If you are a manufacturer, distributor or reseller, there’s a good chance that a big percentage of your customers buy based on manufacturer part number.

They Google the part number and they buy from the company that shows up. So, your job is to make sure you are at the top of the list. Here are some simple but effective Part Number SEO Tips for ranking for part numbers in Google. (If you’re an SEO expert, you won’t find many surprises here, but those in management, merchandising, IT and marketing may find this SEO advice useful for keeping your SEO experts on their toes.)

Eleven SEO Tips for Manufacturer Part Number Search Optimization

  1. Part Number in the Title Tag. Put the part number in the title tag of your product detail page. The title tag is one of your most valuable SEO assets — use it to your advantage to rank well for part numbers.
  2. Part Number in Description Tag. The description tag is my second favorite on-page SEO asset because if you write it well, Google will use it as the snippet in the search results and it can increase your search result click-through rates.
  3. Part Number in H1 Tag. Having the part number in the H1 tag on the product page will help you rank for the part number. Don’t know what an H1 tag is? Ask your SEO team or SEO agency.
  4. Part Number on Multiple Pages. Many online resellers and distributors have manufacturer part numbers on their product detail pages but they don’t show them on the drill-down pages above the detail page. That’s a mistake.
  5. Part Number in Anchor Text. Assuming you’ve got the manufacturer part number on the drill-down pages, as recommended above, don’t forget to make those part numbers link to your product detail page. Links are critically important to Google’s algorithm and always have been, and the text within your link (so-called “anchor text”) also matter: if you’ve got the exact same setup as a competitor but your anchor text includes part numbers, you’ll be on top of them in the search results.
  6. Part Number in Path. Even the address for the web page matters. Always work the part number into the path. If I’m a reseller selling a power adapter made by HP with manufacture part number 176-J6AN, then this would be a good path for the detail page: http:www.com/mysite.com/176-J6AN/HP-Power-Adapter.
  7. Multiple Pages Per Product, All Optimized for Part Number. I mentioned above that your drill down pages should include manufacturer part numbers for SEO purposes. So if I have a page listing all HP Power Adapters, I would want all those manufacture part numbers listed and linked to detail pages. But beyond that, think of other ways to have more pages that are SEO friendly for the part number. So, using the example above, linking off my http:www.com/mysite.com/176-J6AN/HP-Power-Adapter page, I might also have these pages: http:www.com/mysite.com/176-J6AN/HP-Power-Adapter-Reviews; http:www.com/mysite.com/176-J6AN/HP-Power-Adapter-Manual; http:www.com/mysite.com/176-J6AN/HP-Power-Adapter-Troubleshooting; and http:www.com/mysite.com/176-J6AN/HP-Power-Adapter-Specification. Now, I’ve got five pages dedicated to this particular manufacturer part number and there’s a good chance Google will give me some search engine love.
  8. Product Pages Beefed Up with Extra Content. In addition to the number of pages, the quality of the information and the length of each page matters. For example, if you’ve just got one detail page for a product, beef it up by adding reviews at the bottom of the page along with a section on the manufacturer’s warranty. Instead of having just one product image, have a bunch. By adding this extra content (and mentioning the manufacturer part number often, btw), you’ve just made your page more useful to people than your competitors’ pages. Google will in turn reward you with higher rankings and more traffic when people search for the part number.
  9. Original Product Page Content. A lazy approach to creating a product detail page is to simply take the manufacturer’s description of their product and use it verbatim on your page. That’s an SEO no-no since Google frowns on and devalues duplicate content. To rank well, you’ll need to rewrite that vendor-provided text. It’s a ton of work, but the ROI will show when your product pages dominate the search results and the orders are rolling in!
  10. Part Number Embedded in Image File Name. If your SKU number is 123456 and the manufacturer’s part number is SR3NET01, should the product shot of the image be called 123456.jpg or SR3NET01.jpg? Assuming your customers shop by manufacturer part number, the correct answer is SR3NET01.jpg. A Part Number SEO best practice is to always embed the manufacturer part number into image file names. In addition, include the part number in your images’ alt and title tags.
  11. Manufacturer Part Number in Rich Snippets. If you’re not familiar with structured markup and rich snippets, you’re missing out on an important part number SEO tactic. Essentially, you can put some information into your web page that isn’t visible to site visitors but speaks directly to the search engines and provides them with additional information about the product. Specifying the MPN (manufacturer’s part number) is part of the spec. Google provides some good info on product rich snippets, so start there if this is new to you.

Apply these part number SEO tips and you’ll be well on your way to ranking well for manufacturer part numbers.

How much you emphasize SEO for part numbers depends on how your customers shop. Your SKUs may be important too, and you’ll also want to optimize for product type, product names, model numbers, problems the products solve and other product-specific SEO keywords. We always recommend that our clients spend the time to understand how their customers shop and then define their SEO strategy based on that research data.

But, more often than not, the manufacturer part number is neglected in many SEO programs.

As a final SEO part number tip, we recommend that if you’re losing out to competitors and they are ranking better for manufacturer part numbers, reverse engineer what they’ve done and consider emulating their approach. For example, find a product page of theirs that ranks for a part number and view the HTML source for their page and search for product number. My quick check of some sites that rank well for part numbers suggests that they have the part number in their product page HTML code at least 10 times, often as many as 15 times. You might also check if they are getting backlinks from other sites with manufacturer part number in the anchor text.

The steps outlined above for Part Number SEO are not a silver bullet because there are so many factors that impact how you rank in Google for various phrases. But these are simple SEO best practices that can help you do well for part number searches and they are relatively easy to implement.

The beauty of doing this is that if your customers do shop by part number, getting this right can provide a significant boost to your e-commerce revenues.