New SEO Benefits of 3D CAD Models and 2D CAD drawings
SEO is now partly driven by AI and Machine Learning?
Google's goal is to give the user the best search engine experience in the least amount of time. When we search for a query, we get nearly instant results giving us the information that we seek. What has changed the most is how good Google has got at identifying 'the information that we seek'. Google's algorithm includes hundreds of measurable 'signals' as well as their RankBrain artificial intelligence and machine learning system to understand the context of each search so that the results match what we are really looking for.
We wrote about new Search Engine Result Page (SERP) changes a few months ago but Google apparently changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times a year - on average twice a day! Details of most changes aren't published, most are minor, a few are major. This post, How RankBrain Works explains how it learns and became the 3rd most important factor in ranking search results. The post also notes what the two more important factors are: the top 3 factors effecting search results are #1 your content, #2 the links to it and #3 RankBrain's determination on what the user is really looking for. As a machine learning system it keeps refining it's results as it learns from what users click on and how long they spend on those pages. It also learns from what they don't click on and how users refine their later searches so improving its 'knowledge' and ability to understand intent.
How do CAD Models & Drawings Now Add more SEO Value?
To explain that let's look at the impact of 3D and 2D CAD content on these top 3 Google algorithm factors highlighted above:
Our page, What Content Does An Industrial Supplier Website Need describes the answer in detail. These CAD content types increase the depth of the content beyond product taxonomy, detailed descriptions and pictures. They do this by adding 3D CAD visualization with pan, zoom and model rotation, 3D CAD model downloads to save CAD designers time and 2D detailed drawings as part number specific PDF drawings and Spec Sheets for non-CAD users. Across all CDS clients that have 3D CAD and part number specific 2D drawings approximately a third of all CAD downloads are the 2D drawings in PDF format.
By providing 3D CAD model downloads industrial suppliers save their customers valuable engineering time and get their parts specified into new designs when their models are incorporated. When those designs get built the parts get purchased! As Tim Doyle of TopSpot (a top Google partner and SEO expert company) points out, "when you combine the product detail info with the expanded product page content you are putting out significant signals of trust that match what Google is looking for and providing great content meets the needs of the RankBrain filter that Google now applies to most queries."
Backlinks to your part detail pages (and the CAD on them) from other, preferably high authority, websites signals to Google that others value your content enough to link to it. More quality links equals stronger SEO! Syndicating your CAD content to other sites such as CAD portal 3DModelSpace.com or your reseller websites provides links back your website pages. 3DModelSpace links back to your CAD models and is seen by Google as a high quality website for CAD model information. 3DModelSpace is also built into Autodesk Inventor and Creo Parametric, two of the leading commercial CAD systems.
Because CAD content leads to users spending more time on your product pages it helps your page ranking. Remember the point above that Google is measuring how long users spend on pages as well as the bounce rate (visitors who go to a page and immediately leave it)! More user time on the page signals a more useful and valuable page.
Grainger® Case Study
W. W. Grainger, Inc. is a Fortune 500 industrial supply company founded in 1927 in Chicago. Grainger serves more than 3 million customers worldwide with offerings such as motors, lighting, material handling, fasteners, plumbing, tools, and safety supplies. CDS is working on a good size project for Grainger to implement the CDS CAD solution for the majority of their mechanical products. Grainger has been live with the solution for over a year and they have reported a few key success metrics: CAD models increase user engagement and keep the user on the website longer because when a customer is using the 3D CAD Viewer and/or downloading a 3D CAD model or 2D CAD drawing they are spending more time on the site.
3D CAD models and 2D CAD drawings as content types have always been valuable for SEO of industrial suppliers' (manufacturers' and distributors') websites but as search engines have become more sophisticated that value has further increased:
- CAD content increases engagement and keeps the user on the page or site longer
- Quality backlinks are hard to get and CAD models can provide them
- Better ranking of pages can be enabled by offering online CAD content
These new benefits complement the existing benefits of using CAD in online marketing. For example, a CAD download can inform you that existing or potential customers have possible new needs for your products in their new designs. Your marketing, sales or even marketing automation tool can followup to aid successful conversion.
As always, please share your comments below or, if you'd like our opinion on your use of CAD content please call us or click either button below: