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

SEO Basics All Marketers Should Know

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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, IEEE GlobalSpec clients can link back to their websites from their listings on Globalspec.com, 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

When web-site redesigns aren’t necessary

New years often bring the desire to launch "new and improved" web-sites. In his article, "Why Most Website Redesigns Have a Half-Life" Mike Volpe, VP of inbound marketing at HubSpot, explains why it may not always be in a company's best interest.

The article points out that frequent redesigns can work against you both in regards to search engine optimization and usability. Mike points out that refreshing a site and making sure content is relevant is important, and not the same as a complete redesign.

Ultimately, it's important to maintain your web-site, just be sure to keep your prospects and customers in mind and temper the desire for new and different for the need for content and usability.

SEO Usability Web Sites – Design & Usability

10 Low-Cost Tactics to Market Your Business

With many budgets getting crunched, marketers may need to pay special attention to low-cost marketing tactics that can help their companies. Many of these ideas can be implemented using your current resources and some extra elbow grease in the form of time and hard work. And they can all help raise the visibility of your company and make your overall marketing more effective.

Some of these tactics you may already be doing, others may be new ideas. In either case, make the most of them to achieve marketing benefits with minimal costs.

E-Mail Marketing Industrial Marketing and Sales Marketing, General Public Relations SEO Social Media

Corporate Blogging: Getting Started and Keeping it Fresh

Recently we wrote about Seven Ways to Keep your Web Site Content Fresh. One of the ways discussed was to begin a blog. However, if you haven’t started one yet, it may seem overwhelming.

Mark Jackson, the President and CEO of Vizion Interactive, has been involved in interactive marketing since 2000. In his article Blogging for Search Engine Optimization he offers some advice to make it less intimidating. Specifically he discusses whether you should use a sub-domain, sub-directory, or a completely separate domain for your corporate blog.

Once you’ve set up the blog, or if you already have one, it isn’t always easy to know what to write. This article by Peter Da Vanzo, editorial director at SEO Book, How To Overcome Writers Block offers seven suggestions to try when you aren’t sure what to write.

Regardless of whether your blog is new or one you’ve managed for some time, it is important to remember that keeping content fresh is a very important strategy for search engine optimization.

Industrial Marketing and Sales SEO

Search friendly URL’s can only help ranking

A lot of work goes into putting a web-site together: content creation, page design, and site architecture are all important elements. One element that may seem obvious but is often overlooked is the URL for each page. In his article URL Best Practices and Guidelines Reminder, Jody Nimetz of Enquiro Search Solutions Inc. offers a list of best practices to consider when creating and or revising the URL's for your site. Jody Nimtez is an on-line marketing specialist who offers tips and advice on his blog Marketing Jive.

SEM SEO Usability Web Sites – Design & Usability