Do your web pages convert new leads? Does it rank on search engines? Where are the gaps? What can you improve?
You’ll never know without checking.
Fortunately, conducting a B2B SEO audit is easier than you think, and the insights you gain can help your business reach its full potential.
Business and SEO Goals
If you’re doing SEO just for the sake of doing SEO, your results will always come up short. You need to evaluate your specific business goals and how SEO fits into the picture.
On the surface, there are obvious business goals like “get more leads” or “increase revenue,” but you need to think more deeply about how SEO can help reach those goals. And you have to consider the steps you need to take to reach the end goal of more leads and higher revenue.
As they pertain to digital marketing, you can lump your business goals into three categories:
- Buyer personas. No matter what, your main goal is to connect with your target audience. That’s how you get them on your site in the first place. You need to rank for keywords and cover topics your audience is actually searching for on Google.
- Target KPIs. Organic traffic, leads, site engagement, conversion rates (including individual pipeline stages like MQL-to-SQL and SQL-to-opportunity), activation rate, time to first value, and customer/revenue retention are the metrics worth tracking for business success. To continuously improve search engine rankings, you’ll want to look at keyword rankings and website performance on a per-page basis. That way, you can double down on the content your audience values most.
- Competitors. Follow your competition to determine what they’re ranking for and how they’re getting traffic. Also, consider their website structure, content topics, and CTA/conversion paths. Figure out where you don’t have to reinvent the wheel UX- and content-wise. Then, find out what makes you different and capitalize on that.
Part of alignment is determining whether or not your SEO strategy is actually possible with your current website. If you’re a smaller brand, you probably won’t rank for difficult keywords. You probably wouldn’t be able to handle such a massive influx of organic traffic, either.
That’s one of the biggest reasons to audit your site. You want to see where you already have some momentum to build off of.
Divide and Conquer
Logging into Google Analytics is kind of like opening a Pandora’s box (especially if you haven’t done so in a while). You’ll find tons of opportunities, errors, and suggestions.
It’s overwhelming. You need to approach it with a ‘divide and conquer’ mentality.
Start with the low-hanging fruit. These are the quick fixes that can yield results almost instantly.
It could be as simple as:
- rectifying 4xx errors
- eliminating duplicate content
- switching to a web-safe font
- improving your image quality
- adding a keyword to your title tags/meta descriptions
These tweaks enhance the user experience and can boost your existing content’s rankings. They’ll help you leverage the traffic and keywords you already have.
Commercial Page Opportunities
Your commercial pages and bottom-of-funnel (BoFu) content drive the most qualified leads, so that’s where you should focus your attention first.
These are your landing pages, pricing pages, product/service pages, comparisons, and pillar pages. These pages might not immediately skyrocket your web traffic, but they’ll convert leads further down in the sales funnel.
Further down the line, they’re also the pages you’ll build links to. And you probably drive paid traffic to these pages (or, at least, have a sales team that uses them).
Long story short: SEO will have a more immediate and direct impact on revenue if you focus on commercial pages first.
To maximize SEO ROI, you’ll have to create topic clusters. When you audit your site, you’ll find content gaps and opportunities to extend your existing topical coverage.
This involves creating content that covers the same topic from various angles. It’s where you leverage SEO silos to your advantage.
For example, a B2B SaaS vendor selling CRM software might have a pillar page around a simple keyword like “CRM for [Industry/Type of Business]” and several supporting blog posts to cover specific use cases and situations.
The Bigger Picture
You’ll want to audit your B2B website routinely. Each time, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is our strategy getting us more traffic?
- Is that traffic actually qualified to buy our product?
- Do they turn into leads?
- Are those leads actually buying?
Audit your site once per month. Make continuous improvements. Check on YoY growth a year later, and you’ll see what a difference you’ve made.
Areas of Focus
Some SEO problems require an expert diagnosis. But you probably have some idea of where you want to focus your SEO efforts.
This could be:
- Low conversion rates (CRO)
- Slow-loading pages or bad site structure (UX)
- Existing content users can’t find on the website (internal linking)
- Customers on sales meetings who read your website but don’t understand your product/service (video SEO)
- Optimized content with low search visibility (link building)
Most businesses who come to us for B2B SEO also have an idea of which topics they want to cover. Your customers and sales team will usually have additional insights into which topics your prospects are interested in.
B2B Content Audit
The first area of focus when it comes to a B2B SEO audit is your content. A content audit is a detailed, comprehensive look at your website’s existing content.
Keyword research works in tandem with content audits. You’ll want a list of informational and commercial keywords you want to target with your content. And you need to audit your website to see how your site performs for those keywords.
Use SEO tools like Ahrefs or Semrush to find keywords related to the topics you want to cover. Then, depending on search intent, you can create either blog content or a commercial web page for the term.
Your blog is home to your informational content. Every time a customer Googles something product-related, it’s either you or a competitor who shows up on the search results.
Is there a strategy?
Begin your B2B SEO audit by assessing the existing content strategy. Look for coherence, the value-add for readers, and how well the content aligns with your broader business goals.
When we took a more coherent approach to our own blog content (publishing B2B SaaS and ecommerce SEO content), we saw a 246% increase in traffic in just six months.
Trust us. This framework works.
Create content clusters.
Center your content around core topics pertinent to your business. Start with pillar pages that cover broad topics related to your value proposition.
Then, create smaller pieces of content that cover subtopics and build authority by linking to your pillar page.
As an example, here’s a look at our SaaS SEO guide, which is a broad overview. In our blog content (which covers individual topics), we link back to it.
Redirect duplicate topics.
Consolidate content that covers similar topics to prevent them from diluting SEO value. It’s very confusing for search engine algorithms (and humans) if you have content that covers a single topic from multiple angles.
You can keep the older blog post, but redirect them to more up-to-date pages on the same topic.
Check for internal links.
A content audit tool like Surfer will show you internal linking opportunities.
It’s just a crawler, so it won’t find all of them. But you can get a good overview of how your content is linked and what assets need more attention.
When running B2B SEO audits on commercial pages, the biggest concern is whether you’re ranking for a commercial keyword. We’ve seen tons of B2B websites focus their commercial pages on keywords meant to answer questions rather than drive leads.
Aside from attracting the wrong type of content, you also run the risk of cannibalizing your own content. You probably answer questions about your product/service in blog posts, which means you’re competing with yourself for keyword rankings.
Commercial pages should:
- Use the same keywords (with a slight variation) throughout the body of the page
- Include an embedded CTA to encourage users to take action
- Have internal links that point to other relevant content on your website
Keyword research tools will tell you straight away whether your number-one keyword is commercial or informational. Usually, informational keywords are on the right path. They just need a modifier to follow search intent.
Here are a few examples of B2B keyword modifiers that can make an informational keyword commercial:
For instance, the search term ‘CRM software’ returns a few “best of” pages, but it also returns blog posts that answer the question, “What is CRM software?”
All you have to do is look at search engine results pages to see whether your top-performing keywords fit in with the others. If your product page is up against dozens of informational ones, you won’t rank as high for it. Even if you did, it’d probably have a lower CTR for this exact reason.
If you create commercial content for commercial terms, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to attract buyers. ‘CRM software pricing,’ for instance, returns a few pages that are related to it.
You could use a ‘___ pricing’ page to compare competitor pricing to your own, and give users a guide for which product is right for them.
B2B Technical SEO Audit
Technical SEO is the other half of a B2B SEO audit. You don’t need fancy schmancy SEO audit tools to take care of this, either.
Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and the free version of Screaming Frog SEO Spider should get you there. If you use Ahrefs to find relevant keywords, that’ll work for a technical SEO audit as well.
Google reads billions of web pages. That’s how it knows which ones to display on search results when users type in a keyword or phrase.
Whether or not you’re one of those pages depends on 200+ factors. The first one is whether or not Google can read your site in the first place.
Your B2B SEO audit tool (we used Screaming Frog above) will tell you how many pages Google can crawl.
When you click on a specific page, you can see the index status of each one.
You wouldn’t necessarily want all your pages crawled.
If you have duplicate content caused by URL parameters (such as session IDs or sorting options on eCommerce sites), you would want to prevent Google from indexing those duplicates.
Pages with sensitive information (like certain administrative or internal portals) or user profile pages should also be kept off Google’s radar to maintain privacy and security.
Temporary pages or those under development can also be excluded from crawling to prevent unpolished or irrelevant content from appearing in search results.
Implementing a ‘robots.txt’ file can help you manage what Google crawls and what it doesn’t.
On the first page of Google search results, websites load in 1.65 seconds on average. General SEO best practices say your site should load under three seconds. That’s when about half of your site visitors are gone if your page doesn’t load.
You can use PageSpeed Insights tool from Google for a free and easy way to check your site speed.
It’ll give you a score on how quickly your website loads, and suggest what you can do to make it faster (e.g., optimize images, minify CSS).
You can also use Screaming Frog to assess your pages’ response times.
Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals is a set of metrics from Google that measure how fast and responsive your web page is. It includes:
- Largest Contentful Paint — the time it takes for your page’s main content to load
- First Input Delay — the time it takes for users to interact with your page after loading
- Cumulative Layout Shift — the amount of unexpected layout shifts that occur as a result of dynamic content load
Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool will tell you these things, as well as your First Contentful Paint (FCP), Interaction to Next Paint (INP), and Time to First Byte (TTFB).
You can also see these right in Search Console.
Competitor analysis is an important step to understanding how you stack up against other players in your space.
Of course, it isn’t the be-all-end-all of SEO. After all, you’re different.
But it can give you a good overview of which keywords your competitors are ranking for, and what content strategies they use to get there.
Content is the first place you should look. There will be keywords and topics your competitors already rank so well for they aren’t worth your time. There will be others none of your competitors rank for.
You can find those using the Content Gap tool on Ahrefs.
It’ll show you all the keywords your competitors rank for that you don’t.
Your next question should be, “Is anyone actually reading their content?” You can check your competitors’ organic traffic from each article by looking at their site profile (on Ahrefs).
The easiest place to start is the Organic Keywords section, which shows all the different keywords they rank for and how much traffic each one brings in. You can zero in from there.
What happens off-site is just as important as the content they’re publishing. That’s why a B2B SEO audit should also include an off-page competitor analysis.
You can glean tons of info by checking their backlink profile. Use the Backlinks section of Ahrefs to see every page that links to theirs.
- See which pages they’re getting links from
- Look at the backlink profiles and site health of those pages as well to see whether they’re authoritative or not.
- Look for large media companies to get a better idea of their PR strategy.
- Pick out review sites like TrustPilot or G2 Crowd as well.
There are search competitors and there are product competitors.
- Search competitors are those that show up in search results for the same keywords as you. They may or may not want the same customers.
- Product competitors offer similar products and services to yours. They might rank for a keyword you also want to target.
Every site that ranks for your target keyword is technically a search competitor. They may also be product competitors.
For instance, ‘niche relevant backlinks’ is one of our top-performing articles. Some of the others. on this results page (e.g., B2B Digital Marketers) aren’t selling SEO services. Others (e.g., LinkDaddy) are.
For B2B SEO, the more important distinction isn’t necessarily whether they’re after your market share or not. What you really want to pay attention to is whether they’re targeting a different audience.
A dead giveaway you’re in the wrong place, for example, is if you’re ranking for these terms but most other search competitors are targeting a DTC audience.
Turn it Into a Plan
Now that you know what your competitors are doing and where they’re succeeding, the natural next step is to turn the information into a plan.
Use what you’ve learned to craft an SEO strategy built on data. Make sure it includes tactics for content, technical optimization, and off-page SEO.
Like we mentioned earlier, start with the low-hanging fruit.
- Simple technical fixes
- Content changes/updates
- Site structure improvements
These are all things you can fix in an hour or two. You’ll see quick wins like improved rankings, better overall site performance, and higher conversions from the traffic you’re already getting.
Then, focus on the changes that will net the largest impact.
- Commercial pages
- Pillar content
- UX improvements for sales/pricing pages
Essentially, focus on the ‘money’ pages first. They’re the ones you’re going to build links to. And they’re the ones people will likely convert on. Plus, you can build a content marketing strategy around these pages.
Break it Up
The best way to ensure a successful SEO strategy is to break it up into sprints. Looking at your strategy through a monthly/quarterly lens makes it easier to measure progress. And it makes the execution a lot more doable.
Tracking and Iterating
The tools you’re already using are the same ones you’ll use to keep track of progress over time.
- Google Analytics and Search Console will give you the web analytics.
- Screaming Frog will tell you how the technical SEO is going.
- Ahrefs will give you a good overall picture of what’s going on with your organic performance — specifically, link building.
Your first step is to choose the KPIs you want to measure. You should include some SEO-relevant KPIs and revenue/user engagement KPIs.
Here’s a quick list of metrics you’ll want to set attainable goals for:
- Organic traffic
- Organic CTR
- Rankings (per page/keyword)
- Number of backlinks
- Quality/authority of backlinks
- Domain Authority
- Time on page/site
- Bounce rate (per page)
- MQLs generated
- MQL:SQL ratio
- Revenue attribution (for SEO content)
You’ll have some basic dashboards set up already, but they’ll be in different systems (e.g., CRM, marketing automation, and Google Analytics). If you want to track progress more holistically, you can use something like Databox or a custom dashboard in Google Data Studio.
These are great because they allow you to visualize your data and get a better picture of how things are progressing over time. Plus, it’s easy to build custom reports that filter out anything you don’t care as much about.
Throughout the duration of your SEO strategy, it’s a good idea to refresh the data. And you’ll want to continue looking at competitors to know whether they’ve changed anything.
Be Comfortable with Pivoting
SEO, in general, takes time to work. So you don’t want to pivot too much.
But, there will be times where something clearly isn’t pushing your site in the direction you want. For those moments, you’ll need to be prepared to switch up what you’re doing.
Sometimes, this will be the result of an internal change (e.g., you’re targeting a new customer base or made changes to your product/service). Others, it’ll simply be customers showing affinity for different content than you expected.
An SEO audit is just one small piece of the puzzle…
…it’s the first step to getting your SEO strategy right.
The actual execution? Much harder.
You might be able to run a B2B SEO audit right now from your office. But, even if you get all the information you need and make sense of it exactly the right way, you still need to implement everything.
We’ll leave you with this: it’s 1,000x easier to work with a B2B SEO agency (like us!). That’s how you win at SEO without having to build out the (expensive and laborious) infrastructure to run it in-house.
Talk to an expert to get started.