The 2019 Guide to SEO & Content Marketing for Manufacturers
In this complete SEO and content marketing guide for manufacturers, we'll cover an overview of how to market a manufacturing company. You'll learn about SEO strategies for manufacturers, how to identify investable content marketing ideas, and how you can get more qualified leads while building your brand as an authority.
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Table of contents
This guide contains everything we know and we’re constantly adding to it. It’s a wealth of knowledge for helping manufacturing companies with their SEO and content marketing. For your convenience, we’ve broken it up into sections on this page.
Let’s set the stage for this guide. We want to establish why SEO is so important to manufacturers and we’ll establish our credibility as an SEO agency that offers the best SEO services that can help manufacturers dominate their market and convert qualified leads.
You can read on or you can watch this video:
We’re going to look at the search term: plastic manufacturing processes
We searched that term in Google and here are the top results as of August 2019:
As you can see in the screenshot above, the top four results in the SERPs (search engine results page) are all ads. Now, at this point, you might be thinking, “maybe I should be doing PPC ads then.”
We wouldn’t blame you for thinking that. However, the most important thing to consider when you are building an SEO strategy that attracts quality traffic to your website is user intent.
What is user intent?
User intent is what a user online intended or wanted to find online when they typed their search term into an online search engine.
In the example above, do you know exactly what the user intent is behind the keyword “plastic manufacturing processes?”
No. We could certainly do our homework and find out what all the possibilities are, but we can’t be 100% certain.
Paying for ads is a great way to get your business visibility, but you could be paying a lot for a searcher that has no intention of hiring your plastic manufacturing business.
Though we can’t be absolutely sure, when it comes to this particular keyword, the searcher most likely doesn’t know exactly what they are looking for.
They may be curious about the process and that’s it.
It could be a high school student doing a research product.
It could be your ideal customer trying to understand what to expect from working with a plastic manufacturer; either at the research and development stage or the production stage.
You get the idea. Two people could search this same term and be completely different people and have completely different intent.
We aren’t saying this keyword isn’t a great target for a plastic manufacturing company, but, it’s crucial to consider user intent when considering a manufacturing SEO strategy and content strategy.
Let’s look further down the page, past the ads:
In the image above you’ll notice two more SERP (search engine results page) features:
The featured snippet, which is shown when Google is trying to answer the user’s question right away, and
The frequently asked questions feature, which includes other keywords (search queries) or questions that people are searching for that are related to your initial search. These often show up to guide the user to find exactly what they are looking for.
We love seeing these features.
It’s true that Google doesn’t reveal how exactly their powerful search engine works, but, they do leave behind breadcrumbs like this.
Google is trying to help the searcher find exactly what they are looking for (and that’s exactly what you need to accomplish as well). That’s what keeps Google in business; offering great, relevant results. That’s why they have these features available and you need to use these features to your advantage if you want to position your manufacturing company to dominate the search engines.
In the previous image, you could see the #1 top organic result right below the frequently asked questions (red box below).
Without looking into it much, we can tell you why this is the top organic position. Assuming it follows through with what it states in the meta title (or page title) and meta description (or page description), this blog post probably does a fantastic job of matching the intent behind our search term “plastic manufacturing processes.”
The title and description make it clear that the post covers an overview of different plastic manufacturing processes and can even help the searcher make the best selection for their application.
Now, we did look deeper into the content of this page. It does a pretty good job of answering those frequently asked questions under “People also ask.”
If you want to get to the top of Google for a particular keyword, it helps incredibly to look at what “People also ask.” The best part is Google is giving it right to you. These are those breadcrumbs we’re talking about. You need to look at these questions and answer them on the page you are trying to rank for. Provide a better, more relevant answer if possible. Add more context and detail than your competition.
To take it a step further, look what happens when we select or drop down the answer to one of the questions:
Two great things are happening here:
The website that Google is pulling an answer to the question from is getting credit with a link below the answer, which is really good for establishing your credibility and authority. It also can help you start to rank higher.
We see a set of all-new questions and that will keep happening if you drop down the answers to more questions.
Google’s search engine is smart. They have data to work from that understands your potential customer’s search journey online. Especially how they ask questions along the way.
If you drop down a particular question, Google will continue to offer more relevant frequently asked questions to help the searcher arrive at their answer faster.
Using this feature, you can do some amazing things to start establishing yourself as an authority in your manufacturing space:
Gather great content ideas based on the questions people ask.
Start to get an idea of how your target market self-educates.
Learn your ideal customer’s intent behind their search terms (keywords).
Identify opportunities for offering a better answer to a question to take over one of those frequently asked questions or featured snippets.
Bringing it all together.
The opportunity for attracting quality traffic and generating qualified leads for your manufacturing company are out there. You just need to know how to look for them with a thorough SEO process and think like your ideal customer.
Using the frequently asked questions SERP feature can help you answer the question, “what content do I need to write in order to start ranking for this keyword?”
Read on to find out what else we’re doing to help manufacturing companies execute brand-building digital marketing strategies.
Why SEO and content marketing for manufacturers?
Now is the time for manufacturing companies to truly be investing in SEO and content marketing. It’s never too late, but if you don’t start now you’ll fall behind your competition and it will be harder to catch up (Related: How SEO is Like a Credit Score).
Here are the top three reasons why SEO and content marketing are so important for manufacturing companies.
Your buyer is changing seats.
The decision-makers are becoming those that grew up with technology at their fingertips at a young age. They are growing up and moving up into the decision-maker role at the companies you are targeting. They also know how to use the search engines to find what they are looking for and to teach themselves. Knowledge is democratized and that will become even truer as search engines get smarter and more helpful and knowledge-sharing online becomes more prominent. We’ll be relying on search engines more and more. If your manufacturing company does not publish helpful, thoughtful, fresh and authoritative content, you’ll miss out on getting in front of those buyers that are relying on search engines to do their job and self-educating before making a purchasing decision.
Low-Volume High-Value Keywords.
Manufacturing keywords tend to be what we refer to as low-volume high-value. Not as many people are looking for what you produce, but the value of a customer is much higher than most high-volume keywords. We love that. It means that with the right investigation process (more on that later) you can often find a diamond in the rough that will lead to a big win for your business. In our experience doing keyword research for manufacturers, we have found that there is really weak or thin content regarding topics on industrial, manufacturing, and engineering. The lack of quality, thorough, fresh content means there are huge opportunities for manufacturers today.
Build and establish your brand.
When you dominate online, it’s easier to dominate offline. When you control the flow of traffic in your industry and dominate the best keywords in your industry it impacts the growth and value of your brand beyond what you can measure from the search engines. The content that you invest in creating to build your online presence can and should be used offline.
How to market a manufacturing company
This is a big question that we could write about a book about and honestly, it depends on what you’re producing and who your customer is.
We always tell manufacturing companies we work with to focus on their customer. In order to successfully execute digital marketing for manufacturers, you need to know more and care more for your customer than your competition.
That may mean you invest in SEO and content marketing. Invest in something that will help your customer before they’ve been sold to. Online content isn’t just a blog post anymore. It’s images, video, slideshows, web applications, and more. All of this content can help establish your brand as a leader in your space and desirable to work with.
Imagine being able to solve a problem for your customer before you’ve talked to them. A great blog post or online tool can do that. Helping them first doesn’t just create an opportunity for a new customer, it creates a brand advocate.
The strategy, tactics, marketing channels you choose, time and capital investments you make all need to hinge on your customer. Find out information about your customer like:
What their day-to-day job is like?
What success looks like in their job?
What language do they use in their particular industry?
What else do they search for at work?
By listening to your customer and gaining empathy for your customer, you’ll start to get a clearer picture of how they might use search engines to find your company and what type of content might attract them to your website.
In order to execute effective marketing for your manufacturing business, you need to have good operations and sound strategy built upon an evidence-based plan. Do your research and plan the work before you work the plan. You can’t campaign yourself out of a bad strategy.
SEO strategies for manufacturers
What is SEO for Manufacturers?
SEO or search engine optimization for manufacturers is the process of getting quality traffic to your site with the intent of converting that traffic into a lead. The tactics behind SEO for manufacturing don’t look all that different than any other industry. However, there are a few nuances.
Unlike B2C, the person(s) searching for your manufacturing service may not be the decision-maker. There tend to be multiple decision-makers in the sales process of working with a manufacturer and that’s consistent when it comes to the marketing process and your customer’s online search journey.
SEO for manufacturing is all about thought-leadership. You possess expertise in a certain area. You need to share that knowledge with the world online. If you don’t, you’ll miss out on establishing trust with your potential customer. Quality SEO is all about establishing trust. The best way to establish trust is by helping your audience understand.
On-Page, Off-Page, & Technical SEO
SEO can be broken down into three general categories; on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.
On-page SEO is mainly the content on your page. Keywords, titles, headings, meta descriptions are all SEO signals that are on a page of your website. Search engines want to make sure the content is relevant to the search term or keyword. Relevancy plays a big role in on-page SEO for manufacturing.
Off-page SEO is everything from other web pages that help a particular page on your site rank. There are several factors, but the biggest are backlinks or links from other sites to your site. It’s crucial to have a good volume and good quality or relevant backlinks to validate your trust and authority.
Technical SEO is, for the most part, all under the hood of your website. It’s making sure your website is developed so that it is crawler friendly, has an SSL certificate, loads fast, etc.
Meta Titles and Descriptions
Meta titles or page titles are the titles of each individual page or post on your website. These are not necessarily visible on the page, but they are visible to the search engines. You have control over this title and what it says so it is imperative that you optimize these titles to stand out.
Meta descriptions or page descriptions are another HTML attribute that provides a summary of a page or posts content. These can also be optimized for the search engine results page, but Google will often manipulate them for certain search terms.
Keyword research is a crucial part of search engine optimization. A keyword research tool is imperative to identifying quality keywords, identifying user intent, and determining your overall content strategy.
Using a keyword research tool, you can shortlist your keywords. We use SEMRush to do keyword research.
In the screenshot below you’ll see the SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool. This allows us to enter a keyword (in this case “plastic manufacturer”) to start our keyword research process.
This is where you enter your keyword. We tend to start with a short-tail keyword (a few words) and broad match to get ideas.
This is where you can toggle keywords to just those in the phrase of a question, which is great for content ideas.
This button adds your keyword to the keyword analyzer, which essentially puts it on a shortlist (for the time being).
This indicates the average monthly search volume for that particular keyword based on a previous 12-month average.
CPC is the average “cost per click” if you were to pay for that keyword in a PPC (pay per click) campaign.
The competitive score is a rating from 0 to 1 on how competitive the keyword is.
SF stands for “Serp Features,” which indicates how many SERP features show up on Googles results page for that keyword.
These are some of the most common features we use for keyword research, but there are several others to help you drill down on your strategy.
Keyword research can and should help your manufacturing company get an idea of how big your market is and plays a crucial role in determining if it’s an investment worth making for your business.
Page Load and Mobile-friendliness
Your page load time is crucial not only to SEO but your potential customer’s experience. Google will promote sites with a faster page load speed if it enhances the user’s experience. This is especially important when loading over mobile devices, which are often being used on 3G and 4G connections with slower download speed.
Keep the size of your images and other large media minimal and work with an experienced web developer to optimize your site for speed.
Your website needs to be mobile-friendly. Your target audience is searching for you on mobile devices and with Google’s mobile-first indexing, you can’t ignore the importance of a mobile-friendly website. Mobile-first indexing is essentially Google stating that they are prioritizing mobile-friendly sites when people search on their mobile devices.
Your website design is important to the user’s experience. If your potential customer can’t easily find what they are looking for, you may miss out on lead generation. It’s important to consider internally linking between pages to add context and help the user navigate.
When it comes to web design for manufacturers, it can be challenging to use thoughtful architexture. Since a lot of your content will and should be contributed by engineers, you’ve got a lot of technical content to write. It can be easy to get lost. Make sure to plan your website content carefully and group topics together. Thorough keyword research can help
Link building is the process of acquiring backlinks or links from other sites to your website. This is really important in industrial and manufacturing markets to build your expertise, authoritativeness, and trust.
Utilizing your social media channels, you should be promoting the content you publish on your website. Social media doesn’t tend to be the best investment to make when it comes to B2B manufacturing. However, if you have identified demand for the content you are investing in producing, it can be beneficial to share it and stay relevant and top of mind with your target audience.
How to identify content marketing ideas
The beginning of any effective content marketing strategy for manufacturers begins on a foundation of a thorough keyword research process. Our keyword research process for manufacturers is below.
Talk to your customer
While it’s true that you probably understand your product really well and can talk about it all day with a bunch of industry jargon, that most likely is not true of your customer. You probably know less about your customer and don’t know what words they use to describe what they need.
The best way to start to get ideas for content marketing is by asking your ideal customer the right questions. Start by surveying your current customers to get some more information about who they are, what they do, and how they think.
Your goal is to identify quality content that is attractive to your ideal customer that you could create. In the Venn diagram above you’ll see what we’re referring to.
Keywords like “plastic manufacturing company near me,” which signal high-intent to buy are great, but they tend to be more competitive. In our experience working with manufacturing companies, it’s better to get in front of your customer before they are searching by that high-intent keyword. Get in front of them when they are researching.
That happens by understanding the different journeys your customer could take (or has taken before, i.e. use your current customers for valuable data). By understanding and empathizing with their journey, you’ll start to know the signals allow the way and know the questions they tend to ask while researching before they are ready to buy.
This is how you develop a great content marketing strategy.
Using a keyword research tool
By using a keyword research tool you can start to gather great content ideas to attract manufacturing leads by looking at the questions people ask related to your product or service.
In the screenshot above you can see questions that include the term “plastic manufacturer” in the phrase.
Based on a keyword like “how is acrylic plastic manufactured” you could write a ton of great, related content like:
Acrylic plastic applications
Acrylic plastic process
Acrylic plastic in the real world
When you write great content that is related to what you sell at your manufacturing company, you are supporting your domains authority online. By focusing on writing quality content on all the questions, topics, and subtopics people search for on your subject matter, you’ll begin to dominate the search engines.
As you use your keyword research tool, add keywords to a shortlist. These can be high-intent, low-intent, short-tail, and long-tail. Add any that seem relevant for now. You can chisel them down later. The point of creating a big list is to get a good overview of your entire potential and you can create a content plan based around all of your keywords.
Look at content types in SERPs
Content is not just written copy and your target customer doesn’t want to just read. The manufacturing process is highly visual. It often makes sense to support your content with images and video. But, don’t just take our word for it.
With a tool like SEMRush, you can determine which SERP features show up on each of your keywords. In the screenshot below, we have filtered our keywords by those that include a video in the search engine results page. If we search any of these terms a video will show up in Google.
Creating a website marketing plan that increases traffic and conversions
Attracting traffic and getting qualified leads
Attracting website traffic can be challenging and a daunting task. There are a lot of moving parts to your website. It’s a living organism that requires constant attention and maintenance. And then you have to think about quality, fresh content that you can contribute. Writing great, authoritative content takes time. But, it can be worth the investment to your manufacturing business with the right SEO strategy and content marketing strategy.
Evidence-based manufacturing marketing
At Avalanche Creative, we create evidence-based, highly executable search engine and content marketing plans for manufacturing companies. Our process takes the mystery out of the question, “should I invest long term in SEO and content marketing?” and provides a bullet-proof plan for how to execute manufacturing SEO and content strategy that drives more traffic, more qualified leads, and builds your brands authority.
We are an SEO company that specializes in SEO for manufacturing companies. Our SEO services mitigate the risk of a bad investment in search engine optimization. We do this by researching and planning more thoroughly than anyone else. We make sure your SEO and content marketing plan is truly investable for your manufacturing business.
Manufacturers we can help
Liquid Contract Manufacturers
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you market a manufacturing company?
If you want to market your manufacturing company you need to do the following:
Create content that establishes your expertise and authority in your space.
Do keyword research to determine what to write for ads (pay per click), SEO and other marketing channels.
Develop empathy by better understand your customer’s intent and buying journey.
Help to fix your buyer’s journey with delightful experiences and content that helps them solve their problems.
What do you mean by industrial marketing?
Industrial marketing is a form of B2B marketing where one business focuses on selling goods or services to another business.
How do you promote industrial products?
To promote industrial products, you should understand your customer and how you can best educate them about your product. That means creating quality content to support your customers journey to buying. That can be videos, blog posts, calculators, etc. Anything that helps your customer on their way to discovering your product.
I’ve got a highly technical product or process. Can you really write about it to attract the right buyer?
Yes. We love a challenge and the challenge is education. Becoming the best at explaining your highly technical or complex process is something the search engines love. It establishes your thought leadership and willingness to invest in helping people understand what you do. If you’re the company that helps people understand your process better than your competition, you create an opportunity for your brand to dominate.
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