SEO for Industrial Companies: A 7-Step Guide to Creating Content That Gets Found by the Right People
SEO for industrial companies — B2B, technical and manufacturing — can be challenging at times.
Most SEO advice you find online guides content marketers and writers toward one-size-fits-all best practices. These solutions aren’t necessarily wrong, but they aren’t ideal for B2B and industrial marketers who sell particular technical offerings to niche technical audiences over a longer sales cycle.
In this paradigm, it’s not enough to rank for high-volume search queries; the relevant queries to your business tend to be lower volume. If you’re trying to engage a technical audience, it becomes even more critical that prospects form a favorable first impression of your organization after landing on your content. The quality of your content influences how your prospects perceive the quality of your offerings, which can mean the difference between millions of dollars of revenue in large, highly considered purchases. In short, high-quality content infers high-quality offerings.
What’s an already over-stretched industrial marketer to do?
Read our comprehensive guide for ensuring your content:
- Attracts the right prospects
- Is shown to prospects by Google, and
- Engages your prospects to act
That’s what industrial SEO is all about. It’s not focusing solely on overall traffic numbers but prioritizing engagement, conversions and ultimately contributing to your sales pipeline and closed deals.
- 1. Clearly define SEO topics that fit your sales and marketing mission
- 2. Get specific with keywords for technical B2B and industrial SEO
- 3. Write content for your users and prospects
- 4. Modify and edit the content using industrial SEO best practices
- 5. Publish and submit new content to Google
- 6. Technical SEO for your B2B industrial website
- 7. Measure, monitor and improve over time
- SEO for industrial companies is an art and a science
1. Clearly define SEO topics that fit your sales and marketing mission
Instead of starting with a keyword gap analysis against your competitors, think through how to attract your ideal prospects, reinforce your positioning online, and how your marketing can increase your sales team’s reach.
- What conversation do you want to own?
- What topics, concepts, or ideas are your best prospects asking about?
- What are they searching for online?
- What parts of your pitch or offerings resonate the most with prospects?
Additionally, here are several items you can add to your to-do list:
- Ask your sales team what questions they hear most often, then answer them online.
- Talk with sales about frequent objections and address them within your content.
- Answer FAQs online.
- After starting with your positioning, use online SEO tools to research the most common phrases or similar queries, and brainstorm similar keywords.
- After creating a shortlist, Google the keywords, phrases, questions and topics on your list to see what pages (think competition) already rank well.
- Analyze the content and plan how you can be more thorough in your articles on the same topic, which will improve your rankings.
2. Get specific with keywords for technical B2B and industrial SEO
If you’re in a B2B technical industry, chances are you’re not going after keywords that have a lot of volume. Further, using tools like SEMRush can get you into trouble if you put too much weight into keyword volume metrics. A keyword with a lot of volume, like air filtration, might seem great on the surface; however, if you do your own Google search for air filtration, you’re more likely to see results for air purifiers meant for residential use.
If your business sells air filtration and you call it that, as do your clients, consider the experience of your users. Imagine Joe, an engineer, who’s looking for a new vendor for a specific part, tool or process in the air filtration system in his production facility. If he typed air filtration into Google, he’d be frustrated and realize that he needs to be more specific. What might he type in next?
Air filtration systems seems closer; page one in my search example still shows mostly air purifiers, but also one industrial air filtration provider and a few HVAC companies.
One step more specific might be custom air filters, but if an industrial or OEM prospect looks for a custom industrial system, and they search industrial custom air filtration systems they’ll discover a specific group of search results that’s different than the air filtration list.
While air filtration might be where some people start their search, they may quickly have to amend their search if they discover their results are way off. Therefore, searchers switch to more specific words and phrases to avoid sifting through 10+ pages of irrelevant search results.
Moreover, be careful with suggested related keywords generated by tools like Semrush or Ubersuggest’s keyword planner tools. Their AI is still not as good as a human’s judgment. As an example, one of Windmill’s primary keywords for our homepage is industrial web design. Ubersuggest’s list of possible related keywords to broaden the search includes industrial design, website design, industrial website, web development, graphic design, internet services, and industrial web development. The keywords industrial website and industrial web development make sense for us, and the intent of the searcher likely is to look for an agency partner like us.
Keywords website design, web development, and graphic design seem related, but they’re so broad that we’d be unlikely to rank for them without a qualifier for industry, or a location if we were regional instead of national. And, even if we did rank for those terms, chances are a high percentage of searchers may not match with our B2B technical, industrial, manufacturing and life science focus. Therefore, those keywords wouldn’t be as fruitful. Terms like industrial design and internet services mean something else altogether.
The bottom line is to always trust your instincts on what your best prospect would likely type into Google to find you or your competitors. If it doesn’t feel right, Google it, and see what the search turns up. Look closely at your competitors’ website content and see what keywords they’re optimizing and ranking for. Do work in your product names, brand names, and internal jargon that your customers already know, but focus your primary keywords generally on the terms that people who don’t yet know you might use to search for a solution that you offer.
3. Write content for your users and prospects
Now that you have a primary keyword in mind, and one or more thematically related secondary keywords (sometimes called halo keywords), write them down, and set them aside. Avoid overusing that keyword, however. Instead, imagine you’re talking to a potential prospect or client on the topic. If they’ve clicked through to read your page content, now is your time to engage them with language that resonates with them, educates, and makes them want to learn more about how you can help them, or what else they can learn from you. Don’t turn them off with fluffy SEO content. This content is typically thin and surface-level, or overly robotic and keyword-stuffed.
We’ve all landed on pages like this. When you find this content, do you want to keep engaging with the organization that wrote it? Of course not. Thus, write for your prospect, not for Google. We’ll adjust to cover both in the next step.
High-quality content performs best, so be thorough in your coverage of the topic. With a growing number of organizations engaging in content marketing, the bar is higher, and Google tends to favor articles that will provide the most complete and comprehensive answer to what it believes a searcher’s intent, or question is. Make sure that your content is educational, informative, and value added. It should address topics that overlap with what your organization offers (without being a sales pitch), and what your best prospects are interested in.
According to a recent article from LinkedIn’s content marketing blog, the key to success is to make your content:
- Extremely relevant to a specific audience
- Substantial and comprehensive
- Credible and relatable
Google’s E-A-T standard (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) is one of the factors that it uses to evaluate the quality of a webpage, as it prioritizes which content to serve to searchers.
Content Readability & Scannability
Write your content so that while it’s technically specific and accurate, it remains easy to read. Break things up with headings, bulleted lists, useful illustrations, photos or videos, and avoid overly long sentences. While your audience may be advanced and technical, Google still prioritizes content that it believes will be easy to consume.
Content Length and Structure
While it’s possible to go too far, don’t try to limit yourself to an older suggestion of 600–800 words. Write the length of content that it takes to fully cover the topic, question or subject.
As of this writing, the average Google first-page result contains 1,447 words, and the standard minimum amount of words by page type is:
- Blog article: 1,500+
- Home page: 600 – 700
- Sub page: 400 – 500
Also, avoid duplicate content. All content should be original to your website, and to any particular page. Duplicate content is essentially disregarded, therefore giving you little to no credit for rankable content. There are a few instances where it makes sense to repeat content, but in those cases you should always use the canonical link element to clear up any confusion as to which page is the original.
Here are the three primary parts of an SEO-optimized article:
This section should create impact and pique the curiosity of the reader, perhaps asking a question or presenting a statistic.
Create sections (with headlines that break up the content and help scannability) to discuss three or more important points about the subject. These sections should relate to what people search around the subject and use related keywords. Order the topics in the way that you would explain a topic to a person on the phone or in a meeting, taking the opportunity to add links to resources on your own website, or other authoritative sources for deeper information.
Briefly reinforce one or two main points of the article and include a CTA.
4. Modify and edit the content using industrial SEO best practices
The less visible places for you to optimize your article for SEO include the meta title, meta description, URL and any images.
Include the primary keyword in the page title — making sure the title contains the keyword but is also clear, explanatory, succinct, and attention-grabbing (vs. robotically stringing together keywords). The title is the primary heading that will appear on a search results page, so you want this to be clear, enticing, and include terms that would match what the user searched on. You have about 60 characters before this gets cut off with an ellipse.
For example, the meta title for this article is “SEO for Industrial Companies 7-Step Guide to Creating Content That Gets Found by the Right People”.
Write your meta description so it also includes the primary keyword, any secondary keywords and is an explicit, accurate teaser for the content that’ll attract your ideal audience when they see it in search results. You have 160 characters or fewer before it’s truncated.
For example, the meta description for this article is “SEO for industrial companies, B2B, technical and manufacturing: A comprehensive guide to ensuring your content attracts and engages the right prospects.”
URL or Slug
Your page’s URL should include your focus keywords, and usually match your title, although you may want to remove words such as and, with, etc., for brevity.
For example, the URL of this article is “/seo-for-industrial-companies-comprehensive-guide”
Target keyword(s) should be part of the image structure. At a minimum, the image’s alt tag should include your focus keyword or a close variant. Ideally, the target keyword should also be part of the image file name before it is saved and uploaded, as this will build the keyword into the image’s URL. Add captions to images using target keywords whenever possible.
After reviewing and optimizing these less-visible aspects, page content or article itself, and the more visible on-page aspects also require a review for SEO in several areas:
For example, the image file name for the image included above is “SEO-for-Industrial-Companies-Industrial-Website-Deisgn-Keyword-Searches”
Introduction and Conclusion
Look over your article and work your primary, or focus keyword into the first paragraph of the introduction, and the CTA in the conclusion.
For example, view the intro section of this article to see how we use the “SEO for Industrial Companies” keywords.
H1 (Primary Heading)
Think through your primary H1 so that it includes the primary keyword, and matches or complements the title, but you can go a bit longer here.
For example, the H1 of this article is “SEO for Industrial Companies: A 7-Step Guide to Creating Content That Gets Found by the Right People”
H2s, H3s, etc. (Subheadings)
Your subheadings can include variants of your primary heading or secondary keywords, and it’s best practice to include your primary keyword in at least two other headings. Try to include keywords where you can, but don’t force it to the point that the article’s headings no longer make sense as an outline for your content, become overly long, or detract from the article’s usefulness to the reader.
For example, look throughout the article for how we “industrial SEO” various subheadings.
Review your content and see where you can make slight adjustments to work in your keywords in a way that seems natural and appropriate. You’ll want your target keyword and secondary keywords, and synonyms to appear several times within the content.
Optimal keyword density is:
1.5% – 3.0% for primary keyword(s)
0.5% – 1.5% for halo or secondary keywords
Internal links are created by linking text in your page or article to other URLs on the same site. Internal links can entice users to stay on your website longer, increasing engagement (and boosting metrics that Google uses to assess the quality of your website and content, (like bounce rate and session duration). Internal links, and the anchor text (the words that are linked) also give Google a better understanding of what your site is about. Using the primary keyword for a related page or article as linked anchor text to that article can help improve your overall SEO game.
While there is some debate about the specific SEO value of outbound links, in the spirit of being an authoritative source, it’s best practice to cite and link to at least one or two sources for more in-depth information than you go into in your article. Linking to reputable sources that share a similar point-of-view on a subject will also strengthen your position and trustworthiness for prospects and readers.
5. Publish and submit new content to Google
When your content is reviewed and finalized, and you publish it to your website, your work isn’t quite done. To ensure people see the content there are a few more steps. If you’ve followed along and written content that’s helpful to your best prospects and customers, email it using your marketing list.
We like to provide an executive summary within the body of the email itself so people can derive value without clicking through, but also provide a link to the full article. Publish links to the new, helpful piece of content on your social media platforms and be sure to comment, like, and share within your team soon after publishing, to amplify its reach. Finally, within Google Search Console, submit the new URL to be crawled as soon as possible. If your website is being crawled regularly, Google will find it but you can speed the process that might otherwise take a few weeks, by submitting directly to Google.
6. Technical SEO for your B2B industrial website
The bulk of this article focuses on content — and industrial content marketing — because creating optimized content is one of the best ways to improve your industrial website’s SEO rankings over time. However, great content can only go so far if your website is missing the mark on critical SEO checkpoints. Make sure your website is mobile-responsive, loads quickly, doesn’t have 404 or other errors, is easily crawlable by Google, and offers an exceptional user experience.
7. Measure, monitor and improve over time
Finally, continue to pay attention to content performance metrics and analytics on which pieces of content are performing the best as landing pages, driving the most conversions, and showing high engagement metrics. Make a habit to continuously improve your content over time and take what you’ve learned to better inform new content initiatives.
SEO for industrial companies is an art and a science
Whew … we know this is a lot of information to take in! But our experience shows industrial companies can attract more of the right prospects and engage them to act through highly-focused industrial SEO practices. As it turns out, SEO for industrial companies is both an art and a science.
Begin by defining the SEO topics that align with your sales and marketing mission. Write for people; and, modify and edit your content using the industrial SEO best practices we’ve spelled out here. And finally, constantly measure, monitor and improve over time.
When you do, you’ll reap the rewards.