Technology companies can’t do SEO and content marketing like the rest of the world.
Over the past two years, Profound Strategy has worked with several leading technology companies. That time has been filled with significant keyword and user intent research, technical content creation, and testing. After research and analysis of hundreds of industry keywords, we discovered that the audience and user intent behind most tech-industry keywords wasn’t at all what we expected.
Most B2B technology brands focus their content priorities on sales pages. Content is translated to layman’s terms and is more benefit-driven than educational. Dry, technical content is buried deep within PDFs and manuals. This follows some of content marketing’s best practices: we know online audiences have short attention spans and technical jargon turns readers off. Compelling content is aesthetically pleasing and easy to read and digest.
For other industries that might be true—but not for tech.
As we researched hundreds of industry keywords for user intent insights, we learned that high-ranking and high-performing content for tech industries doesn’t adhere to marketing’s best practices. We found that clients’ sales pages weren’t ranking or converting because the target audience—and its intent—had been grossly misidentified, so content was missing the mark. What we discovered was revolutionary for both us and our clients:
These needs are driven by the size and diversity of B2B purchasing committees. B2B decision-making isn’t exclusive to the C-suite. In fact, 81% of mid-level managers and individual contributors have a say in purchasing decisions. In technology companies, these influencers are developers and architects who are in the trenches doing the work, and the people who sign the checks are leaning on them—probably pretty heavily—to decide which solution is best.
Top-ranking results for “iis logs” don’t include any sales pages (or even very basic “what is” answers), but they do include detailed help documentation, lots of industry jargon, and pieces of code in titles and meta descriptions!
After the top-level branded page in position one, organic search results for “aws security” include PDF documents and detailed, “how to” information. Again, there are no entry-level (“what is?”) answers.
Even the #1 organic result for “docker security” is a documentation page on the brand site. Other top result include mostly detailed, actionable content rife with industry jargon.
As a result, B2B technology content must cater to the user intent of—and build credibility with—an audience of technical practitioners.
Content that engages the technical practitioners who make up online tech audiences is detailed, actionable, and zero-fluff. It requires marketers to think differently about content—replacing aesthetic imagery with snippets of code, and utilizing technical industry jargon in place of layman’s terms.
There are a few steps to take to revise SEO and content marketing initiatives for enhanced engagement from a technical audience:
If you do find that certain keywords populate results that signal purchase intent or are designed to cater to an executive audience, focus the content for those keywords on thought leadership. And if all of this sounds like more research and catering than your team has time for, contact ours to talk about how we can help.
Content that provides solutions to common industry pain-points or inefficiencies is effective in capturing the interest—and respect—of the executives who provide final sign-off on purchases.
Content that influences conversions for B2B tech companies focuses on helping technical practitioners gather all of the information needed to recommend a solution to senior leaders. It is educational, detailed, and technical rather than salesy, insinuating (rather than shouting) that the right decision is a product or application your company provides.
Start by conducting your own user intent research for core keywords to learn who your audience really is, and exactly what they’re looking for. By catering content marketing and SEO initiatives to the intent of technical audiences, prioritizing educational content over sales pages, and utilizing informative media, you’ll earn the engagement and respect of important influencers, enjoy higher search rankings, and drive more users deeper into the purchasing funnel.
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