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Posted by Todd Hockenberry ● Sep 29, 2023

Start With How: SEO Strategy and Building Trust With Inbound Marketing

The 'how to' of getting found and building trust with inbound marketing is often a result of how well you answer the 'how to', 'how do I', and 'how should I', types of questions with your digital content. Business owners often ask me about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and I tell them a great SEO strategy starts with answering your target customer's most important questions.

A longtime stat we reference is "74% of buyers choose the company that is first to add value as they are defining their buying vision."   Makes sense right? The first person who is helpful is most likely to cause you to want to reciprocate - oftentimes by buying from them if there is a fit.

If you are answering 'how' questions with your online inbound marketing content you are starting out from a place of being helpful and adding the value that companies are looking for when making a purchasing decision.

What do we mean by 'how' questions?  

When writing your content you should try and focus on answering questions like the ones listed below. Answer these questions with your online content in relation to your ideal customer or ideal persona and you will be laying the foundation for getting found online (add your specific value here).  

  • How should I (solve this problem)
  • How would someone (achieve this goal)
  • How can I (stop this from happening)
  • How to (gain this advantage)
  • How will (something important be affected by some other variable)


SEO strategy can be a changing tactic due to algorithm updates, but some things will never go out of style, even when using AI-driven tools.  People asking questions using search engines in this fashion (how do I solve X) is a trend that isn't going anywhere.  'How' questions, from a B2B searcher's point of view, are often earlier in the buying process types of questions. They are looking for a starting place to deal with a problem they have or anticipate having.

How to Install a Metal Roof Over Shingles is a good example of a "How to" post based on measurable searches online, as well as market knowledge that this is a specific question someone new to roofing would ask.

Attracting online traffic to a post like this gives McElroy Metal a chance to, first of all, answer the question and be helpful but, just as importantly, to now be able to follow up either with more in-depth content around this topic or the specifics of the products and processes involved.

From a 2023 strategic standpoint, if you are not blogging in the B2B space then you should start.  Each blog is a web page that builds relevance for your site and helps attract traffic that can be converted to a lead.  AI-created content cannot match real subject matter human created content. Your audience wants to know you and your people - not AI.

B2B industrial and manufacturing clients that we consult have all seen significant traffic and lead generation from starting and maintaining a blog.  A blog is the ideal place to publish and promote "how to" types of content and drive traffic from SEO and sharing as well as build credibility by being helpful to your audience - your ideal target persona.

Content and SEO strategy must be helpful from the target customer's point of view. Optimize your answers to their questions and you will be successful in using content to attract the ideal customers to your website and other digital content.

People ask me all the time how to create good content or how to continue to create interesting content for a B2B blog. I always tell them to listen to the questions they are being asked and share the answers in their blog posts. This is a guaranteed strategy to be successful with your content marketing efforts.

**This post was originally written in Nov. 2015  and has been updated.

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Topics: Marketing, Manufacturing