SEO Will Change the Way Business Is Done

By maximizing your search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities, you are helping to improve the volume and quality of the leads that you generate from the Web via search engines such as Google and Yahoo!.

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If you own a small manufacturing business and have a Web site or if you are looking to launch one in the near future, learning a little bit more about search engine optimization (SEO) is something you might want to consider.

By maximizing your SEO capabilities, you are helping to improve the volume and quality of the leads that you generate from the Web via search engines such as Google and Yahoo!. Naturally, the higher your Web site ranks on Google and Yahoo!’s search pages, the more potential customers that will visit your site. I know this probably sounds confusing, so let’s break it down.

One thing that I have learned from building up the MFG.com community is that Google and Yahoo! can be your best friends or your worst enemies, especially when it comes to SEO. Because of the way that Google and Yahoo!’s algorithms are created, they are ever changing, constantly affecting your Web site’s ranking. There is no rule book created for SEO, so you have to stay up to date on any and every change that is made to search engine algorithms. One change to an algorithm can completely alter where your page ranks in search results. 

It’s often difficult to measure the value of SEO because results aren’t immediate. Sound practices are important to ensure optimum future results. Over the years, I have learned that patience is a virtue, and that no matter how hard you work at maximizing your presence on the Web, you will not see results overnight. However, focusing on SEO will pay off for your business; I can guarantee that.

Here are five quick tips that will give you a good foundation for you to start maximizing your Web site’s SEO capabilities:
1. Content is king: The content that you have on your site is extremely important when it comes to SEO. Be sure to highlight the processes performed at your shop, the equipment you use, the industries you serve, the products that you make and any phrases that your prospective customers will respond to, or search for. 

2. Meta tags: A meta tag is a page definition that is coded into a site. For the sake of SEO, you want to make sure that all of your Web pages have unique meta tags, most importantly title tags, meta keywords and meta descriptions. For more information about Meta tags, check out Wikipedia’s description of meta tags: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta_tags.

3. Inbound links: The more inbound links, or links coming from other sites directly to your site, the more valuable your site becomes. Remember that all sites linking to your site must be in context in order to be deemed as valuable. Google and Yahoo! recognize Web sites with a high number of relevant inbound links as more valuable members of the Internet community. Once you become valuable to search engines, you receive a higher ranking because you are more valuable to the Internet community as a whole.

4. .edu and .gov: All inbound links are not created equal. Links coming from educational or government sites ending in .edu or .gov are highly weighted because of the high level of credibility associated with these sites. Offer an incentive for your .edu and .gov customers and prospects if they link back to your site. 

5. SEO tools: There are a number of tools and forums that can help you track and make sense of your SEO success. Familiarize yourself with a few of the Web sites that I have listed below. They will enable you to track how effective your manufacturing Web site is now and will help you to see your success in the future.

Google Analytics: www.google.com/analytics/
Google Web Site Optimizer: http://services.google.com/websiteoptimizer/
Search Engine Watch: www.searchenginewatch.com
Search Engine Forums: www.searchengineforums.com

Understanding and implementing SEO strategies for your company’s success on the Web is an important task. By accomplishing the basics, you will notice a large impact on the effectiveness of your Web site and a direct impact on your bottom line. Good luck!