There’s no one-size-fits-all dig­i­tal strat­e­gy for B2B lead gen­er­a­tion, but most B2B orga­ni­za­tions seek to gen­er­ate web­site leads through some com­bi­na­tion of SEO and PPC adver­tis­ing. We’ve even writ­ten about how to opti­mize PPC ad cam­paigns to gen­er­ate B2B leads–but what hap­pens to those leads when you stop pay­ing for clicks?

To con­sis­tent­ly gen­er­ate qual­i­ty leads, B2B busi­ness­es must imple­ment organ­ic and tech­ni­cal SEO that helps their site con­tent “win” more key­word queries and earn more clicks from search traf­fic. Since most online buy­er jour­neys begin with search, orga­ni­za­tions with effec­tive SEO don’t have to pay a pre­mi­um or rely on ads to bring in new cus­tomers and gen­er­ate leads at a more sus­tain­able rate.

Let’s exam­ine the dif­fer­ent costs and ben­e­fits of SEO vs. PPC when it comes to gen­er­at­ing leads for B2B web­sites:

SEO vs. PPC for B2B Lead Generation

Comparing Upfront Costs and Maintenance

For a B2B web­site to move poten­tial cus­tomers through an opti­mized dig­i­tal sales fun­nel, first it must per­suade the right peo­ple to vis­it the site. Get­ting the right web­site vis­i­tors always starts with defin­ing the audi­ence.

Dig­i­tal mar­keters will often begin this process by study­ing web­site ana­lyt­ics and com­bin­ing those insights with indus­try research to cre­ate and build out buy­er per­sonas. This helps the mar­ket­ing team focus their web con­tent around strate­gic key­words that reflect how those per­sonas are com­mon­ly dis­cussing or search­ing for B2B prod­ucts or ser­vices that their orga­ni­za­tion pro­vides.

While per­son­al research and analy­sis is a com­mon first step to build­ing your organ­ic SEO strat­e­gy, gath­er­ing that data actu­al­ly forms the foun­da­tion of your PPC play­book at the same time. In oth­er words, since the paid ads in your PPC cam­paigns will sim­i­lar­ly tar­get key­words based on your buy­er per­sonas, your research is an upfront cost of SEO that actu­al­ly removes one upfront cost of build­ing a PPC strat­e­gy.

Even though your per­son­al research for SEO can be reused so you don’t have to do dou­ble work to get PPC going, build­ing a PPC strat­e­gy still requires even more ini­tial work because mem­bers of the orga­ni­za­tion must first learn and/or train oth­ers to use dig­i­tal ad plat­forms.

After that, who­ev­er man­ages your PPC plat­form must per­form con­stant research through­out your cam­paign in order to opti­mize bid strate­gies that max­i­mize your bud­get so that your ads win the most pos­si­ble com­pet­i­tive auc­tions for high-val­ue search queries and place­ments. Not to men­tion PPC’s ongo­ing needs, includ­ing man­ag­ing PPC bid caps, writ­ing copy for new ads, and cre­at­ing unique land­ing pages that are opti­mized to con­vert traf­fic from spe­cif­ic cam­paigns and key­words.

This isn’t to say that SEO is all on autopi­lot after the research phase–it still requires reg­u­lar­ly cre­at­ing and pub­lish­ing help­ful, rel­e­vant, and opti­mized content–but the resources need­ed to main­tain effec­tive SEO are still nowhere near the onboard­ing and main­te­nance costs of PPC.

Pay-to-Play vs. Passive Traffic Acquisition

Pay-to-Play vs. Passive Traffic Acquisition

B2B com­pa­nies sell­ing niche prod­ucts often favor leads gen­er­at­ed by paid ads because PPC cam­paigns can be high­ly tar­get­ed towards cer­tain key­words, demo­graph­ics, loca­tions, and even cer­tain time win­dows dur­ing spe­cif­ic days of the week. More­over, being able to exclude less desir­able audi­ences from cam­paigns helps them main­tain a high­er lead qual­i­ty than sim­ply dis­play­ing ads to all audi­ences.

How­ev­er, as we all know, PPC is pay-to-play, mean­ing an adver­tis­ing bud­get must be strate­gi­cal­ly allo­cat­ed and spent on a reg­u­lar basis in order for cam­paigns to active­ly draw poten­tial cus­tomers to a B2B web­site. Even when this works, and PPC cam­paigns suc­cess­ful­ly bring traf­fic to the site, the amount spent on each click that doesn’t con­vert into a new sales lead is essen­tial­ly wast­ed mon­ey.

Com­pare that to effec­tive organ­ic SEO, which helps B2B web­sites pas­sive­ly build brand author­i­ty and link equi­ty that helps them rank organ­i­cal­ly in more of their market’s pop­u­lar search­es. And as the inter­net has allowed more B2B com­pa­nies to expand and scale glob­al­ly, SEO has made it eas­i­er for their web­sites to acquire traf­fic at all times of the day, from any­where in the world.

Opening Digital Doors with Technical SEO

True SEO encom­pass­es far more than just incor­po­rat­ing good key­words in web­site copy. Beyond opti­miz­ing web­site con­tent at the page lev­el, imple­ment­ing tech­ni­cal SEO at the code lev­el also makes it eas­i­er for search engine algo­rithms to find, under­stand, and rec­om­mend con­tent on B2B web­sites.

Tech­ni­cal SEO is achieved through a com­bi­na­tion of page per­for­mance opti­miza­tion, inter­nal link struc­ture, struc­tured data markup, and web acces­si­bil­i­ty. Mak­ing a web­site dig­i­tal­ly acces­si­ble to users brows­ing with assis­tive tech­nolo­gies is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant for any busi­ness oper­at­ing online–not just because web acces­si­bil­i­ty is a legal require­ment in most coun­tries, but also because inac­ces­si­ble web­sites are exclud­ing an entire seg­ment of poten­tial cus­tomers.

Adding web acces­si­bil­i­ty fea­tures such as help­ful code struc­ture, descrip­tive meta­da­ta, alter­na­tive con­tent, hid­den nav­i­ga­tion links, and com­pat­i­bil­i­ty with screen read­ers makes B2B web­sites acces­si­ble to wider (and often under­served) audi­ences with a mas­sive amount of buy­ing pow­er, open­ing untapped mar­kets and cre­at­ing new oppor­tu­ni­ties for growth.

Bottom Line: SEO Delivers More Sustainable Lead Gen

Ulti­mate­ly, a B2B orga­ni­za­tion will have rea­sons for choos­ing SEO vs. PPC as its pri­ma­ry strat­e­gy for gen­er­at­ing leads through the web­site. How­ev­er, we believe there is strong evi­dence that focus­ing on SEO will help B2B com­pa­nies sus­tain more long-term lead gen­er­a­tion that leads to more ongo­ing growth.

SOURCE: DBS Inter­ac­tive