March 7, 2018

Ryan Draving

SEO for B2B & SaaS: Keyword Research and Planning

Do you want to learn how to do B2B keyword research for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Keyword selection is foundational to strong lead gen from SEO, and can mean the difference between success and failure. In this blog post, I'll share a high level overview of keyword researchwill discuss how to find the right keywords, and how to use those keywords to improve your SEO rankings and grow your revenue. So if you want to learn how to do keyword research like true B2B and SaaS marketers, keep reading!

Before you can optimize your content for SEO, you need to know what goal outcome you're optimizing each page for—which words and phrases your prospects use when they search on Google (which owns 93% of all search volume worldwide as of this writing)* for something related to your product. If you want your website to be successful, you need to choose the right keywords. But how do you choose the right keywords?

There are a few things you need to consider when choosing keywords. First, think about what your website is about. What are you trying to sell or promote? Make a list of all the words and phrases that relate to your website. Once you have a list of potential keywords, it's time to start doing some research.

I always start B2B keyword research by building a seed list based on the intuition of my clients and my agency. Then we run some searches to expand the seed list. Only then do we bring it into more advanced keyword research and planning tools.

You can use keyword research and planning tools from Moz or SEMRush (or Google's own Keyword Planner) to build out your seed list into a full blown, expanded set of potential keywords to target. These tools will also show you how many people are searching for a particular keyword, and how much competition there is for that keyword. You're looking for a golden trifecta:

  • High search volume
  • High relevance to your product
  • Low competition

Once you've chosen your keywords, it's important to use them. Each page on your website should optimize for 2-3 keywords. Use them in your titles, in your descriptions, in your nav links, and in your content. This intentional strategy will help improve your SEO rankings and help people find your website when they're searching for something specific.

Natural keyword use is critical. Don't make it feel artificial, or 'stuff' your keywords into your page content until every other word is a targeted keyword.  This will only serve to irritate your audience, and could result in a penalty from Google. Back in the    early 2000s, Google wasn't as sophisticated. But at this point, they recognize contextual keywords and know what to look for in a naturally written page - which is what they want to see. Remember, Google really wants to know that your content is going to be valuable to the people they send to your website. So use keywords thoughtfully, and make sure they're always relevant to your content and beneficial to the reader.

A quick side note here: Long tail keywords are going to result in a significant portion of your SEO success. Long tail keywords are longer phrases that are more specific than general keywords. For example, instead of using the short tail keyword "b2b software", you might use the long tail keyword "law firm accounting software". While each individual long tail keyword has much less search volume than its lookalike short tail keyword, there are a much larger number of long tail keywords. Each short tail term might have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of reasonable search volume long tail variations. Additionally, long tail keywords are typically less competitive than general keywords, so you're likely to rank higher for them if you build relevant content. Finally, every relevant long-tail visit has a bigger value than a comparative shorter tail visit, as long as your content is highly relevant to the intent. Those long-tail keywords are a critical component in your SEO strategy.

If you want to learn more about SEO, or if you want to learn how to perform keyword research like a pro instead of a beginner, get in touch.

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