5 Steps to Building a Strategic B2B Keyword List

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To maximize your return from SEO, B2B marketers must approach all aspects of their SEO program strategically, …

To maximize your return from SEO, B2B marketers must approach all aspects of their SEO program strategically,
including keyword research. In the B2C world the main goal is often to drive e-commerce transactions from an
individual search visitor. The B2B world is a lot more complex, with multiple buyer roles and a multi-stage sales
cycle. That’s what makes it fun though right?

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  • 1. 5 Steps to Buildinga Strategic B2BKeyword List 1 2 3 4 5
  • 2. 5 Steps to Building a Strategic B2B Keyword ListBefore you dive into keywords, read this first!To maximize your return from SEO, B2B marketers must approach all aspects of their SEO program strategically,including keyword research. In the B2C world the main goal is often to drive e-commerce transactions from anindividual search visitor. The B2B world is a lot more complex, with multiple buyer roles and a multi-stage salescycle. That’s what makes it fun though right?So before diving into keyword research, we suggest that you create a framework for your keyword strategy. 1. efine your business goals --what’s your product or service fo- D cus or priorities? What type of visitors are you trying to attract? The holy grail of keywords How are you going to capture these visitors? What are the best offers for you to convert your SEO visitors to leads? How many To pass muster and end up on your visits and leads do you expect from your SEO efforts? list, keywords must be: • Highlyrelevant to your 2. evelop a detailed picture of your audience—how many D business different types of buyers are you trying to reach through your SEO efforts? Once you’ve answered this question we recom- • Have good search volume mend developing search personas for each of your targets. At • Not impossibly competitive the end of this exercise you should know the following for each persona: • Able to convert someone to a lead • Their role(s) in the purchase process • Their pain points and drivers • Where they search for information • The keywords they use to search • The type of content they like to consumeTaking the time upfront to do these crucial steps will guide not just your keyword research, but also your contentdevelopment and lead nurturing plan. Okay, with those items in hand let’s get started building our keyword list. 2 © 2012 Optify, Inc. All rights reserved. www.optify.net 1-877-2-OPTIFY @optify
  • 3. 5 Steps to Building a Strategic B2B Keyword ListSTEP ONE Finding your ‘seed’ keywords 1Taking the first step to building a keyword list can be a little daunting. The good news is that you’re not startingSTEP TWOwith a blank piece of paper. There are some great places to look for ‘seed’ keywords– those terms that will get youstarted on the right track. Here are some suggestions:STEPYou sales and marketing materials – how do you describe your product and services? How do you explain »» THREE to your family and friends what your company / products do?STEPYour business goals—remember those? »» FOUR Be sure that your seed keywords reflect the key products that you’re marketing. »»Your search persona documents—yes, that’s one of the reasons you need to do that piece first! »»Your Web site and Blog—run a report of the organic keywords that are current driving visits and leads. »»Your competitor’s sites—plug your competitor’s URL into a tool like Optify to get a real insight into their keyword strategy. Even without SEO software you can get a good idea of what keywords your competitors are targeting. Take a look at their page titles, headlines and content. »»Your team – brainstorm keywords with anyone in the company that understands your audience. »»Your customers – make sure you verify the keyword assumptions you came up with during your search persona development with real live customers. Got ones that you a great relationship with? Take them out to lunch, run your list by them and see what else they come up with. Here’s a report from Optify that shows visits, leads and conversion rate by organic keyword. 3 © 2012 Optify, Inc. All rights reserved. www.optify.net 1-877-2-OPTIFY @optify
  • 4. 5 Steps to Building a Strategic B2B Keyword ListSTEP ONE Plug your ‘seed’ keywords into anSTEP TWO 2 SEO keyword suggestion toolWith your seed keyword list in hand it’s time to get some hard facts on your keyword contenders. To make yourSTEP THREEfinal list you’re looking for keywords that are: »»Highly relevant to your businessSTEPHave good search volume »» FOUR »»Not impossibly competitive »»Able to convert someone to a lead and opportunityPlug your seed keywords into Optify’s keyword suggestion tool. This serves two main purposes—to suggest termsand iterations that you haven’t come up with yet, and to give you data on search volume and the degree of compe-tition. At this point, it is OK to have a big list of keywords, we’ll narrow down and focus later. Here’s Optify’s keyword suggestion tool in action. Data can be exported into a spreadsheet for further analysis.Once your keyword suggestion tool has done its magic, export the data into a spreadsheet and move to step three,where we’ll sort by relevance and ability to convert. 4 © 2012 Optify, Inc. All rights reserved. www.optify.net 1-877-2-OPTIFY @optify
  • 5. 5 Steps to Building a Strategic B2B Keyword ListSTEP ONESTEP TWO Let the culling begin—first cut onSTEP THREE relevancy & convertibility 3Chances are that you’re now looking at a spreadsheet with hundreds of possible terms. Given that you’re aimingSTEP FOURto find 1 or 2 keywords per Web page, Blog post or asset to optimize on, you need to do some culling. A goodstrategy for first round cutting is to rank your keywords by relevancy. Just glancing through the list you’ll imme-diately be able to delete some odd irrelevant terms that slipped through the net. Then you can add a ‘relevancy’column to your spreadsheet and rank remaining terms—a simple 1,2,3 ranking system usually does the trick.It’s tempting for some of us B2B marketers to cling on to keywords that are tangential at best to your products’core competency--especially if those terms have decent search volume, and low competition. As you’re goingthrough this exercise keep asking yourself “is that term really core to what my product offers?” or “what’s thelikelihood of someone becoming a lead from that term?” That will help keep you honest. Keyword diversity »»You’ve probably seen a graph like this that shows the typical relationship between search volume and degree of competition. Your strategic keyword list should contain terms from different points along the curve. For your core or pillar Web site pages choose terms more towards the head of the curve. Blog posts are a great way to use terms that are more ‘long tail’ in nature. With this strategy you may end up with 7-10 keyword phrases around a head term that you can apply in your different types of main site content. SEO keyword diversity for B2B marketers HIGH HEAD TERMS - 1-2 WORD PHRASES “CRM” “CRM software” CHUNKY MIDDLE OR “TORSO TERMS” - COMPETITION SHORT WORD PHRASES “CRM Saas software” “best CRM software” LONG TAIL - MORE DESCRIPTIVE WORD PHRASES “review of CRM Saas software vendors” “whitepapers on CRM best practices” LOW HIGH SEARCH FREQUENCY LOW 5 © 2012 Optify, Inc. All rights reserved. www.optify.net 1-877-2-OPTIFY @optify
  • 6. 5 Steps to Building a Strategic B2B Keyword ListSTEP TWOSTEP THREE STEP FOUR You’re honing in on your targets—sort by 4 volume and competitionWith irrelevant terms off the list, you can now rank by relative volume and degree of competitiveness. Chancesare that terms with high volume are also being targeted by your competitors. That’s not necessarily a bad thing,depending on how good a job your competition is doing. The golden keywords that you’re looking for are the oneswith decent volume and that you have a realistic chance of getting on page one of the search engine results page(SERP). Start honing in on those.If you’re thinking about going head to head with a competitor on certain terms you’ll need to know what you’re upagainst. Use Optify’s Competitive Intelligence features to get detailed insight on each of your main competitors.Understanding the number of inbound links and domains, and how well their pages are optimized for your tar-geted terms, will help you make an informed final decision on your targeted keyword list. Optify provides detailed insight on competitive pages. Choose the keyword you’re thinking of targeting, and find out how well their page is optimized on that term. We’ll also show you how many links they have to that page and how many times the page has been shared and liked in social networks. 6 © 2012 Optify, Inc. All rights reserved. www.optify.net 1-877-2-OPTIFY @optify
  • 7. 5 Steps to Building a Strategic B2B Keyword ListSTEP FIVE Get benchmarks and start tracking 5Congratulations you have a shiny new target keyword list—one that’s built on a solid business strategy and a de-tailed understanding of your audience. Now what? Before you start in on any of the fun stuff of creating content,optimizing it and reaching out to the world at large for inbound links—you need to benchmark where you andyour competition are today. Having that baseline data will enable you to show the improvements that the nextphase of your SEO journey will yield.Let the fun of optimization begin! Capture benchmark data on how you and the competition are ranking for your targeted keywords, and track the results of your SEO efforts. 7 © 2012 Optify, Inc. All rights reserved. www.optify.net 1-877-2-OPTIFY @optify
  • 8. About Optify Contact UsOptify delivers an integrated top-of-the-funnel solution for mar- Call: 1-877-2-OPTIFYketers responsible for fueling their company’s growth. Optify Twitter: @optifyhelps professional B2B marketers reach more buyers and gen- Email: info@optify.neterate more demand for their products or services month-after- Visit our website: www.optify.netmonth. Start Free Trial: www.optify.net/sign-up/The Optify Inbound Marketing Software Suite brings together the Follow Optifyenterprise-class SEO, social marketing, website analytics and optify.net/facebooktools that B2B marketers need to increase awareness of their optify.net/twitterbusiness, influence buyers across social networks, and engage optify.net/linkedinwith prospects at the earliest point of their buyer’s journey. optify.net/blog Next steps Request a demo Sign up for a free trial THE OPTIFY INBOUND MARKETING SUITE INBOUND DEMAND EMAIL NURTURING SALES ENABLEMENT Create a flow of high quality Nurture your house list with Help sales reach prospects and leads into your marketing email campaigns and get engage with them early in the funnel with enterprise-class detailed intelligence about what sales process with visitor SEO and social marketing. every lead does after they intelligence and prospect alerts. receive your emails. TRACKING & ANALYTICS Get full insight into what influences your buyers and the path they take to find and evaluate you during their research process. © 2012 Optify, Inc. All rights reserved. www.optify.net 1-877-2-OPTIFY @optify