B2B SEO Trends – Q3 2023
As the largest SEO agency in the US, our team has unique access to clients in various industries and parts of the country. Thus, we become privy to the SEO trends that companies engage with and can see which ones make a real difference. We asked our strategists to report on those trends, focusing only on B2B clients, as of Q3 2023. Below are the 5 SEO trends they’ve found to be most interesting.
AI Persona Training
Many B2B firms are using AI to train their content team, prompting ChatGPT or Google Bard to act like a buying persona. Doing so helps the writer fulfill the searcher intent, leading to higher search rankings.
When training a content marketer or writer, you can use a simple prompt like:
“Imagine you are a [Senior Director of Global Procurement at Adobe]. What keeps you up at night?”
Or, you can go into a more elaborate exercise with a prompt like:
“Create a persona for a Director of Marketing at a $50M sporting goods manufacturer, whose goal is to grow the business’ MQLs by 15% in the next 12 months. This person also must bring in a new demographic – children learning to play sports – without alienating its current demographic of hard-core athletes. Include specific details about this person’s goals, KPIs, and daily concerns.”
AI persona training is perhaps the best use of AI for SEO purposes because it focuses on improving the quality of human-created content, as opposed to simply creating a high volume of content. More often than not, AI-generated content fails to strike the opinionated tone of an expert.
Programmatic B2B SEO
If your product has a high number of use cases or applications, programmatic SEO may be a natural fit. Programmatic SEO is the process of publishing hundreds, or even thousands, of SEO landing pages using automation, typically by scraping data from public and private databases and combining it in a unique way so Google will index and rank it. Here are a few examples of B2B businesses that might be interested in programmatic SEO:
- A B2B SaaS company whose software integrates with hundreds of other softwares, who wishes to create a page targeting a search for every integration
- A distributor of tools for repair shops, who wishes to create a page for every tool it offers that stands out from its competitors that offers similar catalogs
- A franchisor that is seeking expansion to hundreds of cities in the U.S. and wants to create a page targeting each city individually
Programmatic SEO is tempting, as it has the capacity to make a huge impact on traffic and revenue quickly; however, it’s fraught with risk as Google disfavors pages that were created through automation. Ultimately, it’s a creative exercise in curating data from various sources and placing it on a page template in a way that’s genuinely beneficial to humans. One bright spot for programmatic SEO: Google recently made a subtle change to its Terms of Service to indicate that content created by AI is okay as long as it fulfills the intent of human searchers.
Systematic Content Updating
Because generative AI has eliminated a chunk of the keyword spectrum – information searches – transactional keywords have become even more valuable than they were before. Thus, many marketers are formalizing their approach to selecting and targeting transactional keywords, using a simple spreadsheet to list and rank-order keywords. They then pay special attention to updating the entire body of content targeting those transactional keywords. This approach has been nicknamed the Corpus of Content model.
Clever SEO marketers have long known that interactive tools that provide semi-personalized answers to important business questions increase engagement. However, these tools are also excellent ways to move prospects through your marketing funnel, as they allow your company to ask the prospect valuable audience targeting questions and then collect their e-mail address. The interaction is typically followed by a drip e-mail campaign.
Interactive tools rely on people’s inherent desire to answer questions about themselves. They typically contain between 3 and 10 “screens” – either questions or prompts – and end with an offer to e-mail the answer the user has just invested time to obtain. Some tools give users the results at the end but offer a value-add, such as a more detailed summary, by e-mail.
Some examples of B2B interactive tools:
- An Employee Benefits Calculator that helps small businesses understand their benefits obligations to employees as well as the cost; a consulting business would then market its services to them
- A “What’s Your Office Aesthetic?” quiz where users answer questions about how they’d like their office space to be utilized and the tool describes the aesthetic they should invest in; a commercial interior design or furniture company would then market its services to them
- A free personality assessment for your employees to take to help them function better in teams; a training company would then market its products to them
With every update, Google continues to prioritize quality in the content it allows to rank on the first page, with only the best achieving the #1 or #2 position. To address the challenge of creating and regularly publishing this content, B2B marketers are increasingly using modular content strategies that allow a single, larger piece of source content to be divided into multiple blog articles and shared across multiple channels. For example, a single can form the basis for 14 additional pieces of content as shown below:
To repurpose content effectively, marketers should:
- Begin with in-depth, highly substantive source content that can be cleanly subdivided into distinctly interesting parts, each of which maps to a highly searched keyword
- Tailor each blog article created from the source content the the specific search intent of the keyword it targets
- Gate the source content behind a registration wall to build out your email marketing lists, and promote it through CTAs such as lightbox popups and sidebar contact forms
- Use other marketing channels such as LinkedIn and email marketing to broaden the reach of each piece of content you create
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