Improving search rankings certainly isn’t as simple as it sounds. At the same time, having targeted and relevant organic visibility is vital to the overall success of a B2B organization. When determining the best approaches to drive organic visibility, there are several tools that should be used to help make more informed decisions and guide B2B SEO strategies.
Here we’ve outlined some of our favorite tools for B2B SEO programs. Everything from keyword research to link building, content development, technical auditing, performance analysis, and more.
Evaluate link profiles and determine new opportunities.
Moz Open Site Explorer is an essential tool that helps B2B search engine marketers build high quality inbound links to their website. This tool allows SEOs to research a site’s backlink profile and dig into competitive backlink data. This infomation can uncover new link building opportunities and potentially harmful links.
Pro Tip: Run competitors’ sites to see where they are getting inbound links from and what their top pages are. This will help determine relevant link building opportunities, and generate new content ideas.
Determine overall site health and prioritize technical updates.
This website crawler allows search marketers to dig into every URL on a website and analyze key SEO elements to consider. I think this tool does a really great job of making it more tangible for SEOs to analyze the overall health of a site.
Key features include the ability to discover broken links, see what redirects are in place or missing (301s, 302s, etc.), analyze html titles, meta descriptions and heading tags, find duplicate pages, generate sitemaps, review blocked URLs, and more.
Pro Tip: Technical findings can seem overwhelming, whether due to the amount and/or complexity of updates required. Break it down into categories – high, medium, and low priority, so the team knows what needs to get implemented first and what’s less urgent.
See how a site stacks up against the competition and meets industry standards.
SEMrush is a key tool for competitive online marketing analysis and can be used across SEO, PPC, and social media efforts. However, I’d like to focus on the specific uses that can be most beneficial from an SEO perspective.
Some of these key features include keyword performance and position tracking, keyword analytics for organic research, backlink analysis, domain vs. domain comparisons, site auditing of on-page content and technical elements, and more.
Pro Tip: Find out where competitors are ranking in organic search results and analyze their keyword strategies. Track competitors’ rankings against your keyword list.
Turn data into valuable reports and dashboards to prove SEO value.
This may go without saying, but Google Analytics is absolutely necessary to the work of search engine marketers on a daily basis.
Having a solid understanding of what’s driving performance will help identify the right strategies moving forward. SEOs should analyze performance in Google Analytics throughout the month for a clear view on organic traffic performance – what’s driving traffic, what may be hindering it – and tailor strategies accordingly.
Beyond analyzing organic traffic trends, Google Analytics will also help build out actual performance reports to prove the value a B2B SEO program. Integrate with Google Data Studio to turn this data into easily digestible reports and dashboards that can then be shared with key program team members and high-level executives.
Pro Tip: To get the most out of Google tools, search marketers should also use Search Console, Trends, and Adwords, which I will explain in greater detail below.
5. Google Search Console (+ New Features)
Monitor search performance and improve organic visibility.
Search Console can be used to track a site’s organic presence in Google search results. This data can help marketers gain a better understanding of how Google interprets a site, and determine where to further optimize it in order to improve performance.
For B2B SEOs, Search Console helps monitor and maintain a website’s organic visibility, optimize keyword rankings, guide technical decisions, and inform decisions about where the site shows up (or needs to show up) in search results.
Pro Tip: The new and improved Search Console is slated to roll out in early 2018, and includes some awesome new features like over a year’s worth of data (previously, data only went back 90 days). Finally a bigger picture view of website impressions and the ability for year-over-year comparisons!
Determine what keywords present the most opportunity.
AdWords Keyword Planner is a tool that every B2B search marketer should use as part of the initial keyword research process and ongoing work. This keyword research tool can be used to spark keyword ideas, determine what keywords are most relevant based on volume and competitiveness, and build a highly targeted keyword list to guide optimize efforts.
Having access to important data like search volumes and estimated bids helps B2B marketers better align their overall online marketing strategy with the keywords and themes that present the most opportunity for the business.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for more specific keyword research tactics, I highly recommend checking out this Keyword Planner guide.
Gain insights into the latest trends with data and visualizations.
See trends around a particular topic and what information people are looking for on Google. This real-time data gives SEOs a better idea of what people are searching for, how they are searching for it, and when it is (or was) most timely.
Simply type in a keyword or phrase and Google Trends will suggest some of the most popular and related topics to improve your search. From there, adjust the timeframe and geography based on the information needed to get a holistic view of popularity over time.
When looking at a particular topic over a few years, are there any obvious trends? Was the topic more relevant at one point than it is now? Did popularity just recently spike? Is there seasonal interest? These types of questions can be used to guide B2B SEO strategies.
Pro Tip: This tool can help align content publishing with when a topic is most timely. For example, to generate maximum visibility around a timely or seasonal blog post, look at Google Trends to determine when the topic is most searched for.
Analyze top performing content around a particular topic, or on a competitive site.
BuzzSumo is a key tool for B2B SEO and content marketing as it allows marketers to better understand what content is working (or not working) effectively, and tailor their strategies accordingly.
This tool can be used to evaluate what content gets shared the most and generates the most backlinks. Based on content that has proven successful in the past, B2B SEOs can make more educated decisions about what types of content to publish, when to publish it, how to format it, how long it needs to be, etc.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for more insights into what content gets shared the most, BuzzSumo analyzed the social share counts of over 100 million articles and determined what elements increase shareability of content.
While there are so many valuable SEO tools that can be used to inform B2B strategies, these are the ones we find ourselves turning to on a daily basis. Hopefully these tools and tactics help you on your way to boosting rankings and dominating search results!
Did I miss any of your favorite SEO tools? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or reach out to me directly via Twitter.