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Friday, August 21, 2015

Hola Español? Your website should if you’re targeting foreign customers

When Pilot Fish client Total Grinding Solutions Inc., a centerless grinder manufacturer in Warren, Mich., had its website built, the company knew that its machines were well-positioned price-wise for foreign grinding companies, particularly those in the Latin American market.

So it had Google’s Translate feature added to its site, figuring that foreign visitors could use the automated translation to read the site’s content.  Additionally, the company had a single Spanish-language landing page built, targeted specifically for the Latin American market.

Unfortunately, the strategy failed to drive much traffic to the site.  With little foreign-language content, there wasn’t much for search engines in other countries to index, so finding the site was likely difficult outside the United States.

Upon Pilot Fish’s recommendation, TGS agreed to build a Spanish version of its website (Rectificadora sin Centros deTGS), hiring a professional translator to provide technically accurate translated content for its centerless grinder pages.
The new Spanish version of the TGS site was launched in mid-July, and just one month after the site’s debut, TGS already is seeing increased traffic from Latin American companies.  In May, a little over a month prior to the site’s launch, the company had 70 sessions from a variety of Latin American countries, and one visit from Spain.  But, its Spanish-language landing page was viewed only 7 times in that period, so site visitors were more likely using the Google-translated version, which likely would not have provided entirely accurate translations for the more technical portions of the site, like the centerless grinder specifications page (especificacionesde la rectificadora sin centros TGS-CL-6020).

Without any additional promotional efforts besides on-page optimization, the website’s traffic from Latin American countries and Spain was 24 percent higher in the first month after the new website’s launch, and the number of pages viewed soared nearly 300% to 225 Spanish-language pages viewed vs. 7 in May.  

And, Mexico now is the third highest country of origin among the site’s visitors, accounting for a little over 5% of the site’s overall (English and Spanish) traffic.  All Spanish-language countries combined now account for 17 percent of the site’s traffic, just 30 days after the launch of the Spanish site.

The company now is in the planning stages for off-page content marketing and link building that will help build additional awareness of and traffic to the new Spanish language site. It started by translating an existing Slideshare presentation (TGS CNC rectificadora sin centros).

For practical business solutions to Internet marketing problems, contact Pilot Fish, the experts in industrial website design and SEO.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Industrial internet marketing via Pinterest

An easy way to check the popularity of  a certain topic is simply to Google it - the more results you get, the more that means people are writing about that topic and the more attention it's getting.

By that measure, Pinterest -- the website that lets people find, collect and display images -- is a hot topic among industrial marketers: A search for "Pinterest for manufacturers" turned up 24.5 million results. And people aren't just writing about manufacturers using Pinterest; manufacturers actually are using Pinterest, including heavy hitters like IBM and GE.

The benefits are substantial: well-managed Pinterest accounts can improve branding, drive additional traffic to corporate websites and boost companies' search engine optimization efforts.

Looking to achieve a variety of goals, several of our clients have begun Pinterest accounts, including:

Desert Planters - showcasing its self-watering commercial planters
Equinox Sleds - spotlighting its snowmobile passenger & cargo sleds
Provia Products - highlighting great home improvements using its doors, windows, siding and manufactured stone
Total Grinding Solutions - delivering centerless grinding machine specs

It's a brave new marketing world out there, with great opportunities for companies and manufacturers to promote their brands and generate good leads. Drop us a line if you'd like some help navigating through that world,

Monday, June 15, 2015

Celebrating 20 years of Internet Marketing Excellence

The launch of Google.   Alta Vista falling into oblivion.  Meta keywords becoming important and then not important at all.  Google algorithm changes occurring in relative anonymity outside the SEO community and then suddenly hitting widespread mainstream media with “Mobilegeddon”.
Those are just a few of the changes that the long-time staff at Pilot Fish have experienced during our 20 years in Internet marketing.

Our parent company, Polysort, launched in 1995 as the first online plastics and rubber industry portal, founded by former staffers, myself included, from leading industry trade publication Plastics News.  I spent my first days on the job at a plastics industry tradeshow, handing out disks for an ISP to help company’s get on board with the Internet.  We answered a lot of questions about how to set up e-mail and why businesses should consider building a website.  And, we built a lot of websites.

Internet marketing back in those days entailed making sure that a company added their website address to print collateral.  We were among the first web developers to start adding business websites to Yahoo’s directory.

When Google launched in 1998, it created a whole new industry – SEO (search engine optimization) – that required marketing knowledge specific to the Internet, but that couldn’t be learned in traditional marketing courses – only on the job.

And we were right there with it.  Our expertise in positioning our plastics and rubber clients generated inquiries from companies outside our core industries.  We knew that what we were doing could be applied to any industrial business, so we expanded our services with the launch of Pilot Fish, which became Polysort’s website development and Internet marketing division.

Today the two entities work side-by-side.  Polysort continues to offer one of the largest plastics and rubber industry directories online, and Pilot Fish provides SEO,website design and other Internet marketing services.  Combined, we’ve developed unparalleled experience in industrial SEO and Internet marketing that yields tremendous success for our varied lot of industrial clients.  We understand why SEO works the way it does because we were there when it was first developed and have been part of it every step of the way.

And, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Industrial Website Design with a Purpose

It had been seven years since its most recent website redesign, and ATL (Ad, Tape & Label Co.) knew it was time for a fresh look.

The design was not only dated but it also failed to reflect changes in the Wisconsin-based company’s business. Founded in 1951 as a flexographic label manufacturer, ATL had expanded its services over the years to include medical tapes and foams, as well as security labels and disposable medical devices.

ATL knew the redesign had to reflect the company’s increasing focus on medical markets, but the project needed to achieve several other goals as well, including:
  •  Establishing the image of a professional, engineering-based solutions provider
  • Increasing readability
  •  Providing user-friendly navigation
  • Affording easy access to site visitors’ favorite content
  • Still highlighting ATL’s leading role in the security and industrial label markets
Layered on top was a desire for the website to continue to perform well on the search engines and to drive additional leads to the company.

ATL tapped Pilot Fish, its longtime Internet marketing partner, for the redesign. Employing extensive interviews with key staff members, comprehensive keyword research, proven content writing strategies and the most current web design principles, Pilot Fish delivered a website that met all of ATL’s goals and more.

With the redesign’s original goals achieved, ATL could concentrate on its ultimate goal: increasing sales and boosting its bottom line.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

A Simple Case Study of SEO Success

When Becker Pumps decided in the late summer of 2011 that it was time to take a hard look at its website with an eye toward increasing traffic and leads, it took the sensible approach and hired Pilot Fish to:
  • Perform keyword research
  • Identify the best keywords to drive additional traffic to the site
  • Rewrite the main pages of its website with those keywords in mind
  • Incorporate a strong call to action at the end of each product page
  • Add appropriate SEO-related titles and meta tags to the coding of its web pages
  • Acquire additional back links and create new content on a monthly basis

In the 3.5 years since then, the Ohio-based pump and compressor manufacturer has seen a steady increase in both key performance indicators and actual site performance, including:
  • A 90%+ increase in the number of times appears on the first page of the major search engines
  • A 73% rise in the number of visits the site receives each month
  • A 47% hike in the number of visits to the website’s contact form
  • A 91% increase in the number of visits to its Dealer Locator page

With Pilot Fish’s help, along with a good dose of foresight, dedication and hard work, Becker Pumps achieved its goals and set the foundation for continued success far into the future.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Is Google Overreaching in Dinging Sites that aren’t Mobile Friendly?

We’ve noticed over the last few weeks an increase in the number of “friendly” e-mail reminders from Google that certain client websites aren’t mobile friendly and will likely not rank as high in Google Search for mobile users.

The question is: Should it really be up to Google to decide whether being mobile friendly is an important attribute for a business website?

Pilot Fish works primarily with B2B companies in the industrial space. The companies to which we provide web design, SEO and content-marketing services generally do not have e-commerce sites and their customers are attained through a lengthy sales cycle involving direct interaction with a salesperson.

Their websites are viewed by these companies as a lead-generator, not a deal-closer. As such, they typically just provide enough information to get their prospects to pick up the phone or fill out a contact form. Additionally, the target audience of these companies typically is a purchasing manager or product engineer, someone who will invest a fair amount of time researching vendors and solutions from the comfort of their office before actually asking anyone to quote them on a product or service.

Many of these companies provide machinery or parts, or other products used in the production of something else, like these:
  • GCH Tool – manufacturer of new, spare parts and components for centerless grinders, ID grinders, OD grinders, surface grinders and double disc grinders
  • item North America – manufacturer of custom aluminum structural framing, linear motion products and machine safety guarding
  • Chemical Associates – U.S. supplier, marketer and distributor of natural oleochemicals used in a variety of industries and applications
  • Total Grinding Solutions – manufacturer of centerless grinding machines, serving the global industrial marketplace
  • T.O. Plastics -- manufacturer of custom-thermoformed packaging and product solutions
  • ATL -- flexographic label printer, manufacturer  of disposable medical devices and complex multi-panel booklet labels
Companies like these don’t really need or want mobile sites and asking them to invest in a mobile site to accommodate Google’s whims seems wholly unnecessary when marketing budgets are limited.

There are lots of bells and whistles available when designing a website. The key, for any company, is deciding which ones are most appropriate for the audience they need to reach.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why it Might be Easier for Smaller Companies to Earn Higher SEO Rankings

As a website design and SEO firm specializing in B2B industrial websites, it’s common for us to work with businesses that are concerned that their small- or medium-sized status won’t be able to compete with much larger players in their field.

And, that concern is not without legitimacy. One of the factors in Google’s algorithm is website size. Theoretically, what that means is that the bigger the website, the better the chance for that site to show up on Page 1 of search engine rankings.

SEO, when done the right way, can make small- and medium-sized industrial companies just as fierce competitors online as their much larger brethren.

However, in our experience, in the B2B industrial space, Google rankings don’t quite play out that way. With approximately 200 factors contributing to Google’s algorithm, website size by itself won’t vault a site to the first page. To earn top placement for important keywords, a number of on-page SEO factors need to be in place and the website needs to have built up a good backlink profile.

For instance, our client Chemical Associates, for whom we developed a new, optimized website in late 2013, now far outranks its larger competitors for important keywords in their industry. Its website, with 550 pages, has earned 25 first-page positions on Google compared to its largest competitor, Company X, which has 78,600 pages indexed in Google, but only 3 Top 10 results.

The same is true among other Chemical Associates competitors that have larger sites.

The difference among these sites is the attention given to other on-page SEO factors, and that’s where smaller sites may have an advantage.

Consider that Google recommends websites have unique page titles and meta descriptions for all their pages. That’s not difficult to do with a smaller site, but what about one that has 78,000 pages? Certainly, sites that big typically rely on database-generated content, with automated page-building functions. That makes building the site easier, but it becomes much more difficult to optimize those sites.

Now consider all the other on-page elements that require someone to make a conscious SEO-related decision, including:
  • Page URLs
  • H1 tags
  • Alt image tags
  • Page content
  • Inter-page linking

Off-page linking also is affected. It’s more difficult to build a strong link profile to each of 78,000 different pages vs. 500 pages, so someone needs to make a conscious decision which pages will get off-page link attention.

The upshot is that SEO, when done the right way, can make small- and medium-sized industrial companies just as fierce competitors online as their much larger brethren.

Learn more about Pilot Fish’s SEO and web design capabilities by viewing our client testimonials.