Do you know if your website, including eCommerce engine is optimized? Is your company an SEO master?
Whoever said “build it and they will come” never developed a website. Making the investment in a website (and eCommerce) is, as they say, “the easy part” as it takes money, process / project-oriented people and product content. The hard party is generating traffic to your site.
Why do you want traffic? Pretty simple, you want your existing customers to find you; you want prospective customers to find you based upon your unique business proposition / services and perhaps to purchase from you (if you’ll sell to customers via credit card and a non-password protected site).
And this isn\’t solely a distributor issue. Manufacturers compete for eyeballs. They want end-users and influencers to visit their site, gain product information and download spec sheets. Reps want local searches to come to their site. Everyone is competing for the same \”searcher\” who could turn into a buyer.
To achieve this you need a strong SEO strategy.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It differs from SEM, which is search engine marketing, as it focuses on optimizing you site so search engines like Google, Bing and others can find “you” when they are “searching” for products / services.
SEO is always evolving as companies like Google are always changing their search algorithms. Additionally, new technology continues to emerge, as do SEO strategies, that enable you to take your SEO to another level. Did you know that .pdfs can now be searched? Have you thought about the role of video in a content marketing strategy (and what is a content marketing strategy)? Or that one of the big benefits of social media are the linkbacks to your site? This and more are involved in SEO.
Sounds expensive? It doesn’t have to be. The first step is understanding your site’s challenges. Then taking a deep dive to see where those challenges are. Some can be change relatively easily and generate big benefits; others may be more technical. And if your staff doesn’t have the expertise, this is a function that is best left to companies that specialize in these services.
Recently Channel Marketing Group helped a client who was seeking SEO services. Their goal was to increase their awareness, enhance their brand and, since it was a manufacturer, increase spec downloads. We’ve recently worked with a distributor to gain a first level understanding of the challenges to their site.
The company we’ve engaged for these projects is called Riithink, so we’ve asked Patrick Smith, president of Riithink, for his thoughts on SEO.
Search engine optimization requires an extra level of consideration that small businesses frequently don’t consider…and that is that on the web, everyone is your competitor, not just the company down the street, the distributors you know in your marketplace or, if you are a manufacturer, your traditional X competitors.
Everyone is your competitor — marketplaces, resellers, distributors (nearby and cross country), manufacturers (large and small), pure-play eCommerce shops — is your competition. Where a small business can hyper-focus on a niche demographic, large corporations must consider broad strokes on the canvas.
And have you ever asked yourself “why is that small, two-bit **** company ranked higher than me when I do a Google search”?
This is not to say that direct brand competitors are not relevant, but Google doesn’t consider your sworn enemies in its search engine result page (SERP) rankings. What Google cares about is relevancy, recency, and which website will provide the best content that generates the lowest bounce rates.
What our digital specialists at Riithink.com often see is a marketplace divided into competitors identified by our clients, and a larger pool of competitors that are actually owning the organic search channel space. It then becomes a chess match to combat the onslaught of marketing messaging from direct competitors while tailoring a SEO strategy for what works on Google.
Level 1 SEO Strategy
There are some SEO foundations that cannot be debated. Without these bases covered, you’re unequivocally losing potential visitors. Some fundamental points to remember:
You’re missing out if you’re missing meta data
Robots identify what your website is about through the metadata you put forward. The meta title is the title of your page, whereas the meta description is a brief summary of what that specific page is about. Too often clients make the mistake of not explicitly defining these values, and the robots must fill in the gaps.
You’re not relevant if no one is linking to you
From an SEO perspective, great content is useless unless others are finding it and linking to it. That’s why content diversity — video, infographics, clean copy, and the like — is a vital spoke in the SEO wheel.
You’re leaving opportunity on the table if you’re only catering to branded terms
The majority of search traffic comes in through longtail key phrases. Knowing this, and understanding that roughly 15% of all Google searches have never been made before (even today), focusing on a select few key phrases can be dangerous.
We recently worked with a manufacturing client who could fill a tanker truck with all its low-hanging fruit. We identified the following opportunities in their corporate-wide SEO strategy:
- Missing titles and meta description for priority pages
- Missing page copy and headline tags
- Missing analytics tagging
- Missing imaging tags
- Countless other tweaks that could be applied across hundreds of pages
These small, simple changes took little time to do, but have already generated big results.
Above, you’ll see the Google Analytics performance report for organic traffic, by week, since early April. Can you guess when these simple changes went into place? Organic search traffic has increased by 196%, bounce rate has improved by 42%, and new users are up 246%. Organic search went from the worst-performing channel to arguably the best in a matter of one week.
These simple fixes have since led to a deeper investigation on SEO. If these simple fixes can generate such positive growth, what can a deeper dive do? There is still room for drastic improvement given there is no formalized content strategy, social strategy, video SEO strategy, or blog. Category pages still need copy. Images are still not tagged. In this case, we know the sky’s the limit.
Thinking about SEO presumes you know how your site is performing from a traffic generation viewpoint. There is a five step process to “increasing visibility.” They are:
- Observation – Understanding if you have a problem? Riithink can do a basic assessment without gaining access to your site.
- Assessment – Digging into details. This involves using your metric tools to gather information. From this Riithink develops a detailed assessment of your site, the scope of it, the issues, compares it versus competition and shares a remediation plan.
- Technical Implementation – based upon the Assessment phase, implementation of the technical recommendations. Some may be system driven, some may require content enhancement / populating key fields. The entire process can be outsourced or internal resources may want to participate in the updating process to provide industry specific terminology.
- Re-evaluation – this is a defined period of time to observe traffic improvement. Continual “tweaking” may also be done
- Optimization – Once an acceptable baseline is developed, goals are set and a content marketing strategy can be developed to take SEO to the next level
ElectricalTrends Special Offer
For ElectricalTrends readers we’ve negotiated special rates to help distributors and manufacturers gain a third party perspective of their site for the first two steps:
- Step 1 Observation – Riithink will conduct a basic third party observation of your site for $250. This is a $250 savings.
- Step 2 Assessment – Riithink will conduct a comprehensive assessment of your site (and can send you a sample of a potential report) for $1500, a 25% discount.
With so much invested into websites today, investing in marketing your site is becoming critical. SEO is a cost-effective part of the solution.