Mar 28, 2024

SEO for Industrial Automation: The Good, the Bad, and Our Agency’s 9-Step Plan [that You Can Implement TODAY]

SEO for Industrial Automation: The Good, the Bad, and Our Agency’s 9-Step Plan [that You Can Implement TODAY]

Industrial websites have unique challenges when it comes to online visibility.

The good news is a solid SEO plan can solve those issues.

And that’s what this post will teach you.

We’ll discuss:

  • Visibility challenges and how SEO for industrial automation can solve them
  • Why you need SEO
  • Our agency’s tried-and-tested 9-step plan to win at SEO
  • Plenty of examples and insider tips from our agency’s experience

Let’s dive in.

Visibility Challenges for Industrial Automation Websites

From our experience as an SEO company, industrial automation websites face unique SEO challenges that can impact their online visibility.

Here are five common issues our clients typically experience that affect their search engine rankings:

  • Complex technical content: Industrial websites often feature technical jargon and complicated concepts that can be difficult for search engines to interpret and for users to engage with.
  • Niche audience targeting: Reaching a highly specialized audience requires precise keyword strategies that may not have high search volumes, making traditional SEO tactics less effective.
  • Dynamic product and service offerings: The constant evolution of industrial automation products and services can make it challenging to keep website content current and relevant.
  • Lack of engaging blog content: Industrial websites may struggle to produce compelling blog content that captures their audience’s interest, reducing opportunities for organic traffic and engagement.
  • Competitive market: Dominating search terms in the industrial sector can be challenging because you already have a lot of competition from established players with strong SEO foundations.

Case in Point: Walter Automation

Here’s a neat example: Walter Automation is an industrial automation company. But although it has a high domain ranking of 62, you can immediately notice problems:

  • It currently only ranks for 22 keywords.
  • Its current monthly traffic is 8, with a maximum average organic traffic of 22 and an organic traffic value of $9 in February 2022.
  • It has 138 backlinks but only 33 referring domains.

Basically, this website lacks visibility, and therefore, it lacks high-quality leads.

A solid SEO strategy for your industrial website can solve those issues.

And that’s why you need industrial SEO.

By comparison, Automation NTH has a lower domain rating of 30, according to Ahrefs, but it ranks for 540 keywords and has a considerably larger traffic value:

We’ll use both websites as examples as we go.

What Does Industrial SEO Mean?

Industrial SEO refers to search engine optimization strategies tailored for the industrial sector, including manufacturing, automation, and other heavy industries. This specialized approach accounts for the unique challenges and characteristics of the industrial market.

Insider tip: You need an SEO agency that can adapt to this specific market.

Here’s what we consider for our clients. Make sure your SEO strategy is based on the same particularities:

Particularities for the Industrial Niche

  • Technical content: Industrial SEO often involves optimizing highly technical content that speaks to a knowledgeable audience, making it crucial to balance search engine accessibility with industry-specific terminology.
  • Long sales cycles: The industrial buying process is lengthy and complex, requiring content that supports each stage of the buyer’s journey, from initial research to final decision-making.
  • High-value transactions: Industrial products and services represent significant investments, making the stakes of each potential sale much higher than in typical B2C scenarios.

Why You CAN’T Get a REGULAR SEO Agency [B2B SEO vs B2C SEO]

A regular SEO agency that only does SEO for B2C companies may not have the same level of understanding or high-level tactics for B2B companies.

Here’s why B2B SEO is different and what our agency focuses on:

  • Opinion leadership: Industrial companies aim to establish themselves as thought leaders within their niche. SEO strategies include creating in-depth, authoritative content that demonstrates expertise and builds trust among potential clients.
  • Sales-intent keywords: Unlike B2C SEO, which may focus more on top-of-funnel (TOFU) awareness, industrial B2B SEO targets bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) keywords. These are search terms used by prospects ready to make a purchase decision. Basically, you should optimize your website for sales rather than just awareness or engagement.
  • Content for B2B buyers and creators: Effective industrial SEO strategies create content that appeals not only to direct buyers but also to B2B content creators within the niche. Industri case studies, statistics, and white papers are valuable for their informational depth and relevance. As such, they can attract backlinks from authoritative websites within the industry.

If we get back to Walter Automation, we can see it only ranks for a few keywords based on its products:

Their website isn’t creating a successful content strategy to rank for profitable keywords.

Side Note: Importance of a Solid Backlink Profile

Backlinks from reputable websites signal to Google that your content is trustworthy and valuable, contributing significantly to your website’s ranking. A strong backlink profile can substantially enhance your SEO performance in the industrial sector, where expertise and reliability are paramount. 

Content that earns links from authoritative industry websites passes so-called SEO juice, improving your website’s visibility and authority in search engine results.

Walter Automation has good links from reliable sources:

Insider tip: That explains its high DR. However, these citations alone can’t increase the website’s organic traffic by themselves.  Walter Automation would need a more comprehensive strategy.

By comparison, Automation NTH ranks for more keywords and has more referring domains.

That brings us to the next point:

Why Do Industrial Websites Need SEO?

SEO is essential for industrial websites seeking a sustainable, long-term pipeline of clients. Unlike other marketing channels, SEO provides a consistent flow of organic traffic, reducing reliance on more volatile or costly strategies.

Here’s what that means for you:

  • Sustainability: SEO efforts build over time, creating a foundation that attracts potential clients long after initial work is done. Unlike paid ads, which stop the moment funding ceases, SEO maintains visibility in search results.
  • Cost-effectiveness: While initial SEO efforts require investment, the long-term cost of acquiring clients through organic search is typically lower than that of paid advertising. As your website’s authority and rankings improve, so does the return on your SEO investment.
  • Quality leads: SEO allows you to target specific keywords your ideal clients are searching for, especially those at the bottom of the sales funnel. This leads to higher-quality leads who are more likely to convert into clients.

A 9-Step SEO Plan for Your Industrial Website

We have experience in the industrial niche, and we want to share it with you. Here’s an easy-to-follow plan you can use to improve your search engine rankings.

1. Get an SEO Tool and Conduct an SEO Audit

Starting with the right tools and a comprehensive SEO audit is crucial for setting up an effective search engine optimization plan. This initial step helps identify both the strengths to build upon and the areas needing improvement.

1.1. Choosing an SEO Tool

We advise you to select a reliable SEO tool that offers a wide range of functionalities, including keyword research, website audits, backlink analysis, and competitor insights. 

The options we like the most for industrial websites include SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz, but don’t forget about Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These tools provide the data necessary to understand your website’s current SEO performance.

1.2. Conducting an SEO Audit

SEO audits are essential because you must know which problems to solve. You’ll probably spend a day or two on this, but it’s completely worth it.

Insider story:

One of our clients wasn’t ranking because their previous SEO agency engaged massively in grey-hat tactics like keyword stuffing, hidden pages, and using Private Blog Networks to obtain links. An SEO audit can uncover those issues and many others.

And Walter Automation has a 404 error right on its homepage:

When we conduct SEO audits for industrial companies, we focus on several key areas:

  • Technical SEO: Sometimes, a bug in your back end can hide some pages from Google, thus affecting your entire ranking. So, evaluate your website’s technical infrastructure, checking for issues like slow page load times, mobile responsiveness, and secure connections (HTTPS). Ensure that your website’s architecture supports easy navigation and indexing by search engines.
  • On-page SEO: Review the website’s content and structure, including title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and keyword usage. Ensure that your content is optimized for search engines and aligns with the informational needs of a highly specialized industrial audience.
  • Content quality: Assess the relevance, comprehensiveness, and technical accuracy of the content, ensuring it meets the high standards expected by professionals in the industrial sector. Identify gaps where additional content could support the buyer’s journey or demonstrate thought leadership.
  • Backlink profile: Analyze the quantity and quality of external websites linking back to your website. High-quality backlinks from reputable industry sources can significantly enhance your website’s authority and rankings. And vice-versa: low-quality links from link farms or PBNs can affect your organic search rankings.

2. Set Your Goals and KPIs

Setting clear, specific goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) guides your SEO efforts and helps you measure success effectively.

We recommend our clients focus primarily on:

  • Increasing sales leads: Your SEO campaign should to generate more qualified leads that can be converted into sales, contributing directly to revenue growth.
  • Enhancing industry authority: Establish the website and, by extension, the company as a thought leader within the industrial sector, increasing credibility and trust among potential clients.
  • Boosting visibility in industry publications: Gain mentions, features, or guest article opportunities in well-regarded industry publications to expand reach and reinforce your brand’s authority.

To measure the progress toward these goals, you must set specific key performance indicators (KPIs):

  • Lead generation metrics: Track the number of new leads generated through organic search, monitoring the volume and the quality of these leads. Key metrics include conversion rates from visitor to lead and lead to customer.
  • Backlink profile from industry websites: Monitor the quantity and quality of backlinks acquired from reputable industry-related websites and publications. This can include guest posts, interviews, product reviews, or other forms of recognition. High-quality backlinks serve as endorsements, boosting SEO performance and credibility.
  • Insider tip: Aim for one or two backlins from each referring domain. It’s better to have more referring domains rather than more backlinks.
  • Rankings for targeted sales-driven keywords: Track the website’s rankings for BOFU (bottom of the funnel) keywords that indicate high purchase intent. Improvements in these rankings are directly correlated with potential sales.
  • Organic traffic and engagement metrics: Measure the overall organic traffic to the website and engagement metrics such as average session duration and pages per session, especially on key product or service pages.

3. Keyword Research and Mapping

Keyword research and mapping are crucial for tailoring your industrial website’s content to meet the specific needs of your audience and improve search engine rankings.

Here’s how we do it:

Step 1: Identify Seed Keywords

Begin with broad seed keywords representing your core industrial products, services, and topics. For an industrial automation company, these might include terms like “industrial automation,” “robotic manufacturing systems,” and “PLC programming.”

Pro tip: Keyword research tools like Ahrefs use artificial intelligence to suggest specific target keywords for industrial companies.

As you can see, the term “industrial automation” is difficult to rank for:

Step 2: Expand with Long-Tail Keywords

Expand your seed keywords into long-tail keywords that more specifically describe your offerings and customer pain points. These could be “customizable robotic manufacturing systems for SMEs” or “energy-efficient industrial automation solutions.” Long-tail keywords are less competitive and more likely to attract qualified leads.

Insider tip: You can find these in the “Matching Terms,” “Related Terms,” or “Search Suggestions in Ahrefs.

For example, we can look at matching terms for “industrial automation.” Simply selecting a low keyword difficulty allows us to see potential keywords you can easily rank for:

However, you must analyze factors such as search volume, organic traffic, and cost per click for each keyword before selecting the right ones for your content marketing plans.

Step 3: Understand User Intent

Categorize your list of keywords based on your target audience’s search intent:

  • Informational: Looking for information
  • Commercial investigation: Comparing products or services
  • Navigational: Looking for a specific page or product
  • Transactional: Ready to buy

This understanding will guide the type of content you create for each keyword.

For example, “industrial automation consultants” is easy to rank for and has a decent global search volume of 150 searches per month.

Notice that the websites ranking for this easy keyword also rank for tougher search terms with more monthly volume, such as “industrial automation” and “manufacturing automation.”

Step 4: Conduct Competitor Analysis

Analyze competitors’ websites to see what valuable keywords they rank for, especially those with high relevance and low competition. Tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush can provide insights into competitors’ keyword strategies and unravel keyword overlap.

Here’s a quick view of Automation NTH and its competitors:

Step 5: Map Keywords to Content

Assign each keyword to a specific page or piece of content on your website. This mapping ensures that every page has a clear focus, improving your website’s relevance and authority for those terms. For example, map “energy-efficient industrial automation solutions” to a product page that details your energy-saving technologies.

4. Content Strategy

A well-defined content strategy helps you attract, engage, and convert your target audience. This strategy should cater to the unique needs of the industrial sector and address the entire buyer’s journey.

Below, we’ll show you how our team of expert SEOs conducts content strategy, so feel free to copy our plan:

Step 1: Identifying Content Pillars

Start by establishing content pillars that reflect your main areas of expertise and customer interest. For an industrial automation company, pillars might include “Automation Technologies,” “Industry 4.0,” and “Operational Efficiency.”

Step 2: Creating Topic Clusters

Under each pillar, develop topic clusters that delve into specific subjects. For “Operational Efficiency,” topics could range from “Reducing Downtime with Predictive Maintenance” to “Energy Savings in Automated Manufacturing.”

Step 3: Understanding the Audience

Select content that speaks to the various stakeholders in the buying process, from engineers seeking technical details to C-suite executives focused on ROI and operational improvements. This approach ensures your content resonates with all decision-makers.

Here are the types of content to consider for different audience segments:

  • Technical blog posts: Address your potential customers’ common challenges and questions with in-depth technical articles showcasing your expertise and solutions.
  • Case studies: Demonstrate real-world applications and successes of your products or services, highlighting tangible benefits and customer satisfaction.
  • White papers and e-books: Offer detailed insights on industry trends, new technologies, or best practices, positioning your brand as a thought leader.
  • Product and service pages: Provide comprehensive, easily digestible information on your offerings, focusing on benefits and applications.
  • Videos: Use videos for product demonstrations, customer testimonials, or behind-the-scenes looks at your manufacturing processes, catering to those who prefer visual content.
  • Content for backlinks and authority: Produce authoritative content that other industry websites and publications want to link to, such as original research, in-depth guides, or insightful commentary on industry developments. These backlinks enhance your website’s authority and search engine rankings.

Insider tip: Creating high-quality content isn’t enough. You must also focus on:

  • SEO integration: Ensure all content is optimized for search engines, incorporating targeted keywords naturally, using descriptive titles and headings, and providing meta descriptions that encourage clicks from search results.
  • Regular updates and refreshes: Keep your content fresh and relevant by regularly updating existing pages and adding new content that addresses emerging trends and customer needs.

Automation NTH offers a better example than Walter Automation. 

You can easily see its content pillars in the top part of its resource page:

Also, the blog category tackles multiple subjects in their niche, catering to different target audiences.

5. On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization is crucial for enhancing the visibility and usability of industrial websites. It involves refining individual page elements to allow web crawlers to understand your website better. And if they can understand it, they can rank it accordingly.

Besides, on-page optimization also improves user experience.

Insider tip: On-page optimization is a time-consuming, unsexy part of SEO. However, our team does it thoroughly because improving on-page elements allows you to speak the language of Google website crawlers. This leads to better indexing and, therefore, better rankings.

Key on-page optimization elements our team focuses on include:

  • Title tags and meta descriptions: Each page should have a unique title tag and meta description that contain relevant keywords and concisely describe the page’s content. For example, a page about “CNC Machining Services” should have a title tag highlighting this service and a compelling meta description encouraging clicks.
  • Header tags (H1, H2, etc.): Use header tags to structure content, making it easier for users to navigate and for search engines to understand the hierarchy and relevance of the information. The H1 tag should include the primary keyword and indicate the page’s topic.
  • Keyword optimization: Incorporate targeted keywords naturally within the content, particularly in the introduction, headings, and conclusion. Avoid keyword stuffing, focusing instead on providing value and relevance to the reader.
  • Content optimization: Ensure your high-quality content is engaging and tailored to the industrial audience’s needs. Use clear, concise language and avoid jargon to make the content accessible to all the purchasing decision-makers you’re addressing.
  • Images and multimedia: Optimize images and multimedia elements with descriptive file names and alt text that include relevant keywords. This not only improves accessibility but also contributes to image search visibility.
  • Internal linking: Use internal links to connect related content within your website, guiding users to additional valuable information and helping search engines discover and index more pages.

6. User Experience

Let’s face it: industrial websites are not highly engaging by nature.

And even if your prospective customers are informed, responsible decision-makers in their companies, they are still human and behave like anyone online. In other words, they get antsy fast and need visual cues that direct their attention.

So, focus on improving the following aspects of their navigation:

  • Mobile responsiveness: With increasing mobile usage, ensure your website is fully responsive and provides a seamless experience across all devices.
  • Page load speed: Optimize page load times by compressing images, leveraging browser caching, and minimizing code. Fast-loading pages improve user engagement and are favored by search engines.
  • Easy navigation: Design a clear, intuitive navigation structure that allows users to find information quickly. Include a well-organized menu, a search function, and clear calls to action (CTAs).
  • Engagement features: Incorporate interactive elements like calculators, configurators, or chatbots to engage users and provide immediate value.
  • Contact information and CTAs: Make it easy for potential clients to get in touch by prominently displaying contact information and using compelling CTAs that guide users to the next step, whether making an inquiry, downloading a resource, or scheduling a consultation.

Again, Automation NTH offers a solid example:

The website doesn’t just load fast, but everything is easy to read and well organized.

7. Technical SEO

Solid technical SEO ensures your website is well-structured, efficient, and accessible to search engine crawlers. It involves optimizing the backend and infrastructure of your website to allow search engines to crawl and index your website. It also involves optimizing the user experience to prevent prospective customers from bouncing back to Google for better search results. As such, you improve search engine rankings and user experience.

We recommend focusing on:

  • Website speed optimization: Industrial websites, often containing high-quality images and technical diagrams, must be optimized for speed. Techniques include compressing images, leveraging browser caching, and minimizing JavaScript and CSS files.
  • Mobile responsiveness: With the increasing use of mobile devices in professional settings, your industrial website must perform flawlessly across all devices. Google’s mobile-first indexing makes this not just beneficial for users but essential for SEO.
  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certification: Ensuring your website is secure with HTTPS encryption is critical for protecting user data and is a ranking factor for Google, enhancing trust among website visitors.
  • Crawlability and indexation: Use a robots.txt file to guide search engine crawlers on which pages to crawl or ignore and ensure your XML website map is up-to-date and submitted to search engines. This helps search engines efficiently discover and index your content.
  • Structured data markup: Implementing schema markup can help search engines better understand and display your content in search results, potentially increasing click-through rates. For industrial websites, schema types like “Product,” “Organization,” and “FAQ” can be particularly useful.
  • Error page management: Regularly monitor your website for 404 errors and implement appropriate 301 redirects for outdated pages. This helps maintain a good user experience and preserves link equity.
  • Canonical tags: Use canonical tags to manage duplicate content issues, such as similar product pages, ensuring search engines know which version of a page to prioritize in search results.
  • Site architecture and navigation: Design your website with a logical hierarchy and clear navigation to help users and search engines find information quickly. A well-structured website can improve user engagement and search engine ranking.

8. Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO is essential in an effective SEO strategy for industrial websites, focusing on building the website’s authority and reputation beyond its own pages. This involves various activities that enhance the website’s visibility and credibility in the eyes of search engines and potential clients.

Below, we’ll discuss a few off-page SEO tactics our agency leverages.

Insider tip: Pick what fits best for your SEO goals, and don’t try to do everything at once.

  • Build quality backlinks: Acquire backlinks from reputable and relevant industry websites, online publications, and directories. High-quality backlinks signal to search engines that your website is a credible and authoritative source of information, improving your SEO rankings.
  • Guest blogging and articles: Contribute guest posts and articles to respected industry websites and blogs. This not only provides valuable backlinks but also positions your company as a thought leader in your field.
  • Participation in industry forums and groups: Actively participate in online forums and groups relevant to your industry. Share your expertise, answer questions, and engage in discussions to build relationships and increase your brand’s visibility.
  • Influencer collaborations: Partner with industry influencers for content collaborations, interviews, or joint projects. Influencers with a strong following can amplify your content’s reach and generate valuable backlinks.

For example, Automation NTH contributes to solid industry publications like Assembly Mag. And they’re also doing it by discussing inside case studies, with examples and results, like so:

Insider tip: You need solid relationships and proficient link-building outreach to get your name mentioned by similarly authoritative sources. At Blue Things, we can help you with both.

9. Track Your Initial KPIs and Double-Down on Winning Strategies

Monitoring your initial Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) helps you understand the effectiveness of your SEO and marketing efforts. By identifying which strategies yield the best results, you can focus your resources on optimizing and expanding those tactics.

So, schedule periodic assessments of your KPIs to measure progress against your SEO objectives.

This includes tracking rankings for targeted keywords, online traffic, lead generation metrics, and backlink quality and quantity.

Insider tip: Pay special attention to conversion rates from various channels. Determine which sources are driving the most valuable traffic and leading to actual sales or qualified leads.


  • Evaluate which pieces of content are most effective at attracting and engaging your audience. Look at metrics such as page views, time on page, and social shares.
  • Use tools to monitor your backlink profile’s growth and identify the most valuable links contributing to your SEO success.

5 Strategies for Doubling Down

Our agency uses the following methods to double down on winning SEO strategies, so consider implementing them in your SEO efforts as well:

  1. Expand successful content: For content that performs well, consider creating related articles, videos, or infographics to capture more traffic and engagement.
  2. Enhance high-performing pages: Optimize pages that attract significant traffic but have lower-than-expected conversion rates. This might involve improving calls-to-action, streamlining the user experience, or providing more direct paths to conversion.
  3. Replicate effective backlink strategies: If certain content or outreach efforts have resulted in high-quality backlinks, replicate these strategies to build more links.
  4. Increase investment in high-ROI channels: Allocate more resources to marketing channels that have proven most effective in driving qualified traffic and leads.
  5. Iterate on successful campaigns: Analyze the elements that made your most successful campaigns work and apply these insights to future campaigns.

Kickstart Your SEO Campaign

Remember, SEO and digital marketing are iterative processes.

Tracking your performance, learning from successes and setbacks, and adapting your strategy will enhance your industrial website’s visibility, authority, and lead-generation capabilities over time.

Stay agile and ready to pivot your strategies based on data-driven insights to maintain and grow your competitive edge in the industrial sector.

And if you need any assistance setting your goals or establishing a clear-cut SEO strategy that works, set a free strategy call, and we’ll figure out a plan together.

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