Optimising your website and web pages for search engines is crucial in order to raise visibility and make it easy for your customers and prospects to find detailed information on your products or applications. It is now common practice that most Architects, Specifiers and Engineers turn to the web when they require specific product information, service offerings or details for an actual business.
Optimising your website or web pages is called on-site optimisation. This means enhancing a few elements on each page in order for them to rank well in Google and also match, as close as possible, to the searchers’ query. Off-site optimisation are the techniques used away from your website to enhance rankings such as link building, but we will explain that in other post.
Let’s take a look at what elements makes a Google listing:
As you can see from the above pic, the listing is made up of 3 parts. The page title, the description and the URL. It is important to ensure that the most important keywords are in the title of your page. In this example, the page title contains ‘resin flooring systems’ and then the brand name or company name. This means that this listing will be displayed within Google if the user searchers for those exact terms or partial terms.
The description contains other keywords which are of less importance but still inform the user what this page is all about. The description text is not displayed on the page itself, it is embedded within the code of the webpage. Google reads the code and displays it when a user searchers for a specific type of information or content.
Finally, you have the URL or the web address. Google also likes to see keywords within URLs, so ensure your URLs contain some form of keyword – be it product name or product code. Whilst you may not have any keywords within the homepage URL, you should for the rest of your pages.
1. Use product names or product codes in page titles
Imagine what a prospect is going to search for when looking for your product. They may type in a broad search which includes generic keywords to get as many results as possible and then research to get more specific information from the listing provided on the first page. Whereas existing customers (merchants or distributors) may search for more detailed information such as ‘pallet quantity for RDX900SDE’ or just ‘RDX900SDE’ on its own. You want your product pages to appear in both types of searches.
See the difference? So a good page title may look this: ‘900mm drainage pipe for domestic homes – RDX900SDE from Company XYZ’.
Additional Tip: Keep page titles to a maximum 70 characters as this is all the user will see within the Google listing.
2. Use keywords in URLs
Some construction product manufacturers, especially those with large product ranges, use dynamic databases that generate lengthy URLs which append the URL with unique identifiers. Whilst this may be easy for you to maintain, it is not a good way of optimising your products for Google.
The above example has been taken from a product manufacturer and the page is for a specific product. To Google, this URL does not explain what this page is about apart from it is a ‘civils product’. Be sure to include the product name within the URL.
Product pages should have a consistent structure and contain keywords within URLs, if your site doesn’t then you should probably consider a refresh of the site or start an SEO plan. For example, each of your products may fall into an application or category, you may have www.rainwaterharvestingcompany.co.uk/commercial/3000litretank.html where this particular product fits into the ‘commercial’ category and is specific to a 3000L tank. Another example is www.claddingcompany.co.uk/rainscreenfacades/productname where ‘rainscreenfacades’ is the category and the ‘product name’ is obviously the….product name.
Websites which have a good structure and hierarchy are the ones which benefit in Google with minimal effort. If you can categorise your products by application, size or type then this will make it easier for you to structure your website and ensure your URLs are consistent across your website.
3. Include technical terms and dimensions in your meta descriptions
The meta description tag (within the code of your web page) is intended to be a brief and concise summary (approximately 255 characters) of your page content and this quickly tells the visitor what type of content is within this page. Refer to the above listing and you will see the description text is the black text within the Google displayed listing.
If you are targeting Architects and Specifiers then make sure you include technical terms or technical dimensions to reassure them that your page contains the technical or installation type information. See it as a newspaper headline, what copy or text can you place in the description code in order to entice the click through.
Ensure you have unique descriptions for every single page in your website. Do not simply copy and paste the description into every page as this effects your website rankings within search engines. The more unique content the better it is.
4. Unique product descriptions
You’ll be surprised how many companies simply copy and paste product descriptions from other manufacturers or from their suppliers. If everyone is using the same descriptions, how will you make yours stand out? Yes, it might be hard to describe your product in a unique way but it is essential you do so because if you don’t search engines will see your text as duplicate content and you will be marked down in results. A unique product description using targeted keywords and phrases will help both your conversion rate and also attract more quality search traffic to your website.
5. Product reviews and social signals
These are great for original and unique content, thereby earning valuable credibility for your product . Customers and users of your product might also have different ways of describing it that you may not have thought of before. This will help differentiate your product descriptions. Reviews reduce purchase risk so prospects will be more likely to buy your product if they can see that others have had positive experiences with it. Reviews also leave room for buyers to interact with each other and this interaction also improves rankings and helps convert browsers into customers.
Additional Tip: Google now takes into consideration ‘social signals’ when ranking and displaying web pages. If a web page has been ‘liked’ on Facebook over 200 times then this indicates that the page is popular amongst visitors and is authentic and may rank higher than those without a ‘social signal’.
Here is Matt Cutts from Google explaining how social signals help with rankings:
6. Optimise images for SEO
Marketers underestimate how much traffic is generated to their website through Google Image Search. It’s a very popular function and many potential prospects could be searching for images of your products rather than just information. Architects sometimes respond better to visual information rather than text. Optimise your construction product images with descriptive, keyword-rich file names. Images are also free from duplicate content issues (as described earlier) so it does not matter if you use the same image as another website, as long as each file name is unique.
For example, take a look at the search results page for ‘rainwater harvesting’. It includes text based results, image based results and sometimes video and social results. This is called blended search results. Therefore, it is important to optimise everything so that you take up as much of the first page in search results as possible.
After implementing these SEO tips, you should see a gradual (not overnight) increase in quality traffic to your product pages. Track and measure your efforts so that you can find your top products (the ones sending the most traffic) and give them some special attention. Create internal links to high value products and highlight them on your landing pages. Use analytics on a regular basis to see if your rankings correlate to your traffic and outcomes (lead generation). Very important!!
If your competitors are correctly implementing SEO strategies and beating you at search rankings then it is time to refresh your product pages. More and more Architects and Specifiers are starting their research over the internet before asking for recommendations or speaking to your technical department. If your company is not on the first page of Google, then how will potential customers find you? They will research and familiarise themselves with the companies that they can find within the first few pages of Google and if your listing hasn’t been optimised for those pages then they may well just land on your competitors’ website instead.
If you are a product manufacturer in the construction industry and would like some help with search engine optimisation (SEO), please give us a call on 01908 671 707.