SEO is not Voodoo!

You have a great website for your company. It looks good and displays all your products and services. But what's the use of all that if your potential clients can't find you on google and other search engines. Is your website optimized for search engines?

 

If you are a manufacturer and you really want to increase business through your wesite, then SEO or Search Engine Optimization is something you'll need to learn more about. Most manufacturing companies are clueless on how to go about this. Agencies and SEO Companies take advantage of this. They make Search Engine Optimization sound like voodoo, they make it sound very difficult and charge large amounts of money from customers with no guarantee of performance. This blog post tries to educate manufacturers about SEO. It goes over what SEO is, how it became a $5 Billion Industry and how you can make simple updates to your website to make it rank better in search engines.

How did SEO Become an Industry?

SEO is an industry that should have never been created. If you think about it - SEO is all about gaming the search engines to rank a website better than other websites for specific keywords. In the early 2000’s this was super easy, search engines had just started with Yahoo and then Google - Things were great in the beginning, you entered what you were looking for and would get the list of relevant results.

As search engines became more popular, it wasn't long before people realized that ranking well in search engines would drive more traffic to their website which in turn would lead to more business for them. So some companies started to game the system. They figured out how google worked based on the 'Page Rank' paper written by Serge Brin and Larry Page and started gaming the system to rank better for keywords that were important to their business.

The core fundamental of ranking in search engiens at the time was a term called Page Rank.

What is page rank?

Page Rank is a metric which search engines assign to each website page - basically its a function of the number of other websites that link to a particular page of your website. The tought process here being that if multiple people link to a page, it must be useful. So If you are looking for a page on Best Recepies for an omelette, and there are 500 pages out there. Search engines see which one has the most links to it, and considers that to be the most relevant page.

In an ideal world, this works very well. As people will only link to pages that they find useful, so the ones with the most links should be the most useful and thus should rank higher than the other ones. However, this is something that can be gamed very easily, many people realized that if they get multiple websites to link to them, their ranking in the search results goes up significantly. So they started to create fake websites with the objective to link to them, started posting in forums and link back to their website, added their sites to online directories, started paying websites to add links to them and using many other tactics to get links back to them.

Apart from the link building there were a number of other factors that search engines used, which were very easy to game - these included adding relevant keywords on a page multiple times, hiding content in the source of the page to make it look like it is about a particular topic. There were a whole bunch of very easy to manipulate processes which could positively impact rankings in search engines.

A few enterpreneures recognized this as a good opportunity and started working with companies to make them rank better in search engines. Some of them were ethical who would create great content in the hope to get links back to them, however most of them were not very ethical, they would use a host of "unethical" techniques to make their client websites rank better than others. It was a great time for SEO companies, as they could get websites to rank for relevant keywords very easily. As a result, more and more people wanted to get SEO companies to make them rank better. This is what kick started the SEO Industry.

 


The Counter Measures

It wasn't long until Google and other search engines realised this and they started to implement counter measures. They started trying to detect websites that were gaming the system, implementing penalties and using many more signals to rank pages. However this wouldnt stop companies from trying to figure out the other signals that mattered and then game them again. It took Google a few years to come up with a strong enough search algorithm that was difficult to manuipliate. 

The algorithm that exists now, is much tougher to manuipliate that what was out there in the beginning. Its now reached a point where most of the unethical tricks that these agencies used to do have little or no effect on the SEO of your website. These can sometimes have a negative effect. So be careful of agencies who promise you quick ranking - It sounds too good to be true, it probably is....

 

So What Really Matters when it comes to SEO

Google says they now have over 200 different signals that they look at when ranking websites in their search results - These include the number of links, quality of the websites from where they get links, content analysis, social signals, page structure and many more.

After working on SEO for everything RF, SpecPick and other websites which rank well in Search Engines. We created a blueprint for SEO - Something that everyone can do easily. The approach has been divided in to two parts - On-Page (Stuff you can do on your website) and Off-Page (Link Building, i.e acquiring links from other relevant websites).

 

On Page SEO

  • Content: Content is still king. This is the most important on-page SEO factor. This is what users read on a page and this is what you should focus on. Having great content will get users to link to your page and shre it on social media. This will lead to you automatically getting good links - which organically boosts your link building.
  • Page Structure: You may write great content however you need to help Search Engines Identify this content. To do soo you need to understand how search engines look at each page. Search engine bots do not read or understand the content on a page, they break it down in to a key parts and then analyze those page segments. Here is a list of the important page segments:
    • Metatags: Meta tags are a great way to provide search engines with information about your website. They are added to the <head> section of your HTML page and can not be seen by users on your page, they can only be seen by search engines. There are two main types of Metatags:

Metatag Title: This is the title that shows up in the search results. Search engines have traditionally placed a lot of importance in the words contained within this HTML element. A good page title is made up of valuable keyword phrases with clear user intent.

Metatag Description: This tag provides a short description of the page. In some situations this description is used as a part of the snippet shown in the search results.

  • H1: These tags are also known as heading tags or simply header tags. It is the main heading of the page. Unlike Metatags, users can actully see this. So if there is a news story, the title should be the heading (H1).
  • Body: The body is very important and a rewarding area to get right. Always put the main content of the page in the body. Use descriptive text that helps visitors – and keep it unique where possible. Over they years, search engines have got smarter and can even figure our synonyms so if the exact word is not on the page, it can still rank. 

 

Off-Page SEO

Links: No matter what anyone say, this is still the number 1 metric for ranking better in search engines. However,  you can no longer just get links from any random website. They need to be links from quality websites. Most search engines now ignore links from directories, forums, or those from where you can easily get links to your website. The key here is to get websites to link to your page because they find it useful or relevant. It's like someone vouching for your page. Also, links from popular/quality websites count a lot more than those from smaller websites. So, one link from NY Times or Wikipedia can count a lot more than 10 links from a random blog.

So how do you get links from good websites? They best way to do this is to write good, useful content. This increases the probability of people sharing your content on social media. However you also need to be proactive and push your content through channels where more people can see it, which will increase the probability of them linking to you. Here are a couple of things you can do to promote your content:

  •  Share your page on Social Media - Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or any other relevant social channel.

Facebook: Share it in revevant groups.
Twitter: Use realted # to make sure that people following those # see it. Also, tag.
Linkedin: Share it within your community and in relevant groups.

  • Email Websites: Another way to get more links is to email bloggers and companies telling them about your website/page/article and giving them a reason to link to you. You can say "this might be of interest to your users" or make it so interesting that they write a post about it and link to you.

 

Are there any Good SEO Companies?

In this post I have tried to convince you not to hire SEO companies. However, there are companies who actully do a good job. They help you optimize your presence, by creating useful content and sharing it on social channels, sending it to editors and getting them to link to it and other ethical SEO Tactics. These companies are very good, however this type of work requires them to dedicate some serious resources to each of their clients, which in turn makes them very expensive. If your budget allows it, this is always something you can look at.

When creating BuildBot - SEO was something that we thought about a lot. This is something that is very important for every manufacturer. So what we did is to build the core-requirements of On-Page SEO in to the system. We automatically generate the core on page SEO Elements for every page of your website using the content you enter - Metatag Title, Description, Page Heading (H1) and URL. You have the option to modify them.

There is not much we can do for off-page SEO, so we have built sections that you can use to create great content which you can share on Social Media that will get you links and make your pages rank well in search engines. For example you can add news stories, press releases, write white papers and technical articles or add videos. When these are useful and are posted on social media or emailed to bloggers, they will link to you.

If you like, you can even hire a good SEO company to write content for you and publish it on your website using the BuildBot Platform.

Sign up for BuildBot for FREE - The process takes about 30 seconds - this include the time where you enter the basic information about your company and the set up your server and create your website on the platform. After this, all you need to do is add in your data. If this still seems intimidating and you have an older site with hundreds or thousands of products - We can help you with migration. We have a team for this - the on-boarding team will manage your complete migration to the BuildBot platform, which will include adding all your product data, managing re-direction of your old links to new ones and creating a basic website for you. Then you can take over. Click here to sign up for a FREE trail.

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