Consider Unlocking Your Gated B2B Content

Written by Nick Stamoulis

Many B2B companies use their long-form content, such as white papers and on-demand webinars, as a form of lead generation. Readers simply give their email address in exchange for access to this gated content and they get great (hopefully!) information and the B2B website gets a new email address to add to their lead generation efforts. It seems like a fairly straightforward process and a pretty good deal for both parties, right? But locking your B2B content behind a download form or login screen can actually hinder your SEO efforts. Here are two reasons why it might be worth unlocking that gated B2B content:

The search engines can’t crawl gated B2B content.

A registration form is basically a brick wall to the search bots; they can’t access your gated B2B content any easier than a human visitor can. And if the search spiders can’t crawl your content they can’t index it—which means it can’t appear organically in the SERPs. It’s important to remember that the search engines rank individual pages, not your website as a whole; each crawlable piece of content can serve as a landing page into your website for various keywords. Many B2B websites are sitting on a goldmine of content that could be a huge boon to their SEO but since it’s gated they are missing out on a valuable opportunity! Imagine if you had dozens of new well-written, informative, and valuable landing pages on your site—even if each piece of content only generated a few extra visitors each month that translates into hundreds of visitors each year! And all you had to do was unlock some of that gated B2B content.

Your audience can’t share or link to gated B2B content.

Having great content is really only half of the battle. The other half is getting people to find, read, and shares it. But how are your readers supposed to share gated B2B content? What link are they supposed to publish? The registration page? That might work for some of your webinars and a few of your bigger white papers but for the most part people prefer to share actual information, not the promise of information. While I’m sure gated content does get cited from time to time, I’d bet that most of the outgoing links go to unlocked content that others writers could easily find and want to share with their own audiences.  (And if they couldn’t find it because it’s gated, how are they going to link to it later?)

I’m not saying that B2B websites have to unlock all of their gated content, but it might be worth making a few extra white papers, webinars, or articles free to the public. Sometimes even just one great piece of content can bring in hundreds of visitors and a lot of valuable links over time once you start promoting it. You might even be able to use that newly unlocked content as a way to draw more visitors over to your site and encourage them to sign up for the rest of your gated B2B content. If the free content is great, imagine how good the stuff under lock and key must be!

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