Contrary to what many people think, the right SEO advice is important and key to success or otherwise for any company.
As unique services and innovation gains importance for success and maybe survival, a company website plays a key role. It primarily helps customers to know more about you and your services.
In this article, I offer SEO advice which is free and costs next to nothing to implement. I will also be including ERP [Enterprise Resource Planning] software into the strategy, which is important. The simple reason is that an enterprise ERP software is the core of any unit and data from the software is gold for the company.
It is a given that every company should have an ERP software and responsive website. How to structure and design the website I will cover in a separate blog post. However, I let me give some general free seo tips:
Note: If you do not use an ERP software you can still use the 11 tips and ignore the last one.
Use HTML 5
HTML 5 is becoming the defacto standard world over. The advanced features coming out every other day, is bewildering to say the least. The best thing is HTML 5 is free and is supported by many organisations, such as apple, google and microsoft. The idea is to push for an open standard, and promote internet usage across the board.
1. Use Bootstrap libraries
Bootstrap, is one of the best libraries you will get which is built on HTML5. It is free, and has ready themes which can be customised. Best of all, it is responsive, which means your websites can be seen on a mobile, tablet or a pc. Furthermore, bootstrap uses jquery as its foundation tool, so you get to use already used jquery files to add features to your website.
Both these technologies are non proprietary and hence you are not locked into a vendor.
SEO focus: The SEO focus here is that the website should load very fast. Both the choices ensure that your website loads very fast. A faster website means the visitor need not wait for the page to load. The longer it takes to load, higher the chances of visitor hitting the back button.
2. Choose a proper webhost
When we started our erp development business, we choose aplus.net as our webhost. We were with them for nearly 12 + years. However, as days went by, and recently, our blog was compromised, and the website used to be down many a times. Their customer service is prompt, however, was horrible when they had outsourced it.
But then we started looking out for a better webhost and found gandi.net. It is one of the best and is a dream for a tech savvy web developer. The dashboard of gandi.net is intuitive, and features offered are top class. I strongly suggest you try it out. [Note I do not get anything from them for this post!]
SEO focus: It is very important that your website is up and running all the time, 24 hrs. If it is down, a google detects it, you will have a dip in traffic.
3. Validate your website
It is very important to have a website which has ZERO warnings or errors. How do you check and validate your website? Most editors have an inbuilt validation feature. But, be aware they may miss out on latest developments. Instead, use w3.org validator. This is a free tool provided by the W3 organisation.
SEO focus: Google expects your website to zero errors. Further, a website with errors may not be properly displayed leading to a bad user experience and metrics.
4. Add a blog
Any factory or a production unit has something or the other happening every day. Also, there will be something new happening in the industry. Choose those topics which are relevant to you and comment on them in your blog. This will show you are an authority in your industry and builds your profile.
SEO focus: Search engines want fresh content. Traffic is sent to those websites which have fresh content. And, importantly, your customers want to know more about your company and a blog is a good place to show off
5. Avoid making your website from being a glorified brochure
Most companies cannot avoid this temptation. Every opportunity is used to glorify their company with all that they know and have about their company thrown into the website. This is not only awkward for the visitor but also will put the visitor off and drive him away.
So, what should a company (MSME or a corporate) put in its website?
The focus should be on services and products, the company offers. And, make sure it is not repeated. To ensure that products and services offered are not repeated, create a clear hierarchical structure. This will enable you to notice any repetition quickly. Next, have some form of offer wherein the visit can test your services. Say, first order freely done for select customers under some value. Sounds good? Try it out and believe me it works.
SEO focus: Search engines want to see a good and easy navigation structure, easily understandable content, no grammar mistakes, a combination of text and pictures. And, see traffic coming to your website.
6. Build credibility
Everyone wants to work with a company which has credibility. And, it is a good feeling to have credibility in the market. There are many ways to build credibility. Lets start by asking these questions. Does your company chief executive a prominent or from a reputed college or a person of achievements. List it out on your website. Next, become a paypal verified vendor. This badge builds trust among your clients. Next become a Google verified address. Google offers a subtle and unique way to ensure that an address associated with a website is verified. Become an industry member. And, list that badge on your website. Participate in a CSR activity and list the photographs.
SEO focus: Credibility on website encourages visitors to explore and try out the vendor. And, that is the objective of SEO.
7. Do not undermine the value of an updated and professional website
Recently, I had an opportunity to visit a company which is into defence manufacturing. During the conversation we discussed about websites and a comment from the Marketing Manager of the company is to be noted. He said, for them their website is not very important as they get orders from personal contacts and not by search traffic.
An important point to note is any customer after a visit by a vendor, will visit their website to know more about them. Everyone has their company website url on their visiting card. And, that is a good opportunity to impress.
SEO focus: A professional and an updated website is a great tool to engage with your customer.
In fact, I urge you to encourage your potential customers to visit your website.
8. Create a social media presence
Ensure that your company has a social media presence. Make it more educative and informative rather than personal. The four important social media services are Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and Whatsapp.
Use each one carefully, to increase your social media presence.
SEO focus: Social media is an important part of business today. Or, is it? Linkedin is for business but I have my own doubts about facebook and twitter. My tip is to spend 10% of your time and resources, if you are purely a manufacturing business.
9. Build software driven processes in your company and explain this on your website
Any prospective customer knows that more a company depends on software to automate its work, the better it will be. As you hold your visitor’s attention to your working and process the more you will increase your user metrics and consequently better business and traffic.
SEO focus: User metrics is increasingly becoming important. Use every trick you know to increase and better them. If you need more tips connect with me.
10. Build a strategy around your target customer base
Your on field strategy and online marketing strategy should not be diverse, some variation is normal. So, build your content, sales pitch, initial offerings around your target customer base. It is very important that you have a well defined target customer base.
SEO focus: Search engines like to see a focus in a website. If yours is a mechanical retrofit company focus on building content around this topic. This will ensure targeted traffic.
11. Encourage your staff to participate
Sense of ownership is very important in today’s world. Encourage your staff to create content which can be put on the blog. Get them to write a 600 – 800 word article complete with pictures and video to put it up on the blog. Credit the work to the staff. You will see your traffic soar on social media. But is it what you want? Traffic from social media. Of course.
SEO focus: Traffic from social media triggered by your staff build your profile among peers of your staff. Imagine the benefits you get. Motivate your other staff to visit the page. Encourage, others to try and post, your staff friends thinking how good your company is. And, search engines love this.
12. Use data from your ERP software
This is the most important and something which few know. All of you have an ERP software running in your company. It can be an off the shelf software or a custom built software. You will have data regarding material requirement for your orders, staff openings, project progress etc. Use this data wisely. Let me give you an example. Suppose, you manufacturing orders from your customers. Each order has an order number. Create an option in your website, wherein your customer can enter a project order number and display the status of the project. Take care to secure it.
SEO focus: When customers use the tracking feature, they will find it useful so convenient that they will tell all their colleagues and this in turn encourages people to see the services you offer. You get the drift? The more people see your services it optimises the chances of bagging orders. The localisation factor plays an important role. Depending on your client profile, you can fine tune your strategy.
It is all yours. These tips when implemented bring in tangible and intangible results. A company in Bengaluru which is into manufacture of press tool components for automobile companies has taken my advise and implemented them. I had called them a few days back, and they were happy to tell me that even with the slowdown in auto companies, they have business. How? Their SEO focused website has given them orders from Nigeria and Malaysia. Of course, the margins are a bit higher and everyone is happy.