SEO Must Complement Conversion Optimization for an Effective Industrial Marketing Strategy

I find too many manufacturers and industrial companies still hung up on individual keyword rankings and getting to the top in Google and other major search engines. I’m not trying to minimize the time, effort and the expertise needed for search engine optimization (SEO) of industrial websites. After all, traffic is the lifeblood of online marketing and you can’t get traffic if your site is invisible in search engines.

The problem is that traffic by itself means nothing if you fail to convert it into qualified leads and sales opportunities. The old assumption that visitors will call after finding you in Google and visiting your site is not working anymore. Industrial buyers do their own research and usually complete 60-70% of their buying journey before contacting your sales team.

I understand most industrial companies tend to define a qualified lead as an RFQ or RFP but it is too late if that is the first contact you have with the buyer. You are either one of three competitive bids or competing on price alone. Your potential customers will turn a deaf ear to your spiel about differentiation and expertise at this stage of their buying decision. All they care about is your price and lead time.

Read more

The Cardinal Rule of Industrial Content Marketing: Know Thy Buyers

cardinal rule of industrial content marketingIt may seem obvious to say that you must build your industrial content marketing strategy around your buyers but it doesn’t happen with regularity with most manufacturers, distributors and engineering companies. At least, that’s been my experience with industrial clients.

I often hear my clients tell me they know their customers very well. They can rattle off the industries they sell to and the job titles of their buyers at the drop of a hat. Some can even tell me the size of the company and other demographic data about their customers.

Unfortunately that is the extent of their knowledge about their buyers, very rarely if ever do they know the roles played by various stakeholders involved in the buying decision. Their assumption is the person who contacts their sales team is the buyer. Their entire content marketing strategy and SEO are built around that assumption.

The thinking goes something like this, “So and so from XYZ company called to inquire about our ABC widget. Therefore others (substitute job title) from similar companies must be searching for our products.”

Then they’ll ask me, “Isn’t that how it works?” My answer: Not exactly!

To illustrate my point, let me describe two scenarios that are very common in industrial buying.

Read more

Industrial Website Redesign: Content Before Design

Industrial website redesignAround this time of the year, I get more calls and emails about redesigning industrial websites. This of course is very good news for my industrial marketing business but there is usually something missing that makes me cautious.

My “Spidey Sense” is heightened whenever I hear the other person say something like “We need to spruce up our website so we can be found in Google.”

It goes without saying that being found in Google is a must but there are two wrong assumptions in that statement.

  • Sprucing up or making the site look pretty is not going to produce better results beyond a spike in traffic right after the launch. You are not going to be any better off than you are now but will have spent thousands of dollars in nothing more than a cosmetic facelift for the current site.
  • A website redesign is not the same thing as search engine optimization (SEO). Don’t expect to suddenly appear on the first page of Google just because you’ve done a site redesign. SEO that produces sustainable results requires implementing proven white hat tactics and consistently applying good content marketing practices.

Design, aesthetics, coding and maintaining branding standards are all important. However, the single biggest factor that determines the success of an industrial website redesign is content. I say that based on my experience in successfully redesigning and launching several websites for manufacturers, industrial distributors and engineering companies.

Content is what fuels the digital marketing engine, drives traffic and generates quality leads from industrial websites. That means content is the foundation for SEO, differentiation, thought leadership, engagement, conversions, acquisitions and retention of customers just to name a few of the goals that you want to accomplish with the redesigned site.

You need to ask a few important questions about content before you start a website design or redesign project. It doesn’t matter whether you do this in-house or outsource it; you need good answers, preferably backed by data and research. Here are some of the questions that I ask to help me plan for content before starting an industrial website redesign project:

Read more

Industrial Content Marketing – Dazed and Confused

How many of you remember the song “Dazed and Confused” from Led Zeppelin’s debut album based on a folk song by Jake Holmes? I am finding industrial content marketing in a similar state of confusion.

Manufacturers and industrial companies are confused by the dizzying array of things they have been advised to do in the name of content marketing. I found this chart from the Content Marketing Institute that shows the usage of various content marketing tactics by manufacturers in North America.

Manufacturing content marketing Usage by manufacturers in North America: CMI

Read more

Guest Blogging: An Important Strategy of Industrial Marketing

I’m sure by now you’ve heard about all the great benefits of blogging as a cornerstone of your content marketing. However, one aspect of this industrial marketing strategy that doesn’t get much attention is guest blogging. There are unique benefits of guest blog posts that deliver powerful marketing ROI.

In the past, many SEO experts pushed publishing guest articles and blog posts for the sole purpose of generating inbound links with keyword-rich anchor texts. This SEO or content marketing strategy relied heavily on quantity over quality of links. Google’s war on content farms has pretty much rendered this tactic useless. Don’t get me wrong, quality inbound links still matter in SEO.

IMO, there are three bigger benefits of guest blogging. They are:

Read more

Content Marketing Challenges for Industrial Distributors

Industrial distributors face a unique set of challenges when it comes to content marketing. These companies have traditionally depended on the depth and breadth of their line cards to highlight their strengths and sell industrial products.

In the past, their marketing content came straight from the manufacturers they represented. You will find the exact same product content on sites of various distributors serving a particular industry. They’ve never had to create and publish their own content before.

The problem is republishing the same manufacturer’s content won’t help your SEO or add any value for your customers and neither will it help to differentiate one industrial distributor from another.

Read more

You’ve Got Traffic. Now What?

You’ve done all the hard work of optimizing (SEO) your industrial website and now you have a steady stream of traffic to your site. Congratulations!

Sorry to rain on your parade but that is only half the equation. The other half is all about converting that traffic into leads and customers.

I find there is a strong but mistaken belief among industrial companies that somehow their site visitors will interrupt their online activities and pick up the phone to call their sales people. Even though this behavior is contrary to how they themselves interact online, they expect their target audience to behave differently. (See my post, “Do You Believe in Industrial Websites?”).

The reality is that the vast majority of site visitors will do nothing and leave. What they have is a website that is leaking potential leads like a sieve. Whenever I make that statement, there is silence on the other end of the phone or in a face-to-face meeting; I get a look that says, “What the heck are you talking about?”

Read more

Website Evaluation Comes Before Site Redesign

Many manufacturers and industrial companies consider a website redesign during Q1. The two main reasons are 1) Not showing up in Google search results (SEO – Organic Search Engine Optimization) and/or 2) Not getting enough qualified leads from the website (Traffic and Conversion).

You know your industrial site needs a major makeover but diving right into a site redesign without first doing a website evaluation or a site audit can be a costly mistake.

Poor SEO and conversions are the symptoms that are obvious to you. Only an in-depth website evaluation can diagnose the underlying causes. Without that, a website redesign will only be a cosmetic facelift and cannot address all the issues that are stopping your industrial website from producing results.

Keep in mind that SEO is not the same as a website redesign. They do go together because retrofitting SEO is more difficult and not as effective. Don’t expect to show up on the first page of Google just because your website has just undergone a redesign.

Read more

Internal Links – the Secret Sauce for DiY SEO

It is no secret that link building is critical to SEO success. However, some people often ignore internal links because they are just not aware of their SEO benefits. To most do-it-yourselfers (DiY), link building for SEO means external or inbound or backlinks. These are links that originate from another site and point to a page on your domain.

Don’t underestimate the SEO power of internal linking. They are not only great for increasing the number of pages indexed by Google but also help you target a larger number of keywords, especially long tail keywords. The number of site pages indexed by Google has a direct impact on your online lead generation. For every 50 to 100 pages indexed by Google, expect double-digit growth in the number of leads. (Read my earlier post, B2B Lead Generation Using a Business Blog).

The best news is that building internal links is completely in your control.

Read more

2012 Content Marketing Trends for Manufacturers and Industrial Companies

I just finished reading an excellent research report from the good folks at Content Marketing Institute (CMI). This report is chock full of statistics and graphs about B2B content marketing. In this post, I want to focus on some of their findings that I feel apply to content marketing for manufacturers and industrial companies.

Even though the content marketing adoption rate for these companies is at an impressive 83%, I am surprised that it is even that high; the Manufacturing/ Processing industry (as defined in the report) is dead last among the six industries studied.

What is encouraging though is the fact that 68% of companies with 10 – 99 employees maintain a blog as compared to only 55% for larger companies that employ this content marketing tactic. Many of the manufacturers and industrial companies fall in the smaller size category.

That’s not the only good news for blogs. Even though other marketing tactics like in-person events and webinars are still seen as the most effective tactics, this year blogs registered a 45% increase in “perceived effectiveness” as compared to the study done in 2010. (See chart below).

Read more

Creating Digital Content for Industrial Marketing

“We don’t have the time or the skills to write copy for digital content” is the most common reaction I get from clients when discussing their industrial marketing programs. I can sense the confusion in the room or over the phone when I tell them that creating engaging digital content is much more than copywriting. I have to quickly shift into my explaining mode right after that.

Creating digital content is neither easy nor quick. It is definitely a process that involves much more than copywriting and clever wordsmithing.

Myths and truths about digital content

Read more

10 New Google Algorithm Changes Announced

Google changing its search algorithms is not news to most SEO experts. It’s a fact of SEO life. What is new with the latest algorithm changes is that Google is being more transparent and talking about them openly.

What caught my attention and IMO applies to industrial marketing, are these four changes:

  1. Snippets with more page content and less header/menu content: Google’s explanation: This change helps us choose more relevant text to use in snippets. As we improve our understanding of web page structure, we are now more likely to pick text from the actual page content, and less likely to use text that is part of a header or menu.
    What this means to industrial marketers: On-page SEO will now require more than just an optimized Title tag and text-based drop-down menus. There are plenty of rumors floating around that Google sometimes (more frequently lately it seems) ignores HTML title tags and creates its own titles in their coveted blue links. This latest change means you need to pay more attention to the content on site pages and make sure it is optimized for search terms.

    Read more

Making Your Industrial Website Be All It Can Be

Remember the old US Army commercial – “Be All You Can Be?” It was one of the most popular and successful recruiting slogans and the army used it for over twenty years. It was created in 1981 by E. N. J. Carter (he was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Award for his efforts) when he was with N. W. Ayer & Son, the first advertising agency in the United States. (Source: Wikipedia)

What does any of this have to do with industrial websites? Plenty as it turns out.

I can’t think of a single conversation about website redesign that I’ve had with industrial companies that didn’t start with or include the following, “We want our website to be on the first page of Google for … (fill in your own keywords and phrases).”

Right from the get go, the entire focus of the site redesign is on search engine optimization (SEO). After all, why would you create a site that no one can find? One of the big draws of inbound marketing with content is that it helps a website get found early and often by its target audience. So what’s wrong with that singular focus on SEO?

Read more

Google’s Latest Algorithm Update Raises the Bar for Content Quality

Last month, Google announced a change to its search algorithm, called the “Panda” update. This is a major change and there is plenty of buzz on the Internet about the dramatic drop in ranking of some well-known sites.

This change is primarily designed to cleanse Google’s search results of low-quality content. Most SEO experts expect article directories or “content farms” to be heavily penalized by Google’s algorithm change.

How does Google’s algorithm change affect industrial and B2B marketers?

Well, for starters, posting the same article in several article directories for the sake of gaining inbound links is out. This is a strategy used by many SEO specialists in an attempt to boost the number of external links pointing back to your site.

That does not mean article marketing is bad or should be banished permanently. According to statistics compiled by Danny Sullivan over at SearchEngineLand, eHow actually gained in ranking. Some of the biggest losers were associatedcontent.com, suite101.com, ezinearticles.com and articlesbase.com.

Read more

3 DiY SEO Mistakes to Avoid When Optimizing Industrial Websites

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend (here in the U.S.) with your family. Now, back to work.

Attempting do-it-yourself (DiY) search engine optimization (SEO) is common among industrial companies since they tend to have dedicated IT departments. Can DiY SEO be just as effective as hiring an outside expert? Should IT be handling this task? Those are two very debatable questions but that is a topic for another post.

Here I want to focus on the three most common SEO mistakes that I see when industrial clients contact me for Website optimization. May be I just answered my own questions, if you catch my drift. 😉

Mistake #1: Lack of strategy and incomplete keyword research

Most people know about the free Google’s Keyword Tool and use it to do their keyword research. So far so good.

Where DiYers tend to go wrong in using this invaluable tool are:

Read more

Variety of Content is the Key in the Early Stages of the Industrial Buy Cycle

In the early stages of the industrial buy cycle, you as the marketer have very little information about the visitor to help you tailor your marketing content to their needs.

In Needs Awareness and Research phases, the first two stages of the industrial buy cycle (see my earlier post Deconstructing the Four Stages of the Industrial Buy Cycle) your prospects and customers use a variety of online content to find solutions to their current problems and needs.

The chart below shows the variety of content used at different stages of the industrial buy cycle (Source: Understanding the Industrial Buy Cycle: How to Align Your Marketing with Your Customers’ Buying Process from GlobalSpec).

Read more

Optimizing Your WordPress Business Blog

Probably the biggest benefit of creating a business blog is to engage with your readers, build deeper relationships and convert most of them into paying customers. However, none of that can happen until you drive lots of interested traffic to your business blog.

Optimizing (SEO) your business blog is critical because it allows your target audience to find you in search engines and attract traffic. An invisible blog doesn’t draw a crowd and neither will you have the opportunity to engage with them.

Organic or natural search engine optimization (SEO) has always been shrouded in mystery, bordering on voodoo. It seems the secrets of SEO are known only to a few high-priced consultants. However, you can do it too with some help. See my earlier post, “Do-it-Yourself Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Your WordPress Blog.”

I don’t deny that effective SEO does take experience, expertise and time to produce results. So no one should expect a DiY solution to achieve the same kind of results as a paid SEO expert (ethical one!). Start with some baby steps and fine tune as you learn more.

In this post, I’m going to focus on a powerful DiY SEO tool for WordPress blogs. It is called All in One SEO Pack (AIOSEO) and you can download it from here for free. After you have installed it, log into your admin panel, go to Settings > All in One SEO (See screen shot).

Read more

Shortening the Industrial Buy Cycle in 5 Simple Steps

The other day I read an interesting article titled “5 Steps To Shorten The B2B Buying Cycle” by Kerry Spellman, Client Relationship Manager at iProspect. Even though her article is about the B2B buy cycle in general, it is a perfect follow up to my earlier post “Deconstructing the Four Stages of the Industrial Buy Cycle.”

The most frequent complaint that I have heard in the past year from my industrial clients is that their sales cycle has become longer, more complex and increasingly difficult to get on the buyer’s radar screen until it is too late. Any help that I can provide to my clients to alleviate the problem is greatly appreciated and rewarding for my business.

That’s precisely why Kerry’s article caught my attention. She has focused on identifying the problem and providing a 5-step solution to shorten the buy cycle. I have summarized here my takeaways on her five steps.

What is the key to shortening the buy cycle?

Read more

Do-it-Yourself Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Your WordPress Blog

Instead of an industrial marketing strategies post that I typically write, this is more of an implementation post. I have listed some easy, do-it-yourself (DiY) SEO tactics to optimize your WordPress blogs for search engines.

Just building a business blog is not going to help you drive traffic or generate leads. You need to optimize it for search engines in order for your target audience to find your B2B blog (see my earlier post, “How to Use a B2B Blog to Win Customers and Influence Prospects”). Before you dive into the deep end of do-it-yourself (DiY) SEO, you should be aware of the two types of optimization tactics and they are:

  1. On-page or on site optimization
  2. Off-page or off site optimization (mainly link building, which is a topic for another post)

In this article, I’ll be focusing on a few DiY on-site optimization techniques for a WordPress business blog.

What is On Site SEO?

On-site SEO refers to changes that you can make within the code of your blog. You have full control over this SEO technique since you can add, edit code and content at anytime.

Read more

The 6 essential rules of a website redesign – Ignore them at your peril

Is you current website an asset or a liability? Is it so outdated that you avoid sending prospects and customers to your site? It may be time to invest in your online presence.

The one thing that this recession has taught B2B marketers is to do more with less. This trend towards lower-cost content marketing is likely to continue well into 2010. It goes well beyond just cutting costs, today, it is more about accountability, analytics and engaging customers and prospects by using free or inexpensive social media tactics.

So, what should you do to revamp or redesign your current website? I’m not talking about a cosmetic facelift but turning it into a marketing powerhouse as you position your company for the recovery. Here are six essential rules that you should follow:

1. Optimize, optimize, optimize: That’s the golden rule of online marketing as is location, location, location in real estate. Unless your prospects can find your site when searching in major search engines, you are dead in the water. It is possible to do search engine optimization (SEO) by yourself but allow yourself time and there is a learning curve. Consider hiring a coach or an SEO expert to work up a strategic plan that you can execute.

Read more

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Marketing Matters Newsletters

Marketing Matters is our monthly newsletter which is usually emailed during the last week of the month.

Wait, before you leave!

Get the latest articles on industrial marketing delivered to your inbox every month. Join thousands of your peers from around the globe and stay informed.