How Your Content Marketing Strategy Can Lead to SEO Success

Industrial marketers know their audience of engineers is constantly seeking educational, technical content that helps them do their jobs better and make more informed, confident buying decisions.

That’s why almost every industrial company engages in content marketing as a key marketing tactic. At the foundation of content marketing is having a strong content strategy.

A content strategy will align content marketing with your overall business and marketing goals, offer guideposts to measure your content marketing efforts, and prevent you from aimlessly or hurriedly creating content on an ad hoc basis to fill gaps.

One key benefit of a content marketing strategy is that it supports your SEO efforts by helping to grow organic web traffic. Content can be a great ally to SEO if your content strategy includes:

  1. Anticipating a user’s search query and providing a clear and comprehensive answer with your content
  2. A process for continually updating and refreshing content
  3. Positioning your company as an authority on a particular subject
  4. Creating and distributing original, newsworthy content of interest not only to your customers, but to the media and other industry influencers

1. Anticipate a search query

Your web pages can rise in search results if you are able to answer a user’s question. You can do this by researching appropriate keywords likely to appear in a search query and subsequently creating web page content that answers the question posed in the query. Search engines often give preference to content their algorithm determines most closely answers the user’s question.

2. Continually refresh and update content

Search engines also place a high importance on recency of content. As part of your content strategy, you should regularly and methodically audit your content. Get rid of the old and outdated. Post and feature what’s new and updated. Make sure the content is always answering a user question.

3. Position your company as an authority

Search engines factor in authority signals from web pages. These include incoming links from reputable sources, case studies, quotes, customer and partner lists, awards and recognitions, and other content that demonstrates that your company is an authority on a particular subject.

4. Create and distribute original, newsworthy content

This factor goes beyond simply keeping your content up to date and focuses on creating original content that may have interest to the media and influencers in your industry.

This type of content includes original research studies or surveys of your own customer base. Or it may be a fresh perspective or interpretation of data from other research studies. The value of this content is that you can pitch your research and analysis to influencers and the media, leading to greater exposure and potentially earning the type of relevant backlinks to your website that search engines favor.

A Comprehensive Strategy is Needed

The positive relationship between a content strategy and improved SEO results is just one reason to have a comprehensive content strategy. Most importantly, a good content strategy ensures that you prioritize the needs of your customers and prospects.

When assembling your strategy, make sure to document the goals you are trying to achieve through content marketing (traffic, lead generation, brand visibility), profile the audience you are targeting, determine the channels you will use, and line up the resources you will tap to achieve your objectives.

And for more about achieving SEO success, read this month’s companion article about the upcoming change in Google’s algorithm.


Why You Shouldn’t Be Concerned About Upcoming Google Algorithm Changes

You may have heard Google is updating their algorithm for how it ranks results when buyers search the web for products and services. The changes will roll out in May 2021. Will your rankings suffer?

Many industrial marketers are worried, but if search engine optimization (SEO) has been part of your marketing practice, we don’t think the change should negatively impact your rankings, even though some media outlets are raising warning flags.

Who Will This Update Target?

We believe this algorithm update will be geared more toward media websites and other sites monetized by banner ads that try to squeeze maximum dollars out of their traffic by increasing page views and ad clicks. We don’t expect most industrial, ecommerce, and other B2B websites that focus on creating a frictionless user experience leading to a purchase will be as impacted.

Factors to Consider:

Page Experience

The algorithm change will take into account a new factor Google calls Page Experience. It includes all aspects of how users interact with a web page and how positive or painful the experience is for them.

The major factors considered are mobile friendliness, loading speed, interactivity response, call-to-action, and visual stability of page elements. Mobile friendliness and page speed have been part of the Google’s page-ranking algorithm for several years. These two factors are important, and they will impact your rankings.

To help ensure that you maintain your rankings, or potentially improve them, take steps to optimize your site for mobile and speed.


First, use Google tools to run a page speed report.

You can run this report for any page on your website. It will give the page a score and offer suggestions on how to increase speed. Major factors influencing speed are:

  • Image size and format
  • Flash elements that slow down loading
  • Excess or unused code

Look for opportunities to compress images and optimize code. While working on images, be sure to use the Alt-text tag to describe the image using keywords. Remove Flash elements that bog down page loading time.

Interactivity of a page is its response to clicks, which is related to page speed. One element Google mentions regarding interactivity is the call to action (CTA). The CTA should be short, specific, and clear about the action needed. Ideally include a benefit.


More than half of all web searches globally are now performed using a mobile device. The mobile friendliness of your website can definitely impact your search engine rankings.

Google also offers a mobile friendly test.

If you don’t have a responsive web site design that renders pages quickly and cleanly on mobile phones and tablets, you may need to invest resources to make that happen. With so many searches being performed on mobile devices, having a responsive website is a requirement.

Remember: Great Content is Still the Most Important Factor

Some marketers might get so caught up in the metrics and technical issues of SEO that the most important element—great content—gets pushed to second place.

As Google has written on its own blog, “Great page experience doesn’t override having great page content.”

Fresh, relevant content that answers the question posed by an engineer’s search query will always play a critical role in determining page rankings. Your content should be simple, it should answer a need, and it should be unique to your business.

When you have such content, and then optimize your site to create a seamless and frictionless user experience, from headline to copy to CTA to Shopping Cart and Sale, you could see your rankings move closer to the top.


SEO Versus Paid Search: Which is Better?

Generating qualified traffic is the heartbeat of all search engine marketing efforts. Whether it’s by the means of search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click (PPC), appearing near the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) is every marketer’s goal.

So which tactic is better—SEO or PPC?

The short answer is that both SEO and PPC can be effective. To succeed with either method, or with both, manufacturing marketers need to know the advantages and disadvantages of each. Armed with this knowledge, you can make informed decisions on where to allocate your resources.

What is SEO?

SEO, often called organic search, is the process of optimizing your web pages so that they organically appear near the top of SERPs for specific keyword searches.

What is PPC?

PPC is a marketing program in which manufacturers create advertisements that appear on SERPs for specific keyword searches. You pay a set amount each time your ad is clicked on.

When looking at a typical search engine results page, you’ll see that the sponsored PPC ads take up the first few positions (and sometimes the last few), and the organic, or SEO results, take up the rest of the results listings.

What are the advantages of SEO?

  • It may take a long time to achieve high rankings, but once you’ve reached the position you want to be in, you can often maintain a consistent, persistent presence on SERPs for specific keyword searches.
  • Websites that organically appear near the top on SERPs are often considered authority sites. If you are ranking high on specific SERPs, you will be perceived as an expert, which should help you build trust with your target audience.
  • You don’t need to pay for clicks, including those from unqualified users.

What are the disadvantages of SEO?

  • SEO is a long game. It can take months to rise in the rankings and there is no guarantee that you will.
  • Search engine algorithms can change, causing you to lose hard-earned high positions.
  • While you don’t have to pay for clicks, SEO is not free. You need expertise, time, and budget to research keywords; develop keyword-focused page content; write meta tags, descriptions, and snippets for search engines; execute an incoming link strategy; stay abreast of search engine algorithm changes; and more. SEO is both a specialized science and a creative art.

What are the advantages of PPC?

  • You can gain instant top-of-the-page positions and dominate SERPs for a given keyword category, if you’re willing to pay for that position.
  • Campaigns can be up and running quickly.
  • It’s your only alternative if your website isn’t built to be optimized for search engines.
  • You can target beyond keywords: by geography, for example, or by demographics on social media sites.

What are the disadvantages of PPC?

  • Costs can climb quickly, particularly for competitive keywords.
  • Many searchers ignore the paid ads and only focus on organic results.
  • Invariably, you will pay for some amount of unqualified traffic.
  • You must create ads and manage campaigns and budgets, or pay someone to do it.

Are there similarities between SEO and PPC?

  • Extensive keyword targeting is required to be successful at either.
  • Both require effective landing pages to convert users who click and visit your site.
  • Either tactic can get you near the top of SERPs.

How can you use SEO and PPC together?

Ultimately, both SEO and PPC belong in your search engine marketing strategy. How you use them in conjunction with each other depends on your timeframe, budget, and goals.

As stated above, SEO is the long game. Use it to gain visibility for your best products, services, and value propositions—those that are foundational and don’t change much over time. Find the keywords that are the best fit and optimize specific pages for them.

While waiting for your SEO efforts to deliver results, you can fill in with PPC ads. You can also use paid search to quickly make a splash in new markets or to promote a time-sensitive offer. Additionally, having a website with good SEO will mean that when users visit your site after clicking on an ad, they’ll find what they’re looking for.

Used together and deployed appropriately, SEO and PPC can be effective tactics in every manufacturer’s marketing portfolio.

Marketing, General SEO

The Latest SEO Tips for Industrial Marketers

Google regularly updates its SEO algorithm, which means industrial marketers must stay on top of their SEO tactics to perform better on search engine result pages for their chosen keywords. SEO practices that worked a couple years ago may now be ineffective.

One SEO practice that never changes is optimizing your content for search. Quality content is the foundation of SEO. This makes perfect sense. Google’s goal in regularly updating their algorithm is to always deliver the best, most relevant results to user queries, and every user query is basically a request for relevant content.

Keeping the requirement for quality content always top of mind in your SEO practices, here are the latest tips to help you improve SEO results.

One page, one keyword

For any given page or post you are trying to optimize for SEO, focus on only one keyword (or keyword phrase). If you use additional keywords in the page content, you dilute the strength of all of them. If you use the same keyword on multiple pages, you end up with pages that compete with themselves for rankings.

Don’t overuse your target keyword in the text. The content needs to flow, be clear, and be helpful to the user—that’s the number one rule. Use keywords in page titles, meta descriptions, H1-H5 tags (headings, subheadings), URL names, and within the text of the page.

Use related words in page content

While each page should focus on one keyword, you should use related phrases and synonyms to that keyword to show a breadth of understanding about the topic. Google uses latent semantic indexing (LSI), which means it understands how words relate to each other. In addition, using similar phrases and synonyms will make your content sound more natural, as opposed to the awkward results of trying to stuff the keyword all over the page.

Create long-form content

Long-form content (in the range of 2,000 words), gives you the opportunity to explore your keyword topic in depth and to position yourself as an expert on that topic. Long-form content increases the likelihood of shares and back links from other sites, because your content becomes the authoritative word on a subject.

Users won’t read a long page of content? Not true. If it’s relevant, length doesn’t matter. But you can make the content easy to read by using appropriate subheadings, short paragraphs, lists, and other techniques to make the content more visually appealing.

Focus on pages that already rank

You might have important pages on your site that rank, but just not as high as you would like. Work on these pages. Add more detail, anticipate and answer user questions, add images and video, include statistic and examples, create an infographic, and include anything else that will make the page stronger. Keep the content fresh through regular editing—including both additions and subtractions. Your best pages can get even better.

Develop a linking strategy

Search algorithms love links. Incoming links from external sites are extremely valuable because they indicate your content is important, but only if the links are from relevant sites. You can get incoming links by working with your business partners in complementary fields, guest blogging, participating in interviews and roundups, and through respected industry directories.

Internal linking is equally important. These links can help maximize user engagement by pointing the way to related content. They can also help reduce bounce rates, which are a factor in SEO.

Have a fully responsive website

Many searches are performed on mobile devices and Google most often uses a mobile site for indexing and ranking. This means you need a fully responsive website with content that renders well across all devices.

A responsive website changes the layout to offer an experience based on the device being used, especially ideal for mobile viewing. If you don’t have a fully responsive website, you may need to allocate budget and resources for this important initiative. Without a fully responsive website, your page rankings will suffer.

Optimize for “position zero”

You’ve seen featured snippets on search results pages that show up on search engine results pages. They appear after the ads but before the ranked results. This is called position zero, and it’s coveted. Featured snippets usually appear alongside an image, list, or a video, making them stand out even more and putting them in an even better position to get clicks.

Often, featured snippets show up in results for queries that include “How” or “What” or “Why” and are an answer to that question. Try optimizing a page to answer this type of question. Include a short 40-60-word paragraph and a list, table, or image. To optimize for position zero means to optimize for user intent, and in this case, that means answering their question.

Marketing, General SEO
improve seo industrial marketers

The State of SEO in Industrial Marketing

carlos-muza-84523-unsplashSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) is a constantly growing and evolving marketing tactic. It requires industrial marketers to employ traditional methods such as optimizing pages for keywords and building links, but today more than ever, making high-quality content available counts for a lot in search engine rankings.

Recently, the Marketing Maven conducted a brief, five-question SEO survey of its readers to get a sense of how industrial marketers feel about SEO. Here are some of the findings:

Content for SEO

Seventy-two percent of survey respondents stated that they actively produce content for SEO. This large majority of marketers understand that quality content is important for SEO and that during their search process, their audience  is seeking relevant content that will help answer their questions and solve the problems they are facing. If you aren’t producing content for SEO—creating and updating pages, posts, videos, white papers and more should be at the top of your list.

Resources for SEO

Unfortunately, finding the time and resources to produce content and perform other SEO activities does not come easily. Fifty-seven percent have no employee or team dedicated solely to SEO, which means the task is often another line item on the marketer’s to-do list. Twenty-eight percent have one employee dedicated to SEO, while a fortunate 15 percent have two or more employees dedicated to SEO.

A shortage of resources (people, time, money)  was cited as the greatest SEO challenge by 46 percent of respondents. One way to make the most of your resources is to make sure that all content you produce is high quality and SEO friendly, and to stick with what works best for SEO.

This complimentary one-page infographic: “Timeless SEO Tips for Industrial Marketers,” can help you make sure you’re laying a good foundation for a successful SEO strategy. A quick read offering excellent SEO tips that could help save you resources, it’s a great place to get started.

SEO Spending

Industrial marketers are almost evenly divided on whether they will be spending more or the same on SEO over the next twelve months. Forty-four percent report they will be spending more on SEO, while 48 percent say spending will stay steady. Only seven percent are spending less.

Hopefully, you don’t fall under that seven percent. It is more important than ever to deploy the right SEO tactics—and to avoid black tactics such as cloaking and keyword stuffing. Search engine algorithms can detect these types of tactics which can permanently harm your search engine rankings.

The only valid reason to spend less on SEO is that you’ve mastered the techniques and are able to efficiently achieve high rankings. More likely, companies that plan to spend less are doing so because they feel defeated that they aren’t getting the results they want.

The Best SEO Advice

Survey respondents were split when responding to the statement: “I can readily find content about SEO that applies to my industry.” Fifty-one percent agreed with the statement; 49 percent disagreed.

Finding good SEO advice can be challenging. Marketers don’t seem to have trouble with the basics—only five percent said their greatest challenge was not knowing which keywords to use; another five percent said their greatest challenge was keeping up with changing technologies and algorithms.

However, 19 percent said their greatest challenge was not knowing which strategies work. The short answer to that challenge is to focus on timeless tactics, produce high-quality content and create a superior user experience. Even the search engines themselves dole out that advice.

The one-page infographic “Timeless SEO Tips for Industrial Marketers” breaks down key SEO concepts into four easily understood strategies: keywords, content, page optimization and link building. Follow these tips and you should find your SEO efforts begin to produce better results in terms of rankings. Download your copy here.



SEO Basics All Marketers Should Know


Every company wants to rank high on search engines. Appearing on the first page of search results for important keywords is an effective way to drive motivated traffic to your website and attract quality leads.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your rankings on organic search results for a specific set of keywords. However, “organic” doesn’t mean free. Like any marketing initiative, SEO requires budget, resources and expertise. Still, there are some basic SEO tactics that almost every industrial company should deploy to help improve their rankings. Let’s look at each one of these in turn and how they can help improve your SEO rankings.

1.      Identify targeted keywords.

Before you can perform any search engine optimization, you need to know which set of keywords you want to target for improved search results rankings.

To identify the most relevant keywords:

  • Evaluate your existing content for the words you use to talk about your products and services.
  • Ask salespeople or customers to describe your products or services.
  • Analyze your competitors’ content for keywords.
  • Use one or more of the many available keyword discovery and analysis tools to identify those words most relevant to your offerings.

You may not be able to rank well for the most popular keywords in your sector. Instead, focus on more specific keywords that may not have as much search volume but are more targeted to your offerings.

Once you have identified your keywords, you can use them to write content, optimize web pages and build links.

2.      Write great content for your audience

Fresh content – new and updated web pages, articles and blog posts – is the foundation of a successful SEO strategy. Search engines use software programs called spiders that roam the web and index content. Fresh content is considered more relevant than old content.

Use keywords in your content, but don’t stuff pages with keywords. Write for your target audience, not for search engines. Users will quickly spot content that overuses keywords and is designed for search engines rather than user needs. Such content is annoying and typically doesn’t read well, and users that come across these overstuffed web pages through search are likely to go elsewhere.

Instead, produce and post a continual flow of fresh content for your users: how to solve problems, how things work, etc. Your audience will appreciate it, increasing your chances of improved search results.

3.      Optimize web pages for search engines

If stuffing keywords onto web pages isn’t the right approach, then how do you optimize web pages for search engines? The process is called “on-page” optimization. There are a number of tactics you can use:

  • Use the title and description tags as places for keywords. If you are responsible for your website, you can do this yourself. If an IT or web development department manages your website, you will need to collaborate with them. The title and description appear in the search engine results for users to read. This is also a good place to mention your brand name.
  • Make the URL simple and include keywords. Separate words by dashes. If possible, avoid URLS that have long strings of search parameters.
  • Use alt-tags on images and video. The alt-tag is a brief text description that search engines will pick up. It also provides context for users who block images.
  • For video or audio content, you can include text transcription, which will give more detailed content for search engines to pick up.

4.      Build reputable links

Within your site, linking is relatively straightforward. Use keyword-based text links within your content to link to related pages within your site. Search engines rank pages that are connected to other pages higher than those that are isolated.

Getting external links back to your web site is called “off-page” optimization. The theory is that if you have relevant and reputable websites linking back to your site, your pages increase in importance and can rise in rankings. For example, GlobalSpec clients can link back to their websites from their listings on, a well-respected and popular site in the industrial sector. Additionally, seek out links from partners. Try to publish content such as articles or blog posts on other industry sites that will link back to pages on your website. Comment on industry blogs and be active on industry forums where you can link back to your website.

Next Steps

These are the four broad categories of SEO you need to familiarize yourself with to improve your search rankings. If you perform the basics, you should see improvement in your organic search engine results for your targeted keywords. If you want to take the next step, you will probably need to enlist the help of an expert well-versed in SEO practices.

There are many firms and consultants offering SEO services. Be sure to ask the agency how they approach SEO to make sure they only use reputable tactics, and try to work with a firm that has experience and satisfied customers in your industry.

Marketing, General SEO

How a Steady Stream of Content Marketing Creates a Ripple Effect

Let’s say your company developed a new technology that improves lithium ion battery performance under extreme temperature conditions. It’s a ‘faster, better, cheaper’ discovery. You’re ready to announce and launch.

Some companies might begin separate initiatives for content marketing, social media, and search engine marketing. Marketers develop articles, presentations, white papers, press releases, case studies, and videos. Plan Facebook announcements, Twitter posts, and LinkedIn discussions. Check keywords, write web pages, and build landing pages.

Whether you’re a one-person department or a player on a team, there’s a lot to do. You can do it better by integrating the tasks into one master project plan. It starts with content marketing sitting at the top, flows through social media, and comes out in search rankings.

Even if your company isn’t in the process of launching the next big thing, an ongoing content marketing strategy works hand-in-hand with social media and search engine marketing to create a ripple effect of benefits. Here’s how:

  • Social media is among your strategies for distributing content. You post a link to an article on Facebook, tweet about it, mention it in relevant LinkedIn discussion groups, and share with your circles on Google Plus. You use relevant keywords in your clickable title. You link to the resource (white paper, video, etc. on your website). We’ll assume your content is highly relevant, useful and interesting to your social media audience.
  • Your audience likes your post, re-tweets your tweet, leaves a comment, and shares with its own social connections. All of these social activities raise the profile of your content (and your company) and expand its reach.
  • The more links to your content that are generated and the more places your content appears can help your search engine rankings. This is true when content and links are on directories and media sites, such as GlobalSpec. And also when the content and links appear on social media outlets.
  • The major general search engines consider social signals (such as likes, tweets, and shares) in how search engine results pages are organized and presented.
  • As your company’s efforts on social networks are impacting search results, you gain opportunities to drive more traffic via your social presence.

A continual stream of strong, relevant content on social media sites will result in the content spreading through your followers. In addition, search engines will pick up on the social signals, which could lead to higher placements on search engine results pages.

But take note of the phrase “continual stream of strong, relevant content.” This integrated strategy of content marketing-social media-searching engine marketing doesn’t work on a one-off or sporadic basis. You must continually feed the engines and your audience with what they desire — not just make a splash when you have a big announcement or launch. Developing and executing a content marketing plan is hard work. Day after day. Week after week. There are no shortcuts. But the benefits of this ripple effect are worth the effort.

If you found this article useful, please use the buttons below and share with your networks.

Also, provide your thoughts in the comments section below. Have you experienced the benefits of this “ripple effect?”

Content Marketing SEO Social Media

Why Content Matters in Search and Social Marketing

There’s no doubt you’ve been hearing a lot about content marketing this year. Along with search and social marketing, these three topics have been dominating B2B marketing conversations and are at the top of everyone’s minds.

A recent conversation between MarketingSherpa and author Rob Garner of Search and Social: The Definitive Guide to Real-Time Content Marketing discusses the importance of content and the overlap between search, social and content marketing. This overlap, according to Garner, builds a connected brand. By providing content to your customers online you are also satisfying the search engines and getting in front of new customers – all in one step.

Especially helpful are the top 5 tips for marketers. While a few may serve as more of a reminder, they’re all relevant and great to keep in mind as we lay out plans for 2013.

Being present. Keeping content fresh – your customers want more than just an updated profile. Frequent activity (status updates, blog posts, “shares” and “likes”, etc.) keep customers interested in and aware of your brand.
“Recency is the new relevancy”. Not only is this true in social marketing where our audience only sees most updated content first, but the same goes for search. Simply put, new content = higher visibility.
Understand natural language. In addition to knowing the language of your audience, Garner suggests having tools for keyword and language processing. Tap into the value of online conversations your customers and prospects are having.
Big, high quality content wins. Successful results from search and social marketing are correlated to the quantity and quality of the content you are putting out there. This includes everything from articles to comments to memes.
Personality matters. Content that is unique in your space and personal to your brand will resonate with your audience and will get noticed by networks and search engines.

For even more on content marketing, check out our new whitepaper Content Marketing for Industrial Marketers. Learn how content marketing will help you build your brand, drive engagement and establish yourself as a thought leader in your space.

Content Marketing Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General SEM SEO Social Media

Industrial Video SEO

As engineering and industrial technical users’ media consumption preferences shift towards video, it’s only natural for industrial marketers to increasingly utilize video to promote their products and services. This shift towards increased utilization of video promotion has been seen on GlobalSpec, as suppliers have incorporated videos into their product announcements and information pages.

In the sprint to create video content, it’s important for marketers remember SEO when publishing their video content. The most compelling video content is useless if prospective customers can’t find it.

Be sure to use keywords in your video title and description (in a way that makes sense for human readers) so that when it is indexed by search engines your video will appear in the results pages for those terms.

Saavy marketers are also including closed captions and/or external textual transcripts of their videos along with the video itself, which has the dual benefit of making the content accessible to those with hearing impairments (or just with no sound capability on their PC), while providing additional fodder for the search engines to index.

What techniques do you use to make sure your videos get found?

Industrial Marketing and Sales SEO Social Media Web Sites – Design & Usability

By Definition: Keywords are Key to SEO Success

What is the reason for all of the mixed messages surrounding SEO? The tactics required to achieve high search engine rankings are complex and ever-changing. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of identifying and using the right set of keywords in your SEO efforts.

According to our 2010 Economic Outlook Survey, your prospects and customers use the Internet to do research, request price quotes, purchase parts/products, compare suppliers and perform other work-related activities. More and more, you need to get your online presence ready to attract attention and rank higher on search engines.

None of this may be news to you. There is plenty of buzz today around online marketing terminology such as SEO, keywords, web crawlers and search engine ranking. What most of us don’t understand is what this boils down to in terms of commitment, tactics and what the trick is to actually getting results.

Industrial Marketing and Sales SEO Web Sites – Design & Usability