Search engine optimization, or SEO, is notoriously successful for orgs in certain industries, such as tech and SaaS. But if you’re in a different industry, and you’re disregarding SEO as not in your wheelhouse, you could be missing out on some major opportunities. SEO for manufacturing is a great example, and it’s an industry where SEO can have a major impact on brand awareness, online visibility, and yes, your bottom line.

Why is that the case? Manufacturing is a large, well-established industry, with plenty of businesses competing in the space. In the past, manufacturing businesses might have relied on traditional paid advertisements to bring in leads. But as more and more of your potential customers turn to search engines to find manufacturers, it’s becoming clear that strong, tactical SEO can lead to a stuffed inbound pipeline, with leads that are actually qualified.

Here’s everything you need to know about SEO for manufacturing, including if it actually works, and how to get started.

Is SEO for Manufacturing Worth It?

Manufacturing is one of these legacy industries that’s been around the block, and it’s definitely known more for its offline operations. So, do online efforts such as SEO and organic search translate?

The short answer is: yes, absolutely.

It’s 2024, and traditionally offline industries need to find their footing online, because that’s where their customers are. This is true across many spaces, including manufacturing. For example, data shows that, when it comes to digital channels, manufacturers are generating 69% of their leads from organic search traffic.

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We also know that B2B brands (which manufacturing businesses typically are) thrive when they deploy SEO efforts. B2B SEO statistics demonstrate that B2B buyers interact with up to 7 pieces of content on average before talking to a salesperson, and more than 57% of marketers say that SEO has grown more effective in the past year.

Here at RevenueZen, myself and the other SEO experts on our team see firsthand how SEO can drive a pipeline for B2B businesses. While website traffic alone is an attractive goal, SEO for manufacturing can go beyond that. That’s why when I work with B2B brands, my mission is to get your manufacturing solutions in front of hot leads, so you can actually meet your business goals through your marketing efforts.

The Impacts of SEO for Manufacturing

The results of SEO for manufacturing can be powerful – but what exactly can you expect? Here are just a few of the ways the right SEO efforts can benefit your manufacturing business:

1. More inbound organic leads

Let’s start with the juicy stuff. When deployed expertly, SEO for manufacturing can lead to more organic inbound leads, or in other words, your potential customers will be able to find you more easily. That’s because a comprehensive SEO strategy includes content marketing, landing pages, technical SEO, on-page optimizations, and off-page optimizations, all of which allows your content to be more searchable.

2. Increase online visibility

SEO efforts allow you to improve the search engine rankings of your pages and website, increasing your brand’s overall visibility online. This higher visibility ensures that potential clients, partners, and even industry stakeholders can find and learn about your company and solution. This can be particularly valuable for smaller, independent manufacturers, who are looking to gain market share and compete against larger manufacturers.

3. Boost credibility and authority

High-quality content, effective link-building, and a strong online presence can all contribute to your brand’s positioning as a thought leader within the manufacturing space. It helps customers view your company as a trusted, knowledgeable resource, which is the right choice to partner with.

A dramatization of what SEO looks like for a manufacturing plant.

4. Gain competitive edge

Humans are very simple creatures when it comes to search engines: we rarely click off of the first page of Google, while over two-thirds of all clicks go to the first three organic search results. If your manufacturing company is ranking highly, you’ll have an edge over your competitors, plain and simple.

5. Gain local SEO control

Did you know that SEO can be optimized for local searches? This can be useful if your manufacturing company serves certain geographic areas, or if you’re eager to target nearby customers. When leveraged properly, local SEO strategies can help you catch the attention of nearby customers and partners, driving targeted traffic. Again, this can be essential for smaller manufacturers who are eager to reach a location-specific audience, whether it’s a neighborhood in a big city or an entire state. 

How Can Manufacturers Best Use SEO?

SEO for manufacturing can be incredibly effective, when it’s properly deployed. Here are best practices to keep in mind when using SEO for a business in the manufacturing space:

1. Decide if you want to partner with an SEO agency or go in-house

When it comes to SEO for manufacturing, you certainly can handle it in-house. If you have a marketing team (or even an individual contributor), it’s possible to add SEO marketing to their work, or to expand their current SEO efforts. You can also use freelancers to help fill out your SEO team, but will still likely need to have a senior marketing team member responsible for their work.

If you prefer to have SEO experts take the reins for you, you can turn to one of the best B2B SEO agencies in the market right now. These agencies don’t just publish content with keywords (although that’s part of it). They know how to connect SEO to your manufacturing business goals, can help you break through as an authority in your market, and know how to conduct in-depth keyword research (which is mapped to the correct stages of your buyer’s journey).

And whether you’re tackling SEO in-house or you’re outsourcing to experts, the next steps still apply.

2. Understand the different elements of SEO

We mentioned a few phrases before which might have been headscratchers. Technical SEO? Off-page SEO? As it turns out, there are several different core elements to SEO, which need to be addressed in your strategy.

These include:

  • Keywords: You need to research and identify keywords related to your industry and business, which folks are searching for, and integrate these into your content organically.
  • On-page optimizations: This involves optimizing meta tags, headings, and keywords, in content which is both valuable and aligns with your buyer’s journey.
  • Off-page optimizations: This includes activities that take place away from your website but influence how it ranks. An example would be receiving a linked mention from a reputable website back to yours. 
  • Technical SEO: This is the technical and code-related considerations which allow search engines to crawl, index, and understand your website. 

3. Create and deploy a content marketing strategy

In order to actually move the needle with your SEO efforts, your brand needs to develop and launch a comprehensive content marketing strategy. One singular blog post alone is unlikely to make a difference, or help you achieve your goals with SEO. Instead, you need a robust strategy that involves a content calendar, content briefs, and analysis, for example. 

How can you develop a content marketing strategy? You can start with a content audit, to take inventory of your existing content and properties, using key metrics to understand performance. Then, you can identify specific goals and strategies for improvement. After that, you’ll decide on target keywords, content ideas, and topics, and create an aggressive editorial calendar. As content is posted, you’ll monitor its performance to inform future content production and ongoing optimizations. 

What types of content might fall under your manufacturing content marketing strategy? Blog content, organic solutions pages, and LinkedIn marketing can all be part of your strategy. 

4. Monitor results and adjust your efforts

When it comes to SEO, you can’t just “set it and forget it.” Your efforts need to be monitored, results analyzed, and your strategy updated and refined. When something is working well, it should be reinforced, and if something isn’t working effectively, it should be changed. 

This sort of tweaking is not just common in SEO work: it’s also necessary. While there’s much we know about SEO and how different pieces of content will behave, it’s also not an exact science. You need trial, iteration, and maybe most importantly, consistency, in order to see continuous results from SEO.

What this means is that your SEO for manufacturing strategy needs to include an assessment and analysis step. You should be either creating or have access to reporting about your SEO results, for example, and be presented with in-depth analysis about how content is ranking.

Your Manufacturing Business Could Use an SEO Face-Lift

Manufacturing might be an old school business, but don’t let your marketing efforts sit in the Stone Age. Your competitors are working hard to earn places in the search engines, and you should be too. Here at RevenueZen, we help ambitious B2B brands break previous records for organic-soured revenue growth in 16 months, and we know what it takes to use SEO to generate a sustainable pipeline for your manufacturing business.

If you’re interested in using SEO to take your manufacturing business to new heights, book a call with us today.