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BestSEOCompanies.com polled approximately 1,000 business owners, marketers, and search engine users about their use and perceptions of paid and organic search results. (Survey results)

Business owners and marketers found both tactics effective (Figure 1).

best-seo-data

Figure 1: Best SEO survey data

Respondents were also asked which tactic they would choose if they could choose only one.

Close to two-thirds indicated they would choose Google Ads, although SEO was seen as more affordable and sustainable than paid search.

The authors of the survey state that respondents preferred Google Ads due to faster results and ease of implementation and measurement.

Recent data from various sources, however, has shown that Organic drives over 50% of website traffic – something we see on a daily basis.

While SEO does offer tremendous benefits long-term, SEO is difficult for small businesses to manage in-house and realize ROI. In fact, a Manifest survey of 500 small businesses showed that only 30% have an SEO strategy in place.

One reason SEO requires a long-term commitment is because a content marketing component is required for lead generation.

Manufacturers who see success with SEO-driven content marketing do so for four reasons:

Content is technical in nature – FAQs, tech tips, case studies, application notes, and videos all help in demonstrating a manufacturer’s expertise, which in turn generates leads.

Content serves multiple purposes – It answers prospects’ questions, showcases their expertise, and includes a call-to-action.

Properly defined leads – A sales-ready lead is someone who has completed an RFQ form or who has emailed or called to inquire about your services or products. Once qualified, leads become sales opportunities. A sales-ready lead is not a pageview, click, a business card in a tradeshow fishbowl, or the name of someone who downloaded a white paper.

Tracking mechanisms are in place – One reason manufacturers believe SEO doesn’t deliver leads is because they haven’t set up mechanisms for tracking email, RFQ and phone inquiries. Once these are in place, it’s then very easy to see which marketing tactics and content is driving leads (Figure 2).

google analytics goal completions

Figure 2: Google Analytics report showing Goal Completions by Channel

Paid search and SEO are both good for small manufacturers and work in tandem with each other.

Searchers will often click an organic link, then come back a few hours, days or weeks later via Paid search (or vice versa).

While Organic drives more site traffic, Paid can often drive higher quality inquiries – e.g. people ready to move to RFQ stage.

And, paid search and organic both build brand awareness. In fact, paid search often drives inquiries for new applications in development or those the search advertiser hasn’t even considered.

Huff Industrial Marketing specializes in creating content for industrial buyers that demonstrates expertise, authority, and trust, gets found in search engines, and drives sales-ready leads.

Learn how we can help you with our Marketing as a Service plans.


Dianna Huff is the founder and president of Huff Industrial Marketing, a full service agency that tackles a host of marketing and communications challenges for manufacturing companies.

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