If ‘Content is king’, SEO is most definitely queen.
The SEO landscape is ever changing; however, the need for traffic and for your company to rank on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is not.
According to MOZ, SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. And do you know what goes hand-in-hand with SEO? Keywords. Keywords are at the very core of SEO. They are defined as words and phrases that people type into search engines in order to find the answers to their questions.
Keywords are a critical component for SEO strategy because they play a significant role in helping your website rank on SERPs. Higher rankings equal more traffic to your website and ultimately, more conversions. Here are tips for identifying B2B SEO keywords.
The Long and Short of It
There are several variations of keywords combinations, and not all keywords are created equal. The type of keyword you select depends solely on your goals, the buyer you want to attract, and the results you want to achieve.
[Wondering why B2B SEO is important in the first place? Click here.]
There are two main types of keywords:
Short/Header Keywords: Short keywords are just that, short words that typically describe a category. For example, SEO. Short keywords can be flashy and shiny from a volume perspective, but they tend to be lofty goals and often requires deep pockets to make any headway against the competition.
Long Tail Keywords: Long tail keywords are longer searches and can often contain more intent. Long tail keywords typically have lower volume than some of the short keywords, but they can pack a powerful punch when it comes to competition. Space is less crowded.
Short Keyword: SEO
Long Tail Keyword: How do I identify keywords for B2B SEO?
Think About Your Buyer Personas
Before we get too in the weeds on types of keywords, volume, and difficulty, we need to take a step back and think, “Who are my buyers and how are they searching?. Buyer personas are at the heart of inbound and should be a driving force in your B2B SEO strategy. Buyer personas, according to HubSpot, are a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
[For a refresher on Inbound marketing, here are the basics]
Part of defining your buyer personas are thinking about their pain points, how they are searching, what they are searching for, and when. The buyer’s journey, is the process buyers go through to become aware of their problem or pain, consider and evaluate solutions, and decide to purchase a new product or service.
Meeting your buyers where they are at in the buyer’s journey with keywords that align to how they search is the ultimate goal. In order to do that, break it down by stage.
In the awareness stage, the buyer knows they have a problem, but they may not be able to put a name to their pain yet so search terms in the awareness stage are often questions.
Keyword Example: How do I get my company to rank on Google? How do I get more visitors to my website?
In the consideration stage, the buyer is aware they have a problem and has begun to consider solutions to the problem.
Keyword Example: SEO Solutions, Options for improving SEO, How to build a B2B SEO strategy
In the decision stage, the buyer is looking for a solution and likely ready to buy. Here they are comparing solutions, reading reviews, and making the decision of who to buy from.
Keyword Example: B2B SEO agencies near me, Best B2B SEO agency
Put yourself in your buyers’ shoes, familiarize yourself with your persona stories. From there, let the research begin. For more information on aligning keywords with your buyer’s journey, check out this article.
[SEO results won’t happen overnight. Here’s why.]
Third-party keyword research tools are essential when it comes to selecting keywords. The tools can help us learn about keyword volume, keyword difficulty, and help us to discover new keyword opportunities.
There are several keyword research tools in the marketplace, but here are a few favorites.
Ahrefs is a tool widely known for backlinks and SEO analysis. Their Keywords Explorer provides relevant keyword ideas and traffic estimations and in particular. The tool also provides estimates on how many backlinks you need to obtain in order to rank for a given term.
Keywords Everywhere is one of Ryan’s favorites. It’s a free browser add-on that shows search volume, cost-per-click, and competition data when you visit a SERP. Plus, unlike Ahrefs, it’s free! Can’t beat that.
It’s hard to talk about SEO and not mention MOZ. MOZ is a widely popular SEO tool that allows you to do in-depth keyword research and SERP analysis through researching volume, quality, and competitive analysis. In addition to the tool, they offer training and great tips for leveraging local search.
[Check out some more of our favorite tools!]
Okay, so you’re in tune with your buyers, you are thinking about tools, but what’s next? You need to generate a B2B SEO keyword list before you can start honing in on your targets. Here are a few of our recommendations for keyword inspiration outside of running searches in the tools mentioned above.
Especially if you are embarking on a new B2B SEO effort, do a temperature check and see where you are at with your current rankings. What terms are you ranking for? Are they relevant? Are there terms that you would like to rank higher for? If so, add them to your list and do a deep dive on the stats to understand what it will take to move the needle.
Check out what the competition is doing. What are they writing about? What phrases are they using? As we mentioned above, keyword research can help you do some digging to see what’s happening behind the scenes but don’t discount paying your competitors site a visit and seeing what you can gleam yourself. There’s something to be said for a little digital sleuthing.
One of the most obvious, but most likely to be missed suggestion with all of the tools and data at our disposal, is literally a Google search. Try googling a keyword you are interested in and review the suggested search terms at the bottom of the SERP page for ideas.
Also, see who comes up in the SERPs. What topics are they writing about? It can give you an idea of what content is already ranking towards the top in answer to your buyers’ queries.
Keyword selection is both an art and a science and involves choosing quality keywords. Keyword quality is often talked about by describing both the search volume and the difficulty of the keyword.
Keyword Search Volume: Search volume is the number of people searching for the keyword for a given set of time. Most platforms aggregate the volume number monthly.
Keyword Difficulty: Keyword difficulty is a numerical score which indicates how hard it would be to rank in the top position on the SERPS for the keyword term or phrase.
As a rule of thumb, you should select higher volume, lower difficulty keywords that still align with your buyer personas and content strategy.
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- Bring it back to the personas – as with all things inbound, they should be at the heart of your strategy.
- Do your research and leverage third-party tools to help you aggregate data around volume, difficulty, and opportunity.
- Look outside the keyword research tools for keyword inspiration from your current rankings, competitors and real-time Google searches.