The Mississippi-Made Catalog is helping Mississippians promote their business on many fronts. The catalog, hosted by MSU's Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems-Extension (CAVS-E), not only showcases company products, helps to increase orders and sales, and puts Mississippi businesses in touch with retailers, distributors, and buyers, it also helps boost the ranking positions of company websites in online searches. Increasing the ranking position in online search is especially helpful to businesses as it helps increase the number of website visitors, new customer acquisition, and revenue.
The catalog plays a crucial role in a company's marketing efforts as it can be used as a tool to help generate interest and gain exposure from more than one marketing channel. The catalog is a comprehensive Mississippi business guide, highlighting company products and enabling potential customers to quickly find, learn about, and engage with a company. Through search abilities of sites like Google, Bing, and Yahoo, lead generation is fueled by search engine optimization (SEO) and drives a targeted audience to a company's website. SEO ranking means that when individuals search for a particular term, a web page, apart from results of paid website promotions, is the first result.
Search engine algorithms tend to give a high amount of "trust" and "authority" to popular websites. When these sites see a high domain authority, such as an ".edu" site linking to another site, it recognizes the linked site as a "legitimate site" and is more likely to recommend the company's website in its search results. The higher a company ranks, the more visibility and engagement the company receives. This helps companies to stand out above competitors and win customers online. As the site gets more and more traffic over time, the more the company will receive leads and sales. While a company prioritizes having an updated, responsive website, when the name of a company is linked to a university through its website, the backlink has the potential to help the company's ranking by building leverage on these search platforms. The Mississippi-Made Catalog presents an opportunity for companies in the state to optimize their websites for search and help them to compete directly on the internet with other businesses.
Many Mississippi companies have reported either an increase in their website traffic or an increase in their sales since they began showcasing products in the Mississippi-Made Catalog. Some of these companies have expanded their product lines and, in some cases, have expanded into new markets. In conducting his own SEO analytics, Cliff Boren, a local business owner who also helps local businesses with SEO, found that the Mississippi-Made Catalog is the top result for Mississippi products on Google, and that the catalog has a domain authority of 79, where a domain authority over 60 on the scale is considered excellent. One company newly listed in the catalog said, "For many small businesses, obtaining ranking in sites, such as Google, is difficult. By including our website and products in the Mississippi-Made Catalog, it boosts our page rankings for search engine optimization purposes. So not only does listing on this site help get us business from people searching through the catalog, but it also helps us rank higher in online searches."
The Mississippi-Made Catalog was originally created in 2012 to help promote products for the furniture and home furnishings industries. With a significant interest from other businesses, the site was updated in 2018, and new categories and new products have been regularly added. Since 2018, about 23,000 users have visited the catalog and more than 75,400 product pages have been viewed from 116 countries and 52 U.S. states. There is no cost to companies to showcase products in the catalog and a link is provided for each product to the company's contact information and website.