SEO for Manufacturers Can Increase Your Leads for Years to Come
Updated on 1/9/2024
Welcome to our guide to help you learn more about manufacturing and search engine optimization.
On this page, we try to help you no matter what level you are of doing SEO (from beginner to advanced). It’s essentially a brain dump of what we’ve learned over the years in helping dozens of manufacturing companies across the country improve their presence in search engines.
As always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us either via phone or the form on our website.
Frequently Asked Questions About SEO for Manufacturers
- Why Consider SEO For Your Manufacturing Business?
- What is Manufacturing SEO?
- Impact of SEO on Manufacturing Companies
- Is SEO the right fit for my business?
- Establishing Your SEO Baseline
- Finding the right keywords to target
- Should I target local or national customers?
- Addressing Link Building and Off-Site Factors
Why Consider SEO For Your Manufacturing Business?
There are many options to help you try to market your business both traditionally and online. We’ve found that SEO is the best-performing channel for our manufacturing clients to drive more business and sales on the internet (You could also accuse us of being super biased too). Here are a few reasons to consider SEO if you are assessing your options:
- The prospects/leads are typically warmer – One of the reasons for this is that people who are performing searches on the internet for specific services and products are already in a “warmer” sale state or further down the process of purchasing.
- It’s measurable – If you have the right tracking system in place, you can not only assess where your calls and leads are coming from, but also see the amount of revenue coming back from each channel. SEO typically brings in the most qualified and highest traffic, leads, and sales for the customers that we work with.
- Brand perception improvement – There’s a level of trust and credibility that you receive from being ranked high for products or services that you offer
- State of the Industry – From our experience, the manufacturing industry tends to be behind in embracing online marketing. This is something that you can take advantage of.
What is Manufacturing SEO?
Manufacturing SEO (search engine optimization) is a digital marketing strategy or channel that is customized towards industrial companies which helps them rank better on search engines. For manufacturing companies, the goal is to rank nationally, or even internationally, for products or services you produce and/or sell. A successful SEO campaign is completely customized to your needs and will bring customers to your website searching for your products or services with the goal of getting them to ultimately contact you.
Impact of SEO on Manufacturing Companies
If you are weighing investing time or money into SEO, we invite you to review some key data on how SEO has impacted the industry. We’ve shared an infographic detailing some data that we uncovered when researching the overall impact on the industry below:
- 57% of B2B marketers believe SEO generates more leads than any other strategy (Source: Gitnux)
- 75% of people searching the internet never go beyond the first page of search results. (Source: Imforza)
- 79% of manufacturers claim to have an SEO strategy. (Source: Industrial Sage)
- 68% of manufacturing marketers link building is part of their SEO strategy. (Source: Industrial Sage)
- 84% of people searching for services in the manufacturing industry say that they use the internet as their starting point in finding a company, components, and services. (Source: HubSpot)
- On average, B2B buyers do roughly 12 searches while researching before engaging with a brand. (Source: Google)
- As of 2022, organic traffic generates 69% of leads for manufacturing companies. (Source: Industrial Sage)
Is SEO the right fit for my business?
One of the best parts about SEO is that no matter what your niche is, it can offer great opportunities to draw people in who are looking for your products or services. A successful SEO strategy allows your site to become a vital marketing tool for your business, generating high-quality leads for years to come. If you need more convincing, check out some more compelling facts and statistics on SEO.
Establishing Your SEO Baseline
Before you jump into things, it’s going to be critical to establish a baseline on where you are currently at with your website traffic, leads, and sales. Getting a baseline on this data will help show a “before state” of your campaign. As you implement the campaign and show progress, this will help you understand the overall value of what the campaign brings to your company. It will also help you assess the other types of channels you may already be utilizing – traditional marketing, social, and paid.
Here’s a quick checklist of things to set up or review prior to starting your research on search engine optimization:
- Google Analytics 4 – (gives you a baseline on who is visiting your website and where they are coming from) making sure this is set up and tracking goals. If you haven’t set it up, it’s free to register and set up on your website.
- Google Search Console – This is another free tool from Google that gives you some fabulous information on what keywords you are showing up for already on Google. It’ll show impressions, clicks, and the number of pages your website currently has indexed or listed in Google
- Forms – There are many third-party form software out there. I would highly recommend looking at HubSpot as the platform to use for your forms and also your CRM. If you use their absolute baseline option, it runs about $40 dollars per month. This is comparable to most web form options. The significance of HubSpot is that it automatically identifies how people found your website and attributes that to the lead. It’s invaluable to have to assess how many inquiries are coming in from SEO right now. If you do not have forms on your website and are listing email addresses as a way to contact you, you are missing out on leads.
- Quick Website Diagnostic Scan – To rule out any technical issues, hindering your progress, I’d recommend subscribing to Semrush or Seranking. The membership runs about $50-$100 dollars per month and will give you some critical high-level diagnostics on your website.
The last thing to get a baseline on is keywords. This is elaborated on in more detail in the next section.
How Do I Know What Keywords to Target?
You’ll want to do some homework on this. The good news is that there are plenty of tools out there to help you assess opportunities. Here are three tools to look at:
- Google Keyword Planner – Requires signing up for Google Ads but doesn’t mandate spending money or running ads to see general search volume for keywords. If you run a campaign, you’ll get more specific data.
- SE Ranking – Signing up is a mandate to use this tool; however, they give you a 14-day trial to assess it. It’s worth the commitment, as you can put keyword phrases into their system and also get an idea of where you rank for that specific term (at a minimum). This tool will also allow you to track your keyword progress over time, which is an important aspect of assessing a long-term SEO campaign.
- Ahrefs – If you have an account, you can use their keyword explorer tool to help get a better idea of what different terms your competition is targeting and what gaps are between your sites.
- Google Trends – Shows search trends over time and peak times of the year for search volume
Manufacturing Company Keyword Research Tips
In SEO, you’ll want to be very careful about the terms you target. If you try to rank for manufacturing keyword phrases that are too broad, you could wind up either failing to draw the right audience to your website or to rank in general because of the competition level of those terms.
If you start to experiment with the SEO research websites listed above, here are a few things to search for and possibly target:
- [product or service] company
- [product or service] distributor
- [product or service] supplier
- [product or service] manufacturer
- [product or service] for [x] industry
- [product or service] for [x] products
The search terms can be singular or plural, too. Adding descriptive words to the products or services may result in keyword phrases that have lower search volume. However, the goal with any search campaign is to gain visitors who are hyper-relevant and in a buying mode. A far more specific search (i.e. someone contacting you to say something like, “I’m looking for a company to do some copper fabricating with a CNC machine”) typically means it’s a better potential prospect for your business.
Your overall marketing strategy should dictate the initial geographic focus of your SEO efforts. Most manufacturing companies can service customers globally, however, it may only make sense to target people in a specific city (or cities) or region. We highlight SEO opportunities for manufacturing companies both nationally and locally below.
If you are focused on a specific region or city, it’s critical to make sure that is stated on your website somewhere. This can be on a specific page that targets people in that city or in general on your website.
Optimizing for the “Map pack” or “local pack” listings in a specific region
We’d recommend spending time setting up a Google Business Profile (the element that is tied to ranking on Google in the local pack or map pack listings) regardless of where your target audience resides. At the very least, try to get a few reviews in the local listings. It will help build credibility with people assessing your website and business.
You don’t have to worry about incorporating local terms into the key pages on your website if you have a national focus. The key to success with targeting and ranking for terms nationally is to have a balance of both broad or very general terms/pages and specific terms/pages that focus on appealing to people looking for a very specific product or service.
There are two major high-level factors that drive ranking for Google (which owns the majority of the market share for search engines). The first is content and user experience and the second is comprised of off-site factors. One of the biggest off-site elements that Google looks at is links coming to your website.
Understanding Links and Your Domain Authority
Links and evaluating the value of links coming to your current website can be confusing when you are learning or trying to understand search ranking factors. One of the best tools out there to assess the equity of and see the links coming to your website is Moz.com’s link explorer. You can get some data on a free basis but if you want access to everything, you’ll need to get a paid account (runs about $100 per month). It’s well worth the cost as there are many other tools that you get with that subscription.
The Moz link explorer assigns your website a score on a scale of 0-100. They call this “domain authority.” The higher the score – the more influential your website is (in the eyes of the search engines). The scoring system allows you to see how your site stacks up against your regular competitors and search engine competitors.
Adding Links and Building Domain Authority
Using the Moz.com link explorer, you’ll be able to see who is linking to your website. Additionally, you can use the same tool to research your competitors. When using the tool, make sure to filter the links by the “follow” attribute. You can then see what links your competitors have and use that in your plan to build links to the website.
Basic Link Building Ideas
Here are some link building strategies to consider:
- Write a blog post profiling a business partner that you work with. Featuring them in a post on your website is a great way to ask them to link to you
- Join your local Chamber of Commerce (this works if your target audience is local or national). There are many benefits to joining your local chamber. One of the SEO benefits is them linking to and referencing you on their website.
- Join national associations that are affiliated with your industry (it’s the same concept or strategy as #2)
- Reach out to the colleges and high schools of selected staff. You’ll want to pitch the college or high school to provide an update on the staff member on their website in almost a “where are they now” feature
Assessing Your Competitors
We’ve found that the industrial industry is a late adopter of digital marketing, and the primary purpose of manufacturing company websites is to serve as a portfolio you can refer potential customers to when talking to them. Your competitors’ lack of activity is an opportunity for you.
Another thing to consider is your competitors in the search engine landscape. The competitors that you closely watch may not be the ones you have to battle for position on search engines. Try doing a few searches for products you make or services you offer. Note who is ranking both organically (listings below the paid ads) and who is running ads on these terms via Google Ads. That will give you more of an idea of where you truly stand in Google’s eyes.
A great tool to assess your competitors is Spyfu.com.
First Steps – Adjust Content
For most companies in the manufacturing industry, the best place to start is your website and the content on it. Search engines like sites that publish content regularly because it helps them understand if you are an authority on a topic or a series of topics. A topic can be considered one of your products or services. Here are a few areas of your website where you could consider adding content or creating new pages if needed:
- Add content to your homepage. Here are things to expand upon on this page:
- What makes your company different? In manufacturing, it’s usually the expertise, years in business, customer service, how quickly you can get them your product, and the level of customization of the product that you offer.
- The history of your company
- Your team and leadership
- Photos of your facility/team
- Include a link to a “contact us” page in copy across the site. It’s also key to include it in the main navigation of your website (you’ll get bonus points if you have a form on there)
- Create an “about us” page and post pictures of the leadership at your organization. If one of your differentiation points is your expertise, this will be critical
- Create new pages for each individual type of product or service that you offer. Quite often, we see companies list all of these things on one page. We recommend creating individual pages for each product and service because it’s much easier for a search engine to find and rank a page if it has a specific content focus on it. It also improves the probability that someone will contact you because their search has led them to a page with hyper-relevant content.
Getting More Leads/Calls From Your Site
It’s one thing to get people to your website, but it’s another thing to get people to contact you once they are there. Getting a response from visitors to your website will make or break your SEO campaign. Here are a few high-level tips to help get more response from any visitor to your website.
- Add forms to your website rather than list email addresses. A few options to consider for this service include Wufoo and HubSpot
- Add your phone number to the top-right corner of your website header (across the site)
- Add calls-to-action to contact you or request information to the top of your website in both desktop and mobile views (mobile is usually neglected for this)
- Consider adding a chat to your website. We’d recommend either the HubSpot chat feature or LiveChat
About Sixth City Marketing’s SEO Services
A lot of our site is product specifications and data. How do you go about adding more content to those pages?
We have a great in-house staff of copywriters who have extensive experience working with a range of clients and crafting copy for sections like these. Our writers have backgrounds in marketing, journalism, communications, and other fields that give them a creative boost to ensure that your content can be optimized strategically.
What types of manufacturers can you help?
Over the years, we have worked with a wide range of industrial companies in various niches. From tank manufacturers to metal parts distributors, our experience has helped us learn the ins and outs of various businesses in the industry. We can help companies in fields such as:
How Our Manufacturing SEO Services Get You More Leads
Incorporating an SEO strategy into your marketing efforts can reap great rewards, but our company can also correct many issues websites face, which hurt their search presence, and in turn negatively affect their traffic and lead generation.
Common issues that manufacturing websites often face include:
- A site that is not mobile-friendly or compatible on all device types
- Key pages not targeting keywords that match user search intent
- A site missing an SSL certificate (a non-HTTPS URL)
- Pages with slow load times
- Missing calls to action, which are essential for generating a user response
- No way to contact the business
- Lacking conversion or goal tracking in Google Analytics
By utilizing our team of marketing experts, you can eliminate these issues and start to see a significant boost in both your SEO traffic and conversions.
The Ways Our Approach to SEO Helps Manufacturers
Here are some of the tactics we consider and implement when crafting custom SEO strategies for manufacturers:
Evaluate Top Landing Pages
We will go into your Google Analytics profile and see which pages on your website get the most traffic, convert the best, and have the most room for opportunity. From there, we can revamp page copy, add additional keywords, internally link pages together, and more.
Address Product and Service Pages
We often see manufacturing websites that have little to no page copy on their most important pages, whether it’s because they never had the time to write content, had limitations in how the website was built, or they just weren’t sure what to write. Part of our process includes making sure these pages are optimized properly.
Check Your Local Presence
Have you claimed and optimized your local listings on Google and Bing? Even if you are a national company, making sure your business information is properly displayed not only on your website, but across citation websites, social media, and your Google Business Profile is an essential SEO tactic.
Assess Data Sheets and PDFs
As a business that needs to value the technical aspects of your products, from their size to their range of abilities, you are likely linking to various PDFs that your company creates for your product line. But did you know there is no way to track PDF views in Google Analytics? Not to mention, PDFs don’t give customers the ability to contact you. Ensuring that we address issues like this is a top priority of our strategy.
Take Time to Build Quality Links
Having a strong backlink profile is essential in the eyes of Google. Our strategists have experience crafting link-building strategies that will give your site a boost from quality websites.
Refresh Your Metadata
If it has been a while since you updated the metadata on your website, give these titles and descriptions a makeover to include more keywords and more appealing copy can bring more users to your site.
Identify and Track Your Top Keywords
Do you currently know where your website ranks on search engines such as Google? The answer may not be what you think it is, since Google’s personalized search algorithm often interferes with most search queries. We will work with you to identify what terms you wish to rank for and utilize reliable software that helps us track your website’s ongoing progress in ranking.
Create Useful Content to Help the Sales Process
Your sales team is likely asked a lot of redundant questions, like ordering info, shipping queries, and everything in-between. One great way we can help alleviate that is by creating a frequently asked questions page that users can have as a tool to get the info they need quickly, which will ultimately save you the hassle.
Design for Conversion
Our team has the ability to make strategic design and development changes to your website that will turn website visitors into customers. From adding pops of color to changing the location of your web forms to be “above the fold” of the page, there are numerous things we can implement to improve your pages from a conversion standpoint.
Establish Proper Goal Tracking
Even if you already have Google Analytics connected to your website, you could be missing out on key data by not having proper goal tracking in place. Our team can enable goal tracking across web forms, phone numbers, and even purchases to help you better analyze your website and marketing efforts.
“The Sixth City Team is truly knowledgeable about how SEO works and love what they do. They are natural teachers, excited to share what they know. The recommendations and information we got from them were super helpful in improving our site’s rankings and a few other things.” – Miranda Berner, Berner Air Curtains
Why Invest in SEO for Your Manufacturing Company?
We understand that deciding to invest in a reliable agency is a big decision, and we realize that you may have worked with other agencies in the past that couldn’t produce results. Here are some things about our agency that may help with your decision:
- We’re Focused on Measurement and ROI – Simply stated, if we aren’t helping to generate more sales for your business, then we aren’t doing our jobs. Our ultimate goal is to prove a return on your investment in our SEO services.
- We Can Help You Get Lead Source Data – We have developed a unique process that allows us to get more detailed information from your form submissions and phone calls that can help you assess the success of the work we are providing.
- We’re Experienced in B2B Marketing – We know that most manufacturers operate with a business-to-business focus, and our experience in doing SEO for other clients and similar industries helps us know how to target and appeal to your ideal customers in professional fields.
- We Have an In-House Team – One of the biggest things that makes our agency different is that we are completely in-house, meaning we do not outsource any of our work. This not only helps us build better client relationships, but also increases the quality of the work we do for your business.
The Types of SEO You Should Be Familiar With
There are four popular branches of SEO that we utilize in our 100% custom manufacturing marketing campaigns:
- On-Page SEO
This includes everything you can control and change on a webpage, including page copy, keywords, internal linking, headers (H1, H2s, etc.), metadata, and photos.
- Off-Page SEO
As you can guess, off-page SEO includes everything you do for SEO outside of your website. This includes link building, managing local citations, optimization of local profiles, and more.
- Technical SEO
Technical SEO encompasses aspects of your on-page SEO, such as ensuring your photos are sized properly and optimized, and also factors in the structure of your website, redirects, canonicals, user experience, and overall site speed.
- Local SEO
Local search engine optimization isn’t relevant to most businesses in the manufacturing industry, but it is still good to understand what it is. Local SEO refers to specialized tactics to improve the local rankings of businesses that have a local focus (such as gyms, dentists, contractors, etc.). This can include optimizing their local profiles, getting backlinks from other local businesses, and more.
In our work with these businesses and many others, we have accrued the experience needed to effectively increase qualified leads and website traffic for companies within many unique manufacturing sectors.
Our SEO Success With Manufacturing Companies
Here are a few of our case studies with current and former clients that prove just how powerful SEO can be.
We provided a custom SEO strategy with a heavy focus on targeted keyword research, alongside a website redesign for this client. Comparing September 2017 to February 1 through March 2 of 2014, we were able to:
- Improve overall traffic by 402%
- Boost organic traffic by 50%
- Improve monthly leads by 314%
For Shini USA, from a mix of PPC, design for conversion, and SEO that included keyword analysis and content optimization, comparing year over year, they received:
- 28% more monthly website visits (1,464 vs. 1,142)
- A 632% boost in SEO traffic (564 vs. 77)
- A 129% increase in monthly leads (39 vs. 17)
Valco Valley Tool & Die
When we started with Valco many years ago, they had just launched a new website and were experiencing major traffic losses. With our SEO help, a year later, their numbers were very different:
- We increased visits per month by 114% (2,910 vs. 1,362)
- Monthly online inquiries surged by 543% (135 vs. 21)
- The overall conversion rate rose from 1.54% to 4.6%
We Do More Than Just SEO for Manufacturing Companies
A complete campaign from a successful manufacturing marketing agency doesn’t just stop with search engine optimization. For industrial companies, it means reaching out to customers in new ways and making it easier than ever for them to find what they need, request parts, create custom orders, inquire about capabilities, and more.
Our company can also provide:
- Website Design and Development
One of the best ways to help your website convert higher is through a fresh look and design. We have years of experience designing custom websites for specific industries that cater to their preferred customers’ needs. Best yet, we work with you step by step through the phases of planning, designing, and launch.
- Pay-Per-Click Marketing and Management
Running a successful paid campaign can be extremely difficult. With our in-house staff of PPC experts, we can deliver custom landing pages, well-written ads, and precise keyword and location targeting to ensure your ads get in front of your ideal customers on Google, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media outlets.
- CRM Consulting/Marketing
Do you use a customer relationship management system such as HubSpot or PipeDrive? As CRM experts, we can assist you in setting up workflows, organizing leads, and much more to help your sales team keep up with the leads we bring in through our marketing services.
- Social Media Management
For manufacturers, social media marketing can be a great way to get the word out on new products, services, and any special events going on in your company, such as attending trade shows. Our team will write posts, schedule them, and conduct maintenance on your social media accounts on your behalf.
- Email Marketing
Supplementing our SEO services, we are trained in working with various email platforms such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, HubSpot, and more. From designing a template to match your brand to writing monthly newsletters, we can help you email your current customers, distributors, and more.
“I’ve worked with Sixth City Marketing for multiple years now for my PPC and SEO needs. They have consistently delivered a high-quality product, are professional, and deeply care about their customers. They listen to my business needs and work with me to help my business grow. I’ve seen a massive improvement in the quality of leads, website visitors, and click-through rate. My website has experienced immediate positive results from suggested website changes, with increased forms completed, increased phone calls, and increased pages per visit. Other PPC companies I’ve worked with just waste ad spend, while Sixth City Marketing makes use of every penny.” – Jennifer Hristovski, SprayWorks
Contact Our Manufacturing SEO Company Today
When it comes to search engine optimization services, no one does it better than Sixth City Marketing. With a deep understanding of the industry and what it takes to reach customers and give them exactly what they need, we promise to take your business to new online heights.