Timing is critical in manufacturing. Assembling parts out of order won’t end well. It’s no different when you’re in B2B marketing. You must know who your ideal buyer is and where they are in the buyer’s journey stages. This allows you to create content that is highly relevant to this buyer right now, and relevance equals results in marketing.
But how can your SEO strategies know where a specific person is in their journey? Does this involve some intrusive browser tracking? Not necessarily. It all comes down to the buyer’s journey and keywords for SEO.
Build an SEO strategy that optimizes your content’s relevance at each stage of the buyers journey – and thus its effectiveness in B2B marketing.
Why Should an Effective SEO Strategy Align With the Buyer’s Journey?
The internet has changed how people buy things. Before, consumers had to request brochures or speak with sales. No more. The buyer now has the power to seek out information online.
You’re building an SEO strategy to drive high-quality, targeted traffic to your website. Ultimately, you want that traffic to result in new accounts. To do this, you must communicate the right message at the right time. Now, let’s look at how to create a buyer journey.
Who Are Your Buyers?
A buyer persona, a fictional representation of your ideal customer, includes data-driven answers to questions like:
- What are their challenges and goals?
- Why do they choose one manufacturer over another?
- Whom do they trust (influencers, websites, journals, news sources, etc.)?
What Is the Buyer’s Journey?
In B2B, around 95 percent of the journey happens online, according to Gartner, but every journey is persona specific. With that said, people travel through three primary stages:
- Awareness stage – The potential buyer has identified they have a problem that needs a solution.
- Consideration stage – The potential buyer explores possible solutions and the companies that provide them.
- Decision stage – The buyer is ready to buy.
Evaluate Keyword Relation to Journey
What keywords do people use at these three stages?
- Awareness stage – The buyer is seeking information. They want to know things like: What is this; what does this mean; and can I fix this myself?
- Consideration stage – The buyer now has an idea of what they need, so they ask: Which is better; what are the benefits of; pros/cons, best/top solutions for, versus?
- Decision stage – The buyer has chosen the manufacturer, but they may be hesitating on price, timing, order size, or the best solutions offered. At this point, they’re looking up your company specifically to learn why what you offer is worth the price and how to take the next steps. These keywords are also often transactional, such as the words “buy,” “get,” “contact,” “price,” and “discount code.”
Perform keyword research to identify which keywords drive traffic to websites like yours. Select keywords from each stage of the journey, but you can optimize this further.
Align Website Structure With the Journey
Before you create content, content needs a home. Consider the website’s architecture. After all, navigation is critical to SEO. It should align with this journey.
For example, the homepage, contact, or landing page are decision-making pages. Service, product pages, case studies, white papers, demos, trials, and similar pages are in the consideration stage. An informational blog post or video, for example, is generally in the awareness stage, so the keywords you choose and the topics you cover should reflect that.
Target the Buyer’s Journey and Keywords for SEO
It’s time to create content around the keywords you selected. Here, it’s not just about writing something that has that keyword. You must create the right type of content, format, and angle to rank well in the search engine results.
First, remember what types of content the buyer is looking for based on their keywords (which represent where they are in the journey). Then do some competitive research in Google to determine how to achieve the most relevance in those search results.
Types of content generally fall into these categories: blog post, product/service, broader category page, landing page, or video. To determine which one to use for a keyword, do a quick Google search.
The results of your search tell you what type of content is ranking well for a keyword. Keywords rank well because people are clicking on them, and that happens because searchers find them frequently. If you want to rank, you’ll need to create that same type of content.
The content format is how you present information. Your search may reveal how-tos, pros/cons, benefits, listicles, opinion pieces, or complete guides. This is the format your content should take on.
Your angle is the webpage’s “unique value proposition.” What do you see in this search? It could be they look up to date, promise long lists, or showcase independent research. You’ll need a similar stand-out angle to do well in SEO.
Align Your Calls to Action to Guide the Journey
We’re creating content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, but that content does not stand alone. It’s strategic. As such, it guides your target customer through the journey naturally, using language appropriate for someone in that stage.
In other words, an awareness page CTA guides the buyer to the consideration page and not straight to the contact page (a decision-making page).
Wrap Up: Develop an Effective SEO Strategy Around the Buyer’s Journey
At any given time, your manufacturing company has potential customers in all the journey stages. By reaching them where they are through keyword research, you have the power to guide them through to becoming your next big account.
Timing is crucial because it ensures that your content is relevant to your ideal buyer at their current stage in the buyer’s journey, which ultimately leads to better results.
SEO strategies align with the buyer’s journey by focusing on keywords relevant to each stage, rather than relying on intrusive tracking methods.
Aligning SEO with the buyer’s journey helps in communicating the right message to potential buyers at the right time, driving high-quality, targeted traffic that can result in new accounts.
Buyers are represented by buyer personas, and understanding them helps tailor marketing efforts to address their challenges, goals, preferences, and decision-making criteria.
The primary stages are the awareness stage (identifying a problem), consideration stage (exploring solutions), and decision stage (making a purchase).