The Differences Between B2C and B2B SEO

Jun 14, 2024

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There are differences and similarities in both B2C and B2B SEO. As a marketer, you need to be aware of these differences and considerations when developing your approach.

While some SEO techniques are universal, it’s crucial to adapt your strategy to the specific sector your users visit. Universal techniques include keeping your website secure, ensuring appropriate load speeds, adding alt text to images, optimising meta titles, and making sure your pages are crawlable and indexable to search engines.

Here we look at some key differences between B2C and B2B SEO.

Audience Differences

Most people consider B2C SEO to target a broad audience, aiming for quick conversions, while B2B audiences are more nuanced, with a longer purchase process involving multiple stakeholders. However, this is not always the case.

Not every B2C customer is the same, and while it may be convenient to try to put them all in the same box, it is not really appropriate or wise to do so. The same applies to B2B customers. Consider you are an importer of garden chairs. You own a big warehouse and drop-ship items for retailers who stock your products and sell them on their websites.

A business looking for a new supplier of garden chairs may find your website and want to set up an account quickly so they can begin selling your products. This does not need to be a time-consuming process, in fact, it is in everyone’s best interest to get an account set up as swiftly as possible so they can begin a business relationship.

Now, we could have a business that supplies various components for machines. Meticulous planning will need to be undertaken before a relationship can begin. The products will need to be tested, supply chains established, and the cost per unit agreed upon for volume orders.

See, we have these nuances; not every B2B customer is the same, and neither will every B2C customer.

So, the key here for both markets is to understand your customer. The B2B market can explode into more audience targets, and you could have a group of decision-makers from within a business visiting your site compared to an individual consumer as we see in B2C.

These could be:

• Managers
• Purchasers
• Supervisors
• Directors
• Financial Directors
• Staff
• Other Stakeholders

The financial director may be concerned with costs, a production manager may be interested in a product’s specifications, and a sales manager may be interested in signage and how to market your products on the shop floor.

So, with B2B audiences, we have to consider a wider variety of end users, and this can have implications for the keywords we target and our content strategy.

Keyword Differences

When we consider keywords to target in B2C sectors, these could be as simple as “Shoes for sale” or “Furniture in Liverpool”.

There is an intent here; we want to target people who are looking to make a purchase, so we will focus on transactional and commercial keywords. These keywords typically have higher search volumes than what we would expect to find when targeting B2B customers.

When we are targeting a B2B customer, we will have to make adjustments such as “garden furniture suppliers” or “machine part manufacturers.” We need to put ourselves in the shoes of a potential customer and think about what they would search for.

B2B sites are not typically set up as standard e-commerce sites; they are often referred to as brochure sites.

We target B2C keywords as they want to make a sale, where we understand B2B customers will need to make contact in general and are highly likely to be in the research phase of the buying process. For this reason, it is also important to give more weight to informational keywords in the B2B sector.

As we will be targeting keywords that have potentially less traffic, we want to boost our visibility through information pages relating to the product or service that you sell. Whereas in B2C or e-commerce SEO, the main focus of keyword targeting will be based on attracting customers who will make a purchase and are more progressed in the purchasing funnel

Content Strategy

Our page content strategy should differ when comparing B2B and B2C markets. In a B2C sector, we may place a greater focus on:

• High-Quality Lifestyle Images
• Product Reviews
• Catchy Product Descriptions
• Lead Times
• Special Offers
• Delivery and Return Information
• Pricing Competitiveness
• Influencer Approvals
• Social Content on Facebook and Instagram

This is designed to appeal to an end user and encourage them to make a purchase. From an SEO perspective, you will be competing against other businesses that could potentially retail the exact same products.

Here review schema markup and pricing competitiveness can all impact your SEO. If your products are overpriced and a user lands on your webpage and you have a product listed for £200 and the customer has seen the product elsewhere for £150, the back button will become very attractive to them.

The search engines will recognise people who are landing on your pages from the search results and swiftly exit.
In a B2B environment, pricing and returns procedures may not be an initial concern to a visitor so we need to adjust our content accordingly.

B2B pages may place a focus on:

• Case Studies
• White Papers
• Product Specifications
• Industry Reports
• Service Level Agreements
• ROI Calculators
• Social Content on LinkedIn

Here, we have tailored our B2B content based on the different audience segments that we could attract. As discussed earlier, the financial director may be concerned with an ROI calculator, and the manufacturing manager may be interested in product specifications.

User Intent

B2C users typically have transactional intent, seeking products or services for immediate purchase. In comparison, B2B users often have informational or navigational intent, seeking detailed information to inform business decisions

In terms of SEO, understanding the intent behind pages a user visits can impact our SEO in a variety of ways. For example, if you run an e-commerce store and a user lands on a product, we want them to convert, and we know they are interested in the product. All the product information should be on the page; we do not want them to leave the page to find more information and interrupt the purchasing process.

But in a B2B environment, we are happy for customers to click links to inform their decision; the more information they receive, the difference between acquiring a lead and not. So, in terms of internal links, we are more than happy to place links on pages we know can contribute to the purchasing process and not interrupt a purchase journey.

In terms of content, B2B websites can be heavy with information content, whilst in a B2C website, we want to focus on commercial and transaction content. If the content on the pages matches the intent of the query, your website will have a greater chance of showing in the top position in the search results.

When search engines deem a particular keyword phrase to be of informational intent, you need to be sure your page contains lots of information related to the query rather than commercial or transaction content.

Review Differences

B2C SEO relies heavily on customer reviews to build trust and influence purchasing decisions. For example, a consumer looking to buy new shoes may read through multiple customer reviews to decide which product to purchase.

Review schema can also show our start rating in the search engines and increase click rate, which is beneficial from an SEO perspective. In terms of B2B, often, products are bespoke, and you will gain company reviews rather than product reviews. You will be using testimonials and case studies from other businesses to establish credibility and trustworthiness.

Acquiring reviews can be more challenging in a B2B environment at times, as some businesses like to keep their suppliers and business relations private from competitors. Of course, this can vary from business to business and specific market sectors.

Contact Maxweb for SEO

If your business needs help with its SEO strategy, we are here to help. Our team of SEO consultants have great experience in a wide variety of sectors and markets and can help create and deploy a tailored plan.

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