B2B SEO Services Defined
Let’s first discuss what B2B SEO services entail, as this can vary widely. Some SEO agencies provide fully managed SEO campaigns, this includes site audit, keyword research, link building, technical SEO, and content production. These are the 4 main components to a fully comprehensive SEO strategy.
Some B2B SEO agencies offer flexibility in how they provide SEO services, meaning you can choose to work with the agency on some of these key components, not all. In some cases this is relevant when you have some in-house SEO resources. For example, if you have an in-house web developer who can implement the technical tasks, then you may not need the agency to do this work. You may choose to instead just purchase a comprehensive website audit, keyword research, link building and content. Or if you already have a website in good standing and have content creation covered by a freelance writer, then you may only need help with link building, in which case a link building only campaign would be the most appropriate.
Factors to consider when choosing B2B SEO services
Not all SEO companies are equal. They all have varying approaches on how they do everything on the list I mentioned above. I’ll cover the key areas to evaluate here:
SEO Site audit
SEO agencies will use different software tools to build an audit. Some agencies will combine what they see in an automated report with a manual review of the website’s content. It’s important that the agency you work with also does a manual review, because this helps inform the strategy of the SEO campaign. Strategy is not something that can be defined or created by a simple SEO auditing software tool.
A good agency will be able to look at your main pages and advise on where there are expandable or new keyword opportunities for those pages. They will also be able to advise on if those pages are currently optimized for SEO with the existing content or if they need to be improved. Another factor is looking at the flow of the website to ensure it is conversion friendly and that it’s maximizing value of the traffic that those pages will receive.
Summary of Site Audit Questions to ask
- Is the site audit you perform done using an SEO software tool and is there a manual component to it?
- Do you review existing key page content in the site audit?
- Do you make recommendations on new pages in the site audit?
Keyword research is done differently at different SEO agencies so it’s important to ask what their approach is and to understand yourself what the right approach is. Keyword research may seem straight forward, but it’s both an art, and a science. You need to put yourself in the shoes of high intent leads to know what they are searching, and you need to analyze those keywords with an SEO tool to determine if they are viable.
An agency’s approach to keyword research could be the difference between a successful SEO campaign and a failed one. They may source a list of high intent keywords with high search volume, but if all of those keywords are also highly competitive, your SEO campaign will fail. The payback period for highly competitive keywords can be years, or, sometimes not possible at all unless you’re ready to invest tens of thousands of dollars every month, which would likely not produce a positive ROI.
I go into detail on how to do keyword research yourself in this blog post. But if you are looking for agency help, then this is the approach that should be taken with keyword research and it’s a question that you should ask an agency about when evaluating them:
- Identify high intent keywords
- Run these through a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs
- Look at the Keyword difficulty score (KD)
- If it is ranked red and over 40, these shouldn’t be prioritized
- If ranked yellow or green and is under 40, these are good keywords
- Focus less on search volume and more on intent
You can see excellent returns from targeting lots of high intent/low search volume keywords, but you won’t see results by targeting high intent/high volume/high competition keywords.
Keyword research is the most important piece to the SEO puzzle. Get this piece right, and your strategy will be setup for success.
Summary of Keyword Research Questions to ask
- How do you select what keywords to prioritize?
- How do you determine which keywords should not be prioritized?
Digging into an SEO agency’s link building approach is extremely important. I say this because there is a lot of black hat SEO in link building specifically and you need to be cautious.
For example, a lot of offshore SEO companies will pay to purchase links for their clients. This is considered black hat SEO and you take a big risk in doing this as it’s strictly against Google’s guidelines.
The reason link buying is so common is because organic link building is hard, and buying links is the easiest way to acquire new links. However, this isn’t an area you want to cut corners, so be sure to ask the agency exactly what their approach is to link building.
An agency doing link building correctly will tell you that they do not pay for link acquisition. Instead, they do organic outreach to other relevant websites and ask for a link. Often they use free content with an embedded link as an incentive. Many website owners are looking for more content and welcome free content, in which case it’s a win-win and no payment is being exchanged.
Another thing to consider with any link building strategy is the anchor-text ratios. It’s important to have an anchor-text first approach with link building to ensure these ratios are safe and organic.
The last thing to ask the agency about it is the domain authority of the links. While you don’t need all the links to come from high domain authority websites, you need a mix of low-mid-high range. A more important factor than domain authority is niche relevance. You want to work with an agency that will be acquiring relevant links, not just generic links or worse, links that come from sites with zero relevance to your business. While generic links are not always bad, they don’t always carry as much SEO weight.
Summary of Link Building Questions to ask
- How do you acquire links?
- Do you pay for links?
- What is your approach for link anchor-texts?
- What is the domain authority range of the links you acquire?
- What is the niche relevance of the links?
Technical SEO Tasks
Technical SEO is different than all the other skills required for SEO. It’s not one of those areas that any marketer can do. Yes, some items like meta descriptions and title tags is something a marketer could implement, but when you start talking about schema markup, site maps and page speed optimization, it becomes more complex.
Some agencies will only provide recommendations for these technical tasks and some agencies will implement these optimizations for you. Usually, there isn’t a cost difference between the two. In fact, often the more expensive agencies will not include optimization time in a monthly plan and sell it as an add-on. This is a question to ask any agency you are considering working with. If you’re looking for a B2B SEO agency that does include implementation of technical tasks, you can check out our SEO services here.
Summary of Technical SEO Questions to ask
- Do you implement the technical tasks or just make recommendations?
- How do you prioritize which technical tasks to address first?
- Do you address site speed and schema markup in technical tasks? (These are important SEO ranking factors and it’s important to cover them in an SEO campaign)
Most agencies that provide fully managed SEO plans also provide content, but it is usually a separate wing/department of their business, therefore it’s important to evaluate the competence of their writing. Quality has become a differentiating factor and in a lot of cases, and an SEO agency may be good at SEO but not good at content.
Some agencies, such as Techspin Marketing, will offer a content strategy in addition to the content writing. This provides the client with an ongoing monthly content calendar that is designed to target the same keywords as in the SEO strategy. The content strategy is ideal to add on because it looks at the content gaps on your website and helps you to determine where you are falling short in comparison to your competitors. Content is a fantastic way to help accelerate SEO success, but if it’s not focused on the right topics, it can easily fall flat. It also takes time for content to start ranking and still requires an investment in link building for blog content to generate traffic.
Blog content isn’t all about generating traffic to that blog post. A little known fact about the benefits of blog content is that blog content largely exists to support your bottom of funnel pages (ei. service and product pages). These bottom of funnel pages are where you will generate the most conversions, ie. request a demo, request a quote, book a call. For this reason, you want these pages to improve in rankings and blog content helps with this through strategic internal linking. Within every blog post you want to include at least one link to a product or service page, and eventually you will create a network of internal links that prop these pages up, helping them to rank. You also want to ensure that every blog includes at least one link to another blog post, which will add value to the blog it’s linking to.
There are many other ways to optimize blog posts, but these are a few key factors you should be looking for when outsourcing SEO content to an agency.
Summary of Content Questions to ask
- Are your writers industry experts?
- What is your optimizations checklist for blog posts?
- What links do you include in the blog content?
Many people I speak to are hesitant about whether or not they will see results from their investment. I don’t blame them, my experience with SEO agencies has been hit or miss before as well.
If you’re going to be investing in SEO, you want to ensure you will generate results so you can hit your marketing targets. One thing I have found is that large SEO agencies tend to be less accountable when it comes to results. They have so many clients paying big $$$, they don’t mind too much if you end up unhappy. Not the best way to do business, in my humble opinion, but hey… that’s just the way it is sometimes.
For this reason I pivoted to boutique agencies, and since then have started my own. What I found about these smaller agencies is that they value business and clients a lot more. Not only that, they charge a fraction of the cost and tend to deliver better results. This is one area where paying more doesn’t equate to better quality.
Smaller agencies tend to have a higher touch management approach with clients, and also a more customized approach when it comes to strategy. They haven’t streamlined everything in the business yet to operate like a massive transactional machine, where they are trying to pump out high volumes of content or backlinks, therefore sacrificing quality. You are also often dealing with the business owner, and no one cares more about brand reputation and client success than they do. The motivation to serve clients and deliver results exists at the highest level, take it from me!
We’ve covered a lot on how to find a B2B SEO services agency, so let’s now talk about some other critical factors, like pricing. Something that seems to be hard to get to without committing to a sales call. Voila! Transparent pricing below!
B2B SEO Agency Pricing
Pricing across SEO agencies varies greatly. From small boutique agencies charging in the $2000-3000/month range, to large SEO companies charging anything from $5000-10000/month minimum.
Typically, add-on services like content strategy or content writing is extra. As well as additional link building, for example. Here is a pricing breakdown example based on our own pricing here at Techspin Marketing:
Fully managed SEO Plan: $2500-$3500/month (standard plan)
Content Strategy: $600-$1200/month for blog content strategy (4-8 blog post ideas per month)
Blog Content Writing: $300-$600/1000 word blog post (depending on niche and technical knowledge required)
Link Building only: $1400-$2500/month (includes between 4 to 8 new referring domains every month)
We covered a lot in today’s blog post. A few things I want to re-iterate are:
- Not all B2B SEO services are equal. You need to do your due-diligence to find the right fit.
- Evaluate approaches around site audits, technical SEO, link building, and content.
- Consider a boutique agency versus a large agency.
- Consider pricing and that you might not get “more” with more budget.
Thanks again for reading my content. As am SEO expert of over 12 years I welcome any questions you have on SEO for your business. Please feel free to reach out to me directly here.