In a competitive B2B market spaces, a digital presence is critical for reaching potential customers. Most manufacturers understand the importance of having a website to showcase their services and capabilities, and many are aware that search engine optimization (SEO) is required to drive people to their websites. But if asked what SEO entails, for many, things get a bit fuzzy. In this article, we hope to provide guidance on improving your online visibility using on site and off site SEO services and strategies.

Why SEO Is Important

SEO refers to optimizing your online presence so your company and services appear organically—as opposed to paid—as one of the top entries on a search engine result page (SERP). The search engine we are optimizing for is generally Google, which has nearly 85% of the market share, according to Statistica. The next closest is Bing, with less than 10%, so it becomes clear why so much effort is afforded to ranking on Google.

However, just showing up isn’t enough. The first five organic results—the ones under those labeled “sponsored”—account for nearly 70% of all clicks, meaning that the majority of searchers never go past the first page.

This is why both routine on site and off site SEO services are critical. Unfortunately, many manufacturers do not understand this and operate under the false sense that a nice-looking website or even a website with some optimization is enough to bring prospects to them.

On Site SEO Services and Solutions

On site SEO is what many think of when discussing search engine ranking and increasing website lead flow. When optimizing for on-site, it is critical to do it for the website structure and content.

Some elements related to website structure to consider include:

URL Structure: URLs should follow a logical hierarchy reflecting the site’s organization and include targeted keywords.
Site Navigation: Navigation should facilitate finding content with minimal clicks.

Breadcrumb Navigation: Breadcrumbs help users understand their location within the site and provide a logical structure for search engines.

XML Sitemap: An XML sitemap lists all important pages of your website, making it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site comprehensively.

HTTPS: HTTPS provides encryption and verification that HTTP doesn’t. Search engines prefer secure sites (HTTPS) and may take users to a “Your connection is not private” page and/or display “not secure” next to the URL for sites that are not secure.

Header Tags: Proper use of header tags (i.e., H1 through H6) helps organize content hierarchically, improves readability for users, and provides contextual information to Google.

Structured Data Markup: Also called schema markup, structured data markup can enhance how your pages are displayed in search results with rich results (or rich snippets), improving click-through rates. Google supports 35 types that are relevant to different types of content.

Canonical Tags: Canonical tags are used to prevent duplicate content issues. They indicate which version of a URL you want to appear in search results.

Robots.txt File: This file tells search engines which pages or sections of your site to crawl and which to ignore. It helps in optimizing the crawl budget (the number of pages it crawls in a given time frame). However, it doesn’t prevent a webpage from being shown by Google. To do that, you can block indexing with a noindex tag or password protection.

Error Page Management: Proper handling of the “404 error message” and “500 error message” errors ensures that users are guided back to the relevant sections of your site. If users encounter these errors and immediately hit the back button, it can signal to Google that the content isn’t valuable for the keyword, which can drive rankings down.

Improving Website Content and Internal Linking for SEO

The content on your website should also be well organized and incorporate relevant keywords tailored to the industry you are in. Keywords are words or short phrases that define your content and are used in search queries when people are looking for information. Understanding how people search is important. In an overly simplistic example, if users in the packaging industry erroneously call corrugated board “cardboard,” their search will bring up websites using cardboard as a keyword. Single-word terms like cardboard can be highly competitive and tough to rank for, so long-tail keywords with a more defined intent such as “double-wall corrugated cardboard” are used.

Several online tools can help you find relevant keywords with search volume and low competition such as Google Keyword Planner, Moz, Semrush, and Ahrefs. Some of these research sites can also help you uncover what keywords your competitors are ranking for.

Website content should also contain internal links that take users to other pages. A well-planned internal linking structure helps distribute page authority throughout the site and improves overall website navigation.

Stay In Line with SEO Best Practices By Keeping Your Website Mobile-Responsive

User experience is also important as people will quickly leave your site if the experience is poor. This includes ensuring your website is mobile-responsive. Google started penalizing pages for not being responsive in 2015 and, in 2020, rolled out mobile-first indexing for all websites, which means a site’s content is crawled with a smartphone agent. Most websites are compliant today, but you occasionally find one that isn’t. In mid-2022, mobile accounted for around 45% of North American online traffic, according to Statistica, so it’s clear why this is critical.

Page load time is another factor that can impact the user experience. Most people will abandon a site if it takes more than a few seconds to load. Additionally, Google crawls and indexes sites based on its crawl budget, so if your pages are slow to load, it may base its ranking on a partial view of your site, which can impact your ranking.

Off Site SEO Services and Solutions

While much attention is paid to on site SEO, off site SEO services also play a key role in driving prospects to your site. While on site SEO involves optimizing the content and structure of your own website to make it more accessible and relevant to search engines, off site SEO refers to tactics used beyond your website to help increase your website’s visibility and ranking.

Off site initiatives like local SEO, link building, social media engagement, and guest posting all demonstrate your expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness — and all methods Google uses for determining quality websites. Learn more about the purpose and benefits of each off site initiative below.

Local SEO for Increased Local Traffic

Many manufacturers’ customers tend to be near them. Local SEO tactics will help to increase local traffic to your site. Optimizing your Google Business Profile is one way to ensure you show up for locals in searches and Google Maps. This optimization includes ensuring that your business name, address, phone number, and hours of operation are accurate and up to date. Encouraging satisfied customers to leave positive reviews can also boost your local search visibility and attract more local clients.

Link Building for Higher Rankings

Another tactic for off site SEO is link building. Link building means getting other websites to link to your website, whether it be by posting on industry directories, databases, industry groups, or resource pages. This is referred to as creating backlinks. Backlinks from high-authority sites and unique domains can help you rank higher because they demonstrate to search engines that you have valuable, related content. Creating content with interesting information that others will naturally want to use your website as a source for is another way to increase backlinks. Beware of buying backlinks, however, as this goes against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Guest Posting on Other High Ranking and Industry Websites

Guest posting involves writing or sharing articles for reputable websites within your industry. While you may want to prioritize content efforts for your own site, guest posting on other websites beyond your own has many benefits. By contributing valuable articles to other websites in your industry, you not only gain valuable backlinks to your website, but also build up authority and trust in Google’s eyes by further aligning yourself with a reputable expert in the space you want to grow in. Guest posts also allow you to tap into new audiences and direct traffic back to your site, allowing you to reach a larger audience and further supporting your SEO efforts.

Better Leveraging Social Media Platforms

Social media is another off site SEO service that drives attention for your brand and recognition for your website. As more content from your website is shared online, including blogs, webpages, and other on-site resources, more links back to your website are generated. Consider sharing testimonials, team updates, creating videos, and investing in infographics, which are all highly popular forms of content, on your website as well as your social media platforms.

Whether It’s On Site or Off Site, SEO Is a Long-Term Process

While on site and off site SEO strategies are both essential components of a well-rounded digital marketing approach, it’s important to keep in mind that SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it process. It is a long-term strategy that requires patience for substantial results to emerge. The time it takes for changes to a website to be reflected in SERPs and for rankings to improve can vary widely, from several days to several months, depending on crawl budget, indexing speed, algorithm updates, competitiveness, and other factors.

That being said, SEO requires continual attention and adaptation. Putting together the critical pieces of the SEO puzzle, from routine content updates to SEO audits, link building, local seo, guest posting, and social media engagement, piecing together each part ensures your site remains competitive, relevant, and visible in search engine results. And by siding with a reputable SEO partner, you can be confident that all the pieces of your website performance are expertly handled, allowing you to stay focused on your other core business activities. At Athena SWC, that approach is even taken one step further with our inbound and outbound approach.

Want to learn more about keeping your website active and up-to-date? Discover our proven on site and off site SEO services and strategies to stay visible in search results today.