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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.


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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Get Double the Bang for your Slideshow Buck

Everybody knows about PowerPoint, but not everybody knows about one of the best kept secrets concerning PowerPoint or other slideshow presentations:

They can be great online tools for marketing your company and your website.

Slideshows, posted to your own website and to sharing websites like http://www.slideshare.net (which averages 60 million visitors a month), offer the opportunity to:

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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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SEO Boosts B2B Website Success in non-U.S. Markets

Because search engine users are self-selecting prospects, SEO is the most cost-effective way to reach prospective customers (you already know that they're looking for your product). For companies that have global business markets, optimizing web sites for customers in their native language is a no-brainer.

The site's Spanish-speaking audience has grown considerably. In the website’s first month, more than 10% of site visitors were from countries where Spanish is the dominant language.

Speaking to a prospect in his or her native tongue is a sign of respect and indicates competence in being able to do business in other countries.

The foreign search engine landscape is similar to what we see here in the United States. Google now offers search engines covering more than 100 languages or dialects. In addition, most languages also are served by a number of local search engines.

For companies seeking to reach prospects in foreign markets via foreign search engines, the SEO requirements are the same as what one would do to optimize an English-language site:

  • Develop optimized content in that language
  • Optimize meta tags
  • Build incoming links to the foreign language pages

Bonus points in prospect outreach for ensuring that the names of folders, pages and images are written in the appropriate language – nothing says “we cut corners and ignore details” like a website address that reads http://www.yourdomain.com/spanish/about-us.html instead of http://www.yourdomain.com/es/quienes-somos.html.

Pilot Fish recently completed a project to develop and optimize a Spanish-language site for a long-time client. Within one month of launching the new site, the client had earned first page placement on multiple Spanish-language search engines, including:

  • Google Mexico
  • Google Bolivia
  • Google Chile
  • Google Costa Rica
  • Google Argentina
  • Google Belize
  • Google Colombia
  • Google Nicaragua

Additionally, the site's Spanish-speaking audience has grown considerably. In the website’s first month, more than 10% of site visitors were from countries where Spanish is the dominant language. That compares to an average of 1.8% for sites that do not have Spanish-language pages.

With just one investment in a professionally optimized Spanish-language site, this client expanded its visibility and marketing capability globally.

And a word to the wise: many content management systems now offer built-in translation capabilities, which can be great for plain-vanilla, consumer-oriented sites. But manufacturers need to ensure their success by following these recommendations:

  1. Have someone who speaks the language and is familiar with your industry review the translation to make sure your industry’s terminology is properly rendered.
  2. Seek an Internet marketing professional’s assessment of the CMS’s translation function to make sure that all of the most important SEO and user-friendly components will be translated.

Fill out this form for SEO assistance for websites in any language, or call 877-799-9994. 

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YouTube? Maybe You Should, for Better SEO and Marketing Results

Internet videos.

Those two words together conjure images of crazy teens failing at dumb stunts, goofy loners hamming it up and just plain nonsense.

But while the rest of the world squanders its time on silliness, a growing number of manufacturers are taking advantage of the amazing SEO power that online videos provide.

Here's a quick snapshot of industry-related action on YouTube.com, the ubiquitous video-sharing website:

GE has 300+ videos posted on the site; IBM has more than 1,800 clips there; Siemens AG, 4,600 and counting.

As with any SEO element, it's important to follow the right steps to achieve the best results.

Looking for an easy visual on quality improvement techniques? YouTube offers 18,700 videos to meet your needs. Process control and automation? 63,300 clips. Even the National Association of Manufacturers posts videos on YouTube.

And it’s not just associations and huge corporations posting those videos. Smaller companies also are reaping the SEO and marketing benefits of online videos, including:

  • A greatly increased chance of generating a first-page Google ranking on search terms important to your company.
  • The ability to see search engine results within days of posting.
  • The capacity to reach potential customers who are visually oriented rather than text-oriented.
  • The opportunity to visually demonstrate your expertise to prospects.

As with any SEO element, it's important to follow the right steps to achieve the best results:

  • Demonstrate something - how a machine works, how you handle quality control, how an end product meets certain requirements.
  • Post the video on your site, not just on YouTube.
  • Create a channel – a YouTube home page of sorts – for your company, where all of your videos can be listed.
  • Optimize each video posting and your channel by including search terms important to your customers and prospects, along with links back to your company’s website.

And don't feel that you have to have a professionally created video to rank well on the search engines. A carefully thought-out, "home-made" video can perform just as well. Plus, it often provides a greater sense of authenticity for viewers than a slick, professional video can.

Pilot Fish has helped a number of clients with their video SEO efforts. For more information on how your company can harness the power of online videos, contact Pilot Fishat 877-799-9994 ext. 2104.

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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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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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B2B SEO Strategies That Work and Keep the Boss Happy

Sometimes the success of a project isn’t necessarily measured by the goals set so much as it is by satisfying the boss’ expectations.  The best way to develop a successful B2B SEO strategy is to do a good job of planning ahead of time, get your management team and SEO firm on the same page, and set realistic expections for your organic SEO marketing project.

It’s not uncommon for a company to tell its SEO firm that the goal is “to perform better on the search engines.” Unfortunately, without more clear definition of what better performance means, the project may head off in a direction different from what company management expected.

There are four key areas to define before beginning an SEO marketing program:

It’s important to understand how competitive your target terms are and what the likely outcome will be.
  1. Keywords:  Most businesses feel they understand their products, services and customers well enough to hand their B2B SEO firm a list of target keywords. The problem with this approach is that management may have an unrealistic expectation for how quickly or easily their company can begin performing on some of the most competitive keyword terms and also might overlook other similar terms that could generate as much or more quality traffic. Keyword research will help define the scope of your project  by identifying which terms must be viewed as long-term SEO marketing goals vs. terms for which your company can more easily attain success in the shorter term. Having strategies for a mix of long-term and short-term keyword goals will help satisfy your management that the SEO strategy is on track.
  2. Timeline: Is your boss on the same page as you and your SEO firm with regard to how long the project will take and how soon you might expect results? Long-term to you might mean a year or two, but could mean one month to your boss. There are no guarantees with regard to how long it will take to perform on a given term, but it’s important to understand how competitive your target terms are and what the likely outcome will be. Be sure you’re on the same page with regard to the effort that will be required to improve your site’s website rankings.
  3. Strategy: What plan has your B2B SEO firm put in place to achieve your SEO goals? Will your site require a significant amount of work on the website? If so, is your IT staff aware of the changes that will be needed? Many SEO marketing programs are unnecessarily disrupted by IT personnel who don’t appreciate other people in the company and, especially, outside parties, messing with their systems. It’s important that IT personnel hear from executive management at the outset of the project that this is a marketing activity and that they’ll be needed to support it in order for the company to reach its goals.
  4. Measurement: How will the project’s success be measured and on what timeline?  Is your boss looking for a specific increase in sales or is the measurement of the project’s success based on improved website rankings for specific keywords?  Google Analytics does a fine job of helping businesses track the improvement in their site’s SEO performance by showing the terms by which your site currently is performing and what average page position your website appears for that term on Google. Over time, you can use this to see changes in your site’s position for the keywords you are targeting. Make sure that you, your management team, IT staff and SEO firm are all in agreement with regard to how the SEO marketing program will be evaluated to ensure that the strategies you’ve developed support those goals.

Organic SEO is a highly effective B2B marketing strategy when businesses work together with their SEO firms to identify realistic goals and timelines and appropriate SEO marketing strategies that line up with those goals.

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

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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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How to Improve Your SEO

“How do I improve my website’s SEO?” Talk about a loaded question! But, it’s one we hear multiple times every day.

Many companies that have recently come to realize that SEO is a necessity fail to understand the complexity of it, largely because the target keeps moving. Unless you’re immersed in SEO research on a day-to-day basis like we are, it’s difficult to comprehend everything that’s required. Some elements of SEO that worked five or 10 years ago don’t work today or, at worst, can cause your site to be penalized. Other factors that are important require a more nuanced approach to be successful.

If it were easy and cheap, everyone would do it, and how would Google know who to rank on their first page?

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, there’s no out-of-the-box solution that will guarantee SEO success for every business. Why is that? For starters, there are too many website variables that Google uses to formulate its algorithm – more than 200 of them. A recent article outlines what the SEO community believes to be the SEO factors Google measures.

Every SEO project we undertake is unique to that customer.  We first review the client’s site to determine what elements are missing or done incorrectly. We look at whether the business has determined which keywords they should use and whether those keywords really are the right ones based on how Google interprets that term and the competitive environment. We analyze their inbound links – where they get links from and the quality of those links – compared to the links that better performing sites have. We review the company’s online marketing initiatives – what other things they are doing besides the website. (See Pilot Fish's full-service SEO strategy.)

We then prepare an SEO recommendation that usually requires work on the client’s website, plus attention to link building and content marketing that will promote their site across the Internet and provide good quality back links.  The execution of each project is unique to the client, based on the industry they’re in, and the condition of their site (how much help they need).

It sounds like a lot of work (it is), and it’s not inexpensive. But, then again, if it were easy and cheap, everyone would do it, and how would Google know who to rank on their first page?

Would you like someone to review your website to see how to improve your SEO? Contact us or call 877-799-9994 ext. 2104.

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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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Common SEO Mistakes

We’ve all heard the phrase “you get what you pay for,” and it’s probably one you’ve used in exasperation when pushed by a client to match the price of a competitor who’s offering an inferior product or service.

But, when it comes to website design and search engine optimization (SEO), sometimes you DON’T get what you pay for.  That is the most common SEO mistake.

The truth is, there are a lot of SEO-ignorant or just flat-out unscrupulous web design and SEO scammers that bank on the fact that you know very little about SEO. So when you ask for a new site that’s optimized for search engines or ask a provider to optimize an existing site, you take for granted that they will, regardless of whether the price they quoted is $5,000 or $500,000.

Reputable B2B SEO companies understand that it’s important to have good quality links from relevant sites.

This is the scenario from which we get most of our clients — hard-working businesses, most in the industrial or B2B space – who put their faith in some web design or “SEO company” and realize months later they’re left with bubkes for all the effort and dollars invested.

It’s not their fault. These industrial and B2B companies asked for the right thing.  They wanted a website that would perform on Google. The problem is, they don’t have the knowledge to determine whether the solution being proposed really is the right way to do SEO or potentially is an outdated version of SEO that no longer works or is no SEO solution at all.

Here are the most common mistakes a web design or supposed “SEO” company will make that cause your site not to perform well on search engines:

  • Offering to optimize just your meta tags. This is a way outdated tactic.  There are now hundreds of elements that go into Google’s algorithm.  Having good, unique page titles and meta descriptions are important, they’re just not the magic bullet that some companies want you to believe.
  • Equating a beautiful site with having a beautifully performing site. You’ve probably wondered how it’s possible that some po-dunk manufacturing business that built their crappy little website in 1999 is showing up on the first page of Google, ahead of your expensively and artfully redesigned site. The fact is, Google treats ugly and beautiful sites the same way, by ranking them based on the quality of their content and how well they match up to the keyword that the Internet user has just typed in.   But having a nice-looking site that also performs well on the search engines is important for another reason. Once site visitors click on your link in Google, you want to be sure they view your site as being an expert in your industry – credible and large enough to handle their business needs. The key is making sure that your web design firm understands that beautiful is important, but performance is more important.
  • Using “state-of-the-art” technology that’s not search engine-compatible. Boy, does it frost  our new customers when they find out the reason their website doesn’t show up well in the search engines is that their former web design firm built it using whiz-bang technology that the search engines don’t support.
  • Ignoring off-page SEO. Having a well-optimized website now is only about half of the equation for good performance on the search engines. If your SEO company hasn’t talked to you about off-page SEO and content marketing to develop high-quality back links to your site, then you need to run far away, very fast, and find a new SEO firm.
  • Failing to do research. SEO is keyword-driven and not all terms are alike. In order to have a website that can be seen by the broadest number of potential customers, your site needs to focus on the terms that searchers use to find companies like yours. If your SEO company hasn’t done keyword research it can show you, then you’re not with a credible company.  
  • Linking in bad neighborhoods.  For the last several years, there’s been a clamor about getting back links to your site for SEO.  Many businesses sprang up from the idea of developing automated link submission platforms or link-buying schemes.  Unfortunately for them and the clients they coaxed into going along with these strategies, thousands of links doesn’t necessarily equate to good SEO.   Reputable B2B SEO companies understand that it’s important to have good quality links from relevant sites.   And, supporting that premise, Google has begun penalizing websites that have an outrageous number of spammy or paid links.  

So, how can an industrial or B2B business needing a great-performing site avoid these common SEO mistakes?  The best way is to look for a credible web design or SEO company by doing the following:

  • Don’t tell them what you need, ask them what you need. If the SEO company can’t tell you what’s wrong with your site, how they will fix it and how the search engines work to rank websites, then they don’t know industrial or B2B SEO.
  • Ask if they do keyword research. You’ll need to pay your SEO company to do the keyword research as part of your SEO plan, but it’s very worth it. It helps guide strategy for button names, page names and topics you’ll need to cover on your website to ensure potential customers can find you and know what you do once they get to your site.
  • Ask for results and references. Any credible SEO company will be able to cite examples of their success and refer you to clients they helped.
  • Don’t base your decision on price. After 20 years of developing and optimizing industrial and B2B websites, we feel pretty comfortable with our quoting process. We’re not the highest priced company out there and we’re not the lowest. We tend to fall somewhere right in the middle. And, among the clients we work with, some spend way more money on their sites with other developers to have them fail, and others spent significantly less and got very little in return before coming to us. Either way, like Goldilocks and the three bears, once they’ve landed here, they find out we’re just right.

For a FREE assessment to determine how to improve your industrial or B2B website’s performance, contact us or call 877-799-9994 ext. 2104.

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