If your website used to rank high, but has slipped over time, ask yourself this question.
Are you so caught up in running your business, it is difficult find time to improve your website?
You and your team are on the road, going to trade shows, doing business development, handling sales calls, managing customer support, and developing new products.
But what about your online marketing and SEO efforts?
These can get swept to the side, because, you don’t have any time once you handle all the work the day brings.
Meanwhile, your competitors have been working diligently on improving their websites, publishing content their customers are looking for, making their sites attractive and mobile-friendly, and building links back to their website from other industry sites. As a result, the rankings you had five years ago have dwindled to nothing. You are routinely getting beat in rankings by inferior companies with better websites and superior marketing.
An Example of a Good Industrial Marketing Website
This isn’t a direct endorsement, but I have to ask, have you visited the Donaldson website?
They are an industrial air filtration company founded in 1915 that continues to set trends in solving the world’s filtration challenges. However, looking at the company’s website offers important insights on the need to stay the course in the SEO journey.
How Donaldson excels at SEO is paying attention to the “three legs of the SEO table“: robust quality content, earning backlinks from industry sites, and an easy-to-use, well-designed website.
SEO is a never-ending journey towards ranking. The digital marketing space is highly dynamic and fluid. Google algorithms keep updating the quality signals necessary to rank higher. Your team needs to continually work on your website to stay ahead of the competition.
New SEO v. Old SEO
Traditionally, people used to do keyword analysis to understand search phrases had the most potential traffic, with low competition. After getting 5 to 10 viable keyword phrases, old-school SEO writers went forward developing content for these keywords. In the past, this strategy by itself, could drive organic traffic to a website.
Because competition is everywhere, this is no longer the case.
In today’s digital climate, focusing only on a small handful of keywords, no matter how golden they are, can drive much traffic to your website. You must expand your content depth and width beyond a few generic keywords in order to be found by the target audience.
Modern SEO has integrated more advanced aspects such as natural language search, that is, people conducting searches using normal words. Voice assistant services such as Siri allow your audience to speak their searches rather than type. Searchers are more sophisticated now, and your audience may use more detailed search phrases to conveniently answer their queries.
A detailed search query (aka long tail keyword) is more relevant and can drive more targeted traffic to your site. Measuring overall traffic volume, long-tail search queries bring more organic traffic than the typical one or two word ‘golden’ keywords. The idea is to focus on natural language searches for more relevance, utility and better organic traffic.
Focus on Outcomes Rather than Outputs
If you type in the query ‘best industrial air filtration companies in US’, you’ll see a myriad of companies that are not Donaldson.
The key question is, how many of these are billion-dollar companies?
This comparison is quite basic, but the idea is you need to look at SEO outcomes rather than the outputs. It’s emotionally satisfying to top the page rankings but if this doesn’t lead to sales – the desired outcome – then top rankings aren’t helpful.
Hiring SEO experts for your industrial needs ensures that there’s a focus on outcomes rather than outputs. Instead of only asking the question, “How long will it take to get top rankings?”, we need to define intended outcomes, not the desired output.
The question you should really ask is, “How long will our SEO efforts take to generate meaningful leads and sales?”
SEO is a Process…not an Event
Everyone wants to know how long the SEO process takes to see tangible results, including myself.
SEO has a lot of variables, and the dynamics for a given site include SEO factors such as content, inbound links, keyword difficulty, and the level of competition, among several others. Even the search engines take time to index the pages once content changes have been made, or new links have been built. Then Google must evaluate the new pages, and determine where to rank them. These rankings may change further based on user signals and data, or internal and external factors, A/B testing, and machine learning.
These fluctuating factors encompass the main reason SEO takes a little longer to achieve results vs spending money on Google Ads. But, with a steady hand implementing your SEO strategies, and some patience, you’ll start to see a rise in the website metrics and other key performance indicators (KPIs).
Role of Competition in Determining How Long SEO Takes
If you were to start an industrial air filtration company targeting the United States, you’re more likely to face stiff competition from the already established companies such as Donaldson. However, if you launched a plumbing company targeting only your local city, you’re less likely to face stiff competition.
Logically, the more the websites you’re up against, the harder it is to rank at the top, and lower the possibility that you will be number one.
Consequently, as you climb the rankings, it becomes increasingly more difficult to outrank the top pages. It takes time and effort and some insight into what searchers are trying to accomplish.
In most cases, the top web pages have solid SEO professionals in the background working to keep them at the top. When there is a large volume of competitors, it complicates the situation further.
For industrial and manufacturing companies, an overlooked SEO practice is choosing a niche and consistently publishing innovative content to disrupt the ranking hierarchy. If you are a smaller company, don’t be discouraged when large companies outrank you at first. Larger companies can offer huge discounts to maintain market dominance, but this doesn’t mean that with time and appropriate efforts, you cannot outrank them. It takes grit, perseverance, and strategy.
Build on a Strong Foundation
It is important to get the fundamentals of SEO correct, and build on a solid foundation.
There are a few basics that successful SEO builds on:
- State-of-the art website design. Draw people to your site by having a pleasant design.
- Mobile-friendliness. Most search queries happen on smartphones, and optimizing your site to cater for mobile users is a necessity.
- Build links. Earn quality backlinks to validate your authority and send the correct brand signals to the search engines.
- Content creation. In a world where people can get information at the tap of a button, ensure that you’ve provided as much content in your niche as possible. Make yourself discoverable by helping people discover what they need to know.
- Offer value in your service. Despite best SEO practices, if clients are dissatisfied with your products and services, you will not reap the benefits.
Seriously…How Long Does SEO Take?
The answer is erratic, at best, as a lot depends on the strength of the competition.
However, within a 4 to 6 month period, you should start to see improvements in certain metrics. Most SEO experts agree with this time frame when concentrated effort is being applied. Once measurable growth is achieved, your focus should shift to maintaining your position through continual improvement and optimization.
Don’t Stop Too Soon
Many industrial websites tell a tale of neglect.
It can be overwhelming to be responsible for all business operations, but SEO strategies and implementation are equally important. Some of our clients’ reviews attest to the immense potential of SEO in industrial and manufacturing companies.
Going back to our previous example, Donaldson spends considerable amounts of time and money to keep its online presence polished. The company does not solely depend on word-of-mouth sales, but rather creating utility for its clients through the vast amount of information on their website. That’s how it has become discoverable in organic search. In order to generate high volumes of revenue, they must tap and leverage any potential opportunities, such as SEO.
You can achieve success in SEO as well. It takes planning, dedication and hard work over an extended period of time.
SEO takes time, but the rewards make it worth the effort!