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 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 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 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 SEO. Let’s look at some of the common concerns we hear from clients about SEO.
SEO is a scam, myth, or money pit
First of all, let me say this: I 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 SEO 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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. Creating and optimizing content is a big task. Ensure your business has the resources and budget in place to fund content creation. Starving an SEO strategy won’t get you to positive ROI.
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.
The bottom line
SEO 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.
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