September 30 2020
Why Is SEO Important for Industrial Companies?
Between a complex buying cycle and the unique technical searches of their audience, industrial businesses need a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that speaks to their unique needs. And with over 3,200 changes to the Google search algorithm last year, it’s clear that a thorough understanding of both SEO and industrial digital marketing is needed to succeed in growing your business online.
What Makes SEO Different for Industrial Companies?
When putting together an effective organic strategy for an industrial company, you need to first understand the audience you are targeting. This can be anyone from an engineer to a purchasing agent, and they could be looking for anything from a specific bolt to a piece of heavy-duty equipment. This requires a different SEO strategy than what would be used for a local business or B2C company. Over the years, we have studied industrial user behavior data, taken the time to truly understand our client’s leads, and conducted specific research focused on getting to know the industrial buyer. Here are the main points to keep in mind:
Search Behaviors & Terminology for Industrial Users
Industrial SEO is tailored toward a specific audience looking for a product or service. These users may already know the exact size, shape, and material they need their product to be and what certifications or qualifications the company they are requesting the product needs to adhere to.
TopSpot’s B-SMART Method® is how we create our processes and helps drive conversations with our industrial clients about their business. It also helps us to identify opportunities for content expansion, new keywords, and conversion optimization.
In a survey of our industrial clients, we asked them what types of modifiers they added to their searches to better refine the search results they were getting. The results above show how our B-SMART Method® relates to this process.
Custom manufacturers don’t want their products confused with stock items, so they should provide size ranges and other specifications in their content. This helps to appeal to an audience that is primarily searching with specifics in mind but may not be thinking in terms of custom versus stock items. It is also important to make sure your content appeals to your user’s searches, even if they are still in the process of gaining an understanding of what they are looking for.
Industrial Sales Cycle
The industrial sales cycle is much longer and more complex than for regular consumer purchases. It typically involves a lot of online research, multiple decision-makers, and sometimes, an in-depth scoping/quoting process. In an in-house survey, we found that 72% of industrial clients typically visit a potential supplier’s website two to four times before ever reaching out to request a quote or make a purchase (Source: TechValidate. TVID: EF1-06A-1F6). It can also be quickly impacted by outside factors not related to your business such as the economic climate.
Download our infographic on the importance of Digital Marketing for Industrial Companies to see all you need to know in a glance!
Importance of Unique & Technical Content
Your website content needs to answer the questions and meet the needs of the many different types of users within your target audience. For example, a purchasing agent might need more Q&A-related content such as a video demonstration of your offerings, but an engineer might want to see your technical specifications instead. Therefore, your website content should be detailed enough to meet the needs of both types of buyers and everyone else in between.
Source: TechValidate. TVID: 270-5D6-0CC
Detailed Content Case Example: In 2019, a metal building supplier was ranking midway down the search results page for their target phrase, “metal building kits”. They added new content to the page that included product features, answers to common questions, and key considerations for choosing the right metal building kit. Since this landing page was optimized with content geared toward their target audience, they’ve since seen a 423% year over year increase in organic traffic and a 190.7% increase in organic form submissions.
In fact, when asking our industrial clients what types of content are important when considering a new vendor or supplier, 78% said technical information and pricing were crucial to their decision-making process. (Source: TechValidate. TVID: C86-B84-0A5) This includes details such as mentioning ISO, mil-spec, or ASTM grade requirements on your site and in your meta descriptions, which can also be a major differentiator between you and the competition in the search results.
Consider the importance of line cards, product specifications, certifications, datasheets, etc. that are typically found within downloadable PDFs. For example, if you are an industrial supplier whose inventory includes products from a variety of manufacturers, do you have your contact information included on your downloadable PDFs, or is it the manufacturer’s? It’s important to include your info, if possible, so that should the PDF get downloaded and referenced the contact information is there when they need it.
PDFs aren’t automatically search engine friendly. While they can be crawled to an extent, we’ve found additional ways to optimize PDFs for our industrial clients.
PDF Optimization Case Example: Our Team was given the green light to update the website for our client, Fuji Electric. We enabled their PDF content to be shown within an HTML I-frame, which made it crawlable by search engines. This page was also editable, allowing for optimization of each PDF’s H1, Page Title, and meta description. Each HTML page also included a call to action to request product information as well as the option to download the PDF. Within the first seven months of its installation, the PDF Viewer generated nearly 20,000 organic visits, making up over 16% of the site’s organic traffic. Those landing on the PDFs also generated 128 total form submissions, which was 8% of the organic traffic’s form submissions in the same time period.
Understanding Your Leads
With Industrial SEO, in addition to viewing what keywords users are searching with or what pages they are visiting, it’s also important to read the forms users are submitting and to listen to the phone leads your website is generating. Doing so helps you to understand whether your marketing efforts are being effective in generating quality leads. Lead data also provides great insights into additional optimization opportunities based on how users are asking about products or services, the information they’re viewing prior to converting, the quantities they’re requesting versus your minimum order requirements, and more. It’s important to make sure your leads are representing your business’s target quantity, shape, and material grade, capabilities, etc.
What Does This Mean for Me?
SEO is specifically important for industrial companies because good search optimization is not only going to help industrial companies appear higher in Google search results for targeted, qualified searches but also will improve the website’s user experience. An improved experience typically equates to more lead opportunities for your business.
The online landscape will continue to evolve, along with your online competition. If you aren’t optimizing your website for the search engines now, it will become increasingly difficult to catch up in the future.
A fully integrated digital marketing plan also includes PPC advertising. Read more on our blog about PPC for Industrial Companies.