I’ve read many an article that proclaims Business to Business (B2B) SEO is identical to Business to Customer (B2C).
Although the fundamental approaches of both SEO approaches are the same, that is to drive meaningful organic traffic that generates leads and sales. There are significant differences between a campaign that’s focused on businesses customers and one that’s focused on retail customers.
What makes the campaigns similar
The fundamental approach of any SEO campaign covers the three usual suspects:
Involves content creation and optimisation of the page itself to ensure it ranks for the selected keywords in search engines
Keyword research is required to find keywords that have a significant search volume and a good search intent.
Content creation– high-quality content that answers the searcher’s question is essential
Hub and spoke model- Hub is the broad page on the site that discusses a specific topic. Spokes are more detailed pages that discuss more specific aspects of the hub.
Utilising elements on other websites that enable the page on your site to rank in search engines. There are several components to Off-Page SEO, the most common being links (and citations).
Link building– both B2B and B2C sites need active link building to be able to rank for more competitive keywords.
Ensuring the structure and technical elements of the website are optimised and error free.
Technical SEO approaches are very similar between B2B and B2B sites, but there are some subtle differences around schema.
What makes B2B SEO approaches unique
Although there are many similarities, as highlighted above. There are many subtle differences between B2B SEO and B2C SEO that are comprised of the differences in the buyer’s journey, including:
Longer Buying Cycle
It’s often said that the B2C buying cycle is somewhat irrational and impulsive! This contrasts heavily with the B2B buying cycle that can be as long as 12 months. This makes sense, as B2B purchases are generally more expensive and the ramifications of a poor decision can be detrimental to a business.
Multiple decision-makers and hierarchies
Contributing to the longer buying cycle is the multiple levels of approvals that are often required for a B2C purchase, with differing budget approval limits. The larger the organisation making a purchase, the more levels of approval that often need to be sought.
When performing B2C SEO, it’s often the case of picking the keywords with the highest search volume and good intent. In the B2B world, the search volume of the keyword is less critical, and long tail keywords that are very specific with low search volume are more successful as the potential buyer knows precisely what they are looking to procure.
Thought leadership in the B2B space is critical. Trying to convince buyers with keywords and calls to action that include “buy” “cheap” and “today” won’t work. It’s imperative to demonstrate your knowledge and authority, and that means “informational” keywords are valuable in the B2B space, as the buyer’s journey is focused on information gathering and learning the various options in the market.
Lower conversion rate
The higher purchase prices and a smaller number of purchases ensure the conversion rate of B2C sites are generally lower than B2C sites.
There are many similarities to an SEO campaign for B2B business and one that’s aimed at B2C buyers. There are subtle differences for B2B SEO, as the buying cycle is longer, more approvals are required, and there’s a lower overall search volume. Informational keywords and the ability to display thought leadership is crucial for B2B organisations.