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Why Channel Marketers Should Care About Partner SEO

By David English

Mar 12, 2020

About 5 minutes

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and SaaS firms have many business partners (BPs) that market and sell their products. Typically, the OEMs rank highly on Google search because they are known as leaders in technology. However, their BPs may struggle to rank for industry keywords. Essentially, the BPs must compete with OEMs for search.

Channel marketers for these OEMs need to care about their BPs’ websites and search rankings. Helping BPs to improve both search query position and search visibility can win the OEM new business and allows the channel marketers to appeal to niche and regional markets that they may not otherwise reach.

Playing On the Same Team

OEMs and many of their BPs are usually teammates, not competitors. If the BP is successful at generating leads through organic search, it benefits the OEM. If prospects find the BP’s website and they convert on an offer, it can result in new business for the OEM.

To make this process work, channel marketers must differentiate between strong and weak partners. Strong partners are those more likely than not to sell your offering instead of a competitor’s. Weak partners are more likely to sell a competitor’s product over yours. Your company should only provide SEO support to the strong partners that are most likely to sell your products.

Reaching Niche Markets

Channel marketers for OEMs may have great success appearing at the top of Google search for industry keywords, but are they reaching every segment of their potential audience? Partners can appeal to niche market segments.

A partner may cater to a specific geographical area. This partner could rank highly for long-tail keywords that refer to a region, such as Southern California or a specific city, such as San Diego. For example, a BP might rank well on Google search for “CRM service providers in San Diego.” A channel marketer might not have the time or money to focus on a specific region of the U.S. market.

Partners may also specialize in specific industry verticals and lines of business. For example, a partner might have strong subject matter expertise in working with accounts payable teams in the construction industry. Some partners work on maintaining compliance certifications for highly regulated industries, such as finance, manufacturing, and health care.

When website content is built around long-tail keywords related to an industry, such as “data protection for health care organizations,” it is more likely to appear higher in search engine results for health care and data protection-related queries. There may be less competition for these long-tail keywords, and they can increase the chance that the right customer will find the partner’s website.

Instead of using your own website to be all things to all people, you can rely on your partners to reach out to new market segments. Supporting your partners’ SEO efforts saves you money on marketing while extending your reach into unexplored areas. Supporting partner organic search can also save you and your partners from the expense of paid search.

Creating Joint Content

As an OEM, you are never going to have enough quality content for niche market segments. This is where your partners come in handy. The marketing team at a partner company can create case studies for target industries that can be published and promoted on your website. These case studies show niche use cases for your products. They also create the opportunity to link back and forth between your website and the partner’s site.

You can also publish and promote thought leadership pieces created by your partner. Such pieces may include eBooks or white papers that give detailed treatments of issues surrounding your products. Supporting your partners’ content efforts saves your company the man hours it would take to research, write, and design long-form content pieces.

Your partners may also create niche offers that convert prospects and generate new business for your company. These offers may include on-site workshops, gap assessments, or discovery sessions in specific regions of the country. Another possibility might be tailoring a demo for companies in a target vertical. Industry-specific offers can help progress prospects toward a purchase of your product.

Joint content is particularly important because your influencer partners might not want to push your product content on their website. After all, partners do work with other OEMs, or at least often need to appear to do so, and some position themselves as vendor agnostic. Your company wants to ensure it figures prominently on partner websites, so investing in these joint content efforts is worth it.

By producing and promoting joint content, channel marketers can help partners build out their websites and create content pillars for OEMs. SEO and website success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes research and time to build content, and content takes time to produce results. However, with the assistance of channel marketers, both OEMs and partners can benefit.

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Tags: SEO, B2B Marketing, Channel Marketing, content marketing, Channel Partners, marketing methods, Channel Strategy, Google Search