B2B Marketers Shouldn’t Rely On SEO Voodoo

Posted on 01. Dec, 2010 by Tony Wanless in Content, expertise marketing

If you’re a B2B marketer, don’t place all your bets on simple SEO for top rankings. Content with very specific keywords will better reach targeted customers with problems for which you have a solution.

A recent New York Times article highlighted the dangers of depending on SEO alone as a B2B content marketing strategy.

The article told the story of a rogue internet salesman who encouraged negative comments about his company on several online consumer sites.  Each time there was a complaint about his company, its name was mentioned as an inbound link. As a result he shot to the top of Google organic rankings for his particular product.

We won’t go on about him any more. He doesn’t deserve the attention. But he has indicated a problem with content marketing that is too common. That’s presuming that Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is all that matters when you’re selling a B2B product or service.

As the rogue’s story pointed out, it’s not quite that simple. To Google, complaints about your company are equal to accolades. They’re all online and count in terms of measurement.

For consumer products, that probably doesn’t really matter. Shoppers don’t usually look beyond the first few links in the Google list, so rankings on the first page of Google amount to the Holy Grail for most marketers in the consumer space.

But in the B2B sphere it’s a different story. To rank high there, you have to be very specific about your offering,  because target buyers target buyers aren’t simple, nor are they stupid or in a hurry. They’re most likely researching and so are going to do their due diligence before engaging your services or buying your product.

To rank high in the B2B space, you have to be very specific about your offering. Target prospects aren’t just buying some item. They’re looking for a solution to their problems. And when they search, they’re going to be very specific about what they need.

So, if you’re to use SEO right in the B2B space, you’re going to have to do the opposite of most SEO strategies touted by many of the strategists who are constantly trying to game the SEO system. Instead of simply getting your name mentioned often enough to rank high, you’ll be much better off if you ensure that each piece of content speaks to a specific problem that’s afflicting a specific person (usually the person charged with finding a solution). Also, all your communications must follow suit.

If you sell an energy conservation product, you better ensure that your content speaks directly to the researcher who is most likely looking for a solution to his or her problem conserving energy.

If you sell a consulting service,  then you had better indicate how you can help people to whom you want to consult with a process problem they think is unique to them.

If you’re using content as a lead generation tool, the last thing you want to do in B2B content marketing is talk about things that are irrelevant to your prospects.

They’ll tune you out fast and start looking at your competition.

And no amount of keyword stuffing, razzle-dazzle copywriting, or Search Engine Optimization voodoo will stop them.

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