• May 9, 2024
  • By Kelly Ayres, director of SEO, Jordan Digital Marketing

Building Expertise to Grow B2B Engagement: It's Not Just for Google Anymore

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Not so long ago, if you needed to look something up online, you started and ended with Google.

These days, lots of Gen Zers are starting their searches on TikTok (even for B2B). LinkedIn is packed with thought leadership. Users of all ages are starting with Google—but for the purpose of surfacing the most relevant Reddit threads. And Slack communities are emerging as valuable curated forums for opinions, insights, news, and more.

In other words, B2B organic initiatives aren’t just the realm of search engines anymore, which should be good news to SEO professionals worried about how the rollout of AI-powered search results (Google’s SGE, or search generative experience) will disrupt the SERPs.

To help you get your organic strategy in line with the 2024 search landscape, let’s look at:

  • LinkedIn Voices: its potential and where early trends are pointing.
  • Quora, Reddit, and the role of forums in building authority.
  • Google's third-party search results and how they provide insurance against SGE.
  • How to find niche forums to connect with relevant audiences.

Get Started with LinkedIn Voices

LinkedIn Voices is a platform where individuals can share their perspectives, insights, and expertise on various topics. As a brand, leveraging LinkedIn Voices can be a powerful tool to establish thought leadership, engage with your audience, and build credibility within your industry.

Some tips to get you off on the right foot:

  • First, define your objectives. Do you want to increase brand awareness, drive website clicks, generate leads, etc.? Your objectives should influence your strategy.
  • Next, understand who your target audience is on LinkedIn. What are their interests, pain points, and challenges? Tailor your content to resonate with your audience and provide value to them.
  • Remember when creating content that LinkedIn Voices allows you to share short-form audio clips. Create content that educates, entertains, or inspires your audience (and keep it clear and concise).
  • Consistency is key on any social media platform. Develop a content schedule and stick to it. Whether you post daily, weekly, or biweekly, maintaining a consistent presence will help you stay top of mind with your audience.

Get Active on Reddit and Quora

For B2B communities especially, forums like Reddit and Quora are incredible places to mine for content ideas and to answer (or generate) threads related to your product or service. At the very least, make sure someone on your team is monitoring Reddit and Quora for any threads you can weigh in on—for instance, if your company does project management software, a thread on establishing RACI standards and rules would be up your alley.

Ideally, you’d have someone from your brand—either speaking as a corporate entity, which is typically less engaging, or acting as an actual brand spokesperson—taking a very active part in those forums. Remember to build your presence by offering valuable insights and thought leadership first before engaging in any overly salesy content that may turn off users before you get traction.

As noted, Google is pulling tons of content from Reddit and Quora—particularly Reddit—into the SERPs for related queries. If you’re having trouble breaking through the SERP clutter, Reddit and Quora present you with options to get in through the side door. It’s part of Google’s focus on “helpful content,” E-E-A-T, and the like, juxtaposing a focus on first-party authenticity with the wave of machine-generated content on the horizon.

Go Niche for Traction With Your Audience

Finding and engaging in niche forums can be an effective way to connect with your target audience, gather insights, and establish your expertise within a specific industry or community. Remember to approach forum engagement with authenticity, respect, and a genuine desire to contribute to the community.

This generally breaks down into a few initiatives:

  • Explore general directories, like Reddit, Quora, and Stack Exchange, to locate your specific niche’s community in that forum.
  • Use search engines and keyword research to identify popular forums related to your niche. Look for keywords and phrases frequently used within your industry and add terms like "forum," "discussion board," or "community" to your searches.
  • Use the search functionality of Facebook and LinkedIn, which often host groups and communities focused on specific interests or industries, to find relevant groups and join discussions
  • Leverage specialized forums. Some industries have dedicated forums and online communities tailored to their specific needs. These forums may not always appear in general searches, so it's essential to dig deeper into your industry to find them. You can use tools like Boardreader or OnlineGeniuses to search for specialized forums.

The bad news for this approach is that it has limited scope; the good news is that if you conduct your research well, you’ll be getting in front of a highly relevant and qualified audience.

Going Forward

I’m certainly not advising any SEOs to ignore SGE as it rolls out; there will very likely be a big opportunity to optimize content to grab potential eyeballs in SGE results, even if we don’t know anything about that algorithm yet. But in the meantime, I absolutely recommend you build a hedge against whatever Google has in store by paying attention to content on the channels I just described. Your users aren’t stuck to Google, so meet them where they are and build a bigger, healthier brand footprint in the process.

Kelly Ayres is director of SEO at Jordan Digital Marketing. She holds an MBA, a master's in clinical psychology, and over 15 years of experience driving growth and awareness for a range of brands. Along with producing and executing growth-friendly SEO strategies, she contributes frequently to industry podcasts and webinars from her home in New Jersey.

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