Backlinks 101: For Manufacturers & Distributors

You’ve worked hard to build an online presence but now, as you’re trying to increase the quality of traffic to your website, you keep coming across the term “backlink.” Raise your hand if you’ve tried to ignore the term, what it means for your website, and focused on other SEO traffic-building tactics.

No shame! Some of the best marketers have been there before.

What is a backlink for manufacturers & distributors

If you’re busy with the basics of digital marketing to get your business found, you’re already juggling creating quality content on top of analyzing traffic reports and ensuring leads are generated. Google’s search algorithms can be complex (but if you’re at capacity, we have our SEO team to help you with that.)

But if you want to take your SEO to the next level yourself and get your website in front of more qualified visitors with higher search rankings, you should invest some time to getting more backlinks. And because we know your time is precious, we’ve composed this beginner’s guide for backlinks specifically for manufacturers and distributors.

What Are Backlinks And How Do They Work

Google’s three most important ranking factors are content, backlinking, and relevancy to a search query. What this means for you is that to get your website pages higher on search engine results, your website’s content should be written in a way that addresses your visitors’ questions and has links to high-authority websites.

To see how all of the above factors affect your website performance, many industrial marketers use a variety of online tools, like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Google Search Console. Google Search Console is a free tool so there will be some limitations to your reporting. We recommend coupling it with paid versions of Ahrefs or SEMrush — SEMrush’s backlink guide is also a handy reference.

Sound complicated? Let’s refresh some basic SEO terminology.

You may be familiar with “internal links” — links on your website page that point to another page on your website. Backlinks, on the other hand, point to a third party website. They are sometimes referred to as “inbound links” or “external links.”

You may have also heard of off-site SEO, which refers to SEO focuses on leveraging other sites and places across the web to improve your position within search rankings. Backlinks are the core of off-page SEO.

Google uses these links to determine the authority of your website. A backlink from any website to yours contributes to your authority. Think of it as your online reputation. But not all backlinks are created equal. Google trusts backlinks from websites with high authority — and backlinks from high authority websites will increase your website ranking.

You Might Also Be Interested In: Off-site vs On-site SEO - What's The Difference?

How To Get Other Websites To Link To Your Website

The first and most important rule to get other websites to link to yours is to create high-quality content. The better your content, the more shares it is likely to get. Remember to create content that’s of value to your buyers, like how-to guides, reference libraries, and industry research.

See the top 9 examples for content for manufacturers that engage engineers, procurement managers, and MRO professionals throughout their buying journey.

If you’re a distributor, ask your suppliers to link to you on their website. Many suppliers include a "distributor locator" on their site to showcase where buyers can purchase products, but pages like this typically aren't updated often. Be proactive in your relationship with your supplier to ensure you’re helping each other get more business.

Schroder Distributor Locator

Create a company profile on industry platforms and directories. has been a trusted resource for more than 120 years, connecting buyers and suppliers. A company profile on the platform with a link to your website will not only increase your RFQs from qualified buyers but boost your SEO too.

Take additional advantage of the high-traffic on Thomas with an advertising opportunity on Thomas Insights, industry’s leading resource for manufacturing and industrial news and trends. With our Sponsored Content option, our writers will edit one of our existing Thomas Insights articles related to your business to include backlinks and CTAs that will direct readers to either your company profile or your website.

Learn how you can target your most important buyers and increase engagement to your website.

See Advertising Campaigns

Why SEO Matters For Manufacturers

Today, it is more important than ever to have a strong website. In-person events have come to a halt and more engineers, procurement managers, and MRO professionals are online sourcing for suppliers like you to get their jobs done. In fact, 84% of recently-surveyed manufacturers use their website to reach those buyers now — an increase from 72% before COVID-19 began. Don’t let your competitors get to those buyers first.

An SEO and backlinking strategy takes your website even higher on search engine results, increasing your views, clicks, and yes — sales. Our industrial marketing experts will take the guesswork out of all the algorithm complexity so you can spend more time responding to those RFQs and closing more deals. Ask us about our free SEO analysis and digital health check to see exactly how you can improve online to reach more engineers, procurement managers, and MROs. 

Additional SEO resources:

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