How Structured Data Improves B2B SEO
B2B software websites are not typically organized for the optimal crawling experience of a Google Search Bot. In fact, most basic SEO best practices go out the window. For example, you would expect structure, navigation, categories, and descriptions that reflect the target market’s search intent. Instead, navigation is often non-intuitive and pages and descriptions are laden with internal jargon. The format and content don’t lend themselves to understanding the business, what the products do, and how they integrate together. Therefore, Search Bots have trouble crawling, understanding, and indexing their pages.
It’s particularly problematic because these websites have often already done a lot of the heavy-lifting in terms of following the keyword research process, link building, and creating quality, relevant content that matches user intent. But without the technical foundation in place their content marketing strategies might not be working for them as well as they expect.
While there are many technical SEO initiatives that B2B SEOs should pursue to increase the reach of their content marketing efforts – such as dynamic rendering and page experience – in this post, we will show how key structured data plays a big role in moving the needle.
The Case for B2B SEO
B2B software companies seem to arrive at SEO later in their life-cycles, despite the fact that SEO drives sustainable, long-term lead generation and overall sales pipeline growth.
Perhaps it is because SEO is a long game. You don’t often see the immediate visibility and results you do with paid advertising. But the long game plays off.
- It is more durable. The rankings and organic traffic don’t go away the moment you stop putting money into the channel. Contrast this with your paid channel efforts.
- It is more trusted. Organic results are timely and trusted more by the customer because they have the backing of Google. Contrast this with a display ad campaign you might be running.
- It supports brand consistency. These sales cycles involve more stakeholders, more decision makers, and take longer to complete. With SEO, you can naturally stay top of mind at every step of the funnel via organic search.
At Huckabuy, we aim to help more B2B marketers prioritize SEO. Especially technical SEO. In our experience, B2B websites designed for SEO convert better than anything else drawn up for the user experience. This is because they are built with site navigation, keywords, quality content that the target market wants, and a layer of structured data that Google understands. From a pure business standpoint, a solid structured data strategy in particular helps B2B software companies rank for more target keywords, increase organic impressions, increase click through rates, and drive more high-qualified visitors to their websites.
Incorporating Structured Data Into A B2B SEO Strategy
We are going to focus on technical SEO here. More specifically, we will be looking at implementing a structured data strategy.
Structured data is a machine-to-machine learning language that helps search engines understand and contextualize your content so that they can index it more accurately (and prominently) in search results.
Essentially, you are leveraging a database, known as schema.org, composed of various properties and types to authoritatively tell Google what they are crawling. In this case of a B2B software company, you might use structured data to communicate some of the following: “this is a software product” (product markup), “these are ratings and reviews” (review markup), or “this is a video tutorial” (video markup).
The added benefit of structured data is that search engines will use this information to qualify your content for in search. For example, they will take that video (recall “this is a video tutorial”) and embed it directly on the search results page. The same goes for those ratings and reviews. In fact, there are over 30 rich results your company can qualify for. Let’s look at how these rich results can impact conversions at every step of the marketing funnel below.
Top of Funnel Structured Data Example
In the top of the funnel, you want to help your target audience research their problems. They don’t have the answers yet. Structured data can help here. Let’s say you are a B2B researcher searching for “how to create a b2b marketing strategy”, you can layer your content on this topic with “how-to” structured data markup, and those steps are embedded directly in search results in addition to the link to your site. It makes your information look authoritative, it captures attention as searchers are scrolling, and it drives clicks to your results.
Middle of Funnel Structured Data Example
In the middle of the funnel, your target audience is aware of their problem and starting to look at products and services that could be solutions. Again, structured data can help here. Let’s say you represent a B2B financial software company and have a good demo that shows off your solution. If someone is searching for “financial software demo” and your link is ranking on the first page, you can amplify it with video markup. This will embed your video directly on the search results page, capture more page real estate, and entice more searchers to click into the video and onto your website.
Bottom of Funnel Structured Data Example
Finally, in the bottom of the funnel, your target audience is ready to make a purchasing decision and they are considering a few final differentiators. Structured data can play a major role here. Let’s say you represent a B2B HR software company and you have a product page to help customers make a decision. With structured data, you can add product and review markup to the page so that key information like pricing, availability, ratings and reviews are embedded in your search results as well to help potential customers find this information as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Rich Results for B2B SEO
As previously mentioned, there are 30+ rich results, also referred to as rich snippets, that you can qualify for via structured data.
Here are 7 that move the needle most for B2B software companies:
1. Product Markup. With product markup, customers will be able to see detailed product information, like availability, directly in the search results.
2. Software App Markup. Software app markup includes descriptions, ratings/reviews, and direct links to the software application directly in the search results.
3. Rating and Review Markup. Ratings and reviews markup helps customers determine whether your products and services are trustworthy and high-quality.
4. Pricing Markup. With pricing markup, you can stand out from the competition by including special offers and promotions.
5. FAQ Markup. With FAQ markup, you can present answers to common questions about your products and services directly in the search results.
6. Organizational Markup. With organizational markup, you can include important information like your logo, phone number, address, and hours of operation directly in the search results.
7. Event Markup. With event markup, you can include information about upcoming events directly in the search results.
The takeaway here is that structured data is one of the most important things B2B companies can do to get ahead of the competition in organic search. It allows businesses to qualify for rich results, which are a game-changer as customers are seeking information on your services and moving from the top to the bottom of the funnel.
Huckabuy’s Structured Data Software Solution
The technical conversation between websites and search engines is increasingly important for SEO. The bottomline is that your content marketing efforts are being undermined if you aren’t creating the optimal communication channel with the Google Search Bot.
Huckabuy has built an entire technical SEO software platform to facilitate this communication channel. And in another post, we will cover the importance of leveraging additional initiatives like dynamic rendering and page speed. For now, the spotlight is on leveraging structured data for B2B SEO.
Our automated structured data markup solution facilitates the most fundamental and optimal conversation your website can have with the Google Search Bot. With the right conversation in place, it crawls and understands your content fully, makes new keyword associations, and raises your visibility in the organic search channel via rich results. When you add structured data to a complicated and technical content, Google knows whether it’s crawling a software application, a pricing page, or ratings and reviews and so forth. It is finally able to crawl and understand everything it needs to know about your website.
In today’s age, adding this technical piece to your overall B2B SEO strategy can set you far apart from the rest of the competition.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is B2B Marketing?
B2B (business to business) marketing targets businesses or organizations, rather than individual consumers. A B2B company is one whose customers are other businesses.
What is B2B SEO?
B2B SEO is the art and science of reaching key B2B decision-makers in your target market via the organic search channel.
Why is B2B SEO important?
Most B2B customers begin their customer journey with a Google search. Therefore, it is essential to have an SEO strategy that positions your brand higher and more frequently into search results that match various steps of that journey and capture highly qualified traffic from the top, middle, or bottom of the funnel.
What is the difference between B2B Marketing and B2C Marketing?
B2B marketing has a more detailed buying process than B2C marketing because there are more stakeholders engaged in the process, more information gathering going on, more narrow markets to sell to, more complex products and services, more costly deals, and larger ordering scales among other factors. In general, B2B has longer sales cycles and higher prices than B2C. B2B SEO is more focused on generating sales leads from the website because of these longer sales cycles.
How can structured data improve B2B SEO?
Structured data helps B2B companies stay ahead of the competition in organic search. Most B2B websites are typically very difficult for Google to understand, but structured data tells Google exactly what’s on your site. It also qualifies your website for rich results like product, rating/reviews, and pricing, which are critical as your potential customers research information and move through the purchasing funnel.