Search engine optimization has been around for almost 20 years, but it’s become increasingly important for distributors in the last five years, as more customers find and buy products online.
The point of search engine optimization is to rank as high as possible in Google searches. “The best place to hide a body is in the second page of searches,” joked Chris Boggs, founder of Web Traffic Advisors in a presentation at MDM’s Digital Distributor Summit.
The key to getting ranked higher is three-fold, Boggs explained: having expertise, authority and trust. Distributors establish authority and trustworthiness when experts or customers link to their company’s page, reference their work, or review their business. SEO may combine link building, content marketing, guest blogging, targeting mobile devices and social media marketing.
Any content added to a distributor’s website should be relevant and useful to readers. This will drive more traffic onto the site and improve search rankings.
Strategies for ranking higher in searches include:
- Using plenty of internal links,
- Finding out the key words people search for and using those key words in your page names and other online content,
- Asking people to review your business and/or link to your content,
- Maintaining a consistent brand,
- Keeping digital content fresh and updated,
- Implementing a schema markup, which means adding code markers that tell search engines what to do with the data on your website,
- Making sure the business name, address and phone number are consistent across all local directory listings,
- Highlighting certifications, and
- Using Facebook and LinkedIn to drive traffic to the site and get more backlinks.
Ideally, product manufacturers should be linking to the distributor’s site on their webpages.
Boggs said he doesn’t usually consider schema markup a top priority, but it can be useful. For example, if a distributor’s webpage sells hoses, a schema markup will help the search engine understand that it’s a product for sale, not simply a blog discussing the properties of hoses. Price can be included as part of the schema.
“If pricing is important, and you know that’s a differentiator for you, and you can get your act together, that the schema gets fed the proper price all the time, then by all means. That’s a great example of what might differentiate your search result from someone else’s,” Boggs said.
Boggs emphasized the importance of local searches, especially for certain types of distributors that have many local customers. “Join a local business association and start to network around, so you get some local links, pointing to your location page,” he said. Consider adding the term “local” to your home page name.
He recommended using Google Search Console to monitor site search traffic. It’s a free platform that gives users data about how often their site appears in Google Search, which search queries show the site and how often people click through for those queries.
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