How to Choose B2B SEO Agency & Do You Really Need It

Businesses need search engine optimization (or SEO for short)  to build their notoriety on search engines and find new clients. Google offers two major options to be high on search page results: paid ads and organic search results. According to Digiviser, 80% of Google search users ignore paid ads. So, we focus on organic search results in this article as a driving factor of users to your website. We may say that a lot of companies have seen these statistics. According to Gartner, 46% of companies increased their SEO budgets over the past few years. 

So, SEO matters. Especially in the B2B segment. Google remains the primary source of research for B2B customers, with 89% of them using the internet to find the information they need, and 71% of B2B researchers start with generic searches.

You’re probably reading this article because you want to find a professional B2B SEO agency. Choosing the right B2B SEO agency can be challenging, and you can’t take risks on such an important decision. In this article, we will discuss the most important points to consider when you select a B2B SEO agency and how to know that you need to invest in SEO services. 

Why Information in This Article Is Trustworthy

It’s a similar question to “Why should I read your article?”. 

The answer is simple: this article is written by SumatoSoft, which provides B2B SEO services. We share real advice that can be useful for our clients and readers. And this advice is derived from our experience and expertise, not from Google.

We are not theorists but practitioners! 

Our key expertise is B2B SEO (we do B2B SEO for ourselves as well) and SaaS SEO services. As additional proof, you may read this real-life SEO for SaaS cases when we helped get more traffic.

Now, let’s get back to the article. 

What Is a B2B SEO Agency?

Group business meeting

A B2B SEO Agency is specialized in improving your business’s online presence and increasing its rank on search engines such as Google, Bing, or Safari. B2B SEO is the type of SEO that focuses on attracting businesses as clients through organic search results. The opposite is B2C SEO which targets individual customers.

B2B SEO differs from the B2C segment. We’ll explain how in further sections. Firstly, let’s consider SEO areas of work. 

B2B SEO Agencies have three areas of work: 

  • Content SEO 

Responsible for content optimization through keywords, and backlinks, and works directly with SEO writers and website developers.

  • Technical SEO

This team will make sure the website is functional, mobile-friendly and all the pages are indexed so search engines can rank them. 

  • Leadership SEO

Incorporates business goals into SEO strategies and monitors the results obtained by the other SEO teams.

Based on these areas of work, there are different types of marketing agencies you can work with: 

  • Digital marketing: An agency that specializes in promoting products or services through various digital channels, such as search engines, social media, and websites.
  • Growth marketing: An agency that focuses on identifying and implementing tactics and strategies to grow a business or product’s user base or revenue.
  • Performance marketing: An agency that focuses on utilizing data and analytics to optimize and track the performance of marketing campaigns.
  • Creative marketing: An agency that specializes in coming up with unique and effective ways to promote a brand or product.
  • Social media marketing: An agency that specializes in promoting a brand or product through social media platforms.
  • Advertising marketing: An agency that focuses on creating and placing advertisements to promote a brand or product.
  • Account-based marketing: An agency that focuses on personalizing and targeting marketing efforts to specific accounts or businesses.
  • Personal reputation marketing: An agency that specializes in managing and enhancing an individual’s personal brand and reputation.
  • Branding marketing: An agency that focuses on creating and maintaining a brand’s image and identity.

How B2B SEO Differs From B2C SEO

big and small eggs

The main difference between B2B SEO and B2C SEO it’s the target audience. B2B SEO addresses the business clients, while B2C SEO addresses the individual customers. But there are other differences to consider, as you will see below:

B2B Content Marketing Much More Complex Than B2C 

While B2C SEO focuses on convincing a buyer to make a purchase fast and impulsively, B2B SEO builds a marketing strategy based on average on eight touchpoints to make a sale. For B2C SEO, good offers and catchy content could be enough to gain new customers. But when it comes to B2B SEO, actions like demo requests, newsletter signups, whitepaper downloads, etc., are required to create leads that become sales.      

The complexity of B2B SEO comes from the fact that B2B buyers need to reach an agreement between more departments of the company, and they look at the purchase from multiple perspectives while the B2C buyer only has to consider their own needs and expectations. 

B2B Companies Need to Use Low-competitive Specific Keywords

B2B companies should focus on the specific low-competitive keywords and use them to acquire more authority in Google to be able to compete for high-competitive keywords. 

Advantages of low-competitive keywords:

  • Low-competitive keywords are targeted by fewer websites, and it is easier to rank higher on search engines through them.
  • Low-competitive keywords are usually quite specific and less general. So they are more relevant for your potential customers.
  • They give you the opportunity to appear as the expert in a particular niche, which builds customers’ trust in your company.

Buying Lifecycle in B2B Sector is Longer

A shopping cart

Businesses make decisions differently than individuals, meaning that they invest more time and resources and look further down the line at how their purchase will affect the company’s growth. Unlike individual customers, statistics show that 77% of B2B clients admit that their most recent purchases were very complex, with 76.4% saying that it takes between four and seven months to make a purchase. 

Paid Search And SEO Should Go Hand in Hand

Paid search or PPC(Pay Per Click) is the process of purchasing advertisements to increase the ranking of your website on search engines. The ultimate goal is for your advertisements to show up at the upper side of the SERP for both the keywords and phrases you want to target. Customarily, you will be billed every time a visitor clicks on an advertisement (cost-per-click).

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) aims to optimize your site to receive visitors from organic search engine results, with the ultimate goal of ranking higher on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS).

The majority (68%) of B2B buyers see advertisements from the solution provider they selected throughout the research process, according to research from Demand Gen Report. 37% of those who saw the winning vendors’ advertisements claimed they had an advantageous effect on how they felt about the business.

B2B Sales Funnel

B2B Sales funnels, as well as B2B marketing funnels, are different from B2C strategies as they are more complex and address a group rather than an individual. B2B funnels have the following stages: awareness, interest, consideration, intent, evaluation, and purchase. In contrast, B2C sales funnel has awareness, interest, desire, and action as its main stages. You will notice that both sales funnels start the same, based on awareness and interest, but they develop differently. The desire stage is present in the B2C sales funnel because individual customers make purchases based on emotion. You will not find this stage in the B2B sales funnel since businesses don’t act on emotions and personal desires, but they rather place their decisions on rational factors such as intent and evaluation. 

A B2B sales funnel illustrates how leads are seized and shifted through the funnel. The B2B marketing funnel aims to create the right touchpoints to direct the prospect during the customer journey. The actions that move a prospect closer to becoming a client are more critical in the B2B sales funnel. Instead of writing educational content, you could have a sales representative walk a prospect through a software demo. The path to making a purchase is different for 90% of businesses, according to SEMrush. 

For maximum efficiency, you ought to have a marketing and sales funnel that functions together to provide the prospect with everything they require.

Additional reading you might find useful: 

How to Choose a Professional B2B SEO Agency in 5 Steps

The luminous number 5

This is not our first guide with steps on how to choose a company. You may also find interesting our whitepaper regarding how to choose a software development company. Now, let’s get back to this step guide: 

Step #1: Set Goals, Priorities, and Requirements for an Agency 

Before finding the right B2B SEO Agency, it is crucial to know what your business needs. SEO companies offer the following primary services:

On-page SEO: Uses keywords to optimize the content of your website. 

Off-page SEO: Builds the authority of your content through valuable backlinks. 

Technical SEO: Optimizes your website so the search engine can pick up and rank all the pages. 

User Interaction SEO: Monitors how your visitors interact with the content of your website, including the time they spend and the actions they take. 

Additional reading you may find useful: 

Tip: Get to Know SEO Services and Pick Ones You Need.

You want to get familiar with all the SEO services available on the market and look at what your company needs to grow online. If you are still determining what SEO services your business needs, ask your marketing department what they need to reach the business goals.

Pitfall: Hiring a B2B SEO Agency That Is Not Specialized In What You Need

You will not get the desired results. On top of that, you will be spending more money on services you don’t need. 

Step #2: Do Research and Make an Agency List

Any decision should start with detailed research, and finding the best B2B SEO Agency is no exception. As you put your list together, avoid agencies lacking credentials and reviews, those with low-quality content on blog posts, and the sales department. 

Tip: Referrals Work Great. Ask Other Businesses you Trust.

Asking people about the best B2B SEO Agency can help you identify the best ones without investing much effort in research. If some businesses are satisfied with the services of a particular company, it is worth looking into it. Make sure to ask other businesses similar to yours so that you will have some everyday SEO needs. 

Pitfall 1: No Online Presence     

Check the online presence of a company to back up your decision. SEO Agencies that are professional will also have a strong presence in their niche to prove the quality of their services. 

Pitfall 2: Believe that an SEO Agency with Poor Website Performance Brings Good Results

A professional B2B SEO Agency will use its services to build a quality, attractive, and user-friendly website for themselves before offering services to others.        

Step #3: Ask for Case Studies in the Similar Industry and Check Their Results

An open laptop with charts

The best B2B SEO Agencies will have their case studies displayed on their website and the results they obtained through their services. If a company doesn’t show case studies relevant to your business domain, you are taking a significant risk with it. 

Tip: The Power of Asking Questions

Suppose you found a B2B SEO Agency with positive reviews and an SEO-optimized website but they don’t display any relevant case studies. In that case, you can continue your investigation of their activity by asking questions. Ask the representatives of the company questions like:

  • What kind of results can they provide? 
  • What methods do they use?
  • How their B2B strategy differs from a B2C one? 
  • Do they have experience with your business domain?
  • What marketing tools do they use?
  • Who will work directly with you for your SEO campaign and what is their experience?
  • What testimonials have they had from previous clients?

Pitfall: Don’t Trust Anything They Can’t Prove. 

SEO Agencies claim many things to attract clients and lead sales. But it is essential to make sure they can back it up with examples from their previous collaborations. Otherwise, they are just bragging. 

Step #4: Shortlist Companies to Contact and Get a Quote 

Get back on the list with companies you gathered in step 1 and narrow it down to the best ones. You will need to contact each company and get a quote for the services you are interested in. 

Tip: Get to Know White & Black SEO Practices. Follow White

White SEO improves the ranking of your website organically and follows the terms and services of the search engines. You want to work with SEO Agencies that use white SEO strategies because they bring steady results. Also, by using white SEO practices, the integrity of your website will not be affected. 

Pitfall 1: Buy Into Guarantee of a #1 Ranking For Any Keyword

When a company advertises to offer a #1 ranking for a specific keyword, it is a bragging marketing strategy. SEO Agencies can’t guarantee that you will own the #1 ranking place for any keyword because while Google is transparent regarding how sites are ranked, this transparency is never complete. In other words, there is no sure recipe for achieving the #1 ranking. Also, search engines update their algorithms constantly, and SEO companies have to invest time and resources to catch up with these changes. 

Pitfall 2: Leaving too Many Companies on the Shortlist

You want to have around five companies on your shortlist. If you have more than that, you might find it exhausting to go through the same discussions with all companies and get lost in the process. You want a shortlist with two main options and a backup or two. 

Step #5: Choose the Best Based on Meeting Your Requirements 

A winner's cup

Once you establish what are the needs and requirements of your business, you will be able to choose the SEO Agency that addresses them best. You want to work with a company that has the experience and tools to meet your requirements. The company you choose to work with will become part of your team to get your business on the growth path. 

Tip: Don’t Contract Companies You Don’t Like in Communication

The success of your SEO campaign and all the strategies implemented by the agency requires a lot of communication with an agency. It is impossible to achieve the results you want if you don’t like to communicate with your SEO team.

Pitfall: Many Companies Have One Salesperson In Charge Of Communication. 

While designating one salesperson is fine, the trap can be that you will not communicate so well with the rest of the team. And you will only work directly with the salesperson sometimes. So, you will need to ensure you understand the rest of the team well. 

How to Understand You Need an SEO Agency

Two chess pieces

Case #1: You Unsatisfied with Your Cost of Acquisition

Your CPA or Cost per Acquisition is the price you pay to acquire one customer for your business. SEO practices help to reduce the cost per acquisition by only targeting buyers that are already interested in your niche. It also targets customers at different stages of the buying cycle such as during the research phase, price comparison and purchase. By targeting only buyers that are interested in services or products that your company offers, you increase the chance of converting them into your customers and you don’t waste advertising strategies on people that don’t have any intent in purchasing what you are selling. 

Case #2: You Want to Increase Your Online Presence

Regardless of your company’s domain, its online presence is crucial for your growth and success. If you have a website, you need an ongoing SEO campaign to bring you the online presence you need to lead sales and increase your brand awareness. Without a good SEO strategy, almost no one will find your website, and you will struggle for every dollar to make a profit. 

Case #3: Your Long-Term Strategy Needs More Traffic on Your Website

If you have low stable traffic and find paid ads too expensive for your business model, SEO can help. A professional B2B SEO agency will build a strategy that brings you steady traffic to your website. For example, by creating evergreen content. This content is search-optimized and remains relevant for a long time. Examples of evergreen content are “how to” articles or case studies. Besides optimized, evergreen content, SEO can also optimize your website, index website pages, and update the keywords and internal linking strategy. 

Case #4: You need to increase your brand’s authority 

To attract enterprises and big corporations, your company’s online presence is crucial. SEO helps to build a brand’s authority by improving the visibility and discoverability of the brand’s website on search engines, which can lead to increased website traffic, higher engagement, and positive reputation. When a brand’s website is easily found on search engines for relevant keywords and phrases, it can signal to users that the brand is a credible and trustworthy source of information. Additionally, when a website appears at the top of search engine results, it can also improve the brand’s reputation and build trust with users, as it implies that the site is considered to be an authoritative source of information by the search engines. This can lead to an increase in conversion and sales for the brand.

Case #5: Your organic traffic is not converting 

While obtaining organic traffic to your website is the most crucial goal of your SEO strategy, you want that traffic to convert into paying customers. If people get to your website and then leave, you will not gain new business customers, and therefore, you will make no profit. An SEO company will be able to track the user behavior on your website. So, you will know how much time visitors spend on certain pages and whether or not they find the information they need. Having all this data will help you take the necessary measures to convert your organic traffic into paying customers. 

How SumatoSoft Can Help You with B2B SEO

We know business challenges in the B2B segment. Challenges like a high customer acquisition rate, a low conversion rate, complex content marketing, a long buying lifecycle, near-zero online presence, the absence of link-building and content strategy strategies, zero referral traffic, and unsatisfying organic traffic. We know that it all frustrates. 

SumatoSoft is a custom web development company. We have great expertise in web development, marketing, and SEO. We help to cope with SEO challenges by providing SEO services to companies in 27 countries across the globe. We use the following methods to reach results: 

  • PPC testing to improve organic clickthrough rate
  • Digital PR to gain more trust from Google and get backlinks from companies like Seranking or Clutch 
  • Technical and on-page SEO optimization to improve ranking positions
  • White hat link-building like a skyscraper technique
  • Website UX/UI design to make it more user-friendly and appealing
  • Content marketing, including content creation and use of hub&spoke strategy
  • SEO consulting & strategy development
  • Market research 

If you need help getting new clients, contact us. We’ll provide a free consultation and offer ways out. 

Final Words or a Brief Revision

We showed you a simple, but powerful guide on how to choose a B2B SEO agency as well as cases when you need to refer to SEO. By following this guide you can improve your state of affairs and discover that marketing and SEO can bring results that you hardly can imagine. To summarise, let’s list steps one more time: 

Step #1: Set Goals, Priorities, and Requirements for an Agency 

Step #2: Do Research and Make an Agency List

Step #3: Ask for Case Studies in the Similar Industry and Check Their Results

Step #4: Shortlist Companies to Contact and Get a Quote 

Step #5: Choose the Best Based on Meeting Your Requirements

The post How to Choose B2B SEO Agency & Do You Really Need It appeared first on SumatoSoft.

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