Top 5 SEO Mistakes Made By Manufacturing Companies
Manufacturing companies tend to ignore the importance of their SEO, which means their target demographic is never reached in organic searching, leading to missed opportunities. SEO tends to be set up initially and then forgotten, and often the websites aren’t up to 2018 standards.
What the heck is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization, in the most basic terms it’s the process of making sure that you website shows up when people search for your services or products. While the Google algorithm that ranks websites/search results is more complex than can be explained, the companies that rank the highest are doing something better than the rest and Google also takes into consideration your physical location and search history. If you want your search traffic to increase, the first place to audit is your SEO.
By following the tips below, you can assess whether your manufacturing company needs to update their practices.
Tip 1: Evaluate Your SEO
When evaluating a client’s site, the number one mistake we see in SEO is that it’s not setup properly, and it never was set up properly. You can tell by looking at the meta title and meta description.
There are two ways to look at that on any website page:
- The easiest way to check SEO is by hovering your cursor over the tab in the browser and a title will pop up. Typically, you see “Home-Company Name” or “About Us-Company Name”. We sometimes see where it’s not setup properly because they list twelve different services that they offer on that service page. It might be a services page, but it has twelve different keywords.
- Another way to see if your SEO is set up properly is by going to Google Search and typing in site:domain into the search box. Ex. If it’s abccompany.com you’ll type site:abccompany.com. From there you’ll be able to see what pages Google has indexed and you’ll be able to look at the meta title. The meta title is listed at the top and allows only a certain amount of characters, and you’ll also be able to see the meta description. These are both incredibly important because this information is what shows up when people search. It’s a small amount of information to entice them to click.
Usually, the SEO has been set up by a web agency so long ago that the tactics have drastically changed. Every couple of months or sooner, Google updates their algorithms and criteria. If your SEO was last evaluated four years ago when your site was created, it is incorrect, and that is going to significantly impact your relevancy and positions on search.
If you have to set up a new site be sure the agency you’re choosing understands SEO, offers SEO as a practice, and knows how to stay on top of the latest changes. Look at examples of their work, look at what companies they’re working with, and what positions those companies hold with their relevant searches.
If you’re looking to update your site, first audit and optimize. A site produced four years ago is most likely to be completely outdated and from a UX (User Experience) perspective and the style needs to be updated to 2018 standards.
Tip 2: Relevancy of the Key Themes and Phrases
In manufacturing the search phrases and themes you’re going after don’t have a very high monthly search amount. You’re not going to find phrases that have 1K – 10K searches a month. These are niche searches that you’re offering and you’ll be grateful and lucky to have 500 searches a month in the United States in Google alone.
Due to this, the importance of marketing partner that understands your industry is even more important. However, most manufacturing companies hire an agency that serves a wider demographic and they simply don’t have the experience with relevant keywords and phrases for this industry. To these agencies, the services you offer, your technology, and your capabilities are just words on paper.
A manufacturing marketing agency understands the target demographic and the buyer first hand.
We understand what they search and what relevant phrases and themes to go after. This is all taken into consideration when we are developing our SEO strategy.
If you don’t go after the right phrases, then you’re never going to be found. You might be found by particular phrases, but most companies are trying to go after phrases that are extremely competitive because they have high searches. A good example is the term “assemblies”. Companies that do assemblies and kitting are going after the term assemblies. This term generates about 33,000 hit a month and you’re competing with companies that are much larger and been around much longer. This means to get to the first page of Google, and especially in the top 3 positions, is going to be tremendously difficult. Agencies that understand the right phrases would instead go after the term “kitting” because it has maybe 18,000 hits a month, but is more relevant to what they do.
Setting up your SEO and going after the right themes and phrases is the second important step in this process. If an agency doesn’t understand what your manufacturing company does, then they can’t sell your company. This means they’re not going to setup your SEO properly no matter how good of an SEO company they are.
Tip 3: Webpage Content
The rule is you need a minimum of 300 words on a webpage for it to be, let’s say, respectable. If you’re going after competitive keywords that people are paying attention to and trying to contend for, then you’re going to need 500-1200 words depending on the subject, competition, and how quickly you want to move. The theory of less is more is no longer applicable.
Years ago you used to be able to keyword terms and have keyword density for your phrase on the page, and if it were 1% density or 2% density Google would reward you with higher ranks. Today, Google cares about content. This is one of the first things that we look at and one of the most common things we see is that companies have too little content.
Your content relevancy and also the amount of content you have on your site is essential. You have to show that you’re an expert on the subject matter, but you also have to have enough content to have Google respect you and rank you based on that. Organization of your content is also paramount. Your page has to be organized and compelling by making sure it’s not just blocks of text. Use graphics and typography to break up your content.
Since Google now cares about content and content relevancy you don’t have to talk about one particular capability or subject. Google understands if you talk about one subject and then talk about another that is related. If you implement this, you’re going to increase your rankings because Google understands the importance of other phrases. This is why people are no longer focusing on keyword phrases. Instead, it’s more about themes. If you have a theme of custom molding or CNC machining or corrugated then they are going to look for other themes that are related, and you will be rewarded based on that.
The emphasis on good content can’t be made enough. When we do web design we edit or rewrite about 90% of your content.
We have extensive experience in manufacturing and this is the only niche we specialize in. We don’t have to depend on the client to provide a 1K words for the homepage, which is greatly appreciated. Instead, we pull from different sources the client already has or come up with completely new content, which takes the burden off their shoulders.
Tip 4: Content Marketing
Content marketing drives everything. It drives your searches, organic positions, new themes, and phrases, and staying relevant. Over the past 12-18 months, Google has published that the importance of content supersedes everything. The biggest issue we’re seeing is that even if the page content is suitable, companies tend to not post regularly. These postings can be white papers, blog posts, case studies, etc. The concern is Google is going to rank you and position your themes and phrases based on the page content. Those positions and rankings shift and are dictated by your competition’s postings, changes to Googles algorithm, and what Google places importance on.
You can only get so far when it comes to what’s on your website, but if you’re not producing relevant content on a regular basis, whether weekly or monthly, then you’re not able to fully utilize position increases based on new content. Google is going to constantly crawl your site as new content is produced. This means you’re going to want to optimize your new content for specific SEO themes and phrases.
Two issues arise when producing content:
- Most people do not have the time or internal resources to produce content on a regular basis. Some companies will start producing content and they’ll write, let’s say 4-8 blog posts, and then there is a twelve-month gap until someone pays attention to it again. This results in missed opportunities.
- You have to understand that the topics you want to write about the need to be relevant and provide value to the target demographic. They cannot just be what you’re comfortable writing. Think about what others in your field want to read. What do they know? What type of information can you provide them to make their job easier? Whether it’s from an educational or factual standpoint, you’re helping to increase their knowledge.
In addition, content has to be optimized for SEO. You don’t want to waste your time on themes and phrases no one is searching. Depending solely on your distribution of the content through various marketing channels, whether it’s email marketing, advertising, LinkedIn, organic, isn’t enough. This is when you want to turn to a marketing agency that has expertise in your specific niche. Of course, if you’re not using an agency that specializes in manufacturing then they won’t be able to create relevant content to share with your target demographic.
Be aware that if your content is not engaging and is dry then it’s not going to convert anyone. You want people to show interest in your content, visit your site, subscribe to your newsletter, and you want to convert traffic into actual leads that you can follow up with and try to get an RFQ out of. Essentially, you want to show prospects that you’re an expert in your field and provide meaningful value.
Understanding hurdles that prospects might go through and how to overcome them is invaluable content. This information is useful to manufacturing companies focusing on purchasing, operations, engineering, etc. Shift your mindset from touting your business to what kind of value can you provide your target demographic. Focus on value first, and then the searches will follow. Google will start indexing and ranking your pages and you’ll show up in searches more frequently. This will significantly improve your brand awareness, as well.
Remember, your website and your content is a tool to sell your business when you’re not around to speak directly to a prospect.
Tip 5: SEO Maintenance
Once your website is indexed by Google and your positions are established, you’ll soon see fluctuations slowly begin based on your competition’s content and Google’s algorithms. SEO takes time to work. Once the site is indexed, it still needs to be evaluated by the algorithms and placements can take time. If you want to increase your positioning, then you need to give attention to your content on a regular basis. This simply isn’t something you do once and leave, it’s something you need to track on a monthly basis. You have to be looking at new backlinks, writing new content, and continuously making minor changes to your on-page SEO.
On-page SEO is anything that is on your website. It’s your meta title, meta description, themes, phrases, content, alt tags on images, and 301 and 404 redirects. Off-page SEO is everything that happens to then direct traffic to your website. This means doing content marketing, getting featured in publications, and doing backlinks from high-authority and industry relevant domains and other subject matter experts are important for your off-page SEO.
Even though your page meta titles and descriptions are done and your content has been indexed, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t constantly make minor adjustments from the data that comes back after a few months of your site being live. Make adjustments and see how Google then changes your positions of themes and phrases based on those adjustments. If you aren’t continuously adjusting your SEO then you are missing out on opportunities to increase your positions and rankings.
Most manufacturing companies are not paying attention to their SEO. This results in a less frequent search volume per month in the United States. If there are a handful of companies properly doing SEO, it’s easier for them to jump over positions and companies who have held long-standing rankings. You have to stay on the offense and continuously produce content, adjust and optimize for your themes and phrases, and check your search appearances and impressions. If done correctly, Google is searching and ranking your company more and this gives you the opportunity to jump over the competition that’s not paying attention.
For companies that are paying attention, the only way for you to beat them is by producing strong content on a regular basis, and you need some kind of SEO maintenance plan to do this. Most companies don’t have in-depth or in-house marketing teams to monitor their SEO, so they rely on our professionals at 5 Fold Agency for that. Once your site is optimized that doesn’t mean the work ends, you have to be constantly adjusting, and that’s when you need to turn to an agency that understands manufacturing. Just like web design, a lot of people are claiming to know SEO, but you have to have a conversation with them to ensure they are actually knowledgeable. See what rankings they are producing for your competitors and see what they do to audit those rankings.
One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is that after they set up their site correctly, they see a little success in the beginning, then they stop maintaining their SEO and get beat out by companies that are maintaining theirs. Monthly SEO is not a quick fix, however, these things take time. You can’t change your ranking overnight, this could take months or even years, but if you do your research properly or are working with an agency that understands your market and how to leverage that, then it makes it a lot easier to increase your positions. Make sure you audit your website and look for any issues with speed, broken links, incorrect redirects, and images that aren’t optimized. These issues directly affect your SEO performance. We do site audits for free and send 36-page reports through our tools to show where a company stands when we’re prospecting them. A couple minor issues can definitely hinder the performance of your sites SEO.
SEO is often an ignored tool, but all is not lost. By evaluating and updating your SEO, producing industry-relevant content, and maintaining your site, you can increase your position and rankings in search.
This is a slow process, but you will find it is invaluable to your manufacturing company. Start this process by finding a manufacturing marketing agency that can help you utilize your SEO and create meaningful content. You will see your company rise in its position and rankings on Google, and you will reap the benefits that SEO provides.
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Kyle Milan is a well accomplished Industrial/Manufacturing sales and marketing professional with over 18 years of experience. He is the CEO of MFG Tribe and a Sales and Marketing Strategy & Social Media Marketing expert. He has published several articles at major news media outlets on various topics of; Inbound Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social Media Marketing & Advertising, Industrial Marketing, Manufacturing Marketing, and Entrepreneurship.