website so it’s ready when your target audience needs you. But if you aren’t speaking the same language how do every expect them to find your website?
2. Locking up most of your content.
I know many B2B websites like to use gated content as a method of lead generation; they give you their name and email and you give them a white paper or webinar. And while that’s perfectly fine you have to remember that gated content stop the search spiders, just like it stops human visitors. All that fantastic content you’ve been creating isn’t doing your B2B SEO campaign any favors when it’s under lock and key simply because the search engines can’t read it! I’m not saying you have to unlock all your content, but it might be worth opening a few resources up and seeing what kind of impact it has on your organic search presence. Remember, the search engines rank individual pages, not the website as a whole, so every public piece of content is another potential landing page for your website.
3. Not accounting for all the influencers and decision makers that impact the buying cycle.
Just like you can’t rely solely on industry jargon to connect with your target audience, you can’t limit you target audience to just the people with the buying power (the ones who sign the checks). In the B2B world especially, there can be many people involved in the buying cycle and your B2B SEO efforts should account for as many of them as possible. For instance, a software company might be targeting IT managers, but what kind of influence do the programmers and developers have in their companies? They might be the ones that bring issues to their manager’s attention. And that IT manager probably has to report up the food chain to the Director of IT or CIO for approval, and they also need the CFO to sign off on any new investments. Each influencer and decision maker is going to be looking for something a little bit different. Does your B2B SEO and content marketing campaign give all of them what they need?
4. Giving up on your B2B SEO campaign too soon.
Doing well in the B2B world takes time. The longer your sales cycle is the longer you have to give your B2B SEO campaign time to work. For instance, if your sales cycle usually takes 9 months it’s not fair to assess you SEO campaign after three months and decide it’s not working. You’ve still got another 6 months before any possible leads generated by your B2B SEO campaign will close! B2B SEO is not an instant solution to all your marketing and business needs, and I’ve seen many great campaigns cut short because people didn’t have the patience to ride it out