Mar 28, 2024

SEO for B2B Manufacturing: Why You Need It + Our Agency’s Step-by-Step Plan

SEO for B2B Manufacturing: Why You Need It + Our Agency’s Step-by-Step Plan

B2B manufacturing companies face unique challenges in building awareness and lead generation.

While traditional sales channels have served the industry well, the shift toward digital has made a compelling online presence non-negotiable. 

That’s why you need a tailored search engine optimization strategy. 

In this article, we'll explore the key role of SEO in the B2B manufacturing sector and go through our agency's meticulously crafted step-by-step plan to elevate your online visibility, attract high-quality leads, and ultimately, drive your business growth.

We’ll discuss plenty of examples, our agency’s case studies, and tools you can use.

Let’s dive in.

What Is Manufacturing SEO?

Manufacturing SEO is a tailored digital marketing strategy designed specifically for industrial companies.

The point is to get higher rankings on search engines and, therefore, be more visible to prospective customers.

This approach is vital for manufacturing businesses aiming to gain national or even international visibility for the products or services they offer.

Take a real case example: Legion Papers.

This paper-making company was founded in 1829, and it crafts extraordinary materials. However, its SEO metrics paint a different picture:


Although it’s been around for 200 years, this company only ranks for 53 keywords and has a 4-person monthly organic search traffic, with an average organic traffic value of $1. At its peak in November 2023, the average organic traffic value was $4.

Insider tip: A solid SEO agency for B2B manufacturing can identify these problems and many others to accelerate lead generation.

The B2B SEO campaigns we execute at Blue Things are highly customized to meet your requirements. Our in-depth tactics draw potential clients to your website who are actively searching for what you provide, with the ultimate aim of encouraging them to reach out to you.

Another insider tip: B2B SEO has different goals than B2C SEO. And B2B SEO for manufacturers has even more distinct particularities.

Your website’s visitors are part of a group making decisions within their companies. Therefore, in the manufacturing industry, SEO serves primarily as a tool for generating leads.

So, a good agency helps you achieve top rankings in searches related to key industry insights. Then, your manufacturing website can become a crucial source of high-quality leads for your sales and marketing departments.

And all this significantly impacts your B2B company’s overall digital marketing strategy and, obviously, your ROI.

Why Is SEO Important for Manufacturing Companies?

Our SEO agency has been around for years, and we have spoken with many manufacturing companies.

We know that in the past, manufacturing thrived on word-of-mouth, direct mail, and directory listings.

However, the digital era has transformed how businesses connect with potential clients.

With the decline of traditional directories, B2B buyers began relying heavily on the Internet for finding suppliers and products. This shift underscores the importance of SEO for manufacturers aiming to attract a modern generation of buyers and generate more qualified leads.

Remember: As millennials, now in key engineering and purchasing roles, increasingly use the internet and search engines for decision-making, a robust online presence is indispensable.

Research indicates that:

  • A significant 89% of B2B researchers use the internet in their exploration phase, so you should maintain a strong digital presence to avoid losing potential business to competitors.
  • B2B marketers have recognized that search engine optimization outperforms other marketing channels, with over 60% stating it generates more leads than any other initiative.
  • The conversion rate of SEO leads is notably higher than that of traditional outbound methods.
  • All this highlights SEO’s critical role in driving B2B leads and converting them into customers for manufacturing businesses.

Basically, having your manufacturing company appear on Google and other search engines ensures a strong, reputable brand presence that continuously generates both direct B2B leads and indirect customer demand.

That leads to sustained growth and market dominance.

Here’s how that works:

Firstly, search engine optimization directly attracts B2B buyers to your site during their research phase. Additionally, dominating organic search results boosts demand for your products among end users. As more potential customers discover your offerings, there’s increased pressure on retailers and distributors to carry your products, creating new B2B leads and perpetuating growth.

Insider warning: Many of our business partners came to us after dealing with counterfeit websites stealing their organic search traffic.

So, solid SEO also helps safeguard your brand.

Ensuring your site ranks highly for searches related to your brand and products helps deter counterfeiters and imitators from siphoning off potential customers and tarnishing your brand’s image. Effective SEO ensures you control the narrative surrounding your business, preventing negative interference.

10-Step Manufacturing SEO Strategy

Achieving a top position on Google’s first page has become crucial for manufacturers and industrial companies seeking to enhance their customer base via the Internet.

Here’s how our SEO agency conducts SEO campaigns. Feel free to copy this plan to target more of your ideal customers.

1. Get a Web or SEO Analytics Tool and Set Your Goals/ KPIs

B2B SEO for manufacturing companies starts with selecting a robust web or SEO analytics tool and establishing clear goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

This phase lays the groundwork for your entire SEO strategy, offering insights into your website’s performance and guiding your optimization efforts.

Importance of Choosing the Right Analytics Tools

Analytics tools are indispensable for monitoring your website’s performance, understanding user behavior, and measuring the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. They provide data on various metrics, such as organic traffic, bounce rate, conversion rates, and keyword rankings, which are vital for making informed decisions and strategic adjustments.

However, analytics tools have different strengths and weaknesses, so you must pick the right ones for your needs.

Here are the main SEO tools we use at Blue Things:

  • Google Analytics: A comprehensive and widely-used tool that tracks and reports website traffic, helping you understand user behavior and traffic sources.
  • Google Search Console: Provides insights into how Google views your site, reports on search queries that bring users to your site, and highlights areas for improvement.
  • SEMrush: Offers a broad suite of SEO tools, including keyword research, competitor analysis, and site audits, making it valuable for in-depth SEO research and monitoring.
  • Ahrefs: Known for its powerful backlink analysis capabilities, Ahrefs also offers tools for keyword research, content analysis, and technical SEO audits.
  • Moz Pro: Provides a suite of SEO tools, including keyword research, site audits, and link analysis, with a user-friendly interface suitable for SEO beginners and experts alike.

And since we mentioned your objectives, remember:

Not All SEO Goals Are Created Equal

Depending on your business objectives, your SEO goals might range from increasing brand awareness and generating more leads to enhancing search visibility for specific products or services.

These goals significantly influence your SEO strategy, as they determine the focus of your optimization efforts and content creation.

For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, you might prioritize ranking for broader, informational keywords, whereas lead generation would require focusing on more specific, high-intent keywords.

Don’t worry; we’ll help you understand how to do all that keyword research in the next section.

But before we get to that, let’s focus on this:

2. SEO Audit

You can’t fix your B2B website if you don’t know what’s wrong with it.

That’s why you need an SEO audit to uncover critical SEO issues that need attention.

The audit identifies:

  • Technical SEO challenges, such as broken links and 404 errors
  • Areas for on-page optimization improvements, like title tags and meta descriptions
  • Content quality issues that affect your potential customer’s journey on your website

Here’s how we do it if you need extra inspiration:

  • For a comprehensive analysis, begin with reliable SEO tools like Google Analytics and Ahrefs.
  • Uncover and address technical issues to enhance site functionality.
  • Focus on on-page elements to ensure proper keyword usage, meta information, and internal links.
  • Assess your content’s relevance and value to your target audience.

Remember: Conducting an SEO audit lays the groundwork for enhancing your site’s search engine rankings and increasing organic traffic, making it a pivotal first step in a successful SEO strategy for any manufacturing company.

3. Keyword Research and Content Mapping

After identifying potential SEO issues, it’s time to start your SEO keyword research.

That’s because people who search Google to find products like yours use specific search terms.

If you don’t know what these search terms are and can’t understand their search intent, your potential customers won’t find your brand.

Even worse, they’ll find your competitor’s brands.

The good news: Finding the right keywords for manufacturing isn’t an esoteric endeavor. It’s based on data.

At Blue Things, we love data more than anything else because it’s predictable and allows us to zero in on the most lucrative keyword opportunities.

So, we’ll help you with an example.

Sample Keyword Research for a B2B Manufacturing Company

Imagine a company specializing in eco-friendly packaging solutions.

  1. Come up with a list of seed keywords related to your business. These are the initial search terms that come into mind when you think of your company.

In this case, initial keywords might include “sustainable packaging,” “packaging materials,” and “packaging suppliers.”

Pro tip: These seed keywords are also known as short-tail. They’re broad, so they’re more competitive but have a higher search volume.

Notice that “sustainable packaging” is a very difficult keyword to rank for. Your website would need about 183 referring domains just to make it to the top ten in SERPs.

However, the global volume is 16,000.

Luckily, there’s a solution in step two:

  1. Find more specific keywords to address your potential customers’ specific search queries.

These search terms are called long-tail keywords, and they’re based on your initial seed keywords.

Long-tail keywords are more specific, like “eco-friendly packaging for food industry,” “recyclable packaging options,” and “eco-friendly food packaging solutions.”

They’re less competitive but have a higher conversion potential.

Low-competition keywords are niche-specific. They have a lower search volume but can attract qualified traffic. An example might be “compostable packaging for small businesses.”

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Insert a seed keyword in Ahrefs.
  2. Go to Matching Terms.
  1. Arrange keywords in the descending order of their difficulty scores.
  2. Jot down the least competitive keywords with the highest search volume.
  1. Rinse and repeat for the other search queries.

3. Study your competitors.

Input these keywords in a search tool like Ahrefs and see if they have low competition and a decent search volume. Look at how your competitors’ websites perform for the same keywords, looking at stats like backlinks, organic search traffic, and organic traffic value.

Insider tip: For the “designing sustainable packaging” keyword, you can notice that the sixth-ranking website on SERPs has the most referring domains, organic traffic, and traffic value.

That’s the blog post you most want to beat in search results as you write content.

4. Conduct a content gap analysis.

Insider tip: We typically use Ahrefs, inserting more competitors to see content gaps between their websites and our clients. This helps us find opportunities they missed.

However, you can also use SEMrush or any other SEO tool.

5. After you decide on the right keywords, group them in terms of search intent to address users in different sales funnel stages.

Remember: Some people have barely discovered the need for your solutions, so they crave informational content. Others are ready to buy, so you must give them specific content. Matching keywords to search intent ensures your content meets user needs.

Here’s what that looks like for our example:

  • Informational keywords: Users seeking information. Example: "What is biodegradable packaging?"
  • Commercial keywords: Users evaluating options. Example: "Best eco-friendly packaging materials."
  • Navigational keywords: Users looking for specific sites or brands. Example: "Company X eco-packaging."
  • Transactional keywords: Users ready to buy. Example: "Buy biodegradable packaging supplies."

In summary, effective keyword research involves understanding various keyword types and their search intents. It also requires balancing between long-tail and short-tail keywords. This, combined with competitor insights, shapes a content strategy that aligns with user searches and business goals.

4. Content Strategy

A content strategy organizes topics and types of content to meet user needs.

Here’s how you do it:

4.1. Creating Topic Clusters

Topic clusters start with a broad “pillar” topic.

A pillar for our eco-friendly packaging company might be “Sustainable Packaging Solutions.” Subtopics, or cluster content, branch out. Examples include “Benefits of Biodegradable Packaging” and “Choosing Sustainable Packaging Materials.”

Why you need it: This structure boosts SEO by covering a topic thoroughly. It also helps users find related information easily.

4.2. Picking the Right Types of Content

Match content types to search intent and user preference. Choosing the right content type for each topic cluster and search intent ensures your content strategy is effective and user-focused. Basically, it attracts the right audience and guides them through their journey, from awareness to decision-making.

  • Informational Intent: Blog posts and infographics work well. They educate users on topics like “Why Choose Eco-Friendly Packaging?”
  • Commercial Intent: Comparison guides or white papers. These can discuss “Biodegradable vs. Plastic Packaging: A Comparison.”
  • Transactional Intent: Product pages and videos. Showcase specific products or how-tos, such as “How to Use Our Biodegradable Food Containers.”
  • Navigational intent: These can include “Sustainable packaging Canada” or “Eco-friendly packaging in New York.”

Content asset examples that work well for B2B include:

  • Blog Posts: Great for answering common questions and discussing industry trends.
  • White Papers: In-depth reports suitable for B2B audiences, offering detailed insights.
  • Videos: Useful for demonstrations, testimonials, or explaining complex topics.
  • Infographics: Ideal for presenting data or processes in a visually engaging way.

Insider Story

Our agency had enormous success in B2B SEO by helping our clients create industry-specific tools and then creating content about those tools.

For example, we helped the influencer marketing platform inBeat develop a slew of relevant calculators for the online advertising niche, thus growing its traffic from 500 to 70,000 visitors per month.

5. On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization basically offers a language to search engine crawlers so they can understand what your website is about. And if search engines can’t index your website, you won’t rank. In that case, your potential customers won’t be able to see you when they conduct Google searches.

That’s why you need solid on-page optimization to ensure each web page is set up to rank well and attract traffic.

Here’s what on-page optimization for an eco-friendly packaging company looks like:

  • Title Tags: Craft titles that grab attention and include phrases like “Eco-Friendly Packaging Solutions.” Catchy titles increase click-through rates, thus signalling to Google that your website has authoritative content. As such, your search engine rankings increase.
  • Meta Descriptions: Provide a brief page summary in search results. Include relevant keywords and a call to action. Summarize your page with phrases like “Discover sustainable packaging options that benefit your business and the planet.” Encourage clicks by highlighting your value proposition.
  • Header Tags (H1, H2, etc.): Use headers to structure content so engine crawlers can better index your website. Start with “Benefits of Choosing Sustainable Packaging” as an H1. Follow up with H2s like “Reducing Carbon Footprint with Biodegradable Materials.”
  • Content Quality: High-quality content addresses user intent and includes relevant keywords naturally. Solid content makes people spend more time on your website, thus signaling to Google you’re a trustworthy, expert source. As a result, it can rank you higher, so ensure your pages offer valuable insights on topics such as "Why Biodegradable Packaging is the Future."
  • Images and Alt Text: Optimize images for faster loading. Use alt text with keywords to describe images, such as “compostable food container,” to improve accessibility and SEO.
  • URL structure: URLs should be short, descriptive, and include the target keyword, such as “/eco-friendly-food-packaging.” This makes them more clickable and SEO-friendly.
  • Internal links: Link to related content like a case study on “Success Stories with Sustainable Packaging.” This helps search engines crawl and understand site structure.

The eco-friendly packaging company can improve its website’s search engine rankings and attract a targeted audience interested in sustainable solutions by focusing on these on-page elements.

6. Technical SEO 

Technical SEO addresses the backend and structure of your website.

If on-page optimization is the language that helps search engine crawlers index your website, technical SEO is the map.

Here are the common technical SEO issues we typically check at Blue Things:

  • 404 errors: Pages not found can frustrate users and harm rankings because people bounce back to Google. For instance, a discontinued product page without a proper redirect can lead to a 404 error.
  • Redirects: Incorrectly implemented redirects can dilute link equity. Ensure that old product pages redirect to relevant current offerings.
  • Sitemap: A missing or outdated sitemap makes it hard for search engines to crawl your site. Regularly update your sitemap to include new product pages and blog posts on sustainable packaging innovations.
  • Broken links: Links that lead nowhere harm user experience and SEO. Check for and fix broken links in your blog section, especially in older posts about packaging trends.
  • Mobile-friendliness: A site not optimized for mobile can push away potential B2B buyers. Ensure your product catalogs and content on eco-friendly packaging practices are mobile-responsive.
  • Site speed: Slow-loading pages can deter visitors, making them bounce back to Google. Optimize image sizes and leverage caching for faster loading times, especially for high-resolution product photos.

7. Google My Business Optimization

Google My Business (GMB) optimization is crucial for B2B manufacturing companies’ local SEO because GMB profiles:

  • Enhance local search visibility.
  • Provide essential business information, thus improving credibility.

For a sustainable packaging company, a well-optimized GMB listing can attract local businesses looking for eco-friendly packaging suppliers.

Here’s our agency’s step-by-step optimization process that you can steal:

  • Claim and verify: Start by claiming your GMB listing. Verify your business to manage your information.
  • Business information: Fill in accurate details. Include your company name, address, and phone number. For our packaging company, ensure the business category correctly reflects “Eco-Friendly Packaging Supplier.”
  • Description: Write a compelling description. In the case of our packaging firm, highlight your focus on sustainability and eco-friendly products. Mention any certifications or awards.
  • Operating hours: Keep your operating hours updated. This helps potential B2B clients know when to contact you.
  • Photos and videos: Upload high-quality images of your products and facility. Show your eco-friendly materials and production processes.
  • Reviews: Encourage satisfied clients to leave positive reviews. Respond to all reviews professionally, showing engagement and customer service commitment.
  • Posts and updates: Use GMB posts to share updates like new product launches or participation in eco-friendly initiatives.

8. Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO refers to actions taken outside your website to impact your rankings within search engine results pages (SERPs).

In the B2B sector, it’s particularly crucial as it builds credibility and trust among potential business clients.

Basically, when Google sees incoming links from authoritative websites, it understands your authority. This leads to higher rankings and more organic traffic.

You can:

  • Secure backlinks from reputable industry sites.
  • Engage on professional platforms like LinkedIn to create relationships with potential link partners and B2B clients.
  • Contribute expert content and guest posts to external publications that would link to your website.

That’s how your B2B company can demonstrate your authority and expertise in your field. This improves your search engine visibility and positively influences B2B buyers’ perceptions, making them more likely to engage in business partnerships and transactions.

9. Tracking User Behavior and Other Metrics

Tracking metrics like crawl depth, session length, and pages visited gives insights into how users interact with your website. It shows what works and what doesn’t. Understanding links gained or lost and changes in organic keywords helps adjust strategies in real-time.

For instance, if session lengths are short, your content might not be engaging enough. If the crawl depth is shallow, your site structure may need improvement. Observing these metrics allows for data-driven decisions to enhance user experience and SEO performance.

Remember: A comprehensive SEO tool is essential for this analysis. Tools like Google Analytics, Ahrefs, or SEMrush provide detailed reports on these metrics. They help track user behavior, evaluate SEO efforts, and identify opportunities for improvement. With the right tool, you can fine-tune your strategy to ensure ongoing SEO success.

10. Adapt and Improve Your SEO Strategy

Adapting and refining your SEO strategy ensures long-term success.

Our SEO agency’s advice: SEO is not a set-and-forget task.

Search engine algorithms, market trends, and user behaviors change. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your strategy ensures it remains effective. This includes analyzing performance metrics, user feedback, and industry developments.

Here’s what we advise you to consider (because we do it too):

  • SEO adjustments: Based on tracking data, tweak elements like keywords, content, and site structure. For example, if certain pages perform poorly, they may need better optimization or updated content.
  • Competitor analysis: Regularly analyze competitors’ strategies to identify new opportunities and areas for improvement. Understand what content or keywords are driving their success.
  • Trend monitoring: Stay informed about industry trends and hot topics. Create content that addresses these trends to attract potential link partners and enhance link-building efforts.
  • Incorporating PPC: Consider using Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising to complement SEO. PPC can precisely target specific keywords, offering immediate visibility while SEO efforts gain traction. As such, PPC can highlight the unique selling points of your eco-friendly packaging solutions to a targeted audience.
  • Continuous learning: Stay informed about SEO best practices and algorithm updates. Apply new techniques that could benefit your strategy.

Kickstart Your SEO Campaign for B2B Manufacturing

If you read so far, you may feel confused by the sheer amount of information.

This is our daily job, so we might have gotten carried away with all the explanations.

However, it’s wise to remember that a solid and personalized SEO campaign for your manufacturing firm makes your company more visible, thus attracting more qualified leads.

Our agency can help you kickstart this campaign.

Whether you need help with an SEO audit, content planning, or off-page SEO – we’re here to help. We’ll apply all the techniques discussed in this article and propel your website to the top of the search engine results.

Let’s schedule a free strategy call and talk more about your needs.

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