In recent years, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices have changed a lot. Between Google algorithm updates such as Hummingbird, Panda, and Penguin, new technologies, and shifting trends in the way prospective customers search for and find information online, it can be difficult for even those highly experienced with SEO to keep up with all the changes, let alone B2B marketers working for today’s manufacturing companies. To help today’s manufacturers understand which SEO tactics they should stop using as part of their overall SEO strategy, here are some of the most common old school SEO practices that are no longer effective.
Low Quality Content
You may’ve already heard that “content is king” in relation to SEO. The more content you have on your website, the more information search engine bots have to determine what your website is about and match it to what prospects are searching for online.
Because of this, a common old school SEO tactic was to put as much content on your website as possible.
But when it comes to today’s SEO, the quality of your website’s content is far more important than the quantity. For today’s B2B companies, the content on their website needs to be educational, instructional, and useful to their prospective customers.
According to SEO SiteCheckup, “Quality content should answer a question, give instruction, or offer relevant information that your [prospects] want or need.”
Quality content explains how your products and services will make your customer’s lives easier. This helps today’s B2B manufacturers establish and build trust with their prospective customers, so their prospects will view them as a leading authority in their industry. Prospective customers will be more likely to request a quote or make a purchase directly from a manufacturer’s website when they view the company as a trusted advisor.
Nick Fitzgerald, President of Online Marketing at Foremost Media recalls, “another tactic SEOs used to use was stealing content or creating content with robots.” This old school SEO tactic is called duplicate content.
The idea behind duplicate content is to copy content from another manufacturer’s website in your industry or niche that’s ranking higher than your site in search results, and paste it to your website to try and rank higher. But remember, the quality your website’s content is more important that the quantity. Today’s search engines prioritize websites with quality content that is original and unique.
As Fitzgerald goes on to say, “search engines have wised up and removed websites with duplicate content from their index by determining the original source of the content and ranking that website instead.”
Another common old school SEO tactic was to stuff as many keywords that manufacturing companies wanted to rank for in the content of each page of their website. Today, this old school SEO tactic is known as keyword stuffing.
But as Rand Fishkin, Co-Founder of Moz is quick to point out, “nowadays, Google has gotten so smart with upgrades like Hummingbird, and obviously with RankBrain last year, that they've taken to a much more intent and topic-matching model” when it comes to helping prospects find what they’re searching for online.
Does this mean that optimizing pages on B2B manufacturing websites for certain keywords is ineffective?
It just means that today’s manufacturers should focus on what their products or services are and how their products or services can help prospects visiting the site when optimizing the content on their website for specific keywords, instead of just focusing on how many times they can squeeze manufacturing-related keywords onto the page. Afterall, search engines pay close attention to the quality of the content on the website, and keyword stuffing doesn’t improve the quality of site content, it lowers it.
Fitzgerald also recommends that B2B manufacturers “ditch the meta keywords field and leave it blank.” In the past, search engines would use meta keywords to rank your website, but according to the Google Webmaster blog, “Google has not used the meta keywords tag as a ranking factor in a very long time. In fact, today’s search engines may actually penalize your website for using meta keywords, so it’s best not to use them at all.
The number of backlinks to your website is an important ranking factor. To search engines, each backlink to your website is considered to be a vote in favor of your website to rank higher in search results. As Fitzgerald points out, “backlinks help your [website’s] SEO, and they will for a very long time”.
But building backlinks can take a lot of time and effort, so one old school SEO tactic was buying backlinks from paid link networks. These types of networks offer bulk amounts of backlinks for single package price, (i.e. 100 links for $99). This old school SEO tactic became popular because it allowed websites to get a high amount of backlinks quickly and cheaply. However, like we discussed with content, today’s search engines care about the quality of your website’s backlinks, not just the quantity.
If your company manufactures and sells industrial labeling machinery, the backlinks to your website should be from other manufacturing websites related to industrial labeling and the niche markets you serve. The more backlinks your website has from other manufacturing websites that are relevant to your industry, the higher your website will rank in search results for queries related to your products and services. This will not only help drive traffic to your website, but drive the right traffic to your website, (i.e. prospective customers looking to contact your company for more info, request a quote, or make a purchase directly from your website.)
Another old school SEO tactic that some manufacturer websites still use today are link wheels. Blackhat SEO’s create link wheels by setting up a blog or other free web 2.0 property, building links to it, and linking it to your company’s website to try to get it to rank higher in search results. This is another simple but spammy way to get a lot of backlinks to your website.
But link wheels are easy for today’s search engines to detect, and your website will still be penalized by search engines even if you turn off a spoke in the link wheel that caused the penalty. For these reasons, you should leave link wheels out of your website’s SEO strategy.
Understanding which SEO tactics are effective today and which ones aren’t is vital for maximizing the return-on-investment (ROI) generated from your website. An effective SEO strategy helps B2B manufacturers increase the amount of traffic to their website, but as Evan Facinger, Vice President of Online Marketing at Foremost Media, wisely explains, “good SEO without a conversion focused website design is like having an open house to sell your home but keeping your door locked so the buyers can’t come in to evaluate the property.”
To make sure your manufacturing company isn’t just spinning its wheels when it comes to online marketing, download your free copy of the Manufacturer’s Ultimate Guide To Website Redesign to learn everything today’s manufacturers need to know about designing their website so it converts their web traffic into qualified leads.
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