Six Keys to Successful Industrial SEO – Part 1: Keywords

Posted on Nov 10, 2012 by Kerry O'Malley

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SEO, or search engine optimization, used to be considered optional as far as websites were concerned, especially in the industrial sector.  Those days are gone.  Even if you use standard SEO procedures on the website itself, you cannot expect your site to be found unless you have an SEO strategy in place. Did you know that over 70-80% of users never go beyond the first page of Google results when they do a search?

Pay-per-click isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Until recently, most industrial companies have opted for the easier, faster (but not necessarily less expensive) way to reach the first page of Google search results by investing in a PPC, or pay-per-click advertising campaign through Google AdWords, and other PPC services.  These are the “sponsored” results you see at the top and right of the results page when you do a search.  Unfortunately, studies reveal that 70-80% of users do not even consider these results.  They go instantly to the “organic” listings, because more often than not, those sites are more likely to contain the type of content they are searching for.

If you want healthy SEO: go organic.

We believe the right, or “healthy” way to practice SEO is an approach that will deliver results through an organic process, called Inbound Marketing.  In order to be successful, your strategy needs to include these 6 components:

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1.  An ongoing keyword strategy

2.  On-site SEO

3.  Off-site SEO, or link building

4.  Content

5.  Social media marketing

6.  Metrics analysis and redirection as needed

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We will cover each component individually in upcoming blogs; but it all starts with keywords.

If you don’t have a plan to tell you where you’re going – how will you know when you get there?

The first step to any successful SEO program is to develop a list of 10-15-20 keywords or keyword phrases that you believe your ideal customer would use if they were on Google or another search engine, searching for the products you manufacture or the services you provide.  There’s no magic number, but generally, it’s best to keep your initial list small and manageable. With this list in hand, you can measure the results of your industrial SEO program each month.  There should be several measurable objectives; but moving those keywords to page 1 of Google results should be Job One.

Use tools to help you determine your initial list of keywords.

If you’re unsure of all the keywords your prospects would use, Google provides a Keyword Tool* that will help you pinpoint variations of the keywords you start with.  Use the Google Keyword Tool to select your final list, based on the competitive ranking of various keywords (how many companies are willing to “pay” for a high rank for that keyword) and search volume (the number of times someone used that keyword in a search in the previous month.)  It’s a good idea to keep competitiveness at .5 or less; but choose keywords with higher search volumes.

A keyword strategy should be dynamic.

Your keyword list should be dynamic, based on your website’s traffic metrics from month to month (again, Google comes to the rescue with a free metrics analysis tool for websites, Google Analytics*.)  It’s simple to set up Google Analytics on your website, and it will provide you with more data than you could possibly want about whether or not your keywords are bringing the right traffic to your website.  There are Inbound Marketing strategists who can look at your Google Analytics metrics and make recommendations for adjustments to your keyword strategy.

Significant results are possible in a short period of time.

Industrial SEO can be much more affordable than the same type of program for a highly competitive, B2C business.  Because B2B manufacturers and industrial service providers’ businesses are often quite niche oriented, their chosen keywords are generally less competitive.  This makes it possible to see a significant impact in a much shorter period of time than what might be expected for a retail business. It is not uncommon for us to see a company jump from page 7 of Google search results for a chosen keyword to page 1 in 3-4 months:  IF they are using all of the techniques we believe are necessary for industrial SEO success.  Having said that, be wary of any company that PROMISES to give you a certain result within a given period of time when discussing organic search rank. Professional SEO’s can make predictions; but nobody can make guarantees.

*To use any of Google’s free tools, you do have to have a Google account.  It only takes a minute: click here.

Author: Kerry O'Malley

omalley@marketectsinc.com

Marketects was founded in 1999 by Kerry O’Malley, a proven marketing communications professional in international, manufacturing companies. Working on the “other side of the desk,” she hired ad agencies to manage her employers’ advertising and P/R programs. Frustrated over the lack of attention and level of enthusiasm she was looking for in the marketing agencies she worked with, Kerry realized that there was a definite need for a full-service marketing firm that specialized in working with industrial companies. She resolved that her clients would always receive the highest level of service possible and never feel like the last kid chosen for the team.

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