How SEO can Maximize your B2B White Papers' ROI
Optimizing white papers for search engine indexing and ranking can yield long-term business benefits for B2B companies. However, many companies are yet to leverage search engine optimization to maximize the full potential of these documents. Either they do not understand the benefits white paper SEO offers, or they simply do not want to maximize the potential of these materials. It’s definitely not the latter because most companies are in business to make money.
In this article, we’ll explain the mistake you’ve been making with this vital marketing material and how you’ve been leaving lots of money on the table. We’ll discuss the potential of SEO for white papers and how you can optimize them to generate lasting results.
But First, A Short Background Story
Not too long ago, we were conducting research for a project that needed precise details typically found in white papers. We needed to make an important buying decision and wanted to know if there was any company with experience in our unique need.
We only saw shallow, generic blog articles and had to dig to the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and sometimes 6th page of SERPs before getting tangible information.
Here’s what we observed:
- Highly rich and resourceful white papers were buried deep in SERPs.
- To locate these materials, we had to pass through gated landing pages.
- Companies use white papers solely for lead generation via gated landing pages.
- Companies made little effort to optimize for search engines.
We immediately conceived the idea for this post because…
B2B Companies are Missing Opportunities with Their White Papers
Many B2B companies are unconsciously (or consciously) making a big mistake and letting go of valuable revenue-generating opportunities. They focus on optimizing gated blog pages and landing pages for their white papers.
We’re not against optimizing blog posts and landing pages. That’ll be ironic coming from a company that advocates for proper website optimization. However, we’re very much against limiting the potential of this marketing material by neglecting (or deciding) not to optimize them.
Consider the primary purpose of white papers:
- To educate an audience.
- To bring awareness to a specific topic.
- To demonstrate a company’s subject matter expertise
- To drive leads for a company and, ultimately,
- To sell a company’s product/idea/service.
There is one end goal – revenue generation.
To generate revenue, you need to make sales from leads; to capture qualified leads, you need to drive and convert highly qualified traffic.
Search engines offer highly qualified traffic of potential clients actively searching for solutions to their needs. B2B companies can tap into this gold mine and maximize their white paper ROI if they invest more in optimizing it for Google.
The Potential of White Paper SEO
White paper optimization offers many benefits to B2B companies. SEO content marketing, one of the content marketing strategies offering the most qualified traffic at the least marketing cost, gives companies a smart way to drive the right traffic.
Consider these benefits of White Paper SEO:
1. Solidifies Industry Authority Status
Your potential customers are actively browsing the internet for the insights in your white paper. They’ll rate you highly, recognize your expertise, and consider you amongst industry experts if they find your material insightful.
Before now, Google emphasized evaluating the EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) of content before rating and ranking the content on SERPs. Now, the search engine giant has added another ‘E = Experience’ to the famous ‘EAT’ and rates and ranks content based on their EEAT.
White papers are highly detailed and insightful content that meet every EEAT requirement. Thus, they can usher B2B companies into Google’s good books, solidifying their industry authority status and generating tons of traffic with a high potential to convert.
2. More Traffic
Content optimized for SERPs drives more qualified traffic to B2B companies. According to statistics, Google processes an average of 63,000 search queries every second, and around 93% of all web traffic is via a search engine. This means the more successful your SEO is, the more your chances of generating high volumes of qualified traffic.
Don’t limit the potential of your marketing resource when you can access free traffic. You can have the best content on the web, but nobody will know, if the content isn't optimized for Google.
3. Improved Customer Experience
Excellent customer experience increases customer retention and reduces churn rate, leading to long-term business benefits for B2B companies. White paper SEO helps you rank high on SERPs and provides new and existing customers with the answers to their questions. This reduces the number of people contacting your company for answers to these questions and improves customer retention and lifetime value in the long run.
4. Improved Internal Linking
White papers also enable companies to improve their linking structure and quality. When B2B companies publish their resource with SEO best practices, they’ll rank easily, drive traffic to the website and distribute traffic to other money pages via quality internal linking.
Internal linking helps increase website engagement metrics, user experience, crawl efficiency, link equity, etc. Suppose you successfully integrate your published white paper into a topic cluster. In that case, your website will be better positioned to tell web crawlers the pages that matter to you. This can mean a lot for your website.
The key takeaway is that with an excellent white paper SEO, your material can trigger your success on Google.
5. Backlinking Opportunities
Top-quality content writers and online publishers understand the importance of insightful information. They will always seek it out, include it in their content, and direct a link to the information source.
What does this mean for B2B companies with an incredible white paper SEO strategy?
It means the more your content is top on SERPs, the more they’ll use your resource and link back to the content.
This means two things:
- More traffic from the websites and
- More page and domain authority for you.
6. Increased Revenue
Limiting your white paper to only a tool for lead generation through gated pages limits its potential reach. However, when you adopt SEO best practices, you’re increasing your chances of ranking high on SERPs, generating much more traffic, improving your customer experience, and building an authoritative reputation in the eyes of customers and search engines.
The good thing about SEO is that it works with a positive feedback mechanism where the more optimized your content is, the more backlinks, engagement metrics, and authority benefits you will enjoy. The more you get these benefits, the more your chances of achieving a wider reach and generating more long-term revenue.
Easy Ways to Execute White Paper SEO Successfully
Here are ways you can optimize your content for SEO:
1. Understand Your Audience and Write for Them
Google’s priority is to provide the best answers to search queries. To be among the top ranking on SERPs, you must conduct keyword and audience research to understand your audience and their search intent. That way, your white paper will answer the right questions from the right angle, using the right words. The more engaging and insightful your content is, the more your chances of generating more qualified traffic.
2. Optimize White Paper Title, Meta Description, and Body of Text
Optimize your title, meta description, and text for SEO and naturally include the keywords that match your potential readers' search intent. Make your title and headers relevant and easy to understand.
3. Adopt Good Internal Linking Strategies
Internal links are critical in directing the flow of knowledge between different pages on a website. Use strategic internal links to distribute traffic and link juice to relevant pages, increasing your website’s chances of getting top-ranking positions. You should also link to the white paper from other pages on the website to increase the marketing material’s chances of getting to the top ranks faster. Don’t just link between pages; use appropriate anchor texts and be careful of too much linking so you don’t slip into link stuffing.
4. Name your White Paper PDF File Accordingly
Proper naming of PDF files helps search engines understand the content and index it accordingly. Use sensible file names that are easy for humans and Google to understand. A good example is changing the file name for a resource discussing the relevancy of SEO for case studies to ‘A White Paper on the Relevancy of case study SEO.’
5. Write an Optimized Executive Summary
Craft a concise summary of the content of your white paper with relevant keywords naturally included to catch the reader's attention.
6. Include Visuals Optimized for SEO
Include visuals like infographics and relevant images. Optimize the visuals by including keywords in their file name, alt tags, description and/or captions. Infographics done right can improve your white paper viewership significantly.
7. Promote and Distribute Your White Paper
Creating a buzz around publishing your white paper helps you generate initial traffic, which will help start the ripple effect that’ll see your content performing well on search engines. You can publish press releases, newsletters, and blog posts to get you backlinks and traffic. Also, share on social media to trigger social signals.
8. Create a Well-Optimized Landing Page
With a well-optimized and ranking landing page, you can drive traffic and link juice to your white paper, increasing the chances of success of your SEO efforts.
9. Format and Optimize your White Paper for Mobile
There have been lots of emphasis on the mobile-friendliness of content. Many users are on mobile and mobile optimization has become a ranking factor for many search engines. If your white paper is only optimized for PC, you’re cutting off many potential readers viewing from mobile. Consider this while formatting your content.
Final Words on How You Can Maximize Your White Paper’s Potential with SEO
For a long time, this unique marketing resource has been known only as a piece of content insightful enough to make readers submit their information, thus the reason they’re often gated. On the other hand, customers have gotten smarter and keep devising ways to avoid sharing personal data. Besides, gated content gives potential customers a negative experience, with many readers bouncing when they see that a resource is gated. These pose challenges that companies can overcome by adopting better ways to maximize their white papers’ ROI.
We hope B2B decision makers realize these mistakes they’ve been making, understand the potential of white paper SEO for their company, and adopt SEO best practices to generate sales from search engines and increase their year-on-year revenue.