A combination of strong, useful content coupled with sound, reasonable SEO techniques is the best solution for a discrete parts manufacturer or job shop.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a combination of technical and content techniques that ensures that a website maintains its highest prominence in search engine return pages (SERPs). By following sound protocols and principals, it is presumed that a site will rank higher in SERPs than a site that does not. These techniques include how a website is organized, coded and how often it’s updated.

Often, SEO requires the assistance of a professional designer to ensure that all SEO requirements are met to maximize a website’s prominence. Also, unethical techniques used to “fool” search engines into raising a site’s ranking can result in the site being “blacklisted” and severely affecting its traffic volume.

Search engines are definitely a critical path to your website: buyers and sourcing professionals continually point to them as one of the first tools they use to identify new suppliers while they’re in the discovery stages of the sourcing cycle. For this reason alone, adhering to sound SEO principles must be included in any shop’s successful marketing strategy.

But because you’re a contract manufacturer, the volume of traffic to your site isn’t as important as its quality. Getting 1,000s of visitors to your site is meaningless—even if you have the resources to quote that many jobs and manage that many relationships, that volume would seriously stretch your resources too thin. Also, driving more traffic to your website without ensuring the content a prospect finds there is useful to them is like inviting visitors to an empty shop.

For contract manufacturers, the content of the site and how it’s categorized play an even more critical role to differentiate one’s business from the many supply options offered to buyers in this critical stage. A combination of strong, useful content coupled with sound, reasonable SEO techniques is the best solution for a discrete parts manufacturer or job shop —this approach won’t break your budget or resource, and still give you the opportunity to encourage more prospects to take the next step and contact you.

Your website’s content is what will influence buying prospects that are researching high-tech sources to manufacture a part and sustain the supply effectively. A high level of context and experience are necessary to create enough confidence for a manufacturing prospect to contact you as an alternative. In these industries, that’s your primary responsibility through your company’s site. That level of content will also directly impact SEO effectiveness. See the content and context of your site in terms of the value to your prospects first, and SEO as a secondary benefit.

Linking to your website from as many manufacturing-relevant directories, online marketplaces, forums and blogs is also good for SEO. By spending a little time each week participating in these relevant platforms, commenting on other relevant manufacturing blogs/articles, and keeping your business listings updated will create natural paths to your site and enhance your SEO posture.

The same SEO requirements are just as important for the profiles you set up for your business on other sites. The content you add to them is important and so are the SEO principles and techniques the owner of the site that houses your profile uses. Ask if they optimize for search engines as part of your due diligence when assessing whether or not to formally join a manufacturing marketplace or network.

SEO is a crucial role for any online presence. But the value propositions vary somewhat between mass consumer market businesses and those you serve. The more sophisticated buying cycles, stricter validation requirements for potential suppliers (that’s you) and technical capabilities of the real world impact how SEO factors into your online marketing requirements.

For most small and mid-sized manufacturing businesses, focusing on SEO as a primary performance metric isn’t as effective for increasing exposure and sales as you might be led to believe.