For the past couple of years, we’ve been working closely with manufacturing, industrial, and blue-collar SEO clients.
There are three factors which don’t get talked about, which help determine the success of any SEO campaign.
These factors are more difficult to quantify. But once you see them, you can’t un-see them.
If one of our SEO clients has all three of these characteristics in place, I know we have a high chance of success with their SEO campaign.
#1: A Great Product Offering
It is easier to improve SEO for a good product or service, versus an inferior product, or a sub par service.
The reason should be obvious. It’s easier to sell people on something that is going to be good for them.
Despite beliefs to the contrary, SEO is not about trying to “snake-oil” someone into buying something that they don’t want, and don’t need.
SEO is about connecting people to a service or a product that they truly need, that is going to make their lives better.
When you are able to tell a story about a product, service, or company that is going to take the pain out of everyday life — that makes SEO much easier.
Product offerings that make customers a better version of themselves — that’s what we’re looking for.
Shining the spotlight on a company that is innovating, not stagnating, makes our work as SEO consultants that much easier.
#2: People in the Company Are Likeable and Respected
When people in your company are likeable and friendly, that translates into good customer service.
If your team members are generally well-respected in your industry, that means that other people want to see you succeed.
These are two separate results of having leadership and management that people get along with, and having a healthy company culture.
Stellar customer service makes all businesses more successful. Without good customer service, your business is already doomed. You might stumble along for a while, picking up sales, but you will never ascend to the heights that you could if you had great customer service.
Companies that have a great leadership team, and a good culture, have a happy team. When your team is happy and not stressed out, they give great customer service. This means your customer base is more likely to want to spread the word about your company.
Conversely, when your company is filled with grumpy and angry people, that makes any marketing, not merely SEO, more difficult.
Companies that have poor customer service usually have a litany of one-star reviews and not very many five-star reviews. Reviews and brand sentiment are a substantial part of SEO. There’s only so many things that you can fix with SEO if the culture inside the company is broken.
We like to work with companies where the people are friendly, agreeable, and pleasant to be around.
The reason being, we know that if we build up that company to where people doing business with them, their customers will receive great service.
In turn, they’re going to leave good reviews. Those customers will have a good feeling about purchasing from that company.
On the other hand, when a company has a troubled internal culture, they must fight uphill to get positive reviews. That makes SEO, particularly local SEO, very difficult.
Finally, companies led and staffed by pleasant, well-regarded people are more likely to receive help from their industry peers and colleagues. That makes doing SEO for them a bit easier.
#3: The Company Wants to Build Their Brand
The third invisible factor is when company leadership is cognizant of their brand, and they’re invested in building a stronger brand.
Have you noticed that the first page of Google is increasingly populated by large brands? That’s not by accident.
Google stated back in 2008 that “Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.”
The search engine results pages (SERPs) of today are the culmination of that philosophy. This trend will continue in the 2020s. The bigger your brand, the more likely you are to be ranked higher.
This has led us to ponder — what are the characteristics of a large brand versus a small brand?
The following is a short list, by no means exhaustive. But, consider how many of these do, or do not, apply to your company:
- Has company social media accounts on all major platforms, and actively publishes on them.
- Regularly publishes resource guides, blog posts, and content assets on their website.
- Appears at industry events (trade shows, conventions, etc).
- May even sponsor industry events.
- Publishes content on multiple platforms for maximum reach (written, images, audio, video).
- Shows evidence of actively hiring employees on a regular basis.
- May have multiple forms of advertising (that can be seen by Googlebot).
- Active in their local communities, or industry.
- May have leadership that is seen as thought leadership in their industry.
- Brand is mentioned on, or linked from, many industry websites.
- They generate news, press, and buzz for what they are doing.
- It is clear who their leadership and management team is, not ambiguous.
- They may have multiple locations, or expand their space.
- People search for their brand name on a regional, national, or global scale.
Brand building, at the highest levels, is the hardest SEO signal to “fake”. At a certain point, you are growing, and reinvesting in your brand, or you aren’t. You’re either doing “Real Company Stuff” or you aren’t.
Building your brand from a small, family owned business into a national (or even international) powerhouse is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. As you change, you will make changes in your company.
The thing I see with many companies, is some embrace that growth, and others aren’t sure they want to grow (which is fine).
When a company is committed to building their own brand, it makes it easier to work on long-term SEO campaigns against incumbent brands.
In the next decade, SEO and other forms of marketing are going to be more tightly ingrained. By embracing the fact that we live in a digital world, you stand better chances of growing both your search traffic and your revenue.
That wraps it up. Three things that make client SEO easier: a great product, a likeable team, and a company invested in building up their brand.
The common thread with these three factors is, they are all internal factors in the company itself. These won’t show up on any auto-generated, free SEO “report”. But — they are critical to the success of any SEO campaign.