Uh-oh, Here we go…
Today’s promotional landscape gives Industrial Marketing “Creatives” a ridiculous selection of avenues in which to spend their precious time and money, finding the next lead, customer or sale. Email promotions, social media, blogging, print advertising, physical mailers and trade shows are just a few of the vast array of options available. But, what is the end-goal of any of these initiatives? To get found by the people who you want to find you!
How do people, places, things or ideas “get found”? The internet, and more specifically, Google’s search engine. Google doesn’t just magically “figure out” what the most relevant page is and rank them. Google’s search is a sophisticated algorithm which ranks online content by relevance, timeliness and popularity. It’s a smart system which can be carefully manipulated by “SEO”. This means those sites in the top 10 for any keyword worked hard to get that spot, and you can get there too.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization, is the art of crafting your online messaging so that people searching for your topic find YOU first. It truly applies to every piece of information you put online, from your digital catalog to your website images to the specific text you write on any page. It all matters and it all needs to have SEO in mind.
Back to that phone call from the boss, (He still sounds mad) “Hello, Marketing Department, I just searched “laser guided widgets” in Google and we don’t show up anywhere. What’s the deal?”
Usually businesses discover they need SEO because somebody did a search in Google and found…they were nowhere to be found!
We have all had this conversation with the boss. It could have been in the early 2000’s when the term “SEO” was first coined. Maybe it was the first day you started at a new company. It could be that your marketing plan had you focusing efforts elsewhere, and you had that call with the Boss today. None the less, SEO may be the most important “tool” in the Industrial Marketer’s bag of tricks and should not be ignored.
Step 1: Choosing Keywords for Industrial Marketers
To begin your SEO journey, you need a keyword strategy. We know that “laser guided widgets” is a top option, but what other terms should be in the keyword portfolio? Here are a few easy SEO rules to live by:
Rule #1: Disregard your company name, web address or any other “proper name” you may be considering. Say your company name is “Oak Tree Technologies,” we don’t care about targeting this name as a keyword, because if someone knows it, they probably already know who you are. In my experience, if you have a fairly unique company name, your ranking for the name keyword will be boosted when the rest of the targeted keywords begin to gain traction. Remember: you want generic keywords describing your product or offering, not proper names.
Rule #2: Don’t shoot for the super-broad or general “generic” keyword. Just because we sell “Laser Guided Widgets” does not mean that we should be targeting either “widgets” or “laser” as keywords by themselves. These words are far too general and our volume of competition is immense. Additionally, we are Industrial Marketers in a niche business. Sony and Apple both make a consumer oriented “widget” and we don’t want to compete with those guys.
To illustrate my previous point, search for “shoes” in Google. Nike, one of the world’s largest marketing powerhouses isn’t even on page one. This is because there are hundreds of styles of “shoes” available to consumers, many of which Nike doesn’t make. Now, type “basketball shoes” into the search, there they are at #2 (at date of writing). Nike doesn’t care about any type of shoes they don’t produce, so they wont waste their marketing efforts on keywords that are off-target. They sure make “basketball shoes” though, and that’s where they will be found.
Side note: The term “keyword” is a little misleading. When choosing keywords think of the search term you should be found by, or want to be found by. Rarely will this be less than 2 or 3 words to form a search term.
Rule #3: Choose more keywords than you can possibly use. Create a list of keywords to build your content around, you want every variation of 3 or 4 words which can describe what you do or sell. I like to build my final SEO strategy around 10 keywords (phrases) but I will create an initial list of more than 100.We do this so that we can research our terms and prioritize to make use of the best words in our list.
Continue to Part 2: Keyword Research and Selection
Research keywords using the Google Keyword tool. You will have to sign up for a Google account anyway so you should go ahead and do that now. Make sure you add access for Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and Google Adwords, you’ll need all of those…
We will discuss searching, ranking and prioritizing your keywords, as well as creating a baseline for tracking your results.