Whether you operate in the world of B2B or B2C, one thing will remain true: you need leads that can be converted into sales. And in the digital economy, your website will play a vital role in that process.
However, the B2B and B2C worlds are very different, and it’s the same story with search engine optimisation (SEO). As a business, you really won’t have much luck online without investing some of your marketing budget and time in SEO – but how does it differ between these two worlds?
We think there’s three key areas.
Content marketing goes hand-in-hand with SEO, but the way in which content is deployed in the B2C and B2B worlds varies considerably.
B2C purchases are usually less risky, faster and less expensive for the business selling them, whereas B2B purchases typically take longer and are more expensive to get out of the door.
This is why most B2C marketing content is designed to advertise quickly and build valuable links. In the B2B world, content plays the long game by educating, generating demand and increasing brand awareness.
If you’re a B2C business, focus your efforts on developing content that puts the product in the spotlight and tells its story as succinctly as possible. B2C customers want to know what they’re getting and how it’ll benefit them – it’s that simple.
For B2B businesses, content needs to be planned out strategically but in a way that isn’t overtly sales-driven. It needs to draw audiences into the brand, educate them (for free) and then, when enough trust has built up between the business and its potential customer, flick the ‘sales switch’.
2. B2B & B2C Keywords
The keyword strategy for a B2C business usually centres on tangible products that can be described by brand, colour, style or any other identifying feature potential customers will be searching for.
In the B2B world, keywords are more likely to be of the long tail variety. For instance, if you’re an accounting software provider, your customers might be searching Google for ‘how can I make my business compatible with MTD’. Your keyword strategy, therefore, needs to take into account such queries.
This doesn’t make either area easier or harder to research for keywords. Arguably, the B2C world can be very competitive depending on your niche, but the same goes for B2B – the latter is about finding search phrases that are relevant to your audience but not highly competitive.
Both approaches require a good deal of time and expertise to get right.
3. The buyer journey
Let’s consider the buyer journeys for B2B and B2C customers:
- B2C: the customer knows exactly what they want, and after a little bit of research, lands on a website that has the right product, price, availability and delivery terms. They press the ‘buy’ button.
- B2B: the customer identifies a need, conducts in-depth research, compares several vendors and then consults their team to make a purchasing decision.
B2C purchases can take mere seconds from start to finish, whereas B2B purchases can take weeks if not months (sometimes, years).
This means B2C SEO needs to be focused on building landing pages that are keyword optimised but very easy-to-use both from a browsing perspective but also when it comes to making the purchase. By contrast, B2B SEO needs to focus on a greater depth of keywords and ranking for searches that may not seem directly linked to the eventual purchase. Customer pain points also need to be identified and content created to help them along the buyer journey.
We’ve only scratched the surface today, but the three elements above represent the most common differences between B2B and B2C SEO. They’re very different animals.
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