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Over 87% of people first look online when product or service shopping. Increasingly, those search results are turning mobile, with consumers accessing your company’s website via their smartphones before taking any next steps toward sales conversion.
Manufacturing organizations that don’t rank — that is, don’t show up on that pivotal first page of search results — don’t get that business.
It’s never been more pressing for manufacturers to stand out from the digital crowd, leveraging a strategic search engine optimization (SEO) plan to attract qualified leads, boost website traffic and increase contracts and revenue.
SEO Tips for Manufacturing Companies
Strengthen your company’s website rank and visibility with these expert-approved SEO strategies, then watch the needle move on key customer conversions.
1. Write for User Intent
Brands that write for user intent produce web and social media content with an end user’s needs in mind. In other words, they create content based on the motivations driving a search, providing relevant, helpful information for real people’s queries.
Writing for user intent is the most critical contemporary SEO practice for marketers today. As Google and others’ ranking algorithms advance, they reward useful, interesting and in-depth sources of information rather than keyword stuffing or sheer brand promotion.
Ask yourself if your website’s individual pages:
- Have a clear purpose
- Answer a top question or concern of your target audience
- Are helpful for a target audience
- Convey accurate, useful, authoritative information
2. Create and Register a Sitemap
Google uses “crawler” algorithms to inspect and rank websites. It’s a crawler’s job to rate your web pages under specific criteria Google considers as meaningful, expert and authoritative. The better a page matches these criteria, the higher its rank.
Sitemaps operate like a crawler instruction manual. Rather than letting search engines search your entire website and draw their own conclusions, sitemaps direct crawlers to your most important pages, then relays how often those pages are updated — two pivotal pieces of information for ranking. You can also leave certain pages off your sitemap, meaning Google won’t use them to rank your site.
3. Optimize for Specific Keyphrases
Today, when it comes to using keywords, quality supersedes quantity. Manufacturing companies benefit the most when targeting low-volume, high-value long-tail keywords. These are longer, more specific phrases that are less frequently typed into a search engine — but have fewer competitors ranking for those same keywords.
4. Add Metadata to Your Pages
SEO metadata helps both Google algorithms and real users understand the context of your web pages.
Two types of metadata are most relevant for a manufacturing company’s SEO strategies:
- Meta titles: Meta titles are the linked titles that appear in search results. Meta titles — also known as title tags — tend to be what readers skim when looking at query results. They work best when 60 characters or less.
- Meta descriptions: Meta descriptions are the one to two-sentence page description appearing below the clickable meta title. Meta descriptions add context to a page and are most likely to attract user clicks.
5. Set Up a Google My Business Profile
A Google My Business profile adds authority and legitimacy to your website. Organizations with Google My Business profiles will more commonly appear under Google searches relevant to your business or geographic area. Use your Google My Business profile to manage how your business presents itself online, including review management, as well as to attract higher website rankings and clicks.
6. Use Google Analytics
Google Analytics standard package is a free tool helping you track many significant SEO metrics, including:
- Online marketing campaign traffic and click-through rates
- Advanced customer segmenting
- Website traffic patterns
- Most visited pages
- Top website content
- And much, much more
Given Google’s dominance in the online search world, it makes sense to use its platform to track and optimize your content for a greater audience.
How SEO Drives Business for Industrial Manufacturing
SEO strategies work to boost your website’s visibility amidst a sea of industry competition. That boosted visibility brings with it several benefits for your manufacturing company.
- Generates brand awareness: Brand awareness correlates with the likelihood someone will buy your products or work with your company. As your ranking and web traffic increases, so does your brand awareness, eventually courting visitors to your sales funnel.
- Builds trust: Successful SEO makes a searcher feel understood. Their query was directly answered in a knowledgeable, direct and convenient way. Content creators who establish that kind of connection with a user have a leg-up when it comes time to incentivize a sale or contract.
- Nurtures conversions: An SEO strategy is a bedrock for turning qualified leads into actual customers. Once potential clients grow familiar with your name and services, and you build authority and trust, you’re on your way to solidifying increased sales revenue.
- Increases customer retention: Retained clients are more cost-effective than new customers. In fact, the cost to acquire a new client is roughly five times higher than engaging a returning one. Successful SEO helps you grab the attention of qualified customers, then stay there.
Future of SEO and Manufacturing
SEO strategies work best when they match the prevailing uses of search engines and social media. Since those uses and technologies are in continual flux — as evidenced by the shift from desktop to mobile search — so, too, are SEO best practices.
Consider these trends harbingers for the future of SEO in the manufacturing industry.
1. Non-Text Optimization
Currently, marketers optimize their website’s videos and images using text-based meta tags. These tags give written descriptions of the image or video, often using targeted keywords, which crawlers read to understand the usefulness and relevance of the entire page.
In a not-so-distant future, though, artificial intelligence-driven algorithms will be able to contextualize non-text data using audio-visual cues. This technology opens up the next horizon for optimization. Companies will likely adapt by dedicating resources to optimized video creation, just as they did for writing optimized web pages, blog posts and social media campaigns.
2. Natural Language Processing Voice Search
Natural language processors (NLPs) have evolved dramatically in the past few years, driving the goals behind user intent. With NLP machine learning, crawlers can survey things like sentence patterns, keyword synonyms, phraseology and even regional lexicon to deliver the most relevant results for users.
This technology is far more adept at contextualizing a search rather than taking it literally. As a result, companies will have to shift writing styles and information from text to voice search, matching the natural, even conversational way people talk in order to be picked up by voice assistant devices and future NLP-crawler technology.
3. Automated Personalization
“Automated” and “personalized” may seem contradictory. Thanks to artificial intelligence technology, though, manufacturing brands can trigger specific content to appear to a user based on previously collected data. These AI-fueled algorithms can already make sales suggestions or send shipment or delivery updates. Soon, they’ll manage completely personalized messages tailored to individual end-users.
4. User Solutions Kept Front-of-Mind
Web content that’s useful and relevant to your audience will be rewarded. Search engines will continue to prioritize pages that fulfill user needs and match purposeful searches, ideally in natural-sounding but specific language.
Manufacturing marketers must also ensure other user-friendly SEO features exist, including speedy page loading times, mobile responsive designs and a clean, neat interface. In summary, if your website looks and works in an audience-appealing way, the more successful your SEO strategy.
Work With MANTEC to Develop Your Modern SEO Strategy
MANTEC is a nonprofit consulting firm dedicated to helping small- and medium-sized manufacturers leverage more competitive business processes. Get in touch to see how our manufacturing SEO and social media services can generate more leads and grow your business — before the competition.