If you’ve been around digital marketing, you’ve heard the term “SEO.” It stands for search engine optimization, and it’s a priority for those seeking more potential customers on their sites. Here’s the gist: SEO is a way to help your website rank higher on search engines, so when someone types in a search (for instance, “Where can I buy…?”), your business will show up on the first page.
SEO is important for manufacturers. Most of us don’t often have dedicated resources to make marketing a top priority. Think of it this way: a search engine is one of your greatest salespeople—and it works 24/7, every day of every year. That’s something we can agree needs a little bit of investment, and a few best practices can go a long way.
Fix broken links
Broken links on your site create error messages and duplicate content—both items that reduce your ranking in Google. This includes links that go to your own pages and links that go to external content. Long story short: you’re disappointing your users, and you’re hurting your SEO.
Check for broken links by using an extension or web tool on your site. A broken link check will let you know which links are broken on each page and let you fix them—it may be a pain, but it’s well worth it in the long run.
Check the navigation
The top navigation is for the users on your site. It is a showcase of your company and lists the most important things you have to show potential customers—whether it’s products, your company history, a career page, or anything else. The good news is that if it’s good for your users, it’s good for your SEO ranking. That’s because your top-level pages of navigation are there as high-level descriptions of what your company offers. That makes it applicable to both users already on your site, and those who are searching for what you have to offer.
Make sure your site loads quickly
Have you ever gone to a site to find that it was so slow to load that you closed it in frustration? Fun fact: search engines hate slow sites, too. It’s important to make sure your pages load quickly. This is part of a search engine’s ranking criteria for your page. The faster it loads, the better.
A few handy tips to reduce your page load time:
- Optimize your images so they’re in the right format and compressed for web
- Set an expiration date for your cache
- Check your site’s server response time
- Use as few redirects as possible
Use alt text and meta descriptions
Alternative text is text that you add to photos on a webpage. This is the text that shows when you scroll over the photo with your mouse, and can also be seen by search engines. In addition, if a visually impaired person accesses your site, they can easily tell what your images are via this alt text.
A meta description is a summary of your webpage. It should be a description fewer than 160 characters and use keywords that are applicable to the page AND that your users will be searching for. These descriptions will show up when your page is listed as a search result.
Focus on your page titles
You have 55 characters to make each page title relevant to your audience and Google alike. Each page title should be different and represent what users can expect to find on that page. Page titles show up in the following places:
- Search engine results as the large linked text
- The top of web browsers in the tab
- Social media pages when the page is posted
Remember to make your page titles unique and informative. If you name all of your pages the same, it’s possible that search engines may read this as duplicate content and ding your listing in search ratings.
If all else fails, just remember that your site is for your user. If you can make it easy to find and easy to navigate, your search engine results will reflect that. Your potential customers will love you for it, too.