Hummingbird - SEO Game ChangerWhere were you when Google shook up 2013 with its “Hummingbird” update? You may soon find it’s an important date to remember as it heralded a time when genuine content skyrocketed in search engine results, to the benefit of users all over the globe.

And that’s just what caused sporting goods brand REI to outrank major content aggregate Wikipedia for search-terms like “stand up paddle board,” — a pleasant surprise for the inbound marketing community.

How did they do it? And how can you get the same results for your B2B business? Read on to find out.

Target the Right Keywords for Your Business

REI’s most successful move was to focus on the keywords their customers use frequently — keywords related to their needs, interests, and passions, not to their direct purchasing needs.

In this example, REI didn’t invest time in terms like “sporting goods” and “hiking socks” because most consumers aren’t looking for those items outright. Instead, they worked to attain a deep understanding of their customers and found that they all enjoyed sports.

Then REI created lots of content around those topics that were genuinely useful to their target market.

While REI focused on its B2C market, B2B companies can use this strategy to generate leads, too, by developing rock-solid client personas and targeting your keywords to that segment and that segment only.

The key to dominating B2B search is specialization, and in order to specialize, you need an intimate understanding of your target market and dead-on instincts for keywords and terms for which that market is searching.

(We typically start keyword research by asking what language your customers use as they ask questions about your product or service).

“Organic,” “Genuine,” “Useful,” Should Be Your New Content Goal

Speaking of massive content efforts: get a good writer and get cracking! Getting found online and becoming a resource today isn’t about keyword-laden, spammy content.

It’s about useful, shareable, popular content that is written for real people – and your B2B customers are real people with real interests.

To see results like REI’s, invest as much as you can in market research on your target audience, a strong writer, and a stellar content strategy. These are the tools that will allow you to generate the content that your target market is searching for — leading them into your sales funnel as you provide the valuable, useful information each customer is looking for.

The latest Google update has opened the door wide open for companies that create genuine, useful website content that your ideal customers are searching for — meaning your business can now compete with otherwise search-dominant websites if you target the right keywords for your audience and work hard to develop the right content.

Which big-name brands and websites is your business up against? How will you embrace the challenge?