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.

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

Content Marketing SEO Social Media

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