We analyzed 502 B2B companies to better understand how they deal with content marketing. And to identify content marketing approaches that work best in the B2B space.
In particular, we looked at:
- How many B2B companies have a blog?
- The types of content they post
- How Much Organic Traffic Do B2B Blogs Get Each Month?
- The characteristics of the best performing B2B content
- And more
Now is the time to share what we discovered.
Our summary results are as follows:
1. 72% of B2B companies have a blog. In other words, 28% of B2B companies don't blog.
2. Only 8% of B2B companies use their blogs solely for sharing corporate PR-style content.
3. Receive B2B blogs creating educational content 52% more organic traffic than those who mainly publish content about their company.
4. Only 29% of B2B companies allow comments on their blog posts.
5. 65% of B2B companies use images on their blog posts.
6th The most popular call to action for B2B content is highlighting "related posts" or "related content".
7th 35% of the companies have "subscribed to our newsletter" as a prominent call to action on their blogs.
8. Only 24% of businesses use popups on their blogs.
9. On average B2B blogs receive 282 visits from Organic Search every month.
10. High profile B2B blog posts get an average of 99 social media shares and 49 visits per month from organic search.
72% of B2B companies have a blog
Our research found that almost 3 in 4 B2B companies have a blog.
In other words: 142 of our 502 (28.3%) B2B companies don't have a blog.
For most companies, their blog is the main hub of their content marketing efforts. And an important source of organic traffic.
Without a blog, this strongly suggests that 28% of B2B companies invest little in their content marketing.
According to FocusVision, B2B decision makers typically consume 13 pieces of content during the buying cycle. Interestingly, most of this content is read directly from the provider's website.
Because of this, 46% of B2B marketers are likely planning to invest more in content marketing in the future.
According to our research, the majority of B2B companies are invested in content marketing and SEO.
However, quite a number of B2B companies either don't use content as part of their marketing approach. Or your content marketing takes place outside the company (e.g. on social networks like LinkedIn).
The rest of this report mainly focuses on the majority of B2B companies that are to do Use blogging as part of your content marketing strategy.
Key takeaway: 28% of B2B companies don't use blogging as part of their content marketing strategy.
61% of B2B companies use WordPress as their CMS
In the 360 SaaS companies with existing blogs, we identified 25 different content management systems in use. The most popular choice was WordPress, which was used by 220 (61%) companies.
Note: We couldn't identify the CMS used by 53 of the companies on our list (15%). These can be bespoke solutions or CMS that are not used often.
According to BuiltWith, WordPress is the world's most popular CMS.
So the fact that WordPress has the edge shouldn't come as a surprise.
With 61% of all B2B blogs, however, it is interesting how dominant WordPress is in the B2B world. To put that number in perspective, HubSpot was the second most popular CMS. This was only used by 9% (34) of the companies we examined.
Key to take away: WordPress is by far the most popular choice for content management systems for B2B companies. HubSpot was the second most popular CMS among the B2B blogs we analyzed.
38% of B2B corporate blogs post content to educate their target audience
In all of the companies we examined, there were four different use cases for corporate blogs:
- Company News: These blogs only focus on the company and its products.
- Educational Content: These blogs share helpful content designed to solve problems and add value to the reader.
- Mixed: The company shares its press and educational content in one place.
- Industry News: Blogs that focused on sharing news about the industry they are in.
The most popular was the “mixed” approach, which was used by 51% of companies. This all-in-one strategy is likely popular because it offers the best of both worlds.
Most of the content focuses on delivering valuable content that informs an audience of a problem they want to solve. This blog is also where a company publishes business-oriented content that positions their company as an industry leader.
An example of this “mixed” approach comes from the segment. All of her blog posts are in one directory (segment.com/blog/). However, each post is clearly divided into different categories depending on the topic or post type:
As you can see in this screenshot, their blog posts are very clearly divided into topics: business-related posts (like Twilio's announcement of the acquisition of Segment) in one category, and educational posts on growth and marketing in another.
38% of the blogs we analyzed publish 100% educational content on their blog.
Interestingly, only 8% of companies used their blogs solely for PR-like, corporate news-focused content.
This suggests that a B2B company that invests in their blog is likely to get better results providing useful content to their audience compared to company updates and news.
Key to take away: 51% of B2B blogs use their blog as a home for all content – both for educational purposes and for businesses.
Education blogs receive 52% more organic traffic than business blogs
We found that educational blogs received 52% more organic traffic than blogs that focused on corporate news and PR-style content:
This finding is not entirely surprising: educational content is more likely to be ranked for a wider range of keywords. On the other hand, a company that only posts news is limited to ranking by its company name and a handful of other related terms.
Key to take away: Blogs that focus on educating their audience (rather than promoting their own business) get 52% more organic traffic than business blogs.
Do B2B brands publish content to create a community with their audience? Or is it a one-way street?
Our research found that only 106 (29%) of the B2B blogs we looked at allow readers to leave comments.
Allowing comments is no longer necessarily a blog best practice. There is certainly reason to believe that comments can lead to more engagement on the website. However, the data is unclear whether comments actually generate more traffic and links.
Comments also come at a cost: moderation and fighting spam. And according to our data, most B2B companies prefer to run their blogs without commenting.
Key to take away: In 70% of B2B blogs, readers cannot leave comments on their posts.
65% of B2B blogs use stock images
65% of the blogs we looked at used images as their featured image. 14% did not use any images at all. And only 21% of blogs used custom images for their posts.
Using stock images is an easy way for busy content managers to incorporate images into their posts.
However, during this study, we noticed that the same images appeared multiple times on different blogs.
In 2019, Reboot conducted a long-term experiment to investigate whether images (which are often used on hundreds of other websites) are treated as duplicate content by search engines and, as a result, cause a ranking problem. They concluded, “Using clear images on your website has a positive effect on organic web ranking. Compared to comparable websites that use duplicate images across the web. "
While it's impossible to create comprehensive guidelines based on a single SEO experiment, it's fair to say that custom images can help make your blog content stand out. This can make it worthwhile to create unique images regardless of potential SEO benefits.
Key to take away: Almost two thirds of B2B blogs use images to represent their content.
23% of B2B blogs have no call to action
Content can be a great source of traffic for B2B blogs. With typical bounce rates around 50%, a clear call to action can help turn that traffic into a lead or trial.
Eight different types of call-to-action were found in our dataset that are used in the B2B blogs:
- Subscribe to our blog / newsletter
- Related / Recommended Articles
- Download gated content
- Book a demo
- Start product test
- Contact us
- show prices
Note: Several companies have used more than one type of call-to-action on their blogs.
The most popular type of call-to-action was articles, which 39% of businesses used. The second most popular call to action was to subscribe to the newsletter, which is used in 35% of blogs.
This data suggests that many B2B companies understand the importance of using their content to build ongoing relationships with their target audience and encourage multiple pageviews.
Interestingly, almost a quarter of the blogs we looked at did not use call-to-action.
Key to take away: 39% of B2B companies use "related articles" as calls to action on their blog. This is an even more popular CTA than subscribing to the newsletter, which was only used by 35% of companies. 23% of B2B blogs have no CTA at all.
24% of B2B companies use pop-ups on their blogs
Our research found that only 24% of B2B companies use popups on their blogs.
Note that we did not regard cookie notifications as a popup. As this is required by law in certain cases.
Of the 88 companies that used popups, we saw nine different types:
- Subscribe to Newsletter
- Promote specific content
- Book a product demo
- Sign up for the product
- Allow browser notifications
- Contact us
- Complete a survey
- Try it for free
- Company announcement
An example of this comes from grammar. They use a popup on their blog to encourage visitors to sign up for a free trial.
Or this example from Pindrop using a popup to promote recommended content (in this case, an upcoming webinar).
The most popular types of pop-ups asked visitors to subscribe to a newsletter (41%) and promote certain content (28%). This again shows that the majority of B2B companies are focused on building a relationship with their audience rather than posting product demos or signups right away.
Key to take away: Only 24% of B2B companies use popups on their blogs. However, the most popular type of popup is to encourage visitors to subscribe to their newsletter (41% of blogs with popups).
B2B blogs receive an average of 282 visits from Organic Search each month
Next, we decided to examine the SEO performance of the blogs in our dataset in terms of organic traffic and keyword rankings.
(Note that the data here is an analysis of the entire blog. Not individual blog posts)
We found that the average B2B blog receives 282 visits from organic traffic every month.
However, this finding does not show the complete picture.
|B2B websites||Visits from organic traffic (median)|
|All websites in our analysis||280|
As we can see in the table above, there are significant differences in organic traffic between the locations in our dataset. While the top 10% of blogs get a median of 22,000 visits from organic search per month, the bottom 10% get essentially zero.
In fact, 32 of the websites we looked at were getting no traffic from organic search – and 70 of them were getting fewer than 10 visitors from SEO per month.
We also looked at the number of keywords a typical B2B blog would represent in Google organic search.
We found that B2B blogs had an average of 784 keywords. But, like with organic traffic, there are huge differences between the websites we looked at:
|B2B websites||Number of organic keywords (median)|
|All websites in our analysis||784|
On average, the websites we examined were rated with 784 organic keywords. However, the top 10% ranked at 34,550 keywords. But the bottom 10%? Only 2.
Key takeaway: The average B2B blog receives 280 visitors per month. However, this figure is slightly skewed by the significant number of B2B blogs that receive little to no traffic from SEO. And the top 10% of B2B blogs that rank for thousands of popular keywords.
B2B blogs get 1145 backlinks from 120 referring domains
Backlinks and referring domains are an important factor in influencing search engine results. We found that B2B blogs received an average of 1,145 backlinks from 120 referring domains.
|B2B websites||Backlinks (median)||Referring domains (median)|
|All websites in our analysis||1,145||120|
We've already stated that we've seen huge differences in terms of organic traffic and keyword rankings. And this pattern continues here.
In this case, the top 10% of B2B companies in our analysis have an average of 147,000 backlinks from 2,560 referring domains. However, the bottom 10% only have 4 backlinks from 2 referring domains.
Key takeaway: The typical B2B business has links from 120 referring domains. We also found that the best performing B2B blogs got an average of 2,560 referring domains.
Overall, backlinks, referring domains, and keyword rankings correlate with organic traffic for B2B blogs
Next, we looked at the relationship between backlinks, keyword rankings, and organic traffic for blogs in the B2B space.
Our research found that there was a pretty weak correlation between the number of backlinks and the number of visits from organic search.
There was a stronger correlation between referring domains and organic search.
This suggests that it might be better to get links from multiple different sites than focus on getting a large number of links from the same site.
These results are in line with other search engine correlation studies like this and that.
Unsurprisingly, there is a particularly strong correlation between the number of keywords a blog represents and organic search traffic:
Key takeaway: In line with other correlation studies, referring domains correlate with a higher percentage of organic search traffic for B2B websites.
High profile B2B blog posts receive 49 monthly visits from Organic Search
So far we have focused on analyzing B2B blogs as a whole. Now we're going to switch gears and dive deep into the benchmarks that top performing B2B blog posts have.
Specifically, we identified each company's blog post with the best performance, based on monthly organic search traffic.
We then analyzed each top performer in terms of organic traffic and keyword placements.
|High-performing B2B blog posts||Visits from organic traffic (median)||Ranking keywords (median)|
|All websites in our analysis||49||29|
Our research found that the average best-in-class post has 29 keywords and generates 49 visitors every month from organic search. 49 Visitors may not sound like a lot of traffic. It is important to note, however, that B2B terms are more commercially targeted and have higher buyer intent compared to B2C keywords. Plus, organic traffic can often be reliable and consistent, especially when compared to traffic from referral, direct traffic, social media, or paid traffic.
As before, the top 10% of companies far outperform the rest of the group. Your best posts are ranked 678 keywords and generate 2,001 monthly visitors from organic search.
We also looked at the length of these top performing posts. We'll cover this in more detail below.
Key takeaway: High profile B2B blog posts typically attract 49 organic search visitors per month.
High-profile B2B Blog Posts Generate 99 Social Media Shares
Social media is one of the most widely used channels for promoting and distributing content. But how successful is it?
We determined each company's top performing blog post based on the number of social media shares received:
|High-performing B2B blog posts||Social Media Shares (Median)|
|All websites in our analysis||99|
Our research found that the average top-tier B2B blog post is shared 99 times on social media.
Again, the top 10% of companies far outperform the rest of the group, with their best posts shared 3,000 times. At the other end of the scale, the bottom 10% was only divided twice.
Key takeaway: While the social shares vary widely between blog posts, the top performing posts have an average of 99 social media shares.
High profile B2B blog posts get links from 12 referring domains
We determined each company's top performing blog post based on the number of referring domains it received:
|High-performing B2B blog posts||Referring domains (median)|
|All websites in our analysis||12|
Our research found that the top B2B blog post generates backlinks from 12 referring domains on average. While the top 10% received backlinks from 245 referring domains.
A previous study we conducted using data from BuzzSumo found that 94% of all blog posts have no external links.
A median of 12 referring backlinks doesn't sound like much, but it's infinitely more than what the vast majority of blog posts get.
Key takeaway: The top performing B2B blog posts contain 12 referring domain backlinks.
Long-form content is best suited in the B2B area
Are longer blog posts better in B2B?
We looked at word counts for the top performing blog posts in four different categories:
- Posts that generate the most organic traffic
- Posts that get the most shares on social media
- Posts that generate the most dofollow backlinks
- And posts that get backlinks from the most referring domains.
On average, the best performing (in terms of organic traffic) posts were 855 words long, compared with 1454 words for the top 10% and 509 words for the bottom 10%.
For the 10% best posts in terms of social media shares, the average length is 1,116 words. Compared to 679 words for the bottom 10%.
For posts that generate the most dofollow backlinks, the average post is 780 words. Compared to 495 words for the bottom 10%.
And for posts that get backlinks from the most referring domains, the top 10% of posts had 1,552 words. The bottom 10% were only 554 words long.
For all of the metrics we analyzed, the trend is the same: The top 10% of the posts are significantly longer than average and the bottom 10% are significantly shorter.
Of course, a long post won't automatically perform better just because it's long. It has to deliver value in order to earn those stocks and links.
However, our research suggests that if the conditions remain the same, longer blog posts outperform shorter ones in B2B.
Key takeaway: Long-form B2B content generates more social shares, backlinks, referring domains, and organic traffic. For blog posts that rank well in organic search, the top 10% of posts are almost three times as long as the bottom 10% of posts.
Hope you found this analysis of the B2B content marketing space interesting and useful.
I want to thank Emily Byford for helping me put together this industry study. For those interested in learning more about how we conducted this research, here is a link to our methods and the raw data used for this analysis.
And now I want to hear from you:
What's your number 1 in this study? Or maybe you have a question.
Feel free to leave a comment below.