SEO strategies for B2B and B2C business models – WAU
SEO strategies must be designed specifically for each type of business. After all, different business models and target markets influence the approach to website optimization. Now, then, let’s analyze the differences between B2B and B2C SEO so that you can plan your business strategies.
Have you ever wanted to know how to win top Google positions? If so, you may have found a series of tips and checklists on the web – like “cake recipes” – that tell you what you should and shouldn’t do in SEO strategies. But, are these guidelines valid for all types of business?
There is a common mistake in the SEO market: treating good search engine optimization practices as rules for all companies, as if there were no differences between them. However, that is not quite how it works.
Different business models, industries, audiences and sales cycles demand different approaches to SEO strategies. In this Searchmetrics survey, for example, you can see how the importance of ranking factors changes according to the market (e-commerce, tourism, finance, etc.).
With the evolution of Google’s algorithm, we know that it is already able to identify this type of nuance. If he understands the semantics of the content and the users’ search intent, he already knows, for example, that security is a much more important factor on bank sites than on entertainment sites, where loading speed tends to count more .
Therefore, you cannot optimize the Itaú website in the same way as Gshow, understand?
No, Google never said that this is a rule. In fact, the search engine never revealed the secrets of its algorithm. But expert studies, like the one we brought up above, show this: SEO strategies cannot be taken as universal.
So, we are here to talk about creating appropriate SEO strategies for different business models. We will focus on the differences between B2B and B2C businesses, as well as the variations present in these groups. Come on?
How do B2B and B2C companies differ in marketing?
In general, businesses can be divided into two major groups: B2B or business to business (companies that sell to other companies) and B2C or business to consumer (companies that sell to consumers).
Selling to companies is quite different from selling to consumers. Consequently, optimizing a website that sells to businesses is quite different from optimizing a website that sells to consumers. Therefore, marketing strategies need to be thought out for each type of business.
To think about marketing strategies, an article from Drift also proposes an intersection regarding the business model that subdivides these two large groups of companies:
- companies focused on product inventory, which can be marketplaces or websites based on user generated content (User Generated Content or UGC);
- companies focused on content (Company Generated Content or CGC).
In the table below, you can see examples of companies, which are grouped according to their target market (B2C x B2B) and their business model (marketplaces or UGC x CGC).
This division makes it possible to think more clearly content and SEO strategies that fit best for each type of business. Next, we will better understand the differences between these groups.
Generally, direct sales to consumers (characteristic of B2B companies) involve a faster buying journey. The sales funnel exists, but the steps are usually accomplished more quickly in relation to what happens in the B2B model.
After all, we are talking about individual decision making, although it can be influenced by other people. In addition, product prices tend to be lower, which makes this decision less complex and more agile.
That is why, the strategic marketing objectives of B2B companies focus on immediate product purchase, especially when we are talking about e-commerce.
In the table above, you can see examples of B2C companies in the first column, divided between marketplaces or UGC and CGC.
In the first quadrant, Amazon is an example: the company is a marketplace, whose focus is on its huge product inventory. In London, we could also have Submarino and Shoptime websites as examples in this quadrant.
In the third quadrant, there are companies that do not have such a large inventory of products. Therefore, the focus of marketing is on the production of content by the company itself (company generated contented CGC) to attract potential customers.
Dollar Shave Club, a subscription-based personal care company in the United States, is one example. In London, this quadrant could be occupied by colleges, clothing stores and local businesses, for example.
B2B companies usually involve a longer buying cycle. This process usually involves more than one person and different levels of hierarchy within the client: analysts, managers, directors.
In addition, the selling price is generally higher and the commitment to the product or service is more lasting, which makes decision-making more complex: you have to be right on your choice.
For this reason, B2B companies work in detail at each stage of the sales funnel, with the intention of moving the lead forward while its decision matures. This process, however, needs to be worked on in the medium or long term.
That is why, the strategic objectives of B2B companies are focused on capturing and nurturing leads in the sales funnel – processes in which content production plays an essential role.
In the table above, you can see that the second quadrant encompasses the UGC marketplaces and companies that operate in the B2B market. Trello, for example, is project management software, based on the production of content by users (creation of boards for project organization).
According to Drift, however, few B2B companies fit the marketplace and UGC model. Most of them need to produce content on their own, so they fall into the last quadrant.
There are companies like HubSpot and MailChimp, which focus on producing content to educate the market and help mature potential customers’ decisions. Here in London, we can also fit Websites Are Us in this quadrant, since it is a B2B company oriented towards Content Marketing.
Which SEO strategies should B2B and B2C companies adopt?
By understanding the differences between these groups of companies, according to the quadrants proposed by Drift, we can point out the most appropriate SEO strategies for each type.
Now, however, we will no longer divide companies between B2B and B2C. To point out SEO strategies, let’s divide them between:
- inventory oriented companies (first and second quadrants);
- content-oriented companies (third and last quadrants).
Even though it is necessary to consider the target markets (B2B or B2C) to define SEO strategies, the focus given to the content plays a more decisive role at that moment.
While content-oriented companies should focus on producing their own materials for users, those that are inventory-oriented have products and user-generated content that can be leveraged to optimize the site.
From that thought, you will now understand which SEO strategies should be priorities for each type of business. Understand that, even with these guidelines, all good SEO practices must be considered – we suggest only areas of action to organize the strategies.
Inventory-oriented companies should focus on technical SEO
Inventory-oriented companies should focus on technical SEO. When we refer to this, we are talking about factors such as:
Both in the B2B and B2C markets, this type of company deals with a large volume of product inventory or user-produced content, which represents a great potential for indexing by Google.
It is up to the company, therefore, to ensure that each page of the site is easily crawled by the search engine and found by the user in the search results.
Practices such as simplifying page codes, creating internal links and using XML sitemaps help Google to orient itself within the site and index content faster.
In addition, adopting responsive pages, security certificates and good usability are essential to earn points with the search engine: with this, you show him that you care about the user’s experience on the site.
The biggest challenge for these companies, however, is to maintain the quality of the content. The volume of pages is large, which already requires a larger organization to manage all the inventory.
In addition, user-generated content cannot be controlled – what the company can do is only control what is indexed and what the user sees. Yelp, for example, is based on user reviews, but the focus of SEO strategies is not that content, but the organization of an information architecture that responds to what the visitor wants to know.
Another recurring issue for this type of company, especially marketplaces, is that its inventory competes with other sites that have the same products. So how do you differentiate yourself from them?
SEO strategies should aim to generate rich information about the products, such as photos, videos, guides, comparatives, suggestions for use, experimentation possibilities, in addition to complete information about the characteristics of the products.
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The fantastic Personas Generator
Content-oriented companies should focus on Content Marketing
Content-oriented companies, both B2B and B2C, should focus on the production and promotion of content. For this, they must adopt practices such as:
- persona creation;
- selection of keywords;
- blog posting;
- social media;
- link building;
- guest posts.
These companies do not have a bulky product inventory, capable of scaling SEO. Therefore, they need to rely on content production to generate more traffic and educate the public to encourage purchase or make the lead evolve in the funnel.
For that, the good practices of content marketing must be guiding, starting with the creation of personas. To create relevant content, you need to know the audience you’re talking to.
The persona, then, is a fictional character who represents an ideal customer of the company – and his needs, doubts, behaviors – and guides the language and themes of the content.
For B2B companies, it is also important to consider the different personas involved in the purchasing process. As we said, several levels are involved: the company director can be the decision maker, while the analyst will be the end user. So, you need to talk to these two personas at different stages of the purchase journey.
Another determining step in the production of content is the choice of keywords. If they are used in the search engine by users to find what they want, they must guide the creation of the content.
The intention is to select the keywords that users would use most to find their content and use them throughout the content, in titles, images, descriptions, etc. Thus, the chances of the page being well ranked increase.
It is necessary to consider the different keywords that are sought in the different stages of the purchase journey. Especially in B2B companies, as we have seen, this process can be quite long, and many questions can be answered by the content produced by the company.
Finally, content-oriented companies also need to think about promoting it. Content cannot just be published – it is necessary to increase its reach, using other dissemination channels. Social networks, email marketing and link building are ways to generate more traffic and expand the visiting audience of the blog or website.
To conclude, we can make an analogy with medicine: if doctors give specific treatments to each patient, SEO professionals must also apply specific strategies for each type of website.
From a diagnosis about the business model and the needs of each company, it is possible to determine the best path to follow in SEO strategies.
Do not understand, however, that we are saying that the SEO tips you see are wrong (or right here on the WAU blog), ok? Good practices – such as the production of relevant content, on-page optimization or link building – continue to guide us.
However, they need to be adapted to the demands of each company, prioritizing one or the other approach according to the business model and the target market.
Now, also read about one of the types of business that requires a specific look from SEO professionals: local companies. Download now our complete material on local SEO to put your company at the top of the search!