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B2B Marketing

Why does Huckabuy work so well for B2B software websites?

B2B software websites are not typically organized for the optimal crawling experience of a Google Search Bot. In fact, most basic SEO principles go out the window. What you would expect is 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 just don’t lend themselves to understanding the business, what the products do, and how they integrate together. Therefore, Search Bots have trouble interpreting, crawling, and indexing their pages. 

If you take an SAP or any B2B software player, all the structure that you see in a B2C site typically goes out the window. The sites are not organized in a way that lend themselves to a Search Bot understanding the business. So when you layer structured data on top of that, it really moves the needle.

Huckabuy Founder-CEO Geoff Atkinson

Huckabuy’s SEO software platform allows these websites to authoritatively communicate everything the Search Bot needs to know about the business in an efficient manner. In this way, Google knows whether it’s crawling a section on software applications, ratings and reviews, pricing, and so forth. This method influences Google’s knowledge graph so that it can make important connections in a complex environment and build a strong organic search profile for software businesses.

We have noticed over time how Huckabuy software and services move the needle most dramatically for software companies engaged in B2B marketing. When you add structured data and the SEO Cloud to a complicated and technical site, new keyword associations are formed, impressions and clicks go up, and rankings are improved. Google is finally able to crawl and understand everything about your website.

Podcast Talk: B2B SEO

Huckabuy Founder and CEO Geoff Atkinson recently went on a podcast and explained why SEO is critical for B2B companies of all sizes in all industries:

“A lot of times when we work with B2B companies, they will have done a lot of heavy-lifting — they have quality content and backlinks — but without expertise or in-house technical SEO, their content might not be working for them as hard as they’d like it to from an SEO perspective. 

For example, a company came to us with really great content, great work already there, and then we made some technical adjustments that made the piece more visible to Google. And that’s really all Huckabuy did, we added structured data to the page — really good structured data. We did some things with the navigation, and then, boom, they went from page two in Google search results to page one and they were ranking #2 or #3 for one of their primary keywords. 

In the B2B world, you might have tons and tons of content assets, but Google still scratches their head as to what these pages are about. With structured data — which is the authoritative language that Google really likes to speak — you’re telling them the facts: “This is a B2B brand strategy document” or “This is a software product” and, as a result, you start to get more SEO traffic from those content pieces.

I think most good B2B companies are already sitting on huge content assets, so my encouragement is, let’s just make it more visible, more understandable, and more digestible for Google, and you’ll start reaping the benefits of that. It happens with smaller B2B companies, and it happens at scale across big companies like SAP and Salesforce.” 

Podcast Talk: Technical SEO Case Study

On a recent podcast, Geoff gave a perfect example of how technical SEO can transform organic traffic for B2B software companies: 

“Alright, here’s a great example for B2B. The software company SAP opened up a developer’s central that was basically a Q&A, it was a place for developers to come in, ask questions, and have SAP developers answer them. It ended up becoming an enormous piece of their site. They really hadn’t thought of it as an SEO opportunity, but Huckabuy came in, we added our structured data, we leveraged SEO Cloud, and it’s now one of their top inbound drivers.

People ask a question about SAP software flow through this section of the site and it ends up generating tons of leads for them, believe it or not. There’s one that’s totally hands-off, just about, other than setting up this forum, essentially, and just letting developers ask questions. It grew into a really big driver for them and was an asset that they already had in place, but weren’t leveraging it. In just a couple weeks, structured data, SEO cloud, and some navigation optimization — boom — all of a sudden, they’ve got this jackpot of an SEO resource.

Podcast Talk: The Reason Huckabuy Software Is Optimal For SaaS Companies

In this excerpt from the SaaS podcast, Geoff talks about the benefit of Huckabuy software for SaaS companies in particular. You can read the full transcript or listen to the full episode here.

The reason that it works so well for SaaS is if you think about it, an Overstock.com or an e-commerce site — that’s a site that’s relatively easy for a search engine to understand. Bots come onto the site and because there’s these really well described categories like men’s watches or patio furniture, and those categories are all the same format it’s easy for a bot to understand. And then they get to a product page, and those are all the same formats — they’ve got a kind of product name and price and a description and reviews. In fact, your Amazon.com or Overstock.com is going have a huge API that points back to Google with all their product information in a live feed. So Google bots understand e-commerce sites really clearly, but when you think of SaaS sites, all that structure just goes away because these companies have much more complicated products. There are integrations and all sorts of things happening on a SaaS site that just doesn’t happen on an e-commerce site. And so when Google wants to know everything they can about Salesforce, they know there’s tons of backlinks and very high domain authority, but they’re left sort of scratching their head as to what exactly it is.  

And so structured data ends up being this fabulous mechanism to educate a search engine on a SaaS product. And implementation is really relatively easy, you know, we send them a line of JavaScript to get our code live. We then insert this little packet — it’s called a JSON LD packet — that contains all the structured data. We put it up as high as we can on the page and Google comes in and recognizes structured data and just understands each and every page throughout the site way more clearly than they did before. And the more they understand, the more search results they end up giving the site. So that’s why it works so well in SaaS — it’s a light implementation and the search engines are struggling to understand these businesses. If the CEO pitches the product to a potential buyer, the buyer is going to learn so much more about that product than what Google understands by going and crawling a SaaS site. And so our software really helps that communication.

Podcast Talk: Why Big Software Companies Trust Huckabuy And See Skyrocketed Organic Growth

In this excerpt from the Growth TL;DR podcast, Geoff talks why big software companies trust Huckabuy to help them grow. You can read the full transcript or listen to the full episode here.

Our product actually drives the most ROI and growth for these major software sites. Once we got on SAP, the results were insanely good. And their ROI story was just wild. Then we started pursuing these other big enterprise customers. And because we don’t touch any customer data at all, it’s a very low risk proposition for them. So that when we go through, like procurement and security review, we’re not doing anything that’s going to affect their compliance or anything like that. We’re just talking to the search bots, and so it’s pretty low-risk , but with a lot of potential upside. We’ve been fortunate to have a great track record with enterprise and have gotten into some really big companies. And we continue to sort of focus on that because Google struggles to understand these big sites. For example, on sap.com there was a page with over 100 JavaScript tags — Google has a difficult time that. So our product makes it way easier for Google to come to SAP and understand what they’re doing. So when Google comes, they’re like, “Finally we get to understand what the site’s all about.” And the results kind of go crazy.

Podcast Talk: Avoid Free SEO Plugins. Use Software Solutions Backed by Expert Support Staff.

When it comes to your B2B business, you want the most effective and reliable solution. It may be tempting to utilize a free plugin, but doing so can have negative downstream effects that ultimately hurt your business. 

That’s just what Geoff and Jeff Byer discussed on Digital Rage Podcast:

Jeff Byer: I tell my customers the pluses and minuses to WordPress…if you rely on any third-party plugins, that’s a huge issue there. I’ve had sites taken down — there’s one right now that we’re having to completely rebuild because one of the third-party plugins just stopped being supported. 

Geoff Atkinson: Yeah, we talk about how these massive sites run through WordPress, and they’ll have something like 75% of all their traffic coming through organic search, and they rely on free plugins to do a bunch of very important things. And you know, that’s a scary thing when you think about how much revenue is flowing through these sites and these channels to be reliant on free plugins. It is always a risk, and it can be a scary proposition if something goes wrong. 

People just sort of have blind faith that these apps and plugins are going to be around forever. What if the guy gets a job or you know, moves, or something? You don’t really know the support team behind any given plugin, and when your business is pretty dependent on it, it’s good to know that you have a trusted source.

Jeff Byer: Yeah…If you depend on a third-party plugin, you better make sure that you know who’s behind it and that they can be reliable. So, I’m a big fan of Huckabuy’s solution.

Why should B2B software companies adopt SEO earlier in their life cycles?

B2B software companies seem to arrive at SEO later in their life-cycles, despite the fact that SEO drives sustainable, long-term sales pipeline growth. Huckabuy aims to reverse this trend. 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, content, and a layer of structured data that the target market wants and Google understands. This strategy helps B2B software companies make more long-tail, high-conversion keyword associations that help them capture more of that previously-elusive organic search traffic. 

Huckabuy Software Solutions

The technical conversation between websites and search engines is increasingly important for SEO. In fact, if you aren’t having the right conversation with the Google Search Bot, nothing else matters. Huckabuy software solutions, including our automated structured data and SEO Cloud, facilitate the most fundamental and optimal conversation your website can have with this Search Bot. With the right conversation, it crawls and understands your content fully, makes new keyword associations, and raises your visibility and ranking in the organic search channel.

Rich Results for B2B Companies

Given the uncertainty and resulting budget cuts of the coronavirus-impacted economy, B2B companies should be looking to do more for less. So how do you move the needle with a restricted budget? That’s where structured data comes in. 

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. We’ve rounded up the most critical markup types for B2B businesses to have in their arsenal:

  • Product
    • With product markup, customers will be able to see detailed product information directly in the search results.
  • Software app
    • This is an extremely underused resource for B2B software companies. This markup includes descriptions, ratings/reviews, and direct links to the software application.
  • Ratings and Reviews
    • No one buys anything without reading through ratings and reviews. With this markup, customers will know that your products and services are trustworthy and high-quality. 
  • Pricing
    • Compared to B2C, B2B companies don’t typically publicize their pricing. However, you can stand out from the competition by including special offers and promotions. 
  • FAQ
    • Having readily-available answers to your potential customers’ most common questions demonstrates your authority and drives qualified leads to your site.
  • Organization
    • Whether you’re a corporation or local business, including important information like your logo, phone number, address, and hours of operation makes your business easy to find when customers are looking for B2B services in a particular area. 
  • Events
    • Are you hosting webinars, conferences, or other events? Drive attendance and awareness with event markup.

Over 60% of Huckabuy’s customer base is comprised of small and large B2B software companies. 

SEO for the B2B Conversion Funnel

A conversion funnel represents the process that your target audience goes through to ultimately convert into a customer. While you start with a large pool of people, leads may drop off as the process continues, resulting in a narrower pool of highly-qualified leads at the bottom of the funnel. Given that there are multiple decision makers and stakeholders in B2B purchasing, more complex products/services, and in general, longer sales cycles and higher prices than B2C, the conversion process can be complicated.

SEO can help ensure that your business stands out in organic search and move prospects down the funnel. Below, we’ve highlighted SEO strategies for each step of the funnel:

Top of the Funnel: Awareness

  • Start with keyword research. What problem is your audience looking to solve? What do they need help with? Looking directly at the search results for various queries can help you determine user intent. 
  • Most searchers at the top of the funnel are searching for information and guidance. They might not be ready to convert just yet, but you can still capture these potential prospects by having them sign up for a newsletter, download a guide, etc.
  • Use structured data to optimize your appearance in the search results. If you can answer a search query with a rich result, users will see your brand first. Markup like product, rating/review, and FAQ are powerful ways to differentiate your 
  • Types of content that work well for the awareness stage: guides, articles, whitepapers.

Middle of the Funnel: Consideration

  • Middle of the funnel searchers are aware of potential solutions to their problem, and are doing more research to decide which will best fit their needs.
  • Again, figuring out user intent is key in ensuring your content reaches the right audience. In general, middle of the funnel B2B searches can be categorized into the following types: 
    • Product: a basic search for a product or service. Ex: “Accounting software.”
    • Product comparison: a search comparing different options. Ex: “Accounting software vs enterprise resource planning.”
    • Features: a search for a product/service with specific features. Ex: “Accounting software with inventory tracking.”
    • Integrations: a search for product/service that integrates with other tools. Ex: “Accounting software that works with Square.”
    • Industry: a search for a product/service that is specific to the users’ industry. Ex: “Accounting software for small businesses.”
  • Types of content that work well for the consideration stage: infographics, comparison blog posts, checklists, video explainers. 

Bottom of the Funnel: Conversion

  • Bottom of the funnel searchers know their problem, the type of solution they will use to solve it, and some idea of the particular products they’re looking to buy. Now the task is convincing them that your product is the best for them. 
  • Typical bottom of the funnel searches are comparisons (“x vs. y”) and alternatives (“alternatives to x”). 
  • Many times in the B2B space, what products are named/referred to is much different from what customers are actually searching for. Base your product’s name on search volume and relevant keywords to ensure that users can find it. 
  • Most people don’t buy something without reading reviews for it first. The same goes for B2B. To help people make the final push towards becoming a customer, make sure you have ratings, reviews, case studies, and testimonials readily available — and add applicable structured data markup so these enhancements appear in organic search. 

B2B Marketing in a Pandemic

How SEO Can Help Your Company Make It Through COVID-19

Right now, we’re the farthest thing from business as usual. Many of us are living through the most profound social, economic, and political turmoil we’ve ever experienced in our lifetimes. Business leaders are doing their best to stay afloat and navigate the constant changes brought on by the coronavirus. Where the B2C world has seen a tremendous surge in ecommerce with more people participating in online shopping, the B2B industry is still finding its footing amidst the uncertainty and the reluctance of businesses to open up their budgets. We know from past recessions that companies that maintained their marketing efforts not only survived, but came out the other side with greater brand recognition, consumer trust, and stock valuation. So how can SEO help B2B companies during the coronavirus pandemic? 

SEO Benefits You Now and Later

SEO is a long game. Unlike paid search where you lose the benefits the second you stop spending money, organic search efforts add up over time, giving you a great ROI. Right now, investing in SEO helps your company maintain brand visibility and gain customer trust, which will put you ahead of the competition and ensure you’re better positioned for success as our world stabilizes and returns to a semblance of normal. 

SEO helps with longer B2B sales cycles

It’s never been simple to buy and sell in a B2B context, and these days, it will be even harder. Right now, most businesses are in an extended consideration period. With all the uncertainty, they’re approaching purchasing decisions with extreme caution, meaning you’re likely seeing delays in pulling leads through the purchase funnel. SEO helps you keep customers in the top and middle of the funnel — realize they might stay there for some time, but your brand consistency and empathy will ensure strong future conversion rates.

Optimize your website for organic search traffic

Technical SEO initiatives like structured data and dynamic rendering help search engines crawl and index your website, and gather the most relevant content to display in the search results. When your web content qualifies for rich results like FAQs, ratings, reviews, and event markup, your site will stand out and entice users to click through to your site. 

Make customers (and their information) feel secure

Consider the security of your website. If you have an SSL certificate, good! Seeing that padlock on your website will put customers more at ease. If you don’t, consider utilizing a CDN, which sends your information in HTTPs even if you don’t have SSL encryption.

Leverage your audience’s down time

With most people staying at home, you have a captive audience for your brand. Don’t miss the opportunity to use SEO to capture customer attention, whether that’s keeping up with trending keyword searches and altering your keyword strategy accordingly, or adding coronavirus-related structured data markup to your website, or updating your content to match changing search intent. 

Remember: crises breed innovation and new market leaders

The COVID-19 crisis can help B2B marketers focus on their brand’s empathetic ethos. Try shifting the types of communication you have with your customers away from “Here’s what we have” to “What do you need?” and “How can we solve your specific problem?” Perhaps you can offer something that no other business can right now. If you can figure out what that is, you company will be well positioned to succeed in a post-pandemic world. 

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 decision-makers in your target market via search engines. 

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 help B2B companies?

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.