Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical for driving traffic to your site. But the game has changed dramatically due to Google’s recent search ranking algorithm updates. We recently discovered that Google is now ignoring some traditional SEO tactics such as “keyword loading” (adding numerous keywords to a page).
There’s so much “noise” about SEO these days, so we’ve tried to simplify the process into 6 steps. (Notice I didn’t say “easy steps” because there’s a good amount of work involved). But at least you’ll know what search factors to focus on.
(Note: This SEO Strategy for Manufacturers has been updated for 2016, and will work for other industries as well.)
STEP 1: Start with Buyer Personas
Buyer Personas are detailed descriptions of your target audience and include information such as:
- Job title and responsibilities
- Company and industry information
- Where they go for information
- Shopping preferences
Knowing more about your prospects will help focus your marketing communications—including what pages and content you’ll need on your website. .
STEP 2: Identify Which Keywords Your Personas Are Using
- Conduct Keyword Research to identify which search terms your prospects are using to solve their problems. Try entering each keyword into Google and then scroll to the bottom of the page to see additional related search terms.
- Compile a Keyword List and use Google’s Keyword Planner to see how frequently each phrase is searched and how competitive each term is.
- Include “Long-Tail” Keywords which are longer descriptive keyword phrases. These are easier to rank for than short keyword phrases.
STEP 3: Create Page Content For Keyword Phrases
Review your keyword list and create a page for each keyword.
Example: One of our customers who sells used auto parts has over 50,000 parts in their inventory. Their keyword list was a mile long, so we conducted some research and discovered that 90% of searches involved 10% of their keywords. Further research showed that only 50% of the remaining keywords had significant search volume. In the end, we ended up creating about 50 landing pages—many of which ranked on the first page of Google.
STEP 4: On-Page Optimization Factors
Google’s algorithm includes over 100 ranking factors, but these are some of the most important on-page factors:
- Page URL—Avoid database generated URLs and include the keyword phrase separated by hyphens.
- Page Title—Include at least one keyword phrase. Limit characters to less than 70 so it’s not truncated in the search results.
- Page Content—Include your keyword phrase in your page heading (H1 tage) and also through out the page. Add the keyword to the ALT tag of your images. Don’t go overboard on keywords which could backfire and drop you out of the rankings.
- Meta Description—This is the text that appears below the page title in search results. Make sure to include at least one keyword. This also helps reassure prospects that they’ll find what they’re looking for on your page.
- Page Load Speed—Page load speed impacts your rank. You want your website page to load in less than 1.5 seconds.
SEO for Manufacturer Example: Below is a customer of ours that sells used auto parts. They don’t spend a dime on pay-per-click ads because their pages incorporate SEO best practices. Before working with them, they were trying to drive all traffic to their homepage. Knowing that their personas tend to use descriptive keyword phrases, we suggested that they create a page for each part category.
Many of their pages started ranking on the first page of Google which resulted in their website traffic increasing over 1000% within 6 months.
STEP 5: Inbound Links
An inbound link is when one website links to another. Inbound links are like a vote for your website. The more you have, the more important your site looks to Google.
Search engines give a lot of weight to inbound links. The more links you have, the more authority you have to the search engines.
STEP 6: Turn Visitors into Leads
Now that you’re ranking higher and driving more traffic make sure you don’t stop there. Add call to actions (CTAs) throughout your different types of pages on your website. Your CTAs should provide your site visitors the next logical step.
Too many website make the mistake of only offering one call to action—Contact Us. And then they wonder why so few users submit a form, email or call them. Keep in mind a contact form is a bottom of the funnel call to action. many of your visitors will just be kicking the tires—they are at the top of the funnel. So offer them an appropriate call to action—something educational to help them progress in their decision making process.