Industrial SEO Best Practices for 2018 – Top 3 Organic Ranking Factors to Consider

Written by Dan Konstantinovsky
Strategic Marketing, RH Blake

With engineers investing the equivalent of one full workday a week consuming content and B2B buyers completing nearly 60% of the buying cycle before contacting a supplier, ensuring your industrial-focused website is appearing high on relevant search terms is critical. But given the continual evolution of Google’s algorithms (500-600 annual updates) that in turn affect rank factors, this is no easy feat.

SEMRush, a leading competitive intelligence platform for digital marketing, recently released a ranking factors study that researched the top 100 positions for more than 600,000 keywords and identified the top 17 factors.

We took this information and tailored it to the specific goals of manufacturing and industrial markets to develop what we believe are the top three organic ranking factors to consider to maximize the impact of your online presence. This is, of course, assuming that your website is technically sound and has the basic fundamentals, including effective landing pages. (More information is available in our ‘7 Steps to Improving Your Online Presence and Search Engine Ranking’ webinar.)

While this article focuses on the top three factors, the remaining 14 also rate some attention, depending on your specific business, growth goals and marketing strategies. (If you want to review the full list, click here.)

But for now, let’s start with the top three that we believe can help drive your industrial marketing success.

  1. Industrial Website Traffic Sources: Direct and via Search Engine

Direct website traffic—visitors who typed your domain name into their browser or followed a bookmark—is the most influential ranking factor according to the SEMRush study, because Google recognizes the domain has both high authority and value. In other words, if your company doesn’t have meaningful brand recognition or isn’t sufficiently differentiated from your competitors to attract visitors, the odds aren’t in your favor that you’ll rank highly on relevant keywords which in turn will impact leads and business generated.

Industrial SEO Best Practice in 2018 – What does this mean in terms of your SEO strategy?

Enhancing your brand recognition and communicating targeted valuable content should be a key part of your SEO objectives more than ever. It will not only grow your direct traffic audience, but also improve organic ranking of your domain.

  1. User Engagement on Industrial Websites

When we consider user engagement, there are many factors to focus on including overall time spent on the site, the number of pages visited per session and the bounce rate. According to the SEMRush study, all three user behavior signals will affect website rankings, because they indicate to Google how engaging and useful your website and content is for a particular search.

Time spent on site and number of pages visited is relatively straightforward – Bounce rate, on the other hand, represents single-page sessions divided by all sessions. If, for example, visitors stop at your homepage rather than going on to pages featuring additional information. this will translate to a high bounce rate and is a good indication that your site structure or content needs a thorough evaluation.

So what would be a “good” bounce rate? Based on SEMRush’s analysis, the bounce rate for domains in the top three positions is approximately 49%.

Industrial SEO Best Practice in 2018 – What does this mean for your industrial website and SEO approach?

How can you improve your bounce rate? Perform Google analytics research to better understand which pages are being visited most frequently and which pages are driving the most conversions (e.g. downloads, click-throughs, navigating to a specific page, etc.), Consider coupling this research with insights from your Google Console as this should have more meaningful search query information. These steps will help you better identify the type of content that is of most interest to your site visitors.

  1. Total Referring Domains, Backlinks and Total Backlinks

One significant factor in Google’s algorithm that determines search results is the number and quality of referring domains (where the backlinks originated). This latest research from SEMRush reinforces that the higher the domain’s position on the search result, the more referring domains it has. Plus, every domain that ranks for a high-volume keyword has, on average, four times more referring domains than domains from a low-volume group.

Industrial SEO Best Practice in 2018 – What does this mean for your industrial SEO best practices approach?

Identifying and prioritizing relevant domains and executing a strategy to achieve a backlink is a must for any industrial manufacturing SEO program. A good first step could be to use a third-party tool like Moz or SEMRush to identify websites that point visitors to your competitors that rank highly for relevant search terms. Once you’ve identified and prioritized this list based on domain authority and business value, create a targeted plan for each opportunity. For example, if you’re a manufacturer in the oil and gas industry, you may want to reach out to thought leaders in this space and see if they’d be willing to participate in an article you write.

Then, execute a publicity strategy to maximize the article’s impact. You want it to appear in meaningful and relevant places where your market base is most likely to read it. Research appropriate placements such as industry publications (print and online), reach out to the editorial contact and submit your article, ensuring that it meets the editorial guidelines. Include the full article or an abbreviated version on your social media channel such as LinkedIn or post it on your own company blog. And include information about your company or a bio line that has a link back to your company website.

Industrial SEO Best Practices for 2018 – How can we help?

Driving the right types of traffic and generating the right kinds of leads with SEO is a focus for many industrial firms in 2018. But with increasing competition for organic search results, leading industrial and manufacturing firms must stay on top of SEO best-practices to generate successful results.

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