We’re building a website for Vertz and Company, a local firm that represents valves to industrial markets like paper manufacturers and oil refineries. They present some special challenges from the point of view of SEO.
First, does it matter? It’s not as though I’m going to be surfing the web one day, happen upon a fascinating article on flow control for corrosive materials, and decide to pick up a few butterfly valves on impulse.
These guys have exclusive territories with manufacturers. If I have a refinery in Texas (except El Paso) and I contact Mueller in search of a valve or two, they’ll direct me to Vertz.
That doesn’t mean that SEO, or marketing in general, is of no value to this company. There are quite a few groups of people who might be reached through online marketing:
- Uncommitted consumers Sure, if I go to Mueller I’ll get Vertz, but if I go to the competing Watts, I’ll get somebody else. If I don’t currently have a preferred manufacturer for valves and I’m simply looking for valves, it would be great if my search turned up our client’s website.
- Manufacturers If I’m a manufacturer of valves and I don’t yet have representation in the region, I may choose the company that presents products like mine well to consumers — and I can see that online by searching for such products.
- Online shoppers I can buy those mammoth valves in the picture on the internet if I feel like it. I can buy smaller ones from Amazon. However, I might prefer to deal with a rep who knows the field and can advise me on the best valve for my needs. If that rep shows up in my search engine results.
- Retailers While we don’t tend to think of industrial valves as a retail item, there are oilfield supply services and retailers supplying the construction industry. If I sell valves in this way, I’d often prefer to have a rep than to deal directly with the manufacturer.
Any of these groups of people might begin their shopping online. I check Google Insights for Search and discover that “butterfly valve actuator” is a breakout search term — a keyword phrase that is rising sharply in popularity — in the United States, for searches identified as industrial. Furthermore, the phrase is especially popular in the region our client serves. Time to start thinking about how to add some good paragraphs about butterfly valve actuators.
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling. If your website has only a list of products or services and a competitor’s site has that list, but also some useful information on the subject, or a tool for choosing the best product for your needs, or an article that other sites find worth linking to, your site will be considered less valuable by the search engines than your competitor’s site. The competing site will therefore be offered more often and higher in the rankings than yours.
In a case like this, a little creativity may be in order. Our client’s current website has information about the company and a list of products and that’s all. We’ll be doing some research and discovery and getting creative about what we can offer that the competition doesn’t. If your website is lacking in oomph, even if your field is one that doesn’t specialize in oomph, it’s worth making that effort.