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Metalworking Survey Supports Need for SEO in Industrial Sectors

We last documented in November 2015 about the importance of search engines in the success of digital marketing efforts for industrial companies. A more recent study, titled Metalworking Trends Survey, published by LoSasso, provides additional support for the importance of search engine optimization, social media, and industry-focused portals when trying to reach prospects during their buying cycle.

According to the study, two-thirds of all buyers surveyed conduct product research online to narrow their choices before contacting a salesperson.  Demographics no longer matter: Respondents ages 55 and older answered the same way as younger, tech-savvy participants. 

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Industrial SEO: Does your Website Content Appeal to Your Industrial Buyers?

The answer is quite simple: Industrial purchases typically present a longer sale cycle and the buyers need more detail.... In other words: Images compel, content sells.

Over that last several years there’s been an apparent shift in website design from a traditional text-driven layout to a more image-heavy format.   I guess many are buying into the old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. 

People love pictures!  This strategy works great for consumer-based websites, where consumers buy with emotion, the brand is well known, the sale is just a click away or a quick drive to the nearest big box retailer.

So why are industrial and manufacturing companies failing with this new design approach?  The answer is quite simple: Industrial purchases typically present a longer sale cycle and the buyers need more detail.  Images as the main selling feature work best for consumer-oriented sales.  

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Does Google’s Panda update put your website on the endangered list?

For web sites that are long overdue for more fresh content, the dog days of summer are a perfect time to plan a big content picnic. 

In mid-July Google officially announced the release of Panda 4.2, which specifically targets sites with low quality or thin content. This update has been a long time coming, with the last Panda update taking place in September 2014. 

So is your content due for a refresh? Here are some questions to ask:

Keep your content relevant, be the expert, and a good user/search experience will follow.
  1. When was the last time you really read the content on your web site?  Does it accurately reflect what your company offers today? Or, has your business added new products or services that are missing, or discontinued activities that are still represented on the site?
  2. Does your site reflect what potential site visitors are looking for today? Is your content staying on top of industry trends?
  3. Would Google consider your company to be THE expert on your product or service by reading your copy? 
  4. Does your site contain enough depth to be considered an expert in your industry or is it thin in areas? 
  5. Are references, dates and links to additional resources still valid? 
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How well did your website weather Google’s stormy spring?

For those that don’t track Google algorithm changes like we do, it’s been a messy spring all across the country, not just Northeast Ohio. Like the Weather Channel naming the biggest storms, search engine insiders name Google search engine updates. So let’s recap two major storm systems that moved through the area to cause chaos for websites big and small.

Mobilegeddon

The impact of the Quality Update has been far more significant across the Internet than Mobilegeddon because it affects desktop search.

Google officially rolled out this massive cold front on April 21st. This change affected search rankings for sites that are not mobile compatible. The result is that Google’s mobile search engine for cellphones now attempts to display mobile-friendly sites ahead of sites that are not responsive. Google says this change provides a better experience for cellphone users. Just like other algorithm changes, if it’s better for the user, it’s better for Google. 

Fortunately, this change doesn’t affect search rankings on desktops and tablets, so in many B2B and industrial markets, most search traffic hasn’t been impacted too much.  

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5 SEO Tips for Optimizing PDF Documents

Many of our manufacturing clients have websites loaded with PDFs to share product literature, technical information, articles, and manuals. These documents can be the cream of the crop from an SEO standpoint if you know what you’re doing. To ensure search engines can index and rank your PDFs, here are 5 SEO tips to make them even more accessible:

  1. Content is King - Whether it’s a standard web page or PDF, your content needs to incorporate keywords important to your business. Take a quick glance at any PDF you use on your site and ask yourself these questions: Have you done your best at incorporating keywords within the content? Does your title contain those keyword phrases? If not, fix it.
  2. Save your PDF with keyword rich file names - This means no more naming your files with your internal product codes like PE984098.pdf. It just won’t cut it these days. Take the extra time to use a keyword rich file name like 5-SEO-tips-for-PDFs.pdf. The search engines use filenames as a signal, so use it. 
  3. Your PDFs should start from text based documents - Even with search engines using Optical Character Recognition (OCR), it’s much easier for search engines to scan text-based documents. Unless you have no other choice, it’s recommended to keep these documents text-based so that the search engines don’t have to work too hard to read, interpret and rank your information, especially when other text-based PDFs competing for position on similar keywords might already exist in the search results.
  4. Complete the document properties - Simply open up any PDF document, click on File/Properties/then Description and complete the fields. Be sure to use your keywords to help the search engines learn what the PDF is about.
  5. Include your URL in the header or footer of your optimized PDF - There’s nothing worse that clicking on a PDF from the search results and having nowhere to navigate. 

SEO is all about execution. Follow these 5 SEO tips for optimizing PDFs and you’re more likely to be rewarded.   

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Big Consumer Sites Aren’t the Only Ones at Risk for Hacking

You see it in the news with more frequency, another major retailer, health care site, or insurance site has reported that they’ve been hacked. Over the last few years hackers have commonly attacked these consumer sites to obtain sensitive information like credit cards or key personal data. In the end, these hacks cost companies millions and even worse, the loss of consumer confidence.   

So you have a B2B industrial site that is informational, with no sensitive or personal data. You’re site is safe, right? Think again, here are just a few reasons why hackers want a piece of your site too:

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1417 Hits

What’s Google dressing up as for Halloween this year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Halloween is just around the corner and Google has a few tricks or treats up their sleeve that might leave you screaming.  In case you’re confused on what’s what, here’s a quick breakdown of the latest algorithm updates from Google for the Fall of 2014. 

Panda: This is the algorithm relating to low-quality content.  If you took shortcuts in developing content, or it’s thin, every time Google updates Panda you need to look out.  The last update took place on September 23rd and affected 3% to 5% of web site results, which is considerable compared to past updates. Be the king of the kingdom this Halloween and treat yourself to a healthy spoonful of content. 

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How much should industrial companies spend for online marketing?

I've been on the sales end of industrial marketing for the past 15 years. I've sold various products including website design, SEO, banner ads, Google Adwords and industry directories. Still, when it gets down to advertising, many manufacturing or industrial businesses appear to be in the dark about what's an appropriate figure to spend on marketing to generate continued growth.

Some VPs and marketing managers I speak with on a daily basis are still surprised about the price of marketing. Some understand the value in marketing, while others are completely blown away by the cost.

I thought I would share with you what I've found other businesses are spending, to help you determine what you should be doing to better compete in your market. Typically, advertising budgets are tied to a sales ratio. Margin-driven businesses tend to spend a larger amount on advertising. Volume-driven businesses tend to spend a lesser amount on advertising.

A good rule of thumb is that at least 15% of your total annual marketing budget should be allocated to online marketing.

I find that the typical B2B industrial or manufacturing business tends to spend anywhere between 2-6% of sales revenue on marketing.  Industrial companies looking to maintain their  current market position will likely spend on the lower end of the scale.  Those that are looking to grow their position in the market will be on the upper end of the spectrum.

We all know that trade shows and advertising in trade journals make up a significant part of the marketing dollar for many manufacturing businesses. Year after year companies choose the same exact marketing buys without a clear idea of how well those methods work. The Internet has turned everything upside down. Buyers aren't waiting for the next trade show to get information about equipment or services they need. They're looking for that information online.

The Buyersphere Report 2013, an annual report that tracks B2B buyer behavior, reported that 47% of industrial buyers use supplier websites to get product information, 29% used a search engine, compared to 28% that use an industry specific intermediary.

So, have industrial businesses adjusted to this increased emphasis to online product/service research? If you ask me, for the most part the answer is NO.

A good rule of thumb is that at least 15% of your total annual marketing budget should be allocated to online marketing. This includes items like ongoing website development, SEO, web-based PR tactics, blogs, video development via YouTube, and various social media strategies. Some B2B surveys like the one published by the Content Marketing Institute report that businesses are spending as much as 33% percent of their marketing dollars for online marketing content.

Those are the ones that are 100% bought in to the value of online industrial marketing. On the other hand, I still see crazy spending at every manufacturing trade show I attend for elaborate trade show booths, massive capital machinery on display, and countless numbers of employees standing around happy to speak with anyone walking by. I see it again every time I pick up an industrial trade magazine with those full page 4-color ads. Who's reading the print version these days?

Even more interesting is to look at the online marketing efforts for many of those companies. Most have dated websites with flash-driven images, broken links all over, data sheets from 2004 and little to no effort on search engine optimization (SEO).

With three-quarters of the industrial buyer market saying they use Internet first to do their product research, doesn't it make sense to re-think how your company is allocating its annual marketing budget?

For a FREE evaluation of your website's performance and opportunities to improve lead generation, contact John Inama at 877-799-9994 ext. 2104 or fill out our form.

 

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36519 Hits

Trust Experts for Your Industrial Marketing Strategy

According to Wikipedia, the term “expert” is defined as someone who “has a prolonged or intense experience through practice and education in a particular field.”  That intense experience is what Pilot Fish brings to the table, having worked in the industrial sector dating back to 1995. 

Being able to identify and implement effective industrial marketing trends is essential to a successful strategy.

p> Our expertise with industrial companies didn’t happen overnight.   Our team has devoted time and energy to get to know many industries by attending industrial trade shows, conferences, plant tours, and more.   When working with industrial segments, we feel comfortable being able to talk the talk, translating technical detail into a cogent website that delivers an effective and clear message to your web site visitors.

 

Our industrial marketing teams are led by trained journalism professionals with experience at industrial publications.  We know how to work with your market and deliver an industrial marketing message that is appropriate to your target audience and that also works for search engines.  

Being able to identify and implement effective industrial marketing trends is essential to a successful strategy.  Online marketing channels that work for consumer sites don’t necessary equate to success for industrial businesses.  Marketing online via directories, social media and content marketing needs to be handled differently to effectively grow online traffic and deliver your message. 

We know square pegs don’t fit in round holes; working with a marketing partner that doesn’t understand your industry or your company’s needs doesn’t work either.  Making the decision to partner with an SEO firm that can develop an appropriate industrial marketing strategy for your company is the fastest route to a successful website.

Contact Pilot Fish or call 877-799-9994 ext. 2104 for assistance with your industrial marketing.

 

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2645 Hits

The Difference Between Industrial and Consumer SEO

We are a big believer that industrial SEO should be treated differently from a standard one-size-fits-all SEO approach.  For most industrial or B2B companies, a visitor to a website doesn’t result in an immediate sale.  It’s more of a nurturing process that involves educating the audience with technical content, managing how much information you provide, and getting the user to take action. 

Optimizing an industrial website, while employing some of the same techniques, is different enough from consumer SEO that if you can find an industrial SEO specialist (like Pilot Fish), you shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to find out how they can help you. 

Here’s what differentiates industrial SEO specialists from consumer SEO companies:

Working with an SEO firm with industrial expertise enables you to jump-start a successful SEO program that appropriately leverages your company’s strengths to reach prospective customers.

Expertise in working with Industrial Content

Writing industrial copy tends to be more technically sophisticated, working with data sheets, machinery specs, or case studies.  The ability to supply high quality technical information to an engineer is much different than selling pizza to a consumer.  Poorly written content or inaccurate information can destroy a company’s ability to turn website visitors into off-line prospects.  Having a content writer that is familiar with your industrial audience ensures that the information you deliver satisfies those needs and delivers content with the right tone and context. 

Link building techniques tailored for industrial SEO

We all should know by now that back links send signals to search engines to help establish your online credibility.  The more quality sites that link back to your site, the easier it is for you to rank well.  Link building in 2014 is all about positioning great content to naturally build links.  Developing high quality content requires a skill set not often found at the average SEO firm.   Finding an SEO company that caters to industrial clients by employing skilled technical writers significantly improves your website’s chance of securing high quality back links for improved search engine performance.

A well-qualified industrial SEO firm can also help you identify high-quality link opportunities that exist within your industry.  Working with an SEO firm with industrial expertise enables you to jump-start a successful SEO program that appropriately leverages your company’s strengths to reach prospective customers. 

Pilot Fish’s skilled search engine team has worked with manufacturing companies for the past 19 years.  Our expertise with industrial companies sets us apart from other firms that make you pay for their learning curve.   

Contact Pilot Fish or call 877-799-9994 ext. 2104 for help with your industrial SEO efforts.

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2413 Hits

Not an Off-Page SEO Believer? Here’s Why You Should Be

Most people familiar with search engine optimization recognize that ranking higher on Google involves two main factors: 1) On-page optimization, including keyword-rich content and relevant SEO tags and 2) Off-page SEO, meaning links from other websites back to your website.

For years we’ve spent countless hours educating companies in the manufacturing sector on how the search engine algorithm works to help our clients achieve better rankings. The easy part has always been explaining the on-page factors of optimization centered on keyword-rich content and relevant meta tags. In the early days, if you did that well, the results followed. But over time, more and more website developers and SEO companies figured out the secret sauce to rank, making it easy for spammy sites to earn high positions, which hurt the quality of search results.

If you don’t have good quality sites linking back to your site, you won’t rank for competitive search phrases that could drive a significant amount of traffic to your site.

Fearing that spammy results were hurting the integrity of search results and frustrating users, Google made a big change to the algorithm, adding inbound links from other websites as a factor affecting your site’s ranking. It’s now been that way for several years.

But educating clients on off-page optimization is tough. I’ve heard it hundreds of times: “We never did this before, why now?” Even worse, try talking about building links to company management, where most are Baby Boomers or early Generation Xers, and the first response is a blank face. Then comes the skepticism and disbelief, and off-page SEO doesn’t get approved in the budget.

To achieve rankings today, off-page SEO is a must. Bottom line, if you don’t have good quality sites linking back to your site, you won’t rank for competitive search phrases that could drive a significant amount of traffic to your site.

For those off-page SEO non-believers, check out the video we’ve embedded here that comes straight from Matt Cutts when he was the Google engineer serving as the public face for all things related to search.

Now that you’ve watched the video, it’s time to be an off-page SEO believer and let the linking begin. So how do you do that?  That’s another can of worms.

Contact Pilot Fish at 877-799-9994 ext. 2104 for assistance with your off-page SEO.

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2467 Hits

Find a Credible SEO Firm for Your Next SEO Project

It’s more common than not that most of our prospects and new clients have worked with a SEO firm in the past. Whether they’ve been working with their current web developer, a full service agency or an individual consultant, most have a bad experience to share with us.

Just because your service provider tells you they can do SEO, that doesn’t mean they really can at the proficiency level required to get your site better visibility on the search engines. Dig deeper and ask the right questions. Here’s an article by Google that’s worth checking out if you’re considering hiring an SEO firm: Do you need an SEO.

Here are some highlights from the Google article:

You are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it’s best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to 'help' you.

“No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.”

“Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a 'special relationship' with Google, or advertise a 'priority submit' to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.”

“Be careful if an SEO firm is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do.”

“Ask for explanations if something is unclear. If an SEO firm creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or 'throwaway' domains, your site could be removed entirely from Google’s index. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so it’s best to be sure you know exactly how they intend to 'help' you. If an SEO has FTP access to your server, they should be willing to explain all the changes they are making to your site.”

Pilot Fish is a very experienced, credible SEO firm that plays by the rules by following Google Webmaster Guidelines. We’re happy to share our results, offer up references, and provide an easy-to-understand plan with every custom proposal.

To find out if your site would benefit from working with a credible SEO firm, contact Pilot Fish or call 877-799-9994 ext. 2104.

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2408 Hits