Not all SEO agencies are built from the same stuff.
The agency you choose to work with could make or break your business. They could spell the difference between your site becoming a fine-tuned lead-generating machine, or it sitting forlornly at the bottom of the SERPs.
So it’s a no-brainer: If you're a decision-maker at a B2B company, you should hire a B2B SEO agency rather than a generic one.
You’re probably wondering how to tell the difference. Let us break it down for you.
If you want to know what to look for in an agency, this article has got you covered.
A B2B agency understands your goals
All good SEO is built on a good relationship between client and agency, and a mutual understanding of each other’s needs.
Ideally, a business will have clear campaign objectives before they start looking for an agency partner. If you’re in this position, a B2B SEO agency will feel like a good fit. Initial conversations will align well with your expectations, and they’ll most likely stand out from generic agencies in the pitching process.
If you’re a decision-maker in a B2B company and you don’t have objectives outlined, a specialist agency is best placed to help you set effective ones. They’ll be able to tap into insights from previous campaigns with clients whose needs were similar to your own. This relevant bank of experience will pave the way for success.
A B2B agency understands B2B marketing
That probably sounds obvious, but many generic SEO agencies cast an incredibly broad net when choosing their clients.
An agency may claim to be “experts”, yet in practice only demonstrate a surface-level knowledge of the industries and niches in which their clients operate.
A B2B SEO agency, on the other hand, will have its finger firmly on the pulse of your industry. In real terms, this means things like -
- Knowing the right audiences to target.
- Understanding the need to target and convince multiple decision-makers rather than just individual prospects.
- Knowing that boosting sign-ups and free trials is a priority.
- Understanding that conveying comparative benefits of your offering is more important than in B2C campaigns.
A B2B agency has the right tools
Knowing the theory doesn’t count for much without the right tools.
A good B2B SEO agency will understand the different strategies required to succeed (outlined above). They’ll also back up this knowledge with the tools and techniques.
In B2B SEO, for example, the quality of leads surpasses the quantity in terms of importance. An agency operating in this niche will know which metrics to monitor for meaningful tracking of progress. They’ll have the tools for monitoring them, too.
Cultivating leads and moving them along the decision-making journey is a crucial part of the B2B sales process. A good agency will be able to advise on effective lead-nurturing techniques and will bake this into your website.
A B2B agency can change the way you market your offering
Knowing the nuances in user intent and decision-making means that a B2B agency can advise on the best way to structure content.
As we mentioned above: Tailoring content to appeal to leads at all stages of the buyer journey and to nurture them to subsequent stages is vital in B2B marketing.
A specialist agency will know what type of content to create -
- A watertight features page that gives at-a-glance information on the relative benefits of your offering.
- Comprehensive product or service pages that supplement features lists, and answer all potential buyer intent queries.
- Testimonials from individuals and businesses operating in similar niches to yours, focusing on their specific needs that your offering fulfilled.
- Messaging that emphasises these shared needs and makes it crystal clear why yours is the best solution.
A B2B agency won’t miss obvious opportunities
In B2C, the only person a customer needs to convince is themselves.
In B2B, however, decision-makers will look at several products or services. They will evaluate the pros and cons of competing offerings before making a final decision. We’ve already addressed how site content can be optimised to reflect this, but consider this:
Specific search terms arise off the back of this process.
Terms like “alternative to [your business]” or “[your business] versus [your competitor]”.
While these terms may fly under the radar of a regular SEO agency, a B2B agency will know how to create content to target them. When done successfully, such content addresses search intent and gives you greater control over the narrative.
A B2B agency will still cover all the fundamental aspects of SEO
Fear not: A specialism doesn’t imply that they can’t take care of the basics.
Working with a B2B agency will still give you access to the expertise required to get your site correctly configured in technical SEO terms. You can expect things like -
- A well-configured robots.txt file.
- A correctly formatted XML sitemap.
- Properly implemented schema markup.
- Optimised images.
- Fine-tuned meta titles and descriptions.
- Intuitive site structure and navigation.
If all of the points above look like jargon, then you should definitely consider speaking with a B2B SEO agency about your business objectives and how best to achieve them. You may be impressed with the results!
To B2B, or not to B2B?
To summarise what we’ve been saying: While a good B2B SEO agency may well cover the same bases as a regular agency in terms of technical SEO, they will deliver so much more on top.
They will combine broad SEO expertise with an in-depth understanding of the B2B industry.
They will strengthen your website immeasurably, and position it to best meet the opportunities available.
They will deliver the success that your business deserves.
So, if you’re wondering how to choose an SEO agency to help curate the future of your business, we hope these pointers have been useful.