We’ve said it before, and we love an opportunity to say it again. If you aren’t using SEO, your website doesn’t exist.
Search engine optimization brings organic search traffic to your site, and as inbound marketing, SEO brings users actively seeking your products or services to your site, which makes SEO a lead generator. When users visit your site because of your well-considered SEO strategy, you will build their trust with your quality content—trust that extends to your company and brand.
Now that we’ve re-visited the over-arching importance of SEO for your building materials website, let’s go through a brief Do’s and Don’ts guide, including building a SEO content strategy, which you can bookmark or share for when you forget the mantra: If you aren’t using SEO, your website doesn’t exist.
The easiest way to break down what you’ll need is to categorize it. You’ll need on-page SEO, technical SEO and off-page SEO.
On-Page SEO Essentials
On-page SEO focuses on the content that lives on site pages, and optimizing it can lift the website’s ranking for specific keywords. For building products companies, it’s the most crucial aspect of SEO. On-page SEO includes all the tasks you do on your own website that show the search engine who you are and what information you’ve added to your page. Although these tasks take time to implement, they can be beneficial for improving your long-term ranking.
Any content you use to update your product descriptions, about pages, and other aspects of your website are valuable. Writing a blog post is an excellent example of creating content, as blogs can speak in-depth to issues you know your customers or potential customers need to address. Rich blog copy is priceless in SEO.
Blogging isn’t the only way to boost your search ranking, but if you want an image-heavy website and little text because you think people just don’t read, re-evaluate that idea. Yes, images are content, but well-chosen copy can help users understand your products and services, just as they can help search engines determine the value of your website to searchers. It can also add to your brand voice and tone, which affects web visitors more than you think. See more on the importance of brand voice from the Content Marketing Institute.
Start with a content strategy for SEO, advises HubSpot, including these steps:
- Make a list of topics.
- Make a list of long-tail keywords (more to come on long tails!) based on selected topics.
- Build topic pages.
- Establish a blog.
- Build a blogging schedule and make its cadence consistent.
- Create a link-building plan. (More on this in off-page SEO.)
- Remember to compress media files before uploading them.
- Measure and track your content’s success.
Titles and Headings
When you search a website for information, you probably scan the headline and perhaps a few subheadings. Maybe you get to a list that outlines the article and scan it. You scan in seconds to decide if you’ll stay or if you’ll go from the page. Your brain is like Google, Bing or any search engine—scanning titles and headers to decide if the page content is pertinent and related to your search intent.
Just like your brain, Google scans for primary keywords within your website’s titles and headings. It also looks at the order of your header tags and decides their priority. Well-designed titles and subheadings improve how users move through a webpage, providing information on what’s coming. They also help search engines understand the content on a webpage, particularly its sequence and hierarchy.
Because header tags are crucial to effective SEO, work to include primary keywords in titles and headings.
These are HTML tags you should customize for every page. They determine what visitors see when they view a URL on Google, and it lets readers know what to expect from a webpage. (It also allows search engines to know.) Google highlights words within a meta description that connects to a user’s search, so we make it count by including primary keywords in it. Meta descriptions are the front porch of getting users in your door, so make sure the descriptions are inviting, convincing and user-friendly.
Everyone, it seems, has heard “keywords, keywords, keywords” when marketers discuss SEO. And many see all SEO through a keyword lens. Based on data, keywords reflect the phrasing and word choice searchers use when they look for a product or service. The unethical days of keyword stuffing to gain an unfair rank advantage in search results are history, as current ranking algorithms choose sentiment, semantics and significance over spamdexing.
You can do your own keyword exploration. Keyword research is simply using a special online instrument to see what users search for on Google or Bing. Many different options for doing this type of research exist, but one of the easiest and most effective is Google’s free keyword research tool.
When looking for the right keywords to add to your website, look for terms with a moderate search volume. These are the ones that aren’t too tough to compete for with the big guys in your specific part of the industry but also pertain directly to your building materials business.
Create a dynamic list of the best ones to try to rank and include long-tail keywords in your list. Long-tail keywords are just what they sound like: longer and more specific keyword phrases that web searchers use when they’re more certain of what they want, which means they could be closer to a purchase. Those who use voice search also tend to use long-tail keywords, as humans are often hard-pressed to talk like they type.
Most long-tail keywords have lower search volume than short keywords because there may be more guesstimating about what the phrases might be, given the individuality of searchers. Long-tail keywords can be tough to isolate at first, but if you nail them, they’re incredibly valuable.
You can use Google’s keyword research tool, or another long-tail keyword generator, such as this one from SEO Magnifier.
As we said, images are content and, in SEO, increase search rankings and visibility by making it easier for search engines to process, understand and rank images. Google assesses all content, including images when it determines a website’s position in search results.
Google sees images in terms of the alt tags attached to them. If you want to improve your overall search ranking, make sure to update your image tags with relevant keywords to what is listed on the same page. Again, this isn’t an area where you stuff as many terms as you can. Two to three per image is ideal for optimization.
Understand how to optimize images in other ways by considering the following:
- Image size (Anything beyond the 1500–2000-pixel mark is excessive.)
- file size (Small file size for quick loading responsiveness.)
- format (Usually a png or jpeg, but WebP is the best.)
- file name (Make sure it offers context for the image, not shorthand random numbers.)
- alt text (Can’t exceed 150-200 characters for SEO.)
Strive to make all the elements work together to provide context for what the visual represents and when, in a search, Google will display the visual—perhaps even in Google Images.
Technical SEO Essentials
Page performance: Your site should load quickly and offer seamless navigation. If your site load struggles, web visitors bounce. Once they’re out, they probably won’t come back. If they do hang around and wait for your site to load, they aren’t happy and that’s what web visitors remember about your brand and their user journey.
If the Google brain interprets that users aren’t happy with your site load, or whatever on your site that makes them leave/bounce quickly, Google won’t suggest your site and your site will drop through the rankings. A good source on page-load speed is Google. Because Google. Find it here.
There’s a lot to technical SEO, but many resources to understand it. For more on technical SEO, read HubSpot’s user-friendly explainer. It explains crawlability, site architecture, pagination, indexability and breadcrumbs. Sound fun? It is, but it may take some time to digest the information.
Off-Page SEO Essentials
In addition to the on-page optimization and technical SEO, it is important to add a few off-page elements. While these can sometimes be a bit more challenging because you don’t have as much control over how they happen, the result is usually hike in ranking and organic traffic once they’ve happened.
Link building is also an essential part of off-page optimization. This is where another reputable website links back to your homepage. In the building materials industry, this could be something as simple as a construction company linking to your brand, a supply house mentioning your website on their online order page or a blog article that features content from an industry association.
Five specifics to consider when backlinking include:
- the page rank of the site to which you backlink.
- the quality of the sites to which you backlink.
- the quantity of backlinks (the number of inbound links matters).
- the relevance of the backlink (how well it connects to the originator’s web content, so you’ll probably not backlink to Mattel’s Barbie central).
- the velocity of backlinking, which refers to the rate at which backlinks were created through time.
For more details on backlinks, consider our backlink: See more at SEO Chatter.
Use social media as a backlink. Social media links are also an important off-page SEO strategy for building materials companies. The links on your profiles that point to your main website or any links you share that connect with individual blog posts count as backlinks, too. You can improve your search engine ranking over time by being consistent with your social media marketing and growing your following.
Directories can create backlinks. These include sites such as Yelp and other places where you submit your business information, contact details, website links and other relevant information. Google My Business (GMB) and Better Business Bureau (BBB) are included, as are YotPo, Trustpilot, Stamped.io, Product Hunt, Capterra, Airbnb and Glassdoor.
Directories are also important because they lend credibility to your company. When a prospective client uses Google to try to get in touch with you, they want to see that you’re listed in multiple places.
It is often free to become listed in a directory, but the process can be time-consuming. For building materials companies, it is usually best to hire a marketing team or a service to do multiple things at once. Or you can just commit to doing a few a day until you have several hundred working as active backlinks for your website.
The Don’ts of SEO for Building Materials
In addition to all the elements we’ve included in this guide, we’ve included four things to avoid.
Don’t Keyword Stuff
Keyword stuffing occurs when you add a specific keyword into text on your website more than what would be reasonably natural for conversation. A good rule of thumb is around once to twice for every hundred words of copy on a single page. Keyword stuffing also violates Google’s spam policies, another reason to avoid the practice entirely.
Don’t Copy Exact Blocks of Text from Other Sources
You also don’t want to copy information from other sources, including any product descriptions your suppliers already use. Google can penalize you for duplicate content, which will tank your search ranking.
Don’t Overlink to Too Many External Pages
It might be tempting to add links to other websites to back up your position in content or even promote a major seller of your products. While this is fine on a small scale, you don’t want to overdo it and make the search engines suspect you’re spamming. A good rule of thumb is no more than two to three external links on a single page (depending on its length).
Don’t use shortcuts
Building backlinks can be tough, but cheating the system by hiring someone who claims to give you a bunch can lead to spamming. In the end, this hurts your search rank and harms your overall brand image. Don’t trust link scams.
Use this brief guide to assist your building materials company or business better understand SEO basics. If you’d rather have a conversation about how a marketing firm specializes in brands that build, call or email. We can help boost your business.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It is the practice of optimizing a website to improve its visibility and ranking in search engine results, ultimately driving organic traffic to the site.
SEO brings organic search traffic to a website, which means users who are actively seeking the products or services offered by the website. It helps build trust with users, improves brand visibility, and increases the chances of generating leads.
The three main categories of SEO are on-page SEO, technical SEO, and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO focuses on optimizing the content and elements on the website’s pages. It includes tasks such as keyword research, creating valuable content, optimizing titles and headings, meta descriptions, and image optimization.
Technical SEO involves optimizing the technical aspects of a website to improve its performance and crawlability by search engines. It includes tasks like improving page load speed, ensuring proper site architecture, implementing pagination, and optimizing indexability.
Off-page SEO refers to the activities done outside of the website to improve its search engine ranking. This includes building backlinks from reputable websites, utilizing social media for link building, and getting listed in relevant directories.
Creating high-quality and relevant content, such as blog posts, helps improve SEO by providing valuable information to users and increasing the website’s visibility for specific keywords. Content can also enhance the brand voice, engage users, and establish trust.
Keywords play a significant role in SEO as they reflect the phrases and words users use when searching for products or services. Keyword research helps identify relevant keywords with moderate search volume that can be targeted to improve search rankings for specific industry niches.
Image optimization involves adding relevant alt tags, optimizing image size and file format, and ensuring proper contextualization of images. It helps search engines understand the visual content of a webpage and improves the overall search ranking and visibility of the website.
Avoid keyword stuffing, which involves excessive and unnatural use of keywords in website content. Do not copy exact blocks of text from other sources as it can lead to duplicate content issues. Avoid overlinking to external pages and be cautious of shortcuts or link scams that can harm your search ranking and brand image.