How B2Bs Can Make Their Content Marketing Perform Better

Dartboard to keep content marketing on target.

For many years now, SEO and content marketing have been inextricably linked together. Creating content for websites is often cited as a top content marketing initiative. Yet getting search engine rankings as a result of these efforts is cited less often. Why is that?

For B2Bs that want to both create website content and get measurable results like search engine rankings and organic traffic, this article is for you. In this article:

How B2Bs Are Doing Content Marketing

I am going to start with some interesting facts before giving you my thoughts. Content Marketing Institute’s 11th Annual B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report reveals a lot when it comes to content marketing and SEO opportunities.

In looking at the data in the report, we see that online content falls into the top activities of a content marketing program. Creating articles was the No. 1 type of content tactic. And posting it on a B2B company’s blog or website was among the top three channels.

Content types B2B marketers used in last 12 months.

Blog posts/short articles listed as the top content type


Organic Content Distribution Channels Used by B2B Marketers in Last 12 Months.

An organization’s website and blog listed as the No. 3 most used channel

Yet the majority of respondents reported their content marketing strategy was only “moderately successful.”

How B2B Marketers Rate Content Marketing Success in Last 12 Months.

How B2Bs rate their content marketing success

Sixty percent said the creation of new web content contributed to their success. But only 37% reported search engine rankings as a marker of their results. I’ll touch on this problem more later in the article.

Factors B2B marketers attribute to success.

Factors B2B marketers attribute to success

In the chart below, you see that 78% percent used keyword research as an editorial tool while creating content. This is a promising data point. Why, then, aren’t search engine rankings either more attainable or more important as a result of their content creation efforts? Could it be missed opportunities for optimization?

Editorial tools B2B marketers use when creating content.

Keyword research favorited by B2B content marketers

In some good news, guest posting articles dropped 10 percent since the last CMI survey. From the data alone, it’s impossible to know why, but could it be that companies are starting to catch on that guest posting is bad for business?

Organic Content Distribution Channels Used by B2B Marketers in Last 12 Months.

Guest posting losing popularity for B2B

How B2Bs Can Make Their Content Marketing Perform Better with SEO

It’s obvious to me that many B2B companies want to succeed with their content marketing strategies, but I think that their KPIs are off. Creating content is not a KPI. How that content performs is.

Of course, many may say that creating brand awareness and creating value are goals. And that is fine if you can measure them. But if your main activities are creating content for your website, one goal should be rankings — and the traffic, engagement and sharing that come with rankings. Content unread is not a goal.

Here are several questions that B2Bs can ask to ensure their content marketing goals are supported by measurable results.

Does Your Content Prove Expertise and Authority?

What I’m about to say may sound like a broken record for some. You need to focus on the quality of your content, not the quantity. Simply creating content for a website as a goal ignores what’s most important: the contents of what you produce.

Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines detail how expertise and authority play into quality. And our article on the Complete Guide to the Fundamentals of Google’s E-A-T explains how to achieve it with your content.

Bottom line: Your content needs to be written at an expert level for the topic and be authoritative on the subject matter.

Are You Using the Right Tools When You Create Content?

Keyword research is essential, and it’s nice to have target search terms when you are creating content. But how you analyze those keywords and optimize the content with them can make or break how the content performs in the search results.

For example, say your SEO person has done the keyword research. They hand this off to the content creator with instructions to include the key term in the content. If that is the complete strategy, is it any wonder that the content doesn’t perform?

You must go deeper. You must be able to take those keywords and find out who the competition is in the search results for that query. You need to understand what they are writing about around that key term and how. Then you need to meet or beat them to have a better chance to rank.

Our WordPress SEO plugin can help B2Bs here. It gives you real-time data by analyzing the top-ranked pages in the search results with targets for things like meta data, readability score and word count. For more on this, read: Want Customized SEO Advice Per Keyword? There’s a Plugin for That!

Bruce Clay SEO WP plugin summary tab.

Bruce Clay SEO WP plugin summary tab

Why guess when you can get all the data you need to really compete?

Are You Optimizing the Content Thoroughly?

Optimizing a page with keywords is one of the most common tasks that a content creator does when creating content for a website. But the question often remains: are they doing it well enough?

While keyword optimization happens naturally while writing about a topic, there’s always more you can do to help the content perform better.

I’m going to recommend our WordPress SEO plugin here again. It can show content creators how many times to use the key term based on real-time analysis of the top-ranked pages. Plus, it has a nice visual that shows you’ve used the term throughout the content from top to bottom (which may impact the relevance of the content to a search).

Keyword distribution visualized in Bruce Clay SEO plugin.

Keyword distribution visualized in Bruce Clay SEO plugin

For more, check out: How a WordPress SEO Plugin Can Help you Optimize Your Content with Keywords.

It’s been over a decade since we started using the term “content marketing.” And yet, it still feels like B2Bs are challenged when it comes to how to get the most from it.

Search engine optimization is a supportive strategy to any content marketing program. It can boost results on your most important digital business asset: your website.

If you’re looking for help with your content marketing strategy or SEO, let’s talk. Fill out our quote request form today.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (9)
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9 Replies to “How B2Bs Can Make Their Content Marketing Perform Better”

I think the content you share is interesting, but for me there is still something missing, because the things discussed above are not important to talk about today.

Thanks for sharing the useful content. Still, many businesses do not give enough emphasis on content marketing where it can ensure a better ROI.

Content marketing can be a great tool for B2B businesses if it uses properly. Great content so far.

Yes. it all means the quality of the content is the first aspect how this method can work properly. B2B or B2C in SEO need a quality content. that’s it.


It’s been over a decade since we started using the term “content marketing.” And yet, it still feels like B2Bs are challenged when it comes to how to get the most from it.

Search engine optimization is a supportive strategy to any content marketing program

New marketing methods, such as social media marketing, are helping to improve this trend.

Thanks for great article. More and more often, I feel that everyone is writing the same thing and going in one direction. “Big valuable content” – it starts to lose its meaning and even becomes boring. The truth is that valuable content is good to develop artificial intelligence, not for users. The machine learns faster from one extended context than 20 folded contexts. I know from experience that most people cannot read an article longer than 1000 words, and they usually do so during their lunch break or on the bus. Unfortunately, if you want to be ranked high, you have to write. It is a pity that the most exciting content is usually in the comments and forums.

Good content is one thing, but great online content is another. Content marketing is important because it answers your audience’s questions. With content marketing, you can build trust with your audience, improve conversions, connect with your customers, and generate leads. Additionally, in today’s age, customers expect high-quality, consistent content from their favorite brands.


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