Are you a driven business owner looking to take over your market through an automated sales funnel?
If so, Search Engine Optimization is critical.
Like SEO in general, B2B SEO is essentially it’s a combination of best practices, good habits, and compound growth.
And while search engine marketing has long been a go-to tool for smart B2B ecommerce businesses, it’s no longer the cherry on top many owners once thought it was.
But how do you optimize your B2B ecommerce website to climb in the search engine rankings, drive more traffic, and grow your sales?
At the highest level, SEO essentially consists of 3 parts:
- Keyword research and selection,
- On-site or technical SEO,
- And link building.
Keep reading for a few tips on each.
B2B Keyword Research
The first step in optimizing your ecommerce site for search engines is to do keyword research – the process of finding words and phrases people are typing into search engines like Google and Bing to find products like yours.
While it might be easier to come up with product names, descriptions, and other website content without thinking about using certain words and phrases, choosing the right keywords and using them in the right places is key (pun intended) to having any chance of appearing in the top results when people search the web.
That being said, our tips for B2B keyword research are:
Create an Intentional Keyword Strategy
It’s not enough to use generic words and phrases that might relate to your business like “bulk t-shirts” or “soy protein powder.”
These are good starts, but they’ll also be highly competitive and crowded with companies spending a fortune on maintaining top rankings.
Finding the right keywords takes a little bit of digging but pays off in the long run – check out Shopify’s Beginner’s Guide To Keyword Research For Ecommerce to learn more!
Use Tools like Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends to Find Great Keywords
You’ll start by thinking of a few words and phrases that are relevant to your business (“bulk t-shirts”) and plug them into the Keyword Planner (side note: you’ll need to create an Adwords account using your existing Google account – but you don’t need to buy ads to use the tool).
From there, Google will offer hundreds of suggestions and tell you how much traffic, competition, and what the suggested bid is for each.
The rule of thumb is the more traffic the better and you want at least some competition (which proves it’s a valuable keyword).
From there you can compare suggested bids and use Google Trends to identify which keywords are most popular when it’s a close call.
Focus on 1 Keyword Per Page to Start
Moz has an excellent piece on How Many Terms/Phrases you should target on a single page, but as you’re getting started just focus on targeting one word per page to keep things simple.
On-Site SEO for B2B Ecommerce
On-site or technical SEO gets into all sorts of (technical) details, tricks, and hacks that you can spend hours learning about and implementing.
However, with the right website software and a little bit of work on your part, you can cover the essentials without spending a ton of time.
Use Your Keywords in All the Right Places
The SEO experts at Moz have created an excellent Beginner’s Guide to SEO that covers the theory and basic practices of getting your ecommerce website search engine optimized.
One of the critical parts of this when it comes to on-site SEO is placing your keywords in locations where search engines look to figure out what your page is about.
Definitely check out that guide if you have the time, but when it comes to keyword placement you’ll want to use your target words and phrases:
1. In the title tag at least once; try to keep them as close to the beginning as possible.
2. Once in a prominent location near the top of your page.
3. At least two or three times, including variations, in the main copy on your page, maybe more if you have a lot of content.
4. At least once in the alt tag of an image on your page – which helps with both web and image searches.
5. Once in the URL. Also, as a general rule be sure your URLs are readable by humans rather than something generic generated by your content management system, and use a consistent URL structure across your pages.
6. At least once in the meta description tag, which doesn’t help with ranking in search engines but draws attention to your page when people are scanning their search results.
Based on this info, can you tell what keyword we’re targeting in this article?!
Include High-Quality, Long-Form Copy on Every Product Page
While it can be tempting to try to target lots of keywords by creating lots of pages, it’s a lot of work both to create those pages and to increase your rankings for each and every one.
Also, a key factor in search engine rankings is the time visitors stay on your website – so the more valuable content they find, the longer they’ll stay and contribute to your rankings.
For more check out this post on Search Engine Land about the SEO and user science behind long-form content.
Make Sure Search Engines can Understand Your Website
It’s important to note that search engines don’t see web pages the same way we do – all they can “see” is text, and if that text isn’t structured in a way they understand, they won’t be able to accurately rank your pages.
To prevent this, it’s essential that your website has a few key documents – including an XML Sitemap and robots.txt file.
While it’s a technical thing to implement manually, with the right content management system these will be automatically created and formatted without you having to do any extra work.
If your website runs on WordPress (which we highly recommend), check out the Genesis Framework by Studiopress – it has all sorts of security, performance, and SEO improvements baked in to make things easy.
Ecommerce Link Building
Once you’ve discovered a great list of keywords and made sure your website is optimized, the last essential element of B2B SEO for your ecommerce website is link building.
For Google and the like, ranking is all about connecting users looking to find a piece of information or solve a problem with high-quality content and products that meet their needs.
And since high-quality content and products usually attract links from social media and other websites, the number of links pointing to your website is key to boosting your rankings.
Once again this is a complex topic and there are marketing agencies entirely dedicated to ecommerce SEO (including link building), but here are a couple actionable tips you to get you started:
Get Active on Social Media
Just like not having a website in 2002 meant your business didn’t exist, today that’s true of social media.
And not only is a social media presence great for helping potential customers find you, it can contribute to your search engine rankings!
So be sure to actively share and create content for at least one social media platform (for instance, making video product descriptions and adding them to Youtube can be good for this and selling customers who visit your website).
And include “follow” and “share” buttons on your website to make it easy for people interested in your products to stay in touch and spread the word about your company.
To get a better idea of social media’s possibilities, check out this Practical Ecommerce article covering 9 B2B business that do it well.
Be Sure to Blog
Another must-have when it comes to B2B SEO is fresh content.
Like social media this provides multiple benefits: it not only improves your website’s rankings as a whole but also allows you to target more keywords and helps you build trust and likeability with potential customers by helping them solve problems and better understand your business.
For more on why blogging is so important, and get a few ideas to start, check out Shopify’s post on ecommerce blogging.
Sell Your Products through Online Marketplaces
Keeping with the theme of this link building section, selling your products through online marketplaces is not only a great way to grow additional revenue streams (obviously) and get discovered by new customers, but it can also be a great way to drive more traffic to your website and improve your SEO with more links.
But you’re probably thinking – can I really sell my B2B products on websites like Etsy and Amazon?
Well, it might be a stretch – but don’t forget about eBay wholesale and Alibaba, both of which are great places to sell wholesale products on top of the hundreds of other wholesale specialty marketplaces (ever heard of Joor?).
The Final Tip: SEO is About People, Not Algorithms
While it’s perhaps less actionable than the others, this last tip is the most important to keep in mind when working on your B2B SEO.
While it’s important to find the right keywords, put them in all the right places, and get more links to your website, ultimately ranking highly in search engines is about finding and helping people.
Remember, search engines want to show people results that meet their needs – whether that’s information in the form of a high-quality blog post or the perfect merchandise for their retail business.
And you want to find customers who actually want to buy from you – which means targeting keywords that make sense for your business as well as providing high-quality content and products that satisfy and keep them coming back for more.
That’s what we’ve aimed to do with this article and all our products and services here at Dear.
So get out there and start optimizing your B2B ecommerce website’s SEO today – and if you found this article helpful, be sure to share it on social media using one of the buttons below to help us with ours!