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Search plays a critical role in the success of B2B organizations. It’s a complex, ever-evolving landscape often presenting challenges, mainly of time and focus. I recently sat down with Torin Keefer, Manager, Search at JPL to discuss solutions to the challenges B2B marketers face.

Q: B2B audiences tend to be smaller and more niche; there’s also increased competition. What should B2B marketers do differently in search to account for this and carry out a successful search strategy?

A: When dealing with smaller, more niche audiences, we tend to deal with smaller, more niche topics. We often can’t use existing search data to understand what people are looking for. This makes it hard to know what to focus on for search. When there’s low demand, it’s important for us to be inventive to fully comprehend the needs of the audience. This often requires a search strategist to collaborate with various fields. We reach out to product managers, sales, customer service and marketing. From their insights, we can understand what questions are being asked and what brands are being compared. Then, we can lean into the differentiators to address audience needs.

Q: Besides the audience complexity, the B2B sales funnel is often more complex. Plus, B2B customers take more time to consider purchases, which leads to longer sales cycles. How can B2B marketers play the long game and align their search strategies to the different phases of the customer journey?

A: First, don’t skip the basics. You need to have a well-optimized site that provides the user with a positive experience. Good UX is good SEO—they go hand in hand. It’s important to remember that we all seek information and validation for our decisions. In search, we look at the different stages of the customer journey and understand the challenges and barriers the audience faces. Next, we must identify the solutions and information we can offer to overcome these barriers and move the customer further down the sales funnel. This goes beyond the scope of traditional SEO and involves working with other departments such as sales and customer service.

The next step is to find out where your audience spends their time online besides your own content. Search engines pull results from online forums and social and video platforms. Marketers can leverage SEO research to uncover an audience’s online habits and benefit from these insights over time. Again, this isn’t just about keywords. If we find where our audience is talking online, even if it’s not on our website at first, we can learn what they want and need. Then, we can give them what they want on those platforms and on our website. You can incorporate blogs, insights pieces, user-generated content, and ratings and reviews to enhance your website. This takes time. However, marketers can accelerate progress by optimizing their content for search. For example, they can use schema implementation. You can have the best content in the world, but if it’s not optimized, it’s a one-step forward, three-steps back scenario.

Q: Knowing how important content is to any marketing strategy, how can B2B marketers identify unique, ownable spaces to create a dialogue and ownable content?

A: Sometimes, answers to what’s ownable are obvious, and sometimes they aren’t. To find content that you can fully own, lean into your online reputation. Your online reputation doesn’t always match how well your sales are doing or how the overall market is performing. Your business competitors may be completely different from your online competitors. When you look at your top-ranking keywords and those of your competitors, you’ll see where there are gaps and opportunities. Reviewing these possibilities ensures you create content on the right topics.

If you’re a well-known brand, the audience will typically ask a lot of questions. Here again, you can’t skip the basics. It’s crucial to have “About Us” and historical content on your website. Lean into that content to answer the questions people ask and be sure it’s included in your branded keywords. We frequently emphasize the significance of possessing EEAT, which represents experience, expertise, authority and trustworthiness. Google will surface content that’s more credible. When you make decisions that affect your money, your life or your business, it’s important to use reliable and accurate information. Many B2B brands have an opportunity to demonstrate their experience and expertise because they’re qualified and trusted. This can gain authority in search.

Q: What advice would you give a B2B marketer looking to hire an agency to support their search efforts?

A: Choose a business partner with a sound strategy. They should have a methodology that prioritizes collaboration with other teams and integration with other tactics. When working on a project, collaborate with a partner who has expertise in user experience (UX), content creation, development and paid search. It’s essential to coordinate and work closely with these different areas for successful project execution. With the addition of paid search, you’ll see a greater lift in search, but across the board. You can hire an agency to create content that drives clicks, but are the clicks qualified? You might be gaining topical authority, but does that authority match with what you want to be known for and your growth plan? Vanity metrics don’t move the needle for your business. We recommend starting with a search audit to set benchmarks, identify opportunities and review overall search health.

Ready to elevate your search performance? Torin recommends our search audit as a great starting point. Drop us a line at [email protected].


About Torin Keefer, JPL Manager, Search: Torin is a data-driven performance marketer specializing in search. He creates synergistic digital experiences that integrate paid, earned and owned media to drive tangible results for JPL’s B2B and B2C clients. Torin holds certifications in Google Analytics, Google Ads and BrightEdge.

About Kelly Seipe, JPL Head of Strategic Growth: Kelly evaluates clients’ businesses and identifies growth opportunities to deliver more value, ROI and strategic outcomes for them. She brings deep experience from her time serving as the account leader for many of JPL’s largest clients and over six years building the brands of manufacturers and marketers of building products in the B2B space.




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