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#126: B2B SEO Strategy to Capture Demand and Drive Pipeline

Episode 126

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“How long should it take to start to see pipeline from SEO?” This is a question I’m asked again and again by marketers who have invested time and resources in SEO after being promised the world by agencies. More often than not, the results are unremarkable. Even if there is an increase in traffic, there’s little pipeline to show to it.

And as your leadership may painfully remind you – traffic doesn’t pay the bills.

This week we have B2B SEO strategy and execution expert Sam Dunning on the show to walk us through how B2B marketers can use SEO to capture more demand and drive pipeline while they sleep.

Sam draws on his extensive experience running his professional b2b SEO agency, and very generously shares his no nonsense strategies and frameworks that transform SEO from a mere traffic generator to a robust lead and revenue-driving machine.

As always, you can read, watch or listen to below to learn about common pitfalls, advanced tactics, and the essential components of a successful SEO strategy tailored for the B2B landscape.

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Why Most B2B Companies Don’t Drive Pipeline With SEO (Mistakes)

Before we get onto the SEO strategy you should be implementing to complement your demand gen strategy, let’s take a quick look at where most companies go wrong.

Misguided Focus on Top-of-the-Funnel Content:

Many B2B companies mistakenly prioritize creating top-of-the-funnel (awareness stage) content, assuming it will drive significant traffic that converts into qualified leads. Sam argues that this strategy often fails to generate the desired qualified opportunities, because this traffic isn’t necessarily aware of or prioritizing the problem that your company solves.

“So what they’re doing is they’re starting what we call top of the funnel SEO kind of more of an awareness play when really They should be going as a bottom-up approach”

Sam Dunning – The B2B Playbook – [00:02:39]

Instead, he advocates for a bottom-up approach, where companies start by targeting prospects who are actively seeking solutions, have a clear need for the offered services or products, and are in the market to make a purchase. This approach should prioritize bottom-of-the-funnel content that directly addresses the needs and problems of potential customers to drive more effective lead generation and revenue growth.

This is the exact same advice that Bottom-of-Funnel content (BoFu) expert Lashay Lewis had when it comes to prioritizing what content to make.

Lack of Alignment with Customer Needs

Another major pitfall Sam highlights is the failure to align SEO efforts with actual customer needs and problems – not just trying to rank for tangentially related keywords that have a high search volume.

“So starting with prospects that have a need for your offer, have the problem you fix, are actively in market and searching for solutions like yours”

Sam Dunning – The B2B Playbook – [00:03:11]

He emphasizes the importance of understanding the specific issues that potential customers are trying to solve and tailoring SEO strategies to address those needs directly. Your content needs to solve real problems for your target audience. That’s what drive better quality leads and conversions.

Strategies For Effective B2B SEO

Sam kindly detailed some key strategies that B2B marketers can use to implement SEO that drives pipeline and revenue, not just traffic.

Focus on Bottom-of-the-Funnel Content to Capture Demand

Dunning advises companies to begin their SEO efforts by focusing on bottom-of-the-funnel content. This approach targets prospects who are actively seeking solutions and are closer to making a purchase decision. By addressing the needs and problems of these prospects directly, businesses can generate more qualified leads.

That starts with identifying the main offers or services you provide for your Ideal Customers, and creating targeted pages to service that niche. It then becomes about answering all the questions they have prior to purchase.

For example, Kevin and I probably should have started The B2B Playbook by building pages around our ‘demand generation course‘ or ‘demand generation program’ before tackling middle and upper funnel content like ‘what is demand generation’ or ‘demand generation metrics and KPIs‘.


Align SEO with Customer Needs

Once you’ve nailed the bottom-of-funnel content, Sam suggests that you should next create content around the “Jobs to be Done” (JTBD) framework to address specific customer tasks, frustrations and goals.

The JTBD framework focuses on understanding how prospects accomplish tasks or jobs today and what hinders their process. It identifies the moment they realize their current method is inadequate or frustrating, leading them to seek better solutions.

“It’s basically a framework of how is your prospect getting a certain task or job done today? And what is the thing that’s getting in their way?”

Sam Dunning – The B2B Playbook – [00:09:59]

An example Sam gives is imagining you’re selling a Power Dialler, and you’re targeting an outsourced sales team that’s manual dialling on mobile phones. Naturally, they’ll start searching for a faster solution than typing in phone numbers manually one at a time.

For this target audience, you can create articles around “how to dial numbers quicker with my mobile” that introduces your solution as a much more efficient alternative.

The best insights around what your Ideal Customers will be searching before they find your solution will come from customer interviews – but more on that later!

Utilize FAQs and Google’s E-E-A-T Principles

A killer tip from Sam that helps his pages rank better than competitors and optimise them to drive conversions (like demos) is to include an FAQ section. The FAQs should address common questions received during sales calls. What this does is pre-empt potential objections and questions that may stop someone from enquiring about your product or services.

“I have an FAQ section at the bottom of that page, which quite literally addresses questions we got on sales calls. Like, why are you guys so expensive? Isn’t investing in Google ads faster? Why does SEO take so long?”

Sam Dunning – The B2B Playbook – [00:23:23]

Not only is this a great experience for the customer, but Google also loves it because it meets its E-E-A-T framework for prioritizing which pages to rank. You can read more about the E-E-A-T framework here, but basically it stands for: Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trust.

FAQs show that you have direct experience and expertise in the subject matter. Your pages should also:

  • genuinely be helpful and educational to the prospect
  • understand the prospect’s problems and jobs-to-be-done
  • craft your offer as a no-brainer solution
  • be supported by social proof, testimonials and clear calls to action

Optimize Technical SEO Without Neglecting Content

Sam acknowledges that technical SEO is important, but do not overemphasize it to the point of neglecting helpful content. Too many SEOs aim for technical perfection, scoring high on tools but miss focusing on content that addresses customer needs directly. Pages with content written from a customer-first perspective often outperform others in rankings, even if they are not technically perfect.

“Yes, you want a sitemap…if you’re going overkill with technical SEO and you’re neglecting content…I’ve ranked pages that haven’t been the best from a technical perspective, but because that content has been written with a prospect first, a customer first approach…it’s just outranked other companies”

Sam Dunning – The B2B Playbook – [00:37:57]

Get your basics down, but make sure your content is optimised for humans – not what you think Google wants.

Target Niche Keywords and Build Specific Solution Pages

If you’re just starting out and your website has a lower domain authority, Sam’s advice is is to target niche keywords and build out specific solution pages.

Sam shares his experience with his new business,, highlighting its early success despite a low domain authority. By focusing on niche, long-form solution pages, offer pages, and service pages, he was able to see some pages rank quickly, demonstrating the effectiveness of this strategy even for new sites.

“So for example, I’ve recently fired up this business We’ve got like a domain authority of eight…but I’ve already built out maybe 20, 30 pages doing exact process and some of them already ranking”

Sam Dunning – The B2B Playbook – [00:25:54]

These niche keywords often have far less competition and are better matched with your service. That means not only are they easier to rank for, but if people do search them and land on your page, they’re far more likely to have more intent to buy from you.

For example Sam is building out pages for his own business like “SEO for B2B SaaS companies”, “SEO for FinTech Companies”, “B2B Web Design” – reflecting all the services and niches he offers them to.

Incorporate Video and Other Multimedia

We hate ‘hacks’ here at The B2B Playbook – but this one has been working really nicely for us to help our own content get ranked better and faster than Google. For every article we do on The B2B Playbook, we have a YouTube video embedded in the article – often specifically created to match it.

You can see one right here on this page!

We started doing this just because we thought it was a great user experience. Some people love reading, others love watching, and then there are those that just want to listen to us while multitasking. Sam confirms that embedding videos and utilizing multimedia content can enhance SEO performance by providing additional value to visitors, improving engagement, and increasing the chances of content being linked and shared.

Fantastic to have this confirmed by an SEO expert!

Leveraging Customer Insights for SEO

Do not just use tools like Ahrefs to guess what keywords your Ideal Customers are searching for. The problem with these is that they’re all based on historical data. The best way to mine the questions that your Ideal Customers are asking is by tapping into sales calls and directly sourcing them from the customers themselves.

Sam points out that if you’re consistently hearing certain questions or objections from customers, it indicates a demand for information on those topics. Creating content that addresses these recurring themes can fill a gap in available resources, driving targeted traffic and generating leads.

“If you’re sitting on sales calls…and they’re constantly bringing up a certain question, certain objection…there’s demand because you’re hearing it day to day”

Sam Dunning – The B2B Playbook – [00:17:20]

A great example that Sam gave here is creating the “B2B SaaS SEO Playbook” in response to frequently asked questions from customers. Despite initially generating zero traffic, this asset gradually attracted targeted searches, proving its value both as an SEO tool and a sales resource.

I always tell marketers with limited resources to try and kill two birds with one stone where they can. Creating SEO content that’s terrific sales enablement content certainly fits the bill!

If you keep hearing customers ask the same questions, write content to answer it. Don’t ignore it just because your tools tell you there’s very little search volume for it.

Getting Backlinks in B2B SEO

We’ve ranked many pages ourselves here at The B2B Playbook without a focus on backlinks. However if you’re going after slightly more competitive terms, acquiring backlinks should be part of your SEO strategy.

Sam gives us a few handy tips on how to get more backlinks to drive your B2B SEO:

  • Guesting On Relevant Podcasts: Guesting on relevant podcasts as a method to secure backlinks. Sam suggests using to find top podcasts in your niche and reaching out to hosts with personalized messages for guest opportunities.
  • Building Partnerships: Forming content partnerships with complementary businesses, not direct competitors, who serve the same customer base. This can lead to mutual backlinking and customer referrals.
  • Content That Attracts Backlinks Naturally: Developing high-quality, long-form content that naturally attracts backlinks because of its value. An example given is an extensive guide with unique insights, statistics, and multimedia elements.

Sam goes into specific examples for how he has executed each of these for his own business. Check out the full episode on YouTube or listen to it on your favourite podcasting platform.

An important message when it comes to backlinks is there is no ‘golden number’ that is going to make your page rank better than the competition. Aim for quality over quantity. Creating high quality content and forming partnerships is going to make this much easier.

Measuring SEO Success

When it comes to measuring SEO success, Sam encourages marketers to focus on its impact on revenue. The buyer journey is complex, but we should still do what we can to track the journey of leads and customers. These are the metrics he suggests you keep track of:

  • Impact on Revenue: Bottom-of-funnel activities that drives qualified sales calls or demo requests will make it easier to show your SEO activities are driving revenue and qualified pipeline. This is what your CEO or CMO is going to want to see.
  • Organic Traffic and Keyword Rankings: Setting up Google Analytics or similar tools to monitor organic traffic and keyword rankings is recommended. Tracking focus keywords related to solutions and offers helps in reporting on SEO campaign progress and organic page ranking improvements.
  • Sales Feedback: Beyond asking “how did you first hear about us” in your demo forms, Sam suggests asking leads during sales calls about their journey to discovering the company. This method helps in understanding the full journey of leads, from initial search to booking a call, providing a clearer picture of the SEO strategy’s effectiveness.

Bringing It All Together

A B2B SEO strategy that drives pipeline and revenue should start with understanding customer needs, focuses on high-intent keywords, and measures success through revenue impact.

If you start with lower funnel, high intent keywords, you will see impact from your SEO much faster on your pipeline.

It’s a great place to capture demand for free, while you sleep! For more in-depth information on creating bottom-of-funnel content that converts and is SEO friendly, I highly recommend you check out our article with BoFu expert Lashay Lewis.

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