Eli Schwartz

The tactics and strategies for SEO are very similar whether the target customer is a consumer, business, non-profit or government. In all cases, the goal is to maximize organic visibility for whomever is looking for this particular website or content. The means to achieve this goal are always the same.

The real difference in strategies between these various end users is the expectations of how SEO will perform and what kind of content should be optimized. Generally, SEO is much higher in the buyer’s funnel than other sources of traffic, however for consumers it is far more likely to have a conversion happen in the same session as the organic click.

This is the breakdown in the types of content that should created and the expectations for each type of user. All of these buckets will be fairly broad as a consumer could be a teenager looking for an idea for a high school paper or a high net worth individual seeking a financial advisor. The same principles apply to B2B that is a sole proprietorship buying for the business as a Fortune 10 company.

With that in mind these are the buckets:

  • Consumer – Usually buying for themselves so there will be less decisionmakers and therefore the buying process is quicker. The consumer wants their information they were seeking and if there is purchase intent, they want to be reassured that the purchase is worthwhile. Content for a consumer should be conversion oriented.
  • Business – At any medium or large company there will be lots of decisionmakers so the goal of the content should be to get the search user to become aware of the brand. Content should be written to get the user to search more or share information to be added to a database. The SEO efforts may have to aim a bit lower to have users join a webinar rather than to buy products or follow the brand on social.
  • Non-profit – a non-profit functions like a business in their buying behavior except they may be more budget conscious. Keep in mind that a non-profit cold range from a small local PTA to a global organization like the Red Cross. Don’t make any assumptions.
  • Governments – are like businesses with the clock rewound to a century ago. The content for government buyers has to establish the business as an entity worth continuing to explore and should focus on building internal advocates. Governments can range from local cities all the way up to national federal agencies. Understand the buying process and target those users.

Having the right expectations before embarking on any optimization effort will better help all stakeholders manage their time and resources as they invest in SEO. Too often B2B SEO campaigns fail because there was an expectation of instant conversions. Knowing that SEO for B2B, government or non-profit is there only to assist other channels be more successful will go a long way in having SEO efforts that everyone is on board supporting.