Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a cornerstone of any digital marketing strategy. When done right, SEO will empower your business to drive meaningful organic traffic to your site all while helping you plan content around the questions, objections and hesitations that prospects need answers to before they can become a customer. However, as valuable as SEO can be, companies can really struggle to maintain an effective strategy — especially in a specialized industry like manufacturing.
Manufacturers often have complex product catalogs, technical jargon and niche markets to contend with. Potential customers may need to cover a lot of ground when researching solutions, like product specifications, certifications and regulatory compliance. Creating all the content prospects are after, while keeping keywords in mind, can prove to be a complicated process if you take the time to do it right.
In addition to the complexities of your niche, creating a solid SEO strategy means keeping up with the latest in AI and automation to give you a competitive edge and reduce some of the legwork. But where do you start? Let’s break down the benefits along with some actionable strategies and recommendations that you can put to work on your website.
How Manufacturers Benefit From SEO
If you’re on the fence about investing in SEO, here’s a look at the key business results that a sound SEO strategy can deliver to your business.
Regular Stream of Leads
Whether they are contractors, architects or DIYers, there’s one thing all of your buyers have in common: They probably use Google. Google is the world’s largest search engine — it allows people to discover products and services and get answers to all of the questions they have on the path to making a purchase.
When you go through the process of creating content for your target buyers and following all the steps to make sure it ranks, your site will appear directly in front of the people you want to reach the most. Every click you get represents a potential customer for your business, and if you have calls-to-action and optimized landing pages, they could become buyers.
The best part? Because search engines are always on and evergreen content can remain ranked for years, SEO will gradually build up to a steady stream of organic traffic and leads. So, while SEO may take months to get started, it’s a very sustainable strategy once you get it running.
Easy to Scale
SEO is inherently scalable, even as your business expands or introduces new product lines. As your online presence grows, you can continuously refine and optimize your SEO strategy using all of the analytics your systems are collecting with each passing day.
There’s also immense flexibility in the types of content you choose to create for SEO purposes and the keywords you choose to target. The speed at which you can pivot your SEO strategy, and all the various elements you can include or exclude from it, allows you to approach marketing in a much more agile manner.
Together, these aspects of SEO empower you to expand your online presence in a way that’s measurable and sustainable.
Better Audience Insights
You need data to fine-tune your content marketing strategy. Analytics can help you identify opportunities to optimize your content and uncover potential issues that may be affecting your online visibility and user experience. Data will also help you discover out-of-box search queries that may have a lot of qualified traffic potential, or simply offer reduced competition. So where do you find this data?
You’ll want to get set up with Google Search Console, which requires you to verify your website. You’ll then need to link GSC to Google Analytics. The process is easy, you just need to:
Log in to your Google Analytics account.
Choose the website property you want to link to Google Search Console.
In the Admin panel, find the property column and click on "Property Settings."
Scroll down to the "Search Console" section and click "Adjust Search Console."
Click on "Add" and select your website's associated Search Console property.
Follow the verification steps to confirm the association between Google Analytics and Search Console.
After verification, you'll gain access to valuable Search Console data within Google Analytics, providing deeper insights into search queries, clicks, impressions, and more.
Once you’ve linked Google Analytics to Google Search Console, you’ll be able to segment your audience using various criteria like demographics, location and behavior. This segmentation is vital because it allows you to better understand your website visitors and tailor your marketing efforts accordingly.
Actionable SEO Strategies
There are many different approaches you can take to search engine optimization, and most businesses will end up using a combination of many in order to grow their online presence. To get you started, here’s a look at the most actionable SEO strategies and how they work.
Understanding your audience is crucial to ensure your content aligns with the specific needs and preferences of your target customers. Anyone can write content that ranks, but what matters is that you’re ranking for strategic keywords — ones that focus on driving the most qualified leads to your website.
Closely aligning your keywords and content with your target audience greatly increases the likelihood that readers will become customers. To achieve alignment, you’ll need a strategy that starts with thorough audience and market research to understand key pain points, challenges and preferences. You’ll then want to focus on creating content around valuable solutions and insights while targeting keywords as you can.
As you think about how to best engage your audience, follow these tips:
Use clear and concise language and avoid technical jargon — especially at the “top of the funnel” when you’re dealing with an audience that doesn’t know a lot about your business or industry.
Intermix articles, videos, infographics and case studies to cater to different learning styles.
As you create pieces, regularly update them to reflect industry trends and changes or you’ll risk losing your hard-earned rankings.
Don’t overlook opportunities to interact with and learn from your audience in the form of comments and feedback, both on your site and off.
So, how do you know when your content is doing its job? Use tools like Google Search Console, SEMrush, Moz and Ahrefs to refine your content strategy, identify market gaps and track audience engagement more comprehensively.
Competitor research plays a critical role in any solid SEO strategy because you need to know who you’re up against. Search engine ranking algorithms scan millions of websites every day, trying to ensure that the most relevant and helpful content appears at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for any given query. In order to be the best, you have to know what’s out there.
You may have done some competitor research for other areas of your business. Now, it’s time to put your knowledge to work for your SEO strategy.
Identify Key Competitors: Begin by determining who your main competitors are within your industry or niche. These are the businesses that offer similar products or services and target a similar audience.
Keyword Research: Conduct thorough keyword research to identify the keywords and phrases that are relevant to your industry.
Competitor Analysis: Choose specific competitors from your industry who are performing well in the SERPs. Analyze their sites, paying attention to on-page SEO elements like meta titles, meta descriptions, header tags and keyword usage. Assess the quality of their content and user experience.
Backlink Analysis: Investigate your competitors' backlink profiles, which would include the sources and quality of their backlinks. Look for opportunities to acquire similar high-quality backlinks for your website.
Content Analysis: Evaluate the type and quality of content your competitors are producing. Determine which topics and formats are resonating with their audience. Identify content gaps that you can leverage.
Social Media Presence: Assess your competitors' presence on social media platforms. Analyze their engagement levels, content strategy and audience demographics, which will help you further understand consumer behavior and preferences.
SERP Analysis: Study the search engine results pages (SERPs) for your target keywords. Examine how your competitors are positioned in these results, including how featured snippets, knowledge panels and other rich snippets appear. You should also consider search intent.
Tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs offer excellent competitive analysis tools to help inform your SEO strategy. They can also help you explore the backlinks your competitors have, along with content gaps (keywords they aren’t ranking for) and the keywords that drive the most traffic for them. The tools won’t do all of the work for you, but they’ll get you pretty far if you learn how to use them.
Local SEO means optimizing your online presence for people in a specific region, be it a city, county or state. This strategy is particularly vital if your products are carried in certain brick-and-mortar stores or if you have service providers targeting a specific geographic area, as local SEO can help your business appear prominently in local map listings and search engine results pages, driving conversions.
Even if you don’t target a specific geographic area, you can set up local SEO pages for various strategic regions to help drive sales. This process requires careful planning, but it typically starts with setting up a Google My Business (GMB) Listing, which will appear in the sidebar of the SERPs when people look up your business.
To start optimizing your content for local SEO, you’ll need to research local keywords specific to your target market and region. Also, create location-specific landing pages to capture local search traffic. For instance, if you sell UV windows, you may have a page dedicated to “UV Windows in Denver” and other cities. However, these pages must include valuable information specific to the targeted region, like state tax credits to help cover the costs of energy-efficient home upgrades. If you leave this region-specific information out, it can actually work against you. Google may earmark them as "doorway" pages, and that could trigger a penalty.
Lastly, a major part of local SEO is actively encouraging satisfied customers to leave reviews on your GMB listing. This will help you gain credibility and stand out from a sea of other businesses that may offer similar products or services.
Leveraging YouTube, the second-largest search engine, can be a powerful strategy if you have the capacity to create videos. While they don’t have to be anything fancy, especially given today’s surge of short-form, user-generated content, video SEO will take some time and planning.
Videos can showcase your products, demonstrate use cases, answer questions, or give insights into the behind-the-scenes of product development or customer service at your company. Creating good, interesting videos is equally important as optimizing your video titles, descriptions and tags with relevant keywords to ensure visibility in YouTube searches.
Here are some other video SEO tips:
Keyword-Rich Titles: Incorporate relevant keywords in your video titles to enhance discoverability in YouTube's search results. Make sure you craft titles that clearly convey the video's content while piquing the viewer's interest.
Video Transcriptions: Transcriptions make your videos more accessible to a wider audience, including those with hearing impairments or non-native language speakers. Plus, search engines can crawl and index transcriptions, which can improve your video's search engine rankings.
Engaging CTAs (Call to Actions): Include clear and relevant CTAs in your videos to prompt viewers to take specific actions, such as subscribing, visiting your website or contacting your sales team.
Consistency is key. If you’re going to get into videos, create a schedule to regularly upload new videos, preferably at least once a month and as often as once a week. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and fostering a community around your brand. Then, reuse your long-form videos by breaking them into YouTube shorts, which you may also repurpose on TikTok, depending on your target audience.
Platforms like Home Depot provide a crucial marketplace to showcase your products to a wider audience. If you manage to partner with Home Depot, Lowe’s, Wayfair or another retailer, take the time to understand how SEO works within the confines of the platform.
Home Depot, for instance, employs a sophisticated search algorithm that considers product relevance, customer reviews, pricing and shipping options when deciding what to show to customers. Optimize your product listings with detailed descriptions and high-quality images and encourage positive customer reviews to help your product rank better.
When in doubt, contact the representatives of the platform you’re working on. They want your product to sell just as much as you do, so make sure you’re keeping the lines of communication open and going the extra mile to form a lasting partnership with your retailers and distributors.
Technical SEO has a lot to do with the infrastructure behind your website, including where it’s hosted and how it’s designed and coded. These elements may seem invisible, but search engine crawlers evaluate them in many ways by checking website speed, mobile-friendliness, schema markup, sitemaps, and more — and all of these things can impact your rankings.
To master technical SEO, you’ll need to ensure proper URL structures, optimize metadata and fix crawl errors. Additionally, you’ll also want to fix and avoid duplicate content, canonicalization and confusing site architecture. These things will improve user experience and your overall site performance, which ultimately supports your online presence and rankings.
Key Considerations for Technical SEO
As a manufacturer, achieving a high technical SEO score can be tough when you’re dealing with complex product lines or a large catalog of parts. To avoid penalties, think carefully about the architecture of your website and start with a user-friendly, intuitive navigation menu that categorizes products by type or application.
For each product category you define, take the time to create a dedicated landing page offering in-depth information, specifications and high-quality images of your products. From there, implement a robust search functionality that links to technical data sheets for each product and sizing, pricing and compatibility information.
If you intend to sell products online, you’ll want to use a dedicated e-commerce platform that is fast and secure. E-commerce tools will help streamline transactions and offer a searchable catalog with a “buy now” button for each product, along with a cart functionality, stock-keeping tools and a database where you can manage orders.
Lastly, when designing your site, opt to take a mobile-first approach. This means creating a website that not only looks and functions well on desktop devices, but also on phones and tablets. Taking a mobile-first approach will ensure your website looks just as great and works just as well across all devices rather than treating mobile as an afterthought. This is important for the UX, and it’s critical for SEO because Google actually only indexes the mobile version of your website — not the desktop version. If you don’t get your mobile site just right, it’ll hold you back in all regards.
How To Conduct Website Audits and Fix Issues
A website audit might sound like a complicated undertaking, but all it means is conducting a comprehensive evaluation of your site’s content quality, technical performance and current SEO standings. As with many other aspects of SEO, tools can do the brunt of the work for you.
Follow these steps to conduct your audit:
Crawl Your Website: Use tools like Screaming Frog SEO Spider or Sitebulb to crawl your site. Analyze the results for issues like broken links, duplicate content and missing meta tags.
Check Page Load Speed: Assess your website's speed and mobile-friendliness with tools like GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights. Identify areas for improvement.
Review On-Page SEO: Examine title tags, meta descriptions, header tags and keyword optimization on each page to ensure they align with your SEO strategy.
Content Quality: Evaluate the quality and relevance of your content. Remove content that doesn’t reflect your brand or match your target audience. Update aging content.
Technical SEO: Check for issues like XML sitemap errors, robot.txt file and canonicalization. Ensure properly structured data and schema markup, fix broken links and optimize your images to improve load times.
Mobile Optimization: Check your site’s functionality, speed and appearance across all devices, including smartphones and tablets.
You should conduct a website audit now, before moving deeper into your SEO strategy so that you can fix existing issues quickly. After that, continuously monitor your site's performance using tools like Google Search Console and run a comprehensive audit about once every six months, or any time your brand or product catalog undergoes a major overhaul.
What to Avoid When Doing SEO
As with any business endeavor, SEO has pitfalls and wrong turns that could stand in the way of success. Here’s a look at the most common mistakes manufacturers make and what to do to avoid them.
Going Too Broad
You can’t be everything to everyone, nor do you want to be. Niching down can seem worrisome at first because it means you’re leaving out a large segment of the industry, right? But, when working on an SEO strategy, it’s critical that you set goals around meaningful metrics that drive real business outcomes.
It’s easy to start ranking for keywords that have little to no search volume, but what does that do for your business? In most cases, it just means you’re spending money on content that isn’t driving any traffic. On the flip side, if you manage to rank for a keyword that drives thousands of visitors — but very few who are likely to buy from you — are you making a smart move?
Generic campaigns can lead to wasted resources and it can also cloud your brand as you’ll waste time creating content that just doesn’t resonate with your specialized audience. Failing to narrow in on your industry-specific expertise can hinder your ability to stand out, and cost you business.
For many manufacturers, the key is to focus on long-tail keywords. These specific and more detailed keyword phrases cater to the unique needs and queries of your target audience. By honing in on long-tail keywords related to specific building materials, applications or customer pain points, you not only reduce competition but also increase your chances of reaching highly motivated and conversion-ready prospects, leading to less traffic but more qualified traffic.
Overreliance on AI Content
AI-generated content is quick and simple to produce, but it’s not perfect. Automated content often lacks the ability to comprehend the complexities of specialized products, industry regulations and evolving trends, resulting in generic, inaccurate or irrelevant information that can damage your credibility.
Especially in a more specialized sector, content requires human expertise to effectively address specific customer needs and position your brand as an authority. While AI has its place, it should always be supplemented with human oversight to ensure your content aligns with the unique demands of your audience.
Blackhat SEO refers to unethical and manipulative techniques used to improve search engine rankings, often at the expense of user experience. For instance, black hatters might use keyword stuffing, hidden text, cloaking or link schemes to try and get ahead. The goal is to exploit a flaw in ranking algorithms, but these flaws are soon patched — and sites that were found to be exploiting them are often penalized, if not blacklisted for good.
Engaging in blackhat SEO can damage your online reputation and harm your visibility in the long term. Plus, it won’t help you serve users. If you’re hiring someone to do SEO for you, make sure you look for red flags like secrecy, reluctance to provide references and big promises about ranking fast.
When you work with a qualified and knowledgeable SEO team like the professionals at Venveo, you’ll find that they’re eager to share information about the tactics and techniques they’ll be putting to work for your business, and they will always have case studies and references to offer. That’s how you know you’re working with a trustworthy team.
Developing an SEO strategy may not be simple, but taking it one step at a time will allow your company to better understand your target audience, gradually grow your online presence and start driving bottom-line results in a sustainable, scalable way.
Do you have questions about where to go from here? Venveo would love to help. Schedule a consultation with our team and learn more about how building materials manufacturers are using SEO to grow their brands.