How to Approach SEO Marketing for a Business vs a Consumer
There are certain differences when it comes to marketing for B2B (Business-to-Business) vs B2C (Business-to-Consumer). Optimizing for B2B and B2C are both critical, but they target different types of audiences, so the tactics used in each case must be adjusted accordingly. In this episode, Jesse and Sue discuss B2B and B2C SEO and share tips on how to optimize for each.
If you’ve got questions about SEO and Digital Marketing, reach out for a chance to have your question answered on the show. Thanks for checking us out, and enjoy the show!
What you'll learn
- Why you should adjust your marketing for different audiences
- What is different and what is the same in B2B vs B2C SEO
- How to optimize for B2B and B2C target audiences
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Jesse Dolan: But I would say for sure if it's B2C versus B2B, the end result of what we do, for sure, can look different. But how we get there is going to be the same thing, right? We still look at competitors keywords.
Sue Ginsburg: Perfect.
Jesse Dolan: SEO is still SEO at the end of the day, whether it's on similar products and services or different client focuses or not. Within SEO, you're always customizing and tweaking and making this unique for that certain niche, scenario, market intent, whatever.
Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics where we bring you tips and tricks to get found online. I'm your host, Jesse Dolan. Here today with Sue Ginsburg. How's it going, Sue?
Sue Ginsburg: Hello. Pretty good, thanks.
Jesse Dolan: Let's talk some SEO. Just you and I today. No, Bob, no clients coming on board, nobody else to interview. But I do know we're going to tackle a tough, tough question here. What are we talking about today?
Sue Ginsburg: Today's question is, is there a difference between SEO for B2B and for B2C businesses? And this question comes to us from a very sharp business owner who we are in discussions with to help launch a new product that he invented and will be offered both through B2C and B2B channels. Quote of the day that is relevant to what we're talking about today is, "Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart." That's a quote by Joe Chernov, and he served as the VP of marketing at well known companies such as HubSpot, Eloqua, and he saw both of those companies through their successful IPOs. A big, big name in the online space.
I really saw the relevance here with SEO because if a customer is doing a search for something that they want and ends up on a website that is relevant to them, has what they're looking for can help them, then they feel smart. And by aligning keywords for each of the businesses that we work with and our clients' products and or services, we like to make the customer feel smart. That is a good thing to do. Puts them in a positive frame of mind, it gets them what they want sooner. And in today's ADD world, that's part of our goal, is to get them to websites that can help them sooner so they want to stay there, engage on the website, and not click off and go try something else. So I really liked that quote. "Great marketing makes the customer feel smart."
So this company that we've been talking to about launching an interesting new product with them, they have a successful business in a different area, and this new product serves an entirely new market for them than their primary business serves. It's a brilliant invention that came out of the owner trying to help some of his employees with a medical condition that they were experiencing that caused foot pain.
Thinking like inventors think, and like this inventor thinks, he came up with something that will help resolve the pain. And it works. It worked for his employees, it worked for more people that he tested it with, for himself. And seeing the difference that it could make for people he knew, he decided this was something that he could scale to help other people out there who suffer from various types of foot pain, which is a lot of people. In my research on this, roughly one in 10 people, that's so high a percentage, will suffer from something like this sometime in their lifetime.
The company's primary business is B2B and selling B2C is new to them, in every conversation that we've had with them, and Jesse, you've been part of some of those, the owner has asked if we have the experience building websites and generating leads through SEO for B2C businesses. And we do of course work with both. In fact, we work with more B2C than we do B2B and the workflow is the same. And I continue to share with him and other businesses, business owners that we talk to, the process and the workflow is the same for every client that we serve. And the differences is in how we apply it to their industry, to their target audiences, with their competitors and the products and services that they specifically offer.
Given that this is a very smart business owner and he continues to ask if B2B websites and SEO on them is different than B2C websites, I thought he may not be the only smart business owner who has this question. So Jesse, with your expert business owner and SEO hat, can you talk about that and shed some light on the topic for us all?
Jesse Dolan: I think it's a great question. Great topic. Like you said, historically, this comes up all the time. And in a nutshell, the super short answer here is what you said, the workflow. Overall, our approach is the same. And I would say that's probably from a framework standpoint, we still start at the same initial point, which I'll expand on here. We go through the same processes, but I would say for sure if it's B2C versus B2B, the end result of what we do, for sure, can look different. But how we get there is going to be the same thing. We still look at competitors, keywords.
SEO is still SEO at the end of the day, whether it's on similar products and services or different client focuses or not. Within SEO, you're always customizing and tweaking and making this unique for that certain niche, scenario, market intent, whatever. And think it's important for people to know is when we talk about it's the same process, the same approach, within that approach though is already baked in customizations and tweaks, right? So people don't quite understand what we mean when we say that they just think it's the exact same paint by numbers deal. And it's like no. In any good SEO, the process is extremely comprehensive. And when you go through the research, the analysis, the game plan kind of presents itself in front of you and then you execute it.
That's what we mean when we say it's kind of the same, right? We're still going to optimize content, create content, talk about keywords, competition, et cetera. But what we actually apply, the buttons we push, the levers we pull for sure going to be different. But that's true. Whether it's B2C, B2B, or just one client to the next, even in the same space, those customizations and tweaks are always there.
And that's where we talk about SEO, the word optimization, the O in SEO, that word by definition is very granular, very customized, very nuanced. That you can't really optimize something if it's templated or painting with a broad brush. So when we speak to that, I think that's worth knowing that that's just inherently part of the process.
All right, so breaking it down a little bit further, I think. So what is the difference between B2B and B2C? First, I want to talk about what things are the same, okay, just to get these out of the way, because that's what we talked about. The process inherently is the same with some nuance difference. What is the same? We still start with keyword word research. You still got to know what it is you're trying to be found for. What it is people are using to find the thing, right? What's their intent? Are you looking at getting found for keywords that are buying that are research driven? What's the intent? If somebody's typing in these keywords, what's their intent? What are they looking for? And then are you trying to get found for that thing? Things like that.
So you still got to do keyword research, whether it be to be or B2C. And then looking at that type of content. Once you decide what keywords you want to be found for and market with, do you have content for those right now? We always talk about red balloons as my stupid example. If you want to be found for red balloons, you'd better be talking about red balloons on your website. Same thing here. Once you go through the keyword research, doesn't matter if you're B2B or B2C, you have to have content, you have to use these keywords, you have to put these things out there so they can be found.
And then you have to review Google for what is currently working in that space for whether you have a geographic niche area, whatever, or just type it in the keywords very broadly, what is showing up? We talk about this all the time. Google hides this stuff in plain sight. You take a few of your keywords, you're going to find the competitors that are showing up and dominating for those same keywords. Google is going to be showing you people that have authority, that have trust, things like this. What are they doing on their pages or their website that you're not on yours? Those kinds of things. Again, B2B, B2C, doesn't matter. Those practices are still in play.
Now, where do we see big differences between B2B and B2C? I'll go through a few areas here. The intent. So B2C, I guess we should just make sure we're very clear to everybody, that's business-to-consumer. So that's selling to the general public. To us as individuals, as homeowners, patrons, things like that. B2B is business-to-business. That means another business would be buying your products or patronizing you for your services or things like that.
And so when we look at that, the first thing is the intent. The thing that is being searched for, if it's a consumer or a business. If I'm just looking for cleaning services, am I looking for commercial cleaning services, industrial, a hotel or just my house or my mobile home or whatever? So things like that, you can imagine, if you are serving the commercial world, the business world or consumers in residential, that's going to make a big difference to you. Right?
So truly understanding your intent, the intent of the people searching and going back to that keyword research thing that we talked about to begin with that we do. And that's the same on both. That keyword research though, you have to start to look at that with the intent or some of the nuanced, for if somebody's typing in this thing, "cleaning", is that a word that's applicable to the commercial, the business side, the industrial side? Or is this a residential or a consumer side slant to that intent?
And then you want to make sure... So again, that's on the keyword research side. That's the people on the other side of the keyboard, what they're typing in, where their mind is at, where their head is at, what is their intent. And then making sure what you put on your website and your marketing translates to match up with that. If this keyword, we're saying this is something that somebody would type in on a B2B level, then you better make sure that the page they land on on your website looks like businesses patronize you.
Maybe it's a level of professionalism, business hours, communications, there's going to be things that a business is going to look for from a usability in a UX standpoint that we're not going to dive into, that they may want versus a consumer. So make sure your content you're putting out there, those pages that are going to match up with those keywords, that that intent flows through as well. Because where you may get some, if you hit the thing right and you get some short term rankings and exposure with SEO on a page, if your page doesn't match up with that intent, your ranking's going to decrease over time as people are bouncing on the page or getting out of it and things like that.
So the intent is something that's going to be different, B2B and B2C on both ends, and something to be extremely aware of. And I would say that's the first thing that we look at in those scenarios.
Another thing to be acutely aware of is the browser that they're using. The device type, and really what we're talking about here at the end of the day can kind of be distilled down to mobile versus desktop. This isn't true everywhere, but in a lot of business-to-business scenarios, searches are being done from a business, from a cubicle, from a desktop, from a laptop, from a corporate environment. And so if you're selling B2B, then there's a chance you'd have to look at your own analytics, I'm making a broad assumption here, but we usually find that if you're a B2B, the people visiting your website are going to be on a larger screen, on a laptop, on a desktop, not on a mobile device.
And so the design, the layout, and the things you do on your website and that regard maybe need to be presented differently for business-to-business versus consumer or residential, things like that, which is going to be primarily mobile based. So in that regard, of course, and we've talked about this on various episodes, you're going to want to make sure if you're working in the B2C space, that your website first and foremost looks great on mobile, loads fast on mobile, and it's easy to navigate on mobile and that it also works good on a desktop. Kind of flip that around. So that is a very big thing to look at for what may be different in B2B marketing design and SEO versus B2C.
Another key area here, which kind of is borderline on the topic of intent in what it is they're looking for and why, but this would be your visibility in the map pack with your Google business profile, your GBP, versus or in conjunction with your visibility of your website, in SERP for the natural listings. We find that usually, if it's a B2C type of a service, that's something that's very important to show up in the map pack. People are kind of looking for something quick, something to go to, whether it's coffee shop, phone repair, flower shop, auto repair, whatever it is. You're looking for something, you're looking for something local, something near me, something nearby, something you're maybe going to call or just go up and show up at. The map pack is very important. The reviews, reading those testimonials, that kind of stuff.
So your GBP in general seems to be more important. I shouldn't even say it like that. It's extremely important for both. But if you're B2C, definitely extra important because as consumers, we're just relying on those reviews, that kind of public feedback, that trust, and then quick results and answers.
If somebody is in a B2B environment, they may be doing more research, maybe the dollar amounts are higher, maybe they're tasked this job of finding a solution or a vendor for a certain thing and they have to compare against other people. Oftentimes we're finding in that B2B environment that there is more research or you need to have more information, things like that. Because of that, they may not be as reliant to just go off of a high ranking in the map pack with your GPP or a high number of reviews. They may still go down and find your website to click on it to learn more, kind of do more overall research. So if you're B2B versus B2C, again, for areas that may be different is your visibility in the SERP of your GBP and with the amount of information on your site. That's definitely something to look at.
And then the last part that I have, Sue, that is different in a B2B versus a B2C environment is how people are searching when it comes to the geographic areas. A lot of times when we're talking about SEO, if we want to optimize a page to be found for local search, local SEO, we're talking about "auto repair, Minneapolis". "Auto repair near me". There's some kind of geographic tag when we talk local that gets added to the search.
Or you're just searching from that area. Something like "auto repair". Google now knows that for something like auto repair, that's a "near me" thing, you're not looking for auto repair 2000 miles away. That would be kind of silly. Google's smart enough to guess that intent and know that when you're typing in searches that have a local tinge to them, especially if it's a B2C type situation, you're going to be provided with local results.
Often we find that a B2B search can be more prone to happening from out of the area. A business may have multiple locations, multiple branches, things like that. Maybe somebody in Chicago is tasked with finding a vendor in Minneapolis for a particular product or service, for whatever it may be. And so they're usually... I shouldn't say usually. A B2B scenario may be more prone to needing the SEO to be optimized for that city location. Using Minneapolis and auto repair together, because those searches may be more instead of just "auto repair" as searched from Minneapolis or in Minneapolis, B2B searches from out of your geographic area where they're searching for that area. So if somebody's in Chicago, they're going to be typing in "auto repair in Minneapolis" or "Minneapolis auto repair". The chance of them from out of market. Using your market's keyword from a geographic standpoint is much higher in a B2B scenario, just because of that context and how that can happen.
So if you're B2B, what does this mean, right? What the hell am I talking about? If you're B2B and you are a product or service that has that connotation where people out of market are searching for you, right, then I would definitely give extra attention. Although we always want to give this attention to your geographic area, but I would give extra attention in that B2B scenario for those cities, for the suburbs around, for things like that, for my local SEO. Because usually, in that scenario, we find with our clients, if somebody's looking for a solution right there, again in Chicago, they're looking for a solution in Minneapolis, they want decisions. If you can be found now, they're contacting you saying, "I need help. You look like you can help," it's kind of yours to lose. And that's a very profitable lead to get. That's a good position to be in. And usually it's going to lead to repeat business if you're B2B.
If you're B2C, of course, you have the opportunity to connect with somebody, develop a relationship, get referrals, get reviews and all that. But that's a big one in the B2B area that we put a little extra attention towards for the research side.
Hey everyone, just quick message about our free SEO audit tool on localseotactics.com, and we'll get right back to the show. If you haven't taken advantage of it yet, go on out to localseotactics.com/freeseoaudit, or look for the yellow button up in the top right corner. Click that and it's going to take just a couple seconds. You enter in the page that you want to optimize, what you're looking for the audit to score against. Enter in that page, enter in the keyword you're looking to get optimized for and enter in your email address. Click the button and it's going to take a few seconds, and then it's going to send you off a PDF report via email.
It's a great report. It's going to kind of give you an overall score of some vital SEO areas for that page and for your website at large, even though it's auditing this page. It's going to tell you some of the good things that are happening, some of the bad things that are happening too. And give you basically a checklist of some things that you need to show up and what you can do to improve your SEO for that page, for that keyword that you're auditing.
Now, you can use this as many times as you want. You can do multiple keywords, multiple pages, multiple keywords on the same page. You can even use this to check against your competitors. If you want to do a little reverse engineering, see how they're scoring for a certain keyword, what they may be doing good that you're not, and some things to improve there. So lots of different ways to use it. Completely free. Again, go on to localseotactics.com/freeseoaudit, or look for the yellow button in the top right corner of the website.
All in all, in summary, Sue, I'd wrap it back to saying, yeah, these are very similar. SEO is SEO, whether it's e-commerce, whether it's B2B, whether it's B2C. We are confident in our abilities, and broadly speaking, SEO is the same. That being said, yeah, we'll go down that path. We'll take all these different forks in the road depending on what that scenario is, and the recipe we implement is going to be different for every client and every segment, B2B, B2C or e-commerce. But yeah, the underlying principles really are still the same there. So clear as mud for everybody, I am sure, just like most SEO things, once we really dive into the technical details. But I hope that maybe demystifies or helps to compartmentalize some of those things for everybody.
Sue Ginsburg: Well, I can see how it's confusing because we say the workflow is the same, yet it's customized for each client. And maybe a good analogy is when you're building a house, there is a workflow that is repeated. You're starting with the foundation and then you're putting up whatever you put up next. And obviously, every house looks very different from every other house, but this process and the steps that you take to build it are consistent and then you customize within that.
Jesse Dolan: So much of SEO, people like to think when we talked with clients or prospects that there is just recipe that you just kind of implement into it. Kind of piggybacking off what you're saying there, if you could think of that every time you had to build a house or a building, if you also had to take into account what all the other buildings and houses around are doing and how do you stand out from those houses too, right? You can't just put your cookie cutter building design in there. You start with that and then you have to look at what else is around and what's happening, and then customize it for that application.
That part, as you know, internally, that's at the very front of our process. That kind of dictates everything else that happens, and that's a hard thing to relay to people on the front side is all those customizations and tweaks. Because you really don't know that until you do that research and see what's happening. But that's where the difference really does come in or how these start to separate and go down their own paths.
Sue Ginsburg: I'm really glad you said that because what we're talking about here is not the same as, yes, it's cookie cutter. We are not saying that at all. We're saying the steps are the same, within each of the steps, there's customization for each specific product, service, company, industry, et cetera.
Jesse Dolan: Yeah, if you're talking a giant building versus a small house, what you still need, like you said, foundation, plumbing, walls, roof. Those core things are there, but they look drastically different, of course.
Sue Ginsburg: That's exactly right. Perfect. Anything else, Jesse?
Jesse Dolan: I don't think so. I think that's a great topic for everybody though to kind of digest and apply in a lot of ways, Sue.
Sue Ginsburg: I agree. I agree. Okay. If you remember one thing in one thing only, remember this, the way we work, at least here at Intrycks, your website build and your SEO do have a common workflow, yet they are not at all cookie cutter. While building a website and doing SEO to attract more leads online has the same process and general workflow, it also has to be customized to the specific business, your target audience, your industry, your competition, where you are, and more. So whether it's B2B or B2C, a well designed website with good SEO will attract leads online. And then I have to say, at least the way that we do it.
Quote of the day, and applying that. "Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart." Thank you, Joe Chernov. I love that quote.
Jesse Dolan: Makes us feel good too. If we're reading a page, if I'm feeling better, more empowered, smarter, I'm much more apt to click that buy button or all that fun. So I think that really does resonate.
Sue Ginsburg: Yeah, that's what we want.
Jesse Dolan: Do you have anything else you want to add, Sue?
Sue Ginsburg: No, I think that's great. You've covered it all.
Jesse Dolan: Thanks for the great topic. Thanks for our clients and prospects we're always engaging with to quite frankly keep asking us these questions to pull up more information and share with everybody. Like we always say, hopefully this answered some questions you all had listening. If you have a question, if this spurs you to an idea, please go on to localseotactics.com. Scroll down to the bottom, click the button to submit a question. You can call it in, you can send it in the form. Either way, if you have a question, something specific for us, we'd like to hear it and we'll talk about it on the show and help everybody else out at the same time. Thanks for tuning in. Hope you enjoyed this one. We will catch you all on the next one. Sue, talk to you later. Everybody else, take care.
Sue Ginsburg: See you.