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Bard Bungles B2B - Bing Better
Bard Bungles B2B - Bing Better

Bard Bungles B2B – Bing Better

By John Woods  |  June 8, 2023

Last month I looked at how Microsoft’s chatGPT-powered search engine performed for B2B research. I was pleasantly surprised at how useful it was. Read the full blog article here.

This month I’ve applied the same structured research and evaluation process to Google’s equivalent, Bard. 

I can’t sugar coat this. Bard is currently pretty terrible at B2B research – at least, for the types of question I tested.  

Google is up front that Bard is still a prototype, and we can expect it to change and evolve at a rapid pace. But as it stands today, I don’t see much use for Bard in B2B research. Bing Chat is far superior. 

Here are a few examples to show what I mean.  

Google Bard chat - How should I split my budget between Google Search and LinkedIn Ads?
Google Bard response - What's the best coworking space in Oxford?

Top of funnel queries – general information seeking 

Bard did OK with the basics here. I noticed two big differences in comparison with Bing Chat: 

  • Bard doesn’t quote its sources unless you specifically ask for them, whereas Bing Chat often volunteered web links that were its reference material. I found this feature of Bing Chat very useful to build confidence in the answers. With Bard, I found myself having to ask follow-on questions like “what are your sources for that answer?” in order to sense check the results. 
  • Bard doesn’t suggest follow-on questions. You can type in your own, but there’s no guidance. I missed the suggested follow-on questions that Bing Chat provides. 

Bard also had a habit of offering information that didn’t directly answer my question. For example when I asked “How can PV generation be integrated with industrial unit roofing?” Bard gave a good basic answer, but then rambled off to talk about the benefits of solar power. To me, it’s implicit in my question that I already know quite a bit about solar power, and that I’m going to be looking for something specific. So this extra off-topic content doesn’t add value. Bing Chat was typically much more focussed. Here are the Bard and Bing results side by side for comparison: 

How can PV generation be integrated with industrial unit roofing? - Google Bard response continued
How can PV generation be integrated with industrial unit roofing? - Google Bard

Middle of funnel queries – shortlisting suppliers 

Again Bard’s answers weren’t very focussed and didn’t respect the specific context implicit in my question. For example when I asked Bard “What’s the most comprehensive source of construction industry leads in the UK?” it gave me a slightly useful answer, but then suggested I might want to try going to conferences or networking to get leads!  

Comprehensive construction leads sources - Google Bard chat

The Bing response is more concise and actually more valuable: 

What's some other sources of construction industry leads? Google Bard response

Things got a bit weird in places here. When I prompted Bard for more details it gave me a list of suppliers, but the links in the list went to the wrong places. For example a link for the service “Construction Lead Finder” pointed to an article about rogue builders on the Guardian newspaper! This just looked like a bug – fair enough for an experimental service, but it undermined my confidence in Bard as a tool. 

Google Bard chat around construction leads

Bottom of funnel queries – evaluating specific suppliers 

Bard really lost the plot here on several queries. For example when I asked “Is the Curious Lounge a high quality coworking space?” it hallucinated several plausible-looking but completely imaginary reviews. 

Google Bard chat around The Curious Lounge
Bing Chat around the Curious Lounge coworking space quality

Latest score: Bing Chat 1 – Bard 0 

It’s an uneven contest at present. 

Bard rambles, forgets or ignores important context, and – worst of all – Just Makes Sh*t Up when it doesn’t know the answer. Bing Chat, in comparison, stayed focussed and was honest about its limitations. 

I really can’t recommend Bard in its current form as a B2B research tool, and I don’t think we’ll see any great takeup of it in the B2B world unless or until Google improves it. For now: stick with Bing Chat for your B2B research. 

But there is so much at stake here for the search engine giants that I’m sure we WILL see great improvements in Bard and other tools. We’ll keep testing and reporting on progress! 

Given the significance of this technology change you can be sure we’re going to keep a close eye on developments with generative AI-powered search in the future. So sign up for our email newsletter and keep an eye on our blog to stay in the loop!
If you have questions about how Google’s new AI Chatbot might affect your business, or simply want to continue the conversation, please get in touch! 
What do B2B marketers need to know about New Bing?
What do B2B marketers need to know about New Bing?

What do B2B marketers need to know about New Bing?

By John Woods  |  May 3, 2023

Generative AI and the future of search marketing 

We’ve been hearing a lot recently about whether the new wave of AI – especially “generative AI” techniques like ChatGPT – will change the world. 

I think there’s little doubt that these will be world-changing technologies. But that’s not a particularly helpful observation! If someone had said “electricity will change the world!” back in 1883, for sure they would have been right, but they weren’t being especially useful. It’s much more valuable to look at the emerging applications of a new wave of technology. Electric lights – just around the corner in 1883. Electric cars – took nearly 150 years to become mainstream.  

So to try to offer B2B marketers something useful in the generative AI debate I’ve narrowed my focus and have been evaluating one particular application. I’m looking at “New Bing”, Microsoft’s ChatGPT-powered search engine, from the perspective of B2B search marketing. 

New Bing – is it relevant to B2B? 

Like most internet technologies, New Bing has been developed primarily with mass market B2C applications in mind. That makes sense – those mass B2C audiences are the easiest places to make money. 

So we shouldn’t assume New Bing has automatic relevance for B2B marketers. Is New Bing going to turn the world of B2B search marketing on its head, so that we B2B marketers have to throw away everything we’ve learned about SEO and PPC and start again? 

That’s a complex question, but to my mind there’s a key starting point: is anyone actually going to use New Bing for B2B research? In other words, will users change their behaviour and switch to New Bing instead of conventional search engines for their B2B buying journeys?  

Changing user behaviour is hard. We’ve all built up habits and expertise about how to use conventional search engines as “magic question-answering machines” and we’re committed to those habits because we know the search engines meet our question-answering needs. User experience experts will tell you that people won’t change their behaviour away from existing successful habits unless there’s a substantial reason to do so. So a switch in user behaviour is only going to happen if New Bing offers a significantly better user experience. 

So this is the question I’ve set myself to answer: does New Bing offer a sufficiently compelling user experience for B2B research that we might expect people to switch away from conventional search engines? 

How I evaluated New Bing 

I wanted to make sure my evaluation was grounded in the reality of B2B research. So before I started, I wrote down a list of real-world B2B research questions. I tried out New Bing with each question and evaluated the results on three criteria: 

  • Ease of use – how easy, or difficult, was it to get a meaningful output from New Bing – if it’s too difficult to use, it doesn’t matter how great the results are, no one is going to switch. 
  • Value of the results – did New Bing answer my question, and was it better or worse than a conventional search engine for the same question? Again, no one is going to switch away from established search habits unless there’s something of at least equal value to be had.
  • The “delight factor” – did New Bing give me something surprising or remarkable – not necessarily directly related to my question – that might bring me back for more? (Even if the ease of use or value don’t quite measure up.) 

One detail here – when looking at the relative value of the result, I compared New Bing with results from “old Bing”. I stuck to Bing because I didn’t want my evaluation to be distracted by differences between Bing and Google. And I used an equivalent query in the conventional search engine – in fact, I used the query that New Bing generated itself:

Here are the questions I used (exactly as I worded them for New Bing) and the equivalent search wording for a conventional search engine: 

New Bing prompt 

How can PV generation be integrated with industrial unit roofing? 

How has COVID affected how people use office space? 

What are the pros and cons of Edge Data Centres? 

How should I split my budget between Google Search and LinkedIn Ads? 

What’s the best coworking space in Oxford? 

How do I choose a data centre supplier? 

What’s the most comprehensive source of construction industry leads in the UK?

What are the leading industrial laundries in the south of England?

Is Sharp Ahead a good b2b marketing agency?

What are the best alternatives to WP Engine? 

Is YPO a good value supplier of school equipment? 

Is the Curious Lounge a high quality coworking space? 

Equivalent web search (from New Bing) 

PV generation industrial unit roofing integration 

COVID office space usage 

What are the pros and cons of Edge Data Centres? 

How should I split my budget between Google Search and LinkedIn Ads? 

Best coworking space Oxford 

How to choose data center supplier 

Construction industry leads UK

Industrial laundries south England

Is Sharp Ahead a good b2b marketing agency?

Best alternatives to WP Engine 

YPO school equipment value supplier

Curious Lounge coworking space quality

The results 

First of all here’s how New Bing scored on my ease-of-use criterion across the 12 questions: 

Ease of use: % of questions

  • Poor – couldn’t obtain anything useful: 8%
  • OK – got a useful result without too much effort: 42%
  • Good – easy to get a useful result: 50%

Pretty good all told, especially considering this was my first serious attempt to use New Bing. New Bing mostly showed a good understanding of my queries and generated relevant output. Now my value criterion:

Value of results: % of questions

  • No value or badly misleading: 0%
  • Somewhat valuable but less so than conventional web search: 58%
  • Equivalent value to conventional web search: 25%
  • More valuable than conventional web search: 17%
  • Much more valuable than conventional web search: 0%

I have to admit this was a pleasant surprise. There were no cases across my 12 questions where New Bing completely missed the mark or came up with badly misleading answers. And there were a lot of cases where the New Bing results were of similar value, or greater value, than conventional search. 

Finally the delight factor. Fully 75% of my queries included something that “delighted” me at least a little! A really pleasant surprise,  and probably the thing that is most likely to bring me back to New Bing again. 

In this example, New Bing found – and accurately explained – the highly specific industry jargon term “BIPV” which wasn’t present in my original query.

Bing Chat Response - How can PV generation be integrated with industrial unit roofing?

Here the follow-up questions that New Bing suggests are extremely relevant, pulling out price and opening hours which are very likely to be important factors in a decision-making process about a coworking space. This would save a lot of time in a real B2B research task.

Bing Chat Response - What's the best coworking space in Oxford?

Some details 

A few detailed observations, in no particular order: 

New Bing is opinionated, but can admit its limitations: New Bing doesn’t shy away from holding an opinion. So for example when I asked it “Is X a good value supplier?” it said yes. But it often caveats its opinions, or admits when it doesn’t know. 

Bing - coworking space Oxford prices response
Bing Chat response - Curious Lounge coworking space quality

I liked that humility and found it made me more trusting of the remaining results.  

New Bing’s shortlists are, erm, short: when I ask New Bing for a list, it comes up with a few alternatives – perhaps two, or three, or a handful. This is potentially a good thing – who really wants to wade through a list of 50 possible suppliers? – but is going to be a massive challenge for marketers if this becomes a standard feature of future search engines. In a conventional search engine, being position 5 or 10 or even 20 for a given search will still lead to some degree of success. With New Bing, if you’re not in the top few, you are literally nowhere. 

Conversational approach adds value (sometimes): New Bing’s “chat”-style interface sometimes adds some value by suggesting follow-up questions that are more pertinent than the “people who asked that also asked this…” functionality of conventional search. For example in response to a question about coworking spaces in Oxford, New Bing offered to list comparative prices – really useful and highly relevant to a B2B researcher. (Admittedly with some other questions the chat options were less relevant, or irrelevant.) 

Conversational memory is sometimes limited: sometimes New Bing seems a bit forgetful. For example, I asked New Bing to list coworking spaces in Oxford. It gave me a plausible shortlist and offered to list some more. I carried on the conversation and asked for the longer list, which turned out to include some repeats of the earlier shortlist. This didn’t undermine the value of the results, but it was a bit disappointing.  

New Bing’s results reflect old Bing rankings: New Bing makes a lot of changes to the Bing search results (content, ranking and presentation) but it does clearly rely on them for its raw material. So if you’ve made a huge effort on SEO for Google but ignored Bing, you might find your content doesn’t feature on New Bing. If New Bing gains a lot of market share then we’re going to need to broaden our SEO focus. 

Geographic nuances are lacking: New Bing doesn’t have as much understanding of geographic cues as I’d hoped for. For example, I asked for “alternatives to X” where X is a UK-based supplier of a geographically-based market. New Bing listed US-based alternatives. 

There are ads (at the moment): Good news perhaps for PPC – the New Bing results do include some search ads. I can’t be sure but these seem to be normal Microsoft Ads listings triggered against keywords. It’s not surprising that Microsoft is exploring ways to monetize New Bing. 

Reflections – is New Bing relevant for B2B search? 

I came to this evaluation with an open mind, and if I’m honest with a degree of scepticism about the relevance of New Bing and ChatGPT for something as nuanced as B2B research. 

Based on my evaluation, I’d definitely use New Bing as it stands today as an adjunct to a conventional search engine. I’d expect it to be particularly useful for certain types of question and not useful for others. So I’m not about to make New Bing my ONLY B2B search engine, but I’ll certainly use it for some types of research. 

And it’s clear that New Bing (and its competitors like Google Bard) are only going to get better at these B2B research use cases. There are already some hints of really valuable user experiences where New Bing did “delight” me and exceed my expectations. They are incomplete and unreliable, but I’m certain they will improve rapidly as the technology matures. Here are a couple of examples of the sort of thing I mean: 

Co-working space Oxford prices New Bing Results

New Bing has assembled a useful summary of pricing there. It’s incomplete, and not as directly comparable as I’d like, but it’s already a time-saver versus a conventional search engine. 

Pros and Cons of Pantheon New Bing Results

In that search, New Bing has found a really plausible list of alternative suppliers and has made an attempt to build out a table of pros and cons of each. Unfortunately a lot of the table has no information in it! But I could imagine a future iteration of the technology could fill that out. 

So I don’t think that New Bing as it stands today is going to replace conventional search engines, but I think it’s already good enough to deserve a place in the toolkit that we use for B2B research. And I’m certain that in the future, the evolution of New Bing and other generative-AI-enabled search engines WILL replace conventional search. That could happen in a lot of different ways – we have an arms race between Microsoft and Google, and potentially other players. We might see a new player emerge. Or we might see an incremental evolution of conventional search engines so that generative AI gradually becomes more prominent in search – that sort of thing has happened before with other evolutions of search engines. But one way or another, there’s going to be a big change in B2B search engines and B2B search marketers are going to have to take note. 

What should B2B search marketers do today about New Bing? 

There are two simple things that all B2B marketing teams can do right away to gain some experience with New Bing and to prepare to manage the impact of this wave of change.

First, get some experience with New Bing yourself. It’s now open to all (having previously been accessed only via a waitlist). Just go to to sign up. Once you have access, try some questions that are relevant for buyer research in your industry, such as:

  • Top of funnel research like “what are the best solutions for [some problem that your product addresses]?”
  • Opinions about your brand such as “who are the competitors for [your company]?” and “is [your product] good value for money?”

Secondly, make sure you have Bing Webmaster Tools set up. This is the Microsoft equivalent to Google Search Console and it’s the method that Microsoft will use to give you feedback on how your content appears in Bing search. If New Bing causes Bing to gain market share over Google, Bing Webmaster Tools will become more important. So get it in place now so that you can refer back to the data in future. Visit about for details.

What’s next?

This wave of AI technology is certainly going to change the world of B2B search marketing, and that will have important implications for B2B search marketers. But exactly what will happen when is highly uncertain. Right now, most people are still using conventional search engines for their B2B research. So there’s no urgent need to change. We are all going to need to watch, wait and be prepared to adjust our strategies and tactics when the timing is right.

Given the significance of this technology change you can be sure we’re going to keep a close eye on developments with generative AI-powered search in the future. So sign up for our email newsletter and keep an eye on our blog to stay in the loop!
If you have questions about how New Bing might affect your business, or simply want to continue the conversation, please get in touch! 

When is a content audit not an audit?

By Jennifer Esty  |  March 23, 2023
When it’s an opportunity.

A content audit, or any audit for that matter, probably sounds like as much fun as getting your teeth cleaned (except it takes a lot longer). 

But it can be hugely rewarding and should set up your content, SEO, and lead generation strategies for success. 

Read on for top tips on what to look for and how to benefit from a content audit. 

Why audit your content

So, what are you going to get out of the audit? First and foremost you will have a catalogue of content that will enable you to understand what assets you have, where they are and how good they are. 

You can then start to plan how to repurpose, amplify and reuse these assets.

You will also be able to identify gaps and opportunities for new content, aligning the outcomes with your SEO and lead gen strategies to create content gems that help you meet your marketing and business objectives.

You are likely to be surprised at the results: there is usually a gap somewhere between what you think your content focus is (and should be) and where it is now. 

How to audit your content

A robust audit needs to look at a number of criteria with a measurable means of
evaluating them.

Some examples of the criteria we use to evaluate our clients’ content:

  • UX – how good (or bad) is the UX of the asset?
    On brand – is the asset on brand (especially important if your organisation has recently undergone a rebrand)?
  • Focus – what is the focus of the content?
  • Purpose – what purpose does the content serve, for example: brand awareness, lead generation, or customer service/support?
  • Persona – who is the content for?
  • Values/USPs – which of your company values or USPs does the asset convey (there is sometimes an argument to audit against both values and USPs)
  • Engaging – is the content engaging?
  • Pulse – is the content recent (or evergreen)?

What to audit

What exactly should you audit? The most obvious place to start is your website and a quick scrape of your site using a tool like Screaming Frog (link) will provide a robust list (assuming most of your content isn’t hidden behind a login).

You will also want to consider:

  • Any paid ads
  • Organic social pages and posts
  • Emails (including autoresponders, customer communications, and sales emails)
  • Presentations
  • Sales enablement tools
  • Email signature files

The exact scope will be dependent on the time and resource you can devote to the audit but the more that you include, the greater the impact and the better the outcome.

Not just digital

When we work with clients on content audits, we don’t just stick to digital assets. Offline assets, including printed materials, event collateral, press releases (which are to be fair mostly in digital format) and even physical signage are all included and can provide hidden gems or serious opportunities for improvement.

Not just content

We also suggest looking beyond the traditional definition of content and including brand assets such as imagery and icons. In a digital context, these types of digital assets are quite often tied closely to content in terms of the user experience and auditing them is likely to reveal some outdated assets and opportunities to repurpose some fabulous assets you may not have known you had.

What to do next

Finished your audit? Next you need to analyse the results.

Are there some assets which need to be retired or remedied immediately? You are likely to find a few outdated or flawed assets during the audit. Determine their priority for fixing or retiring and set out a plan to get them tidied up.

Where are the gaps? Are all of your personas being served equally (or at least in proportion to their importance)? Are you providing a good balance of brand awareness, lead generation and customer service content? Are all of your values communicated equally or are some being ignored?

Where are the opportunities? Are there some killer assets that you can reuse or repurpose? Are there sales assets that could turned into lead gen hooks? Are there longer form marketing blogs that would help the sales team?

The answer to all of those questions can only be answered by a robust auditing process. So don’t put it off any longer, book in that teeth cleaning.

If you have questions about how to audit your content, or simply want to continue the conversation, please get in touch! 
Practical Tips For B2B SEO Using Google's EEAT Guidelines
Practical Tips For B2B SEO Using Google's EEAT Guidelines

Practical Tips For B2B SEO Using Google’s E‑E‑A‑T Guidelines

By Rachael Clark  |  February 2, 2023

E-E-A-T for B2B SEO

First things first, what is the original E-A-T?

E-A-T is the summation of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines which provides an eye-watering 168 page document to help “webmasters understand what Google looks for in a page.”

Whilst Google state that E-A-T is not a direct ranking factor (i.e. a factor that helps determine how well your content ranks for different keywords/phrases in the search results), there are practical applications of these guidelines that are direct ranking factors. 

Confused yet?

Let’s take a step back and look at what E-A-T stands for.

  • Expertise : Having a high level of knowledge or skill in a particular field or topic. This could be in the form of a qualification or education. E.g. a certified WordPress web developer is more qualified to discuss setting up a new WordPress website than someone who has read a few blogs on the topic! There is also space for ‘everyday expertise’ such as a blogger who reviews restaurants, without necessarily having expert credentials
  • Authority: This centres around your reputation in a given field. Are you a go-to source on a particular subject matter? Do you have strong reviews (third party as well as customer quotes)? Are you recommended by other experts in the fields? Do you have lots of content related to that topic?
  • Trustworthiness: This focuses on legitimacy, transparency and accuracy and is particularly key for YMYL content where the wrong information could be very damaging if inaccurate. However, this is still highly relevant for all webmasters. For example: adding in authors for articles and blog content or citing and linking to external sources when referencing quotes, stats etc.

This ultimately boils down to Google’s ambition to further elevate the quality of the SERPs, with high quality, original content written with credibility.

This seems pretty all-encompassing, so why the extra E?

E = Experience

This extra E stands for Experience which, granted, seems very similar to Expertise but there is quite a distinct difference.

  • E for Experience. Google defines this as content that can demonstrate “that it was produced with some degree of experience, such as with actual use of a product, having actually visited a place or communicating what a person experienced”

In short – Google wants to see that the content is written by individuals who have ‘first-hand experience’ of the topic.

Why Optimise for E-E-A-T?

If E-E-A-T isn’t a direct ranking factor, then why optimise content to meet these guidelines?

The key is how you translate the guidelines into things Google can measure. Google’s Danny Sullivan helps explain:

How can B2B marketers create great E-E-A-T content?

Quite often the guidelines from Google are very B2C focused so we’ve compiled some tips to help B2B marketers elevate content to E-E-A-T standards:

  • Mention your years of experience: E.g. Helping leading companies transform their XXX for the past 20 years
  • Link to Case Studies: Cite and link to examples of work with customers that highlights your breadth of experience on that subject matter. Where possible, add links to case studies using anchor text that is relevant to the page you’re linking to as this will provide other SEO benefits for your site
  • Embed ‘How to’ or ‘Explanatory’ videos: Adding a video into your content that provides more information about the topic (or solution/service) can not only show your experience but also help keep visitors engaged with your content.
    • Top Tip: To also help your page SEO, make sure to add the keyword/phrase you want that page to rank for into the Title and Description of your video. Plus, if you use YouTube embed, this helps your overall video view count and therefore your VSEO – a win win!

An example of integrating a company's years of experience as part of Google's E-E-A-T guidelines

  • Select authors carefully: Assign articles and blogs to individuals within your organisation with higher levels of expertise in that subject matter
  • Create author bios: Create individual author pages which all blogs/articles to an author page which details more about their background and expertise in that field. Consider adding links in the bio to other sources highlighting their expertise (e.g. if they’re a member of an independent body or even links to their LinkedIn profile)
  • Don’t regurgitate: Showcase your expertise by adding your own opinion on the topic at hand. Ideally this should be backed up with evidence such as research, polls and/or citing credible third party sources
  • Structure your content based on search intent: Think about the audience of your content and the intent behind a search that might bring them to your content. Where relevant, create digestible sections that directly respond to this intent. This structure will also form the basis of your H2s, H3s and ‘table of contents’ at the top of longer form content – all fantastic ways to boost your rankings
  • Link to related content on your site: Internal links let Google know that you have more to say on the topic, or related topic. This also provides an improved UX, making it easier for the visitor to flow between highly relevant content on your site
  • Link to external sites: This signals to Google that you have researched the subject matter and are supporting your content by linking to trustworthy resources
  • Collaborate: The content doesn’t always have to come from you! Consider bringing in other industry experts to work with you on a rounded piece of content

This article from the Innovation Centre Knowledge Gateway in Essex perfectly highlights how they’ve selected the right individual, the Innovation Director, to talk on the subject of Scale Ups.

Adding the author's name and job title to a blog will showcase the expertise of the organisation. This forms an important part of creating E-E-A-T content

  • Build up related content: If you have 1 or 2 pages on a particular topic and your competitor has 20, then chances are, they’ll rank more highly than you if one of their pages is similar to one of yours. To gain authority, you need to build a bank of content related to your field of expertise that are also shaped around your target keywords and phrases
  • Integrate third-party verified reviews: Adding in third party trusted reviews from sources such as Trustpilot or Capterra, provides an immediate source of both authority and trustworthiness for visitors
  • Cite key partnerships: If your work with other trusted organisations, then integrate this within your content. Adding external links for these organisations will also provide an SEO boost – but don’t forget to ensure external links open in a new window!
  • Build backlinks for key content: Backlinks to a site are a key measure of your overall authority. Links that direct to pages deeper in your site (not just the homepage), give that content even higher authority. Look at the top 1-3 websites ranking top for the keyword/phrase you want to rank for and identify the types of sites they are receiving links from to help inform your own backlink strategy

Barbour ABI cites government and independent organisations which help builds both authority and trust with the visitor.

Citing third parties within your content helps showcase your authority and helps further support your SEO ranking by following Google's E-E-A-T guidelines


Arguably the E-E-A portions work together to build trust amongst your visitors. However, we have pulled out a few additional tips to help bolster this:

  • Check references: If citing third-party statistics, make sure these are accurate
  • Highlight awards won: What better way to show that you’re a trusted organisation than highlighting that your products, solutions or services have received awards in your field?
  • Keep content up-to-date: If you have ‘evergreen’ content on your site, then make sure it’s updated to ensure accuracy
    • Top Tip: If updating a ‘trends’ blog for the subsequent year, make changes and then update the year on the blog and its related Title and Meta Description
  • Show your contact details: In B2B, a phone number and email address displayed prominently in the header and footer as well as the Contact Page shows that you’re a real company, with real people
  • Refresh your Google Business Profile: When users search for your brand, the content of your Google Business Profile may well be the first thing they see. Make sure this is up-to-date and making the most of the enhanced features it offers (e.g. products/services)

E-E-A-T helps beyond SEO!

We’ve talked here about E-E-A-T because of its relevance to B2B SEO. But Google isn’t your only stakeholder! It’s worth remembering that almost all of the E-E-A-T factors are also relevant for engaging and converting your website visitors. For example, third party reviews will help prospective customers decide whether your product or service meets their needs, and including contact details on your page will help them to get in touch when they are ready for a conversation with sales. So both of those things will increase conversions from your website visitors.

In general, following the E-E-A-T guidelines will make your content more persuasive and more engaging for your human readership, as well as more attractive to Google – with all of the marketing benefits that flow from that.

Want to have these helpful tips at your fingertips? We’ve curated the checklists above into a downloadable E-E-A-T checklist that you keep on file for whenever you’ve got new content to create. We hope you find it useful! 
If you’d like to continue the conversation or find out more about SEO and B2B copywriting services we offer at Sharp Ahead, please do get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!
Microscope over search results of a tablet illustrating SEO

What To Look For In A B2B SEO Audit – The 6-Step Framework For Success

By Rachael Clark  |  August 11, 2021

For many B2B marketers, the logical starting point for their SEO strategy is an audit—after all how do you know what to fix if you don’t know what is broken, or how to prioritise content creation if you don’t know what the search landscape even looks like?

A B2B SEO audit should be both a pragmatic and strategic launchpad for your objectives, but how do you know if the audit itself is any good?

Here are our pro tips for what to look for:

1. The Three Key Areas

A good SEO audit will cover three key areas: on-page, off-page, and technical.

They of course have a lot of cross-over and the key is identifying which elements of each of these should be prioritised.

In a perfect world of unlimited time and resources, you would fix every issue—but sometimes you have to be pragmatic and consider the ease and impact of each of the changes being suggested.

What your audit may reveal:

  • On-page: are page titles and descriptions in place, unique and of the right length; primary keyword is in the H1 and in the page content; do you have internal and external sitelinks on the page; is the content not comprehensive enough to rank?
  • Off-page: what sort of page authority do you have? Where are your strongest backlinks and where is there more opportunity?
  • Technical: page speed issues, existence of 404s, whether schema is used correctly (or at all!)
SEO Venn Diagram

2. UX

UX and SEO are inextricably linked. Things like the information architecture and the navigation design are fundamental to both. You simply can’t achieve success with one without the other.

What your audit may reveal: Pages, posts, categories focused on the internal structure of a business, rather than that of the searcher’s intent.

A good SEO audit will also include pragmatic UX tips and advice on site performance (which has never been more important since the announcement of the Core Web Vitals criteria).

3. Understand the B2B Decision Maker and Influencers

Delivering the best SEO strategy requires an in-depth understanding of the audience. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are you trying to speak to?
  • What are their challenges, frustrations and goals?
  • How do your solutions/products/services help address or support the above?

Consider this step “the method acting of the search world” – get into character and think like they think in order to identify the right search terms for your business. If you have the time/budget available, then interviewing existing customers can help provide you with insights into the buying patterns to bolster your own efforts.

4. Focus on the Funnels

A good SEO audit will provide prioritised recommendations for keywords and content based on where in the funnel your prospects and customer are.

Depending on your business objectives and growth strategy you might need to focus on getting more prospects into the top of the funnel or more urgently require conversion optimised bottom of the funnel content and pages. Your SEO audit should reveal those key terms and opportunities and help focus your marketing resources in the right areas.

Top of the Funnel (TOF): the audit may reveal new opportunities for broader trends in your market, search themes or innovations.

Middle of the Funnel (MOF): the audit may reveal closely related products, services or even business challenges for which you could rank.

Bottom of the Funnel (BOF): the sorts of keywords that match your product or services and indicate strong consideration or purchase intent, e.g., product pricing, product recommendations—the sorts of keywords you may also be bidding on in paid search.

When identifying terms, it is vital to put yourself in the position of your prospect and recognise the key differences between B2B and B2C SEO:

Low-Volume but High Value Keywords High-Volume but often Low Value Keywords
Complex & Often Long Sales Funnels Shorter Decision-Making & Simpler Sales Funnel
Smaller More Specific Audiences Broader Audiences

Low volume keywords do not necessarily mean they should be ignored. Consider this Ease/Impact Matrix when deciding what terms will be relevant for your business:

Ease and Impact Matrix with High Impact Easy to Implement Highlighted

Examples of what may impact where a keyword/phrase is placed on the Ease/Impact diagram:

  • Keyword difficulty
  • The balance of optimising existing content or needing to create content from scratch
  • Overall business value of a lead/conversion
  • Credibility in that space

Understanding the competitive landscape is key for an SEO audit. But what is a competitor? In the SERPs, it’s whomever is ranking for the term you want to rank for – not just who you see as providing a directly comparable product offering.

5. Competitors

A thorough audit can even reveal new competitors as well opportunities that your competitors have missed, and help you gauge just how much work is going to be involved in moving your competitors out of a top position.

A really thorough audit will even look at your competitors off-page authority and make suggestions for backlinks and potential partnerships.

6. Remember, go back to basics

SEO isn’t rocket science. If users aren’t searching the terms you’ve focused, then it doesn’t matter how beautifully crafted your webpage is, they’ll never find it organically.

Steer clear of falling in to the trap of “we want to ‘own’ term X”. This is often a result of internal politics and can derail efforts that will actually deliver tangible business value.

That’s not to say that other “non SEO” content doesn’t have a place on your website. You may have pages on your site that won’t themselves rank but you drive to them from other channels, such as email, or you may want to “start” a conversation where one doesn’t currently exist – let’s face it, someone had to say “digital transformation” first. This page itself is an example of a blog that is unlikely to gain too much by way of organic traction but provides value to our existing clients, social followers and email contacts…plus a few internal links back to our main SEO page!

Obligatory Sales Pitch

And of course, we’d love to help with you with an SEO audit and even provide training and support to your internal teams, just get in touch to find out how we can help!

You can find out how we’ve helped other B2B organisations by having a look at our case studies.

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