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What You Need To Know About Industrial SEO for B2B

16 min read2023-12-11

This article was originally published on April 4, 2023 and updated on December 11, 2023.

What is Industrial Manufacturing SEO?

SEO. One of so many TWAs (Three Word Acronyms) in marketing. It’s likely the most misunderstood digital strategy. It’s not a silver bullet that solves all your problems, nor is it a mystic art that us mere mortals can only puzzle at.

It’s a tool, and it ought to be in your toolbox. Let’s define SEO, then look at what’s special about SEO services for industrial manufacturers.

What is SEO?

SEO is Search Engine Optimization. We know what a search engine is: it’s Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or Yahoo. You put words in the search bar, hit enter, and get results. For the most part, SEO focuses on Google as it accounts for over 80% of all web search traffic.

So what about the optimization part? SEO is about influencing which websites get the top spots in a search engine. The top results on the first page in Google get many times more clicks and views than the page’s bottom results. Once you’re on page two or three, you may as well be invisible. The drop-off in visibility is that steep.

SEO pros have the knowledge and tools to analyze keywords and competition. They can and develop websites and pages that rank best for those target keywords. This means crafting websites and content designed for two audiences: humans and robots. Specifically, one robot: the Google Bot.

How Google crawls the internet

Google finds and ranks pages for its search engine with a robot. The robot travels the internet, sniffing out new pages. It looks for certain signals to determine what each page is about. The main signal is the words on the page, but there are technical factors as well. When it finds a page that is very high quality for a particular search term, it assigns it a high ranking. If it finds a page that is very poor for a search term, it ranks very low, or doesn’t rank it at all. Google Bot doesn’t sniff each page once then move along. It’s always circling back around to see what’s new and exciting on your website. SEO pros can help make sure your pages smell extra-good to the robot. They ensure you rank well for your target search terms.

Let’s look at an example. A chemical supply company might want to rank well for the keyword ‘US hexane supplier’. This may be a keyword that they know has a high conversion rate from their paid advertising. They might hire an SEO company to make adjustments to their website and content. That will improve their relevance for their valuable keyword. The B2B SEO company might also improve technical factors like page speed. This will ensure the Google Bot likes your website.

In a nutshell, this is SEO.

What is industrial SEO?

Industrial SEO is one of many niches within the broad field of SEO.

Every type of company will want to rank for different terms. News websites have a different set of requirements from recipe blogs. E-commerce websites want to show up differently from B2B companies.

B2B SEO companies combine B2B sales and marketing experience with SEO best practices. Their goal is to identify keywords and content that improve lead generation. They analyze your target audience, organic website traffic, and social media activity. Then, they find the best strategies for growing your search performance.

Industrial SEO acknowledges long sales cycles that are commonplace in the industrial sector. SEO for manufacturing companies focuses on high quality, relevant website traffic.

Myths and misconceptions about industrial manufacturing SEO

5 billion searches per day. That’s Google’s estimated usage in 2022. We can see why SEO is valuable for businesses, and why it’s ubiquitous as a phrase.

Its popularity gave rise to many myths and misunderstandings about the nature of the beast. Let’s look at some of the common concerns we hear from clients about SEO.

Myth 1: SEO is a scam, myth, or money pit

First of all, let us say this: we can empathize.

SEO is a challenging and in-demand discipline. Unfortunately, it’s also misunderstood—particularly by the clients of SEO companies. Misunderstanding resulted in a sea of SEO charlatans, jokers out to make a quick buck. If a client doesn’t understand the service they’ve purchased, they cannot test performance. Untrustworthy SEOs may sell them an “affordable” package that offers no value.

What often happens is a business gets taken for a ride by one of these charlatans. They sign up for a 6- or 12-month commitment, then wait for the results to roll in. Unfortunately, they often never do. This may be due to poor quality work. Usually it’s due to low volume of work. A business gets sold a cheap package where the SEO company does a tiny amount of low value work each month. This will result in no measurable impact on website performance.

SEO works. It does! The biggest businesses in the world invest in it and carry out SEO best practices. They do so because they see the value. Bad experiences with dishonest professionals tarnish the reputation of this important marketing discipline.

Myth 2: SEO only works for e-commerce and B2C companies

SEO isn’t the right strategy for every business. A sole proprietor running a local lawn-mowing service may be a bad fit. It is a good strategy for most established businesses, regardless of vertical. Here’s why.

One of the biggest challenges for every business is getting customers in the door. It’s tricky to get your customers aware of your particular business. Especially so if you’re in a competitive vertical. SEO does a great job of getting users through your digital front door. It is as an awareness tool for B2B companies rather than a direct lead generation tool. A B2C business has a simple path from awareness to purchasing. Consider an online shoe store. They might use an SEO strategy to rank for ‘women’s tennis shoes’. If they get the top spot in Google, each visitor has a fair chance of buying right away. SEO for B2B companies takes a bit longer. We start by ranking for informational keywords instead of purchasing keywords. This helps us generate traffic volume and pre-qualify customers.

Next, we use conversion tools like gated content marketing to nurture visitors into prospects.

B2B customers, particularly in industrial manufacturing, have long and complex sales cycles. We use SEO to start the conversation, while B2C companies may use it to close the deal. Over time, SEO generates leads for B2B businesses. It does this by increasing your online ‘foot traffic’. Given enough traffic volume, SEO will capture leads you won’t otherwise get.

Myth 3: SEO is all about ranking number one

While ranking high in search engine results is important, it’s not the sole focus of SEO. The ultimate goal of SEO is to drive relevant traffic to your website and generate conversions through content marketing.

Ranking number one for a keyword may bring in a lot of traffic, but if it’s unqualified traffic that doesn’t convert into leads or sales, what good is it to your business? A good industrial SEO strategy should not only focus on rankings but also on optimizing the user experience through delightful website design, improving website engagement, and increasing conversions because you’ve worked with a UX design specialist.

It’s important to measure the success of your SEO efforts based on key performance indicators (KPIs) like organic traffic, conversion rates, and revenue generated. These metrics provide a more comprehensive view of how SEO is impacting your business, rather than solely relying on rankings.

SEO is a valuable and effective digital marketing strategy that can benefit your industrial and manufacturing company. However, it’s important to approach it with realistic expectations and understand the ongoing nature of SEO. By working with trustworthy leading industrial marketing agency (*cough* BlackBean) and continuously optimizing your website, you can leverage the power of SEO to drive targeted quality traffic to your site.

How industrial manufacturing SEO works

SEO for industrial manufacturers differs based on the specific vertical and product offering. It may incorporate elements of local SEO, if the business has a particular service area. Or, it may focus on globally relevant keywords if the business operates everywhere. SEO for manufacturing companies mirrors the structure of the business’ sales apparatus. If your sales team is best equipped for local sales, the strategy may become more localized. If instead you excel at online sales, it may cast a wider net. It’s unlikely that a website visitor to a B2B site will be ready to take action immediately. Our focus becomes reaching potential customers in their research and planning phase.

How do we turn this early, informational intent into leads? We prospect!

Like a grizzled prospector sluicing for gold nuggets, we process our traffic. Consider a blog post meant to attract customers of sensor solutions for a new factory. We would add a pop-up form on that page that offers a complete spec sheet for the products highlighted in the post. By collecting their contact information, we’ve created a cold calling opportunity. Or, we may use an automated approach. Website analytics trackers can create audiences from users who visit particular pages. We use those target audiences to deliver targeted banner ads to users we suspect are high-value. This allows us to recapture customers who leave the website.

SEO provides ROI for businesses regardless of the length of their sales cycle because it helps generate organic traffic and increase brand visibility. Even if your industrial sales cycle is long and complex, SEO can still play a crucial role in capturing leads and nurturing prospects. By ranking for informational keywords and providing valuable content, manufacturing companies can attract potential customers who are in the research and planning phase. Through conversion tools like gated content or targeted banner ads, SEO can help turn these visitors into leads and eventually into customers. You should see SEO as an important awareness tool for your company, helping you establish your organization’s online presence and generate leads over time.

What should I expect from B2B SEO?

Now that we know what SEO is, what should we expect when we embark on an SEO journey?

  • First, don’t expect money for nothing (nor chicks for free). SEO requires investment, and a lot of that investment comes up-front. An SEO project is only as good as its strategy. If an SEO company approaches you offering immediate results, turn tail and run. They’re out for a quick buck.
  • SEO takes time because SEO is all about content marketing. Creating and optimizing content is a big task. Ensure your business has the resources and budget in place to fund content creation. Starving an industrial SEO strategy won’t get you to positive ROI in the long run. Results won’t happen overnight, and it may take several months to start seeing significant improvements. Patience and consistency are key when it comes to SEO – tell your boss you heard it here.
  • Finally, ensure you have the tools in place to filter and prospect your traffic. SEO is a traffic generation tool. The rest is up to you, your sales and marketing teams, and their tools and techniques.

Some quick wins for your next SEO campaign

Industrial manufacturing companies often face unique challenges when it comes to search engine optimization. While SEO tactics for B2C businesses are well-known and widely discussed, the strategies for B2B companies, specifically in the manufacturing industry, can be different. In this section, we will explore some quick wins for your next SEO campaign as an industrial marketer, focusing on four simple tactics that can help boost organic traffic for industrial and manufacturing companies.

Fix your title tags (on WordPress)

Title tags are an important element of on-page SEO. They provide a concise and accurate description of the content on your webpage. By optimizing your title tags, you can improve your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) and attract more organic traffic.

If you’re using WordPress as your content management system (CMS), fixing your title tags is relatively easy. Simply access the backend of your website, navigate to the page or post you want to optimize, and edit the title tag. Make sure to include relevant keywords and make the title tag compelling and click-worthy.

Check your rankings on Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a powerful tool that provides valuable insights into your website’s performance in Google search results. It allows you to monitor your organic search traffic, identify keywords that are driving traffic to your site, and track your website’s rankings for specific keywords.

Regularly checking your rankings on Google Search Console can help you identify opportunities for improvement and make informed decisions about your SEO strategy. If you notice that certain keywords are performing well, you can optimize your content further to rank even higher. On the other hand, if some keywords are underperforming, you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

Perform a website audit using a free tool

Conducting a website audit is essential for identifying and addressing any technical issues that might be affecting your website’s performance in search results. It involves analyzing various aspects of your website, such as site speed, mobile-friendliness, and broken links.

There are many free tools available online that can help you perform a website audit, such as:

  • Google PageSpeed Insights: This tool analyzes the content of a web page and provides suggestions to make that page faster. Page speed is an important factor for both user experience and search engine rankings.
  • Bing Webmaster Tools: Similar to Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools provides insights into how Bing sees your site. It offers data on crawling, indexing, and search traffic.
  • Yoast SEO (for WordPress): If your website is built on WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin can help with on-page SEO. It provides recommendations for optimizing content, meta titles, and meta descriptions.
  • SEMrush: While SEMrush has a paid version, it also offers a limited free version that allows you to perform basic SEO audits, check backlinks, and explore keyword ideas.
  • Moz Link Explorer: Moz offers a free version of its Link Explorer tool, which provides information about your website’s backlinks, which are crucial for SEO.
  • Screaming Frog SEO Spider: While the free version has some limitations, Screaming Frog can crawl your website and provide insights into on-page SEO elements, such as titles, meta descriptions, and broken links.
  • GTmetrix: GTmetrix analyzes your website’s technical SEO performance and provides actionable recommendations for improvements. It uses both Google PageSpeed and YSlow metrics.

Make sure to use a few of these tools to give you with a comprehensive report highlighting any crucial issues that need to be addressed.

Look up People Also Ask questions and add answers

People Also Ask is a feature on Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page; marketing does love a good acronym) feature that provides users with additional questions related to their search query. By looking up questions related to your industry or products, you can identify common queries that potential customers have. Adding answers to these questions on your website can not only improve your website’s visibility in search results but also establish your company as an authoritative source of information. By providing valuable answers to users’ questions, you can increase user engagement and attract more organic traffic.

screenshot of Google's People Also Ask section

Optimize your images

Images play a crucial role in enhancing the visual appeal of your website. However, they can also impact your website’s performance if not optimized properly. Optimizing your images involves compressing them to reduce file size, adding alt tags to provide descriptive text for search engines, and using appropriate file names. By optimizing your images, you can improve your website’s loading speed, which is an important factor for both user experience and search engine rankings. Additionally, adding alt tags and descriptive file names can help search engines understand the content of your images and improve their visibility in image search results.

Create high-quality original content

For starters, we recommend you stay away from ChatGPT to create your content. Creating high-quality, relevant, and original (aka homemade) content is a fundamental aspect of SEO. Search engines prioritize websites that provide useful and engaging content to users. By consistently publishing high-quality content, you can improve your website’s visibility and attract more organic traffic. When you’re creating your content, make sure to start with a keyword research to identify relevant keywords and incorporate them naturally into your content marketing. Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to make your content easier to read and understand. Additionally, consider incorporating different types of content, such as videos, infographics, and podcasts, to diversify your content strategy and cater to different user preferences.

Backlinks, or links from other websites to your own, are an important ranking factor for search engines. High-quality backlinks from reputable and authoritative websites can significantly improve your website’s visibility and credibility. To build high-quality backlinks, consider reaching out to influential bloggers or industry experts and ask them to link to your content. You can also pay to guest post on other websites and include a link back to your own website in your author bio or within the content itself. If you get lucky, you’ll go viral and naturally attract backlinks with valuable and shareable content!

The bottom line

SEO services can work for your industrial manufacturing business. It works for ours, and for millions of other businesses around the world. Approach SEO with an open mind, but arm yourself with information first! Don’t allow yourself to be hoodwinked by over-the-top claims and cheap SEO packages. While there are always deals to be had, keep in mind the scope and complexity of an SEO project.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The same goes for online dating profiles by the way, but that’s another story.

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