SEO Best Practices for B2B Marketing [Q+A]

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An Interview with Senior Manager of SEO & Paid Search John Reinesch

The rules of search engine optimization (SEO) are perpetually changing. We sat down with John Reinesch, Beacon Digital’s Senior Manager of SEO & Paid Search, to find out the most important SEO trends and practices for marketers and how B2B organizations can maximize their SEO.

Best SEO Practices for B2B Organizations

Q: What kinds of factors do search engines consider when ranking?

A: There are tons of little details and ranking factors overall, but we like to think about three different categories of SEO – technical, on-page/content, and off-page – when planning out what a client needs.

Q: What is the difference between on-page and off-page SEO?

A: On-page SEO typically refers to updating content on your website, like changing headlines and introducing keywords into your copy.  Off-page typically will be focusing on link-building efforts.

Q: What makes a website SEO-friendly?

A: A site that is structured well, loads fast, and has great content.

Q: How does SEO keyword research come into play when optimizing?

A: Keyword research is critical for optimizing a website. Our keyword research process allows us to clearly identify which keywords we want to target for each page of your website. Then, we are able to determine how we will target and optimize for those keywords to get people to the right content.

Q: How long does SEO take to work?

A: SEO is a long-term strategy where results start to compound over time. Having said that, we often get clients who have invested in content in the past, and we are able to identify “quick wins” where we can take some of the content they already have and improve it. This allows them to see improved organic traffic within 1-2 months. If we work on a website that is new and hasn’t invested in any content, then there will be fewer quick wins to take advantage of.

Q: How can you measure SEO efforts?

A: Our main key performance indicators (KPIs) are always organic search qualified leads and organic search traffic. We also measure the impact of on-page optimization by tracking specific page-level metrics like click-through rate (CTR) and average position for our target keywords. This allows us to understand if your optimizations had a positive impact or if we need to revisit them and make another update.

Q: What is link building and why does it matter?

A: The way I like to think about link building is as an endorsement or vote of confidence from one website to another. The more websites that talk about and mention your brand, the more search engines (and users) will trust that you are an authority in your industry or on a specific topic.

Q: What is page speed and why does it matter?

Q: Page speed is part of Google’s algorithm, so it’s important for ranking well long-term, but it’s also critical for users, as users will leave a slow-loading website and go back to the search results to find another result.

A: Why are backlinks important and how can you tell if they are good or bad?

Q: We evaluate potential backlink opportunities by first looking for topical relevance and then filtering our list of sites by domain authority and organic traffic. Organic traffic is the most important metric to us because we often see websites with high domain authority but no actual traffic. This is a good indication of a “spammy” website and a backlink that won’t have much value long term. After an opportunity passes our domain authority and traffic test, we manually review the website to make sure it is legitimate and has high-quality content.

Q: Why is domain authority important?

A: Domain authority is just a quick way to gauge the strength of a website's backlink profile.  We don’t focus on this metric too much but it can be helpful to quickly compare competitor websites.

Q: Is voice search important for SEO?

A: Not as much as most people in the industry say. Many people have been talking about voice search for years, but it hasn’t overtaken traditional search yet. It’s worth thinking about a strategy for it and getting in front of it, but in B2B we are still seeing traditional text search being a bigger needle mover.

Q: What are some common SEO mistakes you’ve seen B2B organizations make? How can they avoid them?

A: Not utilizing a blog effectively to publish enough high-quality informational content. This is still the best way to establish yourself as a topical authority in your industry. It allows you to get in front of users as they are performing top or mid-funnel searches, which can help supplement your top funnel prospecting budget.

We also see some B2B organizations that publish a lot of content, but they have no strategy (no clear target keywords) and the content is only a couple hundred words. We always prefer to see content produced at a slower cadence if that means the quality and comprehensiveness will be higher.

Q: Does local SEO apply to and work for B2B organizations? How would a B2B client determine if local SEO makes sense for them?

A: Local SEO typically won’t make sense for a B2B organization unless they have a physical location they are trying to get prospective clients to show up to. It is rare that this is the case. The main difference with local SEO is trying to optimize to rank in the map packs.

Q: What is your approach for developing an SEO strategy for a B2B client? What’s the best place to start?

A: We start with a series of audits to determine what the client needs the most. This allows us to customize our SEO strategy for each client and place more emphasis on whatever will provide the most impact. We view our SEO strategies with both a short- and long-term focus.

Q: Why is ongoing SEO maintenance important for B2B organizations? Why can’t you just set it and forget it?

A: Since competitors are always investing in their content/SEO and Google is constantly updating their algorithm to provide better search results, SEO becomes a moving target.

Q: What are the most important SEO principles we should be focusing on in 2021?

A: The key way we have seen our clients succeed this year is by creating quality content, content that is better than what is ranking well. It seems simple, but this often gets overlooked in favor of looking for the latest tip or tactic.

Jump Start Your SEO

The key takeaway: B2B organizations need a comprehensive SEO strategy that works both in the short-term and long term. With experts like John Reinesch on the team, Beacon Digital Marketing is ready to elevate your SEO. Let’s work together to create a successful SEO strategy.

Posted In: SEO
Samantha Spoto

Samantha Spoto

Samantha brings a broad range of experience writing for small businesses, nonprofits, news outlets, and radio programs to the Beacon Digital content team. Prior to joining Beacon, Samantha worked as a marketing associate for a Hudson Valley-based designer lighting company, writing content for their blog, social channels, and print and digital advertisements. Over the last several years Samantha has been a contributing writer and editor for creative magazines and radio programs. Samantha earned her BA in Sociology and English (Creative Writing) from SUNY New Paltz. She also studied at Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, where she developed skills in audio storytelling.