How to Capture Leads Through Organic SEO
I don’t know of any business that doesn’t want more organic traffic to their website. Afterall, if done right, search engine optimization (SEO) can drive a 14.6% conversion rate and everyone wants more conversion. Conversion, however, only happens if the people visiting your site are looking for what you are selling. This is where it’s important to point out the distinction between more traffic and more of the right kind of traffic.
The beauty of organic traffic is that it’s getting you the attention of users who are interested in what you have to offer. Keep in mind that over 89% of B2B decision-makers are on the internet gathering information about future purchases. They will type a query in their search engine, bringing up relevant content in their search engine results pages (SERPs). By using the right kind of SEO, your website will be listed among the results. Know that three-quarters of people will never go past the first SERP, with the majority of clicks going for the first several positions on those pages.
By far, organic traffic is the most sustainable way a B2B organization will create an audience, generate more leads, and drive sales. However, succeeding with SEO requires a fair degree of planning and determination. Results won’t happen overnight. Even under the best circumstances and with little to no mistakes along the way, it will take time before your web pages are properly indexed and start appearing in Google searches.
When we boil it all down, a successful SEO strategy needs:
- Website optimization
- A steady stream of high-quality content
- Link building
That said, its benefits will far outweigh the investment. Below is a short rundown of several effective tactics on how to use SEO for lead generation.
Developing Buyer Personas
Developing buyer personas sits at the foundation of every B2B SEO strategy. Without them, you would be pretty much working in the dark. If you don’t know who your target audience is, you won’t know how to market to them. Unlike B2C, B2B purchases tend to be more significant and long-term investments. As such, you’ll usually have to deal with several stakeholders making the decision. In fact, there can be up to 17 people involved in any considered purchase.
These stakeholders can be comprised of managers, executives, end-users, decision-makers, and financial authorities, among others. You will have to develop personas for each of these stakeholders and address their individual pain points. You can expect each of them to be searching Google for different things, at different stages of their buyer’s journey.
So, what questions are they asking? What products or services will help them? What type of content are they searching for? These are some of the key questions you need to start thinking about to develop accurate personas.
You will also need to take into consideration that there are five stages your various stakeholders may be in.
- The Learning Stage – I think I have a problem.
- The Solving Stage – How do I solve the problem?
- The Comparison Stage – Am I solving the problem the right way?
- The Purchasing Stage – Help me make a purchase decision.
- The Loyalty Stage – Show me you appreciate me as a customer
For each stage, specific content will be required in order to answer the various questions that your personas will have along the way.
Using the Right Keywords
Once you know your audience, it’s time to look at what they’re searching on the internet. Armed with this information, you can start conducting research to determine which exact keywords you want to target. Keep in mind that you can rank for all sorts of keywords, but if your target audience isn't using them, you won't appear in their search results. Walk in their shoes and use their language. Click To Tweet
Do, however, keep in mind that keyword research can be a long, winding rabbit hole. If you let it, it will eat up too much time and resources. That’s why keyword research tools can be your best friends. A couple of good tools you might check out are Ahrefs and SEMrush They come at a cost but the accuracy they provide and the time they save can make it worth your while.
- What keywords do you already rank for? – By using the tools mentioned above or Google Search Console, you can look up what keywords are helping your site’s rankings. You’ll also want the URL that ranks for each keyword, the position of each of those URLs’ ranks in SERPs, as well as the target keyword search volume. This information is important since it will keep you from creating content that competes with what you already have working in your favor.
- Getting keywords from competitors and complementors– Using the same process, you can gather relevant keyword information on your competitors and complementors. Unlike competitors, complementors don’t compete with your product but inhabit the same market as you and can provide potential examples of supporting keywords or those you may have overlooked.
- Keywords from publications – Depending on your industry and niche, there may be certain publications that are attracting tons of organic traffic. By using the same approach as before, you’ll be gaining valuable insight.
One of the most effective methods is to talk to your existing customers. It’s a good idea to develop a good sense of what customers are saying and how they’re talking about the topics. This will help broaden your list of organic keywords. Go on social channels like LinkedIn, Quora, Facebook, or Reddit to deepen your understanding by keeping an eye on relevant topics and discussions. Google Autocomplete can also help you get a sense of relevant keywords. The same is true for the related search section at the bottom of each SERP.
Following the Keyword Intent
Keyword intent is yet another critical aspect. Over the years, search engines have become increasingly good at determining the intent behind people’s search queries. This means that you also need to understand and follow this intent with the content you create. What are they intending to find?
Basically, there are four types of Keyword Intent:
- Commercial intent (high intent) – These keywords signify a strong intention on the user’s part to take an action (buy, subscribe, join, etc.). In this case, you’ll usually come across keyword phrases containing modifiers like, “buy”, “deals”, “coupon”, “discount”, “free shipping”. You will want to target these keywords with product/landing pages or other types of content focused on closing a sale.
- Informational intent – These signify the intention to learn more about a topic. Modifiers include things like, ”how to”, “the best way to”, “why”, “what (topic) means”. Selling at this stage is not usually advisable. Instead, the user is asking to be educated. This is where you offer free content in the form of blog posts, articles, infographics, or in the form of gated content (a lead magnet) like eBooks or whitepapers.
- Transactional intent – This is somewhere in the middle of commercial and informational intent. They indicate both a willingness to purchase and to learn more about a topic. Examples include ”(product) reviews”, “best (type of product)”, “top 10 (products)”, ” …vs…”, “get quotes”.
- Navigational intent – Keywords that contain brand names typically signal that users know exactly where they want to go.
Prioritize your Keywords
By following all of the above-mentioned keyword research tactics, you’ll probably end up with an extensive list. Make sure to prioritize them for maximum efficiency, by using a mix of search volume and difficulty.
Search volume refers to how many times per month people enter any given keyword into their search engines. Some keywords will get a high search volume, but the chances are that many others are already targeting them. This will make it that much more difficult to appear on the first page.
Always make sure to check how competitive a keyword is before investing too much time in creating content around it. In some situations, when such a term is overly competitive, it would be better to go for a different word with a lower search volume that will give you a chance to rank higher.
Using Related Terminology
When it comes to ranking, Google and other search engines aren’t just looking for the same specific keyword to be used over and over again in content. You’ll stand a better chance if you’re using a broad spectrum of related terminology associated with the topic you’re working on.
You’ll get plenty of related terms from your keyword search, but you can also use Thesaurus to find more options related to your keywords. These related terms are more likely to generate leads that have a deeper understanding of the subject matter, meaning that they may be the exact decision-makers you’re looking to convert.
Publishing High-Quality Content
Fewer pieces of better content should be your aim. After all, users will interact far more with informative, educational, and engaging content than with your run-of-the-mill, 300-word blog post.
Engaging content will lower the bounce rate, improve conversions, improve rankings, and generate new leads. Blog posts, whitepapers, landing pages, and infographics all fall within this category providing they are high-quality.
So, what do we mean by high-quality content? Well, for one thing, it’s optimized. Optimized content will outperform non-optimized content every day of the week. For content to be optimized, SEO friendly, and able to generate leads, it needs to include the following things:
- An eye-catching title
- Relevant keywords and a suitable keyword density
- Internal links from within the company website and external backlinks from publications
- A proper heading structure
- A well-placed call-to-action (CTA) and contact information (if appropriate)
- And it needs to be long-form, meaning that it should have a minimum of 800 words.
Building Internal and External Links
A solid link-building strategy will ensure that more people will find you through organic search. Having links peppered through your articles and pages will help a great deal with indexation, as well as help users navigate your pages more easily.
External Link Building – What matters most here is that you manage to pick up backlinks, which happens when other websites link to your pages. While this might sound pretty straightforward, it’s not as easy as it sounds. The best way to go about it is to focus your attention on creating quality content that provides real value to the users.
Identifying which websites would want to link back to your content is also useful. Relevance plays a crucial role in this regard. And just like with content creation, backlinking is all about quality, not quantity. In general, quality links will come from industry-related publications, media outlets, and popular bloggers. The higher the quality of your content, the higher the chances these publications will want to link back to you.
It’s somewhat similar to how word-of-mouth advertising works in real life. If hundreds of people talk about something fun, you may want to partake as well. Google works the same way. If hundreds of websites link to your content, Google will take it as a sign that it’s good and will rank it higher.
Internal Link Building – Internal link building is among the easiest ways to improve your website’s technical SEO. It helps both from an architectural and a user experience perspective. Basically, every time you write a blog post, landing page, or other web content, you link back to other relevant parts of your website. Doing this will offer visitors various, convenient paths to navigate your website and to find what they are looking for. This also tells search engines which web pages you find most important which helps your ranking results. When linking those pages highlight the keyword to the page you want to direct people to. The keyword you highlight is called anchor text which helps search engines index your pages as well.
Landing Page Optimization
For B2B organizations, the landing page is indispensable. They are the means by which you generate the most sales leads, which means that you need to have them optimized to perfection. So, how can you do that?
- Clear Headline – Headlines are the first thing prospective customers will see. They need to immediately grab the reader’s attention and provide a clear value proposition.
- Focus on Benefits, not Features – Many B2B marketers make the mistake of believing that features and benefits mean the same thing. They don’t! A potential buyer is interested in how your product or service will benefit them, not what features it has to do so. Product sheets highlight features. Landing pages highlight benefits.
- A/B Test Everything – A/B testing is a great tool to have at your disposal. Basically, you create two versions of the same thing and test them on people to see which one performs better. A/B test your headlines, CTAs, buttons, copy, and images to figure out which are the best for your target audience. Like all good tests, it has to have controls.Do not change multiple variables at the same time because you won’t know which changes made the difference. Several useful tools for A/B testing include Google Analytics & Google Optimize, AB Tasty, Optimizely, and Omniconvert.
- Brief Contact Forms – Once a user clicks the CTA on your landing page, the last thing you need is a lengthy contact form they need to fill out. Always make sure the information you’re requesting is as brief as possible. If it’s too long, you run the risk of frustrating them and driving them away from your website. Keep it convenient.
We had a client who wanted to use their landing page which had 13 form fields which we told them was too many and would hurt conversions or in this case registrations to their webinar. So we set up our own landing page with 5 form fields vs. their 13 and our landing page converted at 67% while their landing page with 13 forms fields only converted at 33%. That’s a 200% increase in conversions/registrations.
There’s a lot of nuance to capturing leads through organic SEO and there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. However, the above steps serve as a great starting point and get you thinking about the right methods of approach.
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