Author: Yagmur Simsek
By publishing optimized, high-quality content that takes target audiences into account, tech startups can amplify their brand visibility on search engine results pages. For newer businesses, this could provide a direct path to the decision makers who are in charge of purchasing products or services like yours, allowing you to potentially leapfrog over more established brands.
In addition to helping you attract site visitors and leads, a proper B2B SEO content strategy can also help you demonstrate leadership in your field and subject matter authority for the topics you cover—both of which are important for buyers and for organic visibility.
Crafting such a strategy generally takes planning, effort, and experience. Fortunately, there are specific guidelines and recommendations that you can follow to make the process simpler (but just as effective).
In this article, I share an in-depth introduction to B2B SEO content strategy and instructions on how to put it into practice for your startup, including:
How to create a B2B content strategy for your tech startup
As a tech startup, your need for credibility, reputable content, and brand awareness is more critical than it might be for the established brands that you’re competing against. You may need to:
Make your audience aware of your service or product.
Fill knowledge gaps about your brand.
Consider the user journey stages (awareness, interest, consideration, evaluation, purchase, post-purchase).
Account for search intent (informational, navigational, commercial, transactional).
Brainstorming around these parameters will help you speak to your audience while furthering your own business goals (such as increasing brand awareness or leads, for example).
With content marketing, you’ll do this by creating and publishing content that engages your customers and answers their questions. This can include any number of offerings, such as blog posts, white papers, case studies, lead magnets, how-to videos, workshops, guides, FAQ pages, glossaries, educational hubs, and more.
Step 1: Establish your goals
As with any industry, it is imperative that you define the metrics that you will use to measure your success.
For example, you could aim to increase your visitors by 65% in the next six months. Or, you could try to rank #1 on Google within the next three to four months for your most important keywords. While not mutually exclusive, these are two distinct goals, and so you need to prioritize wisely as your most important goals will determine your content needs.
Below is a free Google Sheets template that I created to help you understand your needs, get clear ideas about your future success metrics before you start your journey, and define your goals. You can click on the table, make a copy of the Google Sheet and type your answers into your copy to have it as a reference to guide your team’s efforts moving forward.
Step 2: Understand your tech buyers
A thorough understanding of your target audience is absolutely necessary for success: What are their pain points? How can you help address those pain points? What solutions (content, products, or services) do you have to offer them?
In order to create your buyer personas, study your current and/or ideal clients. Look at their demographics, both business and personal. These factors can include:
Size of their company
Their firm’s estimated annual revenue
Position within their company
The amount of influence that they have in their firm
Most importantly, your buyer personas should also account for your audience’s business goals. How can you help them reach their goals with your tech solutions?
You can get even more granular by creating an empathy map for your potential customers: Put your personas in a hypothetical situation and think about what keeps them awake at night, what would worry them within the context of your industry, and any other factors that may potentially affect their buying decisions.
The more you expand your research, the more you can narrow down your audience, which will eventually help with your keyword research and content strategy for long tail keywords. To learn more about this part of the process, here is a link to some useful reads about creating buyer personas and empathy maps.
Step 3: Create evergreen and sustainable content strategies
Many companies, including tech startups, attempt to create content that would likely be too ambitious for a relative newcomer to the industry. So instead, start small and focus on one powerful area of your site: your company blog or resource section (including guides, checklists, or tools, for example). From there, you can build your audience, focus on identifying relevant keywords, and write content tailored to your customer's pain points by offering them solutions and informative resources.
For instance, a FinTech company could create blog posts about the benefits of its wealth management application by appealing to its customers’ desire to learn more about AI-enabled tools and their advantages.
The options are endless, but you have to be willing to research and focus on what you can start with, not what you envision once your firm has amassed significant success.
You are a startup—probably with a limited marketing budget and resources. Reflecting those constraints in your content strategy provides you with the most realistic shot at success, which is why you’ll likely need to prioritize evergreen content to get the most out of your effort.
Depending on the content you already have on your website, I recommend either starting with a content audit or content gap analysis and moving forward with your content strategy from there.
A content audit enables you to examine your website’s existing content to identify what performs best or in which areas you need to improve in terms of accuracy, engagement, relevance, readability, and discoverability. This helps you identify content areas that are outdated and no longer useful for your strategy so you can clean them up by removing them from the website, repurposing them to create evergreen content, or optimizing them to improve quality.
To help you organize this process, I have created a free content audit template (shown in the image below) with fields for relevant data and metrics for you to add while you audit your site’s content. Make a copy of the Google Sheet and keep the columns that you want to include in your content audit. Within the template, there are also suggested tools to find data about your website content performance to add to the relevant fields.
Content gap analysis
Although this phase could be a follow-up analysis after you are done with your content audit, you can also analyze content gaps as a starting point if you are going to create content from scratch and feel lost about what topics or categories to prioritize.
Before you can begin a competitor content gap analysis, you first need to identify your competitors, considering both brand competitors and organic search competitors.
Note: If you don’t use paid SEO tools, you can also discover your competitors by reviewing the first and second pages of Google results when you search for your target keywords in the targeted location.
After you come up with a well-researched list of competitors, you can merge the competitors list and start analyzing:
Their organic traffic
Their top-performing categories, blog posts, and other relevant pages
The number of indexed pages on their site
The keywords they are ranking for but you are not
Then, clean the keyword gap data (remove any branded keywords related to your competitors including product or collection name searches specific to your competitors, irrelevant keywords, etc.) and group the missing or weak keywords to use within your own content strategy. At this stage, I tend to use either Semrush’s Keyword Gap Tool or Ahrefs’ Content Gap Tool to come up with a full list and then dive deep into the data.
Depending on your needs, there are different methods that SEO strategists use to identify competitors and keywords to focus on. For example, Lidia Infante has created a very well-structured competitor identification template that you can make a copy of and use as a guide for this task.
Keyword research and mapping
SEO professionals have different methods and perspectives when it comes to keyword research and mapping. Below is my method when I need to think from the scratch and complete comprehensive keyword research with a limited budget.
Consider yourself a playwright: How would you describe the characters in your play? What would be their habits, beliefs, needs, and desires? Then start thinking about how your tech product or service can relate to their personalities and needs.
Try to write down 10 potential transactional search queries and 10 informational search queries, considering your target audience and buyer personas. What would they search for?
You can then expand on this data using tools with free versions, such as AnswerThePublic, AlsoAsked, People Also Search For, Keywords Everywhere Chrome extension, Google Trends, and so on.
Spend some time on your website’s Google Search Console account and analyze which keywords your website is already ranking for within the last 12 months (or 6 months depending on your website history). Download the keyword list.
Collect insights and search alternatives, taking into account your customer service and support channel data, social media comments, chatbot conversations, and site search queries (if you are tracking them). These are all valuable assets as they include the data from your niche audience and have the potential to turn visitors into customers or partners, depending on your industry.
After discovering your potential target keywords from different platforms, gather all the data together and start analyzing and cleaning the keyword list for your business purposes.
I know there are various tools and formulas that can make this process easier and faster. However, from my point of view (and especially if you are dealing with just one business website for a new startup), this is the phase in which you need to spend adequate time and effort to create some clarity for your organic growth strategy. Once you have a well-structured keyword list, you can use it for different purposes, including content strategy and briefing, category naming, URL structuring, internal linking, product descriptions, link building efforts, social media activities, and more.
While you are cleaning and grouping your keyword data, there are a few things to consider which could save you time in the future. Below are the elements I always try to include in my keyword research list:
Keyword data source: Include the source of the keywords to reference later in case you would like to be consistent in terms of search volumes, etc.
Keywords grouped by user intent: I usually group my keywords as shown below and then add additional tags regarding the common concepts, etc. in another column of my spreadsheet. This usually depends on your business niche, competitors' strategies, and your goal with your new content strategy as well.
Product Page (if there is one)
Category Page (if there is one)
FAQ (I add this tag to the keywords that I think have the potential for an FAQ-style page)
Digital PR Ideation (I add this tag if there is any PR and link building project potential for a specific keyword group)
Generic (I add this tag if the keyword represents a very broad search intent.)
Content briefing and management
After you’ve audited your content, analyzed gaps, and conducted your keyword research, you’ll likely need to create content briefs in order to maintain your content calendar and instruct your writers/creators.
While the content brief process may vary depending on content type and business niche, here I have created a content brief checklist that you can make a copy of and fill out to keep your startup’s marketing team and efforts moving in the right direction.
Tips for B2B content strategy success
There’s nothing worse than publishing content only to find out later that something’s not working—and then continuing along the same path anyway! As a tech startup, you must find the best way to reach your corporate audience. Below are some tactics that I rely on to identify and take advantage of content opportunities.
Conduct A/B testing
A/B test your content to identify what works best and what doesn’t. This can be extremely useful and set you apart from others in the industry. It will also cut down on the time you spend figuring out the best course for your SEO content as the results of your A/B tests will inform your content workflow.
At this stage, make sure to consider your target audience and buyer personas when choosing the content to test, as your audience is who will eventually contribute to your KPIs and success metrics.
To learn more about what elements you should test on your website, read Wix’s guide on “What is A/B testing and how to use it to reach your website’s goal.”
Analyze your competitors’ menu navigation
There are various examples in the tech industry, from HR Tech to FinTech to EdTech, of how SEO content strategies can shape the main website content strategy. When I am about to create a content strategy for a website, I first research and analyze (using the techniques outlined above) to see what content strategies my competitors have used. I then take note of different types of content I came across to do further research later.
Although I may use different methods and tools for different websites and topics, here I wanted to share one of my tips specifically for B2B content strategy, as you’ll likely need more insights to gain a useful understanding of the competitive landscape.
01. I prepare my competitors list.
02. I create a new spreadsheet and add the competitors’ names and website URLs.
03. I head to the competitors’ websites and analyze their main menu navigation for both categories and editorial perspectives. If I see any common category name used, I take note of it. In addition, if I see unique content or page ideas, such as tools, calculators, different types of reports, visual content, learning hubs, etc., I make note of them, too.
Here are a few examples of how you can quickly analyze the overall content types and structures that tech startups in different niches have used to shape their content strategy through their website.
HR Tech: Breathe HR
Take a quick glimpse at Breathe’s menu navigation and you can see that the startup’s team has structured its content by categorizing the resources they created. Categories include “calculators,” “guides,” and “content hubs.” Some of the categories also have their own subsections, including content types such as “factsheets,” “webinars,” “videos,” “podcasts,” and so on.
For a new HR tech startup, analyzing a few competitors could be a starting point to identifying what really works well in terms of the content type or format.
This type of analysis can enable your brand to get started with a strategy that may already be working well for competitors. It can also point you to the strategy that’s likely to yield the highest ROI, as there may not yet be enough budget for a more comprehensive content strategy.
Even with a quick analysis of menu navigation, you can come up with a few of Xero’s buyer personas (as well as the wider target audience) and compare them with your audience data.
Xero’s site strives to make it clear that if you are a small business, or an accountant or bookkeeper, that it has a solution for you. This kind of consideration might also save you some time on the keyword groups you need to focus on and show if you’re missing any potential marketing angles.
Health Tech: Unmind
B2B health tech startup Unmind also has simple yet eye-catching main menu and resource categorization. The startup has created a “handbook” category to share tips, methods, and professional guidance with HR and business leaders to motivate and support them professionally.
After discovering this category within Unmind’s resources dropdown menu, you can start exploring which handbook topics and pieces of content are performing best on their website to see if those topics and areas work within your content strategy as well.
Focus on your buyers and the rest will follow
With a focus on the right people, their needs, and their roles, tech startups can achieve sustainable SEO success with content marketing.
Forget about pursuing irrelevant (and possibly unrealistic) high search volume terms and concentrate on the keywords that will eventually bring you decision makers and future business leads. No matter what industry you are in, start with these tips, keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, be aware of content areas to analyze, continue to iterate and improve on your strategy as your brand matures and you'll have a strong foundation to help take you from relative newcomer to top-of-mind in your industry.
With six years of experience, Yagmur is an SEO and content strategist currently working under Philip Morris International’s roof and has spoken at conferences including International Search Summit Barcelona, Search Y Paris, and Brighton SEO. Linkedin