We talk a lot about SEO. Whether Google is making updates to its search results page and algorithms, we're keeping an eye on new search trends and sharing industrial SEO best practices — there's no shortage of discussion points.
Since we've covered optimization techniques, tips, and trends extensively in the past few months, we thought it would be helpful for you to take a step back and address what makes good SEO so particularly important for manufacturing companies.
Let's start at the beginning.
In the 20th century, manufacturing was a roller coaster, with the majority of industrial companies coming out on top of their game. New clients rolled in with help from word-of-mouth referrals, direct mailings, and directories like our own Thomas Register.
As years went on and the "big green books" went out of print, prospective customers moved online, opening a floodgate of possibile business opportunites — if you knew how to get found.
With an increasingly large amount of data available on the internet in the past twenty years, buyers and purchasing managers began to turn there, as opposed to business acquaintances, for supplier and product information.
The Competition Heats Up
In the early 2000s, companies were rushing to build websites, stuff them with keywords, buy backlinks from cheap, overseas SEO agencies, and cross their fingers that they'd get found.
Getting to the first page of Google became, and still is, a key priority for manufacturers and industrial companies. Although they tend to lag behind other companies in the B2B space — especially when it comes to marketing.
For example, other sectors have already mastered using virtual reality and newer social media platforms, which are great for SEO, but not everyone in our industry can even wrap their head around having an update, responsive website.
What's Happening Now
As the tail end of the millennial generation ages, graduates from college, and begins to enter the workforce, these trends in internet usage continue to intensify.
Millennials (roughly aged 20 to 36) in engineering and purchasing roles throughout the industrial industry rely on the internet, particularly search engines, to find the information they need to make informed specification and purchase decisions.
Older websites that don’t respond to mobile device usage and aren’t optimized for search engine algorithms are getting left behind, so it's important not get lost in the shuffle. For starters, we recommend that you carefully choose your keywords. Simple ones, basic industry descriptors such as “metal stamping” or “injection molding,” will be very competitive. Instead, develop long-tail keywords more specific to your work. The importance of strong keywords cannot be understated.
Other quick optimization tips include: updating your website so that it is responsive, working well on tablets and mobile devices; updating content regularly, at least annually, to keep search engines interested; and working to expand and improve your backlinks.
The internet spurned a period of intense, rapid change in the way businesses operate. Specifics have changed in the past 25 years, but the environment of constant change remains, especially in the SEO field.
Pay-per-click advertising, for example, is quickly becoming an integral part of a full and successful SEO strategy. As more companies improve their SEO, it’s becoming increasingly competitive — this jumpstarted the importance of PPC in a matter of only a few years.
The best way to manage and stay ahead of all this constant change is to stay informed on trends. A good starting place are the many valuable newsletters and digests, designed to help you do just that, that are available.
If this all seems a bit high level, that’s because it is. Everything there is to know about SEO would fill several books, and reading trends to determine the direction that the field will travel to next is more art than science.
That’s not to say that you can’t get started now — utilizing even the most basic SEO best practices would be drastically better than doing nothing at all.