How Industrial Companies are Stuck on SEO for Content Marketing Strategy

I find too many manufacturers and industrial distributors basing their entire content marketing strategy with one goal in mind – getting found in Google. In other words, the entire focus is on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

“What’s wrong with that?” you ask. After all, your content is useless unless people can find your website when they search.

Focusing your content marketing strategy only on SEO or top of the funnel traffic has many drawbacks. If I had to summarize it in one sentence it would be, search engines are not your target, human visitors are.

People won’t automagically convert into qualified leads just because they found your industrial website in Google or other major search engines. That’s why your industrial content marketing strategy must be based on the entire sales funnel and not just ToFU (Top of Funnel) activities. Traffic by itself means zilch if you can’t convert it into opportunities.

Technical SEO vs content SEO

Right or wrong, SEO has an aura of mystery about it. This in turn turns off many site owners and marketers. While it is true there are certain aspects of SEO that are technical, it is only a small part of optimizing content.

Thanks to the recent algorithm updates by Google, current best practices in organic SEO go far beyond keyword matching, Meta tags and keyword density. The new Google is smart enough to understand and interpret search intent.

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Industrial Blogging Lessons Learned from Working with Technical SMEs

IndustrMy clients often ask me to write posts for their industrial blogs. This requires me to work very closely with engineers and technical SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) on a daily basis for creating content. I have learned some important lessons about blogging that are specific to this technical and industrial audience.

  • Editorial calendar: This may sound like content marketing 101 but let me tell you why it is so important for industrial blogs. At a recent discovery meeting, I received little to no response when I asked a group of engineers about their customers’ challenges that we could blog about. I was expected to do the industry research and come back with a list of topics. Read more

Industrial Content Marketing is Not Just for SEO

Content marketing is a central topic in most of my recent conversations with industrial companies. The primary goal is to generate better quality leads from their websites. That is the good news.

The not so good news is that they have a mistaken belief that content marketing is for search engine optimization (SEO). They’ve heard/read that Google loves fresh content, therefore all they need to do is publish lots of content and they’ll be on the first page of Google’s search results.

I agree that SEO is a very important goal of content marketing; after all, your website needs to be found by the right people when they are searching for industrial products and services that you provide. However, your industrial marketing content must do a lot more than just SEO.

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You’ve Got Traffic. Now What?

You’ve done all the hard work of optimizing (SEO) your industrial website and now you have a steady stream of traffic to your site. Congratulations!

Sorry to rain on your parade but that is only half the equation. The other half is all about converting that traffic into leads and customers.

I find there is a strong but mistaken belief among industrial companies that somehow their site visitors will interrupt their online activities and pick up the phone to call their sales people. Even though this behavior is contrary to how they themselves interact online, they expect their target audience to behave differently. (See my post, “Do You Believe in Industrial Websites?”).

The reality is that the vast majority of site visitors will do nothing and leave. What they have is a website that is leaking potential leads like a sieve. Whenever I make that statement, there is silence on the other end of the phone or in a face-to-face meeting; I get a look that says, “What the heck are you talking about?”

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Internal Links – the Secret Sauce for DiY SEO

It is no secret that link building is critical to SEO success. However, some people often ignore internal links because they are just not aware of their SEO benefits. To most do-it-yourselfers (DiY), link building for SEO means external or inbound or backlinks. These are links that originate from another site and point to a page on your domain.

Don’t underestimate the SEO power of internal linking. They are not only great for increasing the number of pages indexed by Google but also help you target a larger number of keywords, especially long tail keywords. The number of site pages indexed by Google has a direct impact on your online lead generation. For every 50 to 100 pages indexed by Google, expect double-digit growth in the number of leads. (Read my earlier post, B2B Lead Generation Using a Business Blog).

The best news is that building internal links is completely in your control.

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2012 Content Marketing Trends for Manufacturers and Industrial Companies

I just finished reading an excellent research report from the good folks at Content Marketing Institute (CMI). This report is chock full of statistics and graphs about B2B content marketing. In this post, I want to focus on some of their findings that I feel apply to content marketing for manufacturers and industrial companies.

Even though the content marketing adoption rate for these companies is at an impressive 83%, I am surprised that it is even that high; the Manufacturing/ Processing industry (as defined in the report) is dead last among the six industries studied.

What is encouraging though is the fact that 68% of companies with 10 – 99 employees maintain a blog as compared to only 55% for larger companies that employ this content marketing tactic. Many of the manufacturers and industrial companies fall in the smaller size category.

That’s not the only good news for blogs. Even though other marketing tactics like in-person events and webinars are still seen as the most effective tactics, this year blogs registered a 45% increase in “perceived effectiveness” as compared to the study done in 2010. (See chart below).

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10 New Google Algorithm Changes Announced

Google changing its search algorithms is not news to most SEO experts. It’s a fact of SEO life. What is new with the latest algorithm changes is that Google is being more transparent and talking about them openly.

What caught my attention and IMO applies to industrial marketing, are these four changes:

  1. Snippets with more page content and less header/menu content: Google’s explanation: This change helps us choose more relevant text to use in snippets. As we improve our understanding of web page structure, we are now more likely to pick text from the actual page content, and less likely to use text that is part of a header or menu.
    What this means to industrial marketers: On-page SEO will now require more than just an optimized Title tag and text-based drop-down menus. There are plenty of rumors floating around that Google sometimes (more frequently lately it seems) ignores HTML title tags and creates its own titles in their coveted blue links. This latest change means you need to pay more attention to the content on site pages and make sure it is optimized for search terms. Read more

Google’s Latest Algorithm Update Raises the Bar for Content Quality

Last month, Google announced a change to its search algorithm, called the “Panda” update. This is a major change and there is plenty of buzz on the Internet about the dramatic drop in ranking of some well-known sites.

This change is primarily designed to cleanse Google’s search results of low-quality content. Most SEO experts expect article directories or “content farms” to be heavily penalized by Google’s algorithm change.

How does Google’s algorithm change affect industrial and B2B marketers?

Well, for starters, posting the same article in several article directories for the sake of gaining inbound links is out. This is a strategy used by many SEO specialists in an attempt to boost the number of external links pointing back to your site.

That does not mean article marketing is bad or should be banished permanently. According to statistics compiled by Danny Sullivan over at SearchEngineLand, eHow actually gained in ranking. Some of the biggest losers were associatedcontent.com, suite101.com, ezinearticles.com and articlesbase.com.

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SAL is the Glue that Binds Sales and Marketing in Lead Generation

A lead is a lead, right? Depends – are you in marketing or in sales?

SAL – Sales Accepted Leads is the bridge between Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL).

No, I am not splitting hairs nor am I indulging in semantics. Clearly defining and understanding the implications of MQL, SAL and SQL are critical to the success of B2B lead generation.

Assigning a numeric score to business sales leads based on a predefined set of rules, takes away the subjectivity out of qualitative ranking like Hot, Warm and Cold leads. Quantitative lead definitions reduce the friction between sales and marketing.

B2B marketers are being held a lot more accountable (as they should be) for their contributions to a company’s revenues. This is more so for industrial marketers because generating a steady stream of high-quality sales leads plays a far more important role than other B2B marketing objectives such as branding, thought leadership and/or community building.

These days, respect for B2B and industrial marketing is spelled as M E T R I C S.

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3 DiY SEO Mistakes to Avoid When Optimizing Industrial Websites

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend (here in the U.S.) with your family. Now, back to work.

Attempting do-it-yourself (DiY) search engine optimization (SEO) is common among industrial companies since they tend to have dedicated IT departments. Can DiY SEO be just as effective as hiring an outside expert? Should IT be handling this task? Those are two very debatable questions but that is a topic for another post.

Here I want to focus on the three most common SEO mistakes that I see when industrial clients contact me for Website optimization. May be I just answered my own questions, if you catch my drift. 😉

Mistake #1: Lack of strategy and incomplete keyword research

Most people know about the free Google’s Keyword Tool and use it to do their keyword research. So far so good.

Where DiYers tend to go wrong in using this invaluable tool are:

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