You may think that developing a Google-friendly web site isn’t worth the time or hassle. You’re not technically savvy. And isn’t having a well-designed web site listed on your business cards good enough?
Ask yourself this: What percentage of your new customers currently find your business online? What if your company could double that percentage? It’s possible when you apply a basic working knowledge of search engines into your marketing mix.
The Role of Search Engines in Buying Decisions
Search engines play a growing role in helping potential customers find you, evaluate you, and decide whether to do business with you. Research shows that everyone–from individuals to major corporations—is turning to the Internet to make buying decisions.
A recent study by Internet research firms Marketing Sherpa and Enquiro, entitled, ‘The Role of Search in Business to Business Buying Decisions’ demonstrated that search engines are now the dominant force driving most business buying decisions. Key findings include:
- 93.2% of respondents research business buying decisions online
- Google is overwhelmingly favored as the top search engine
- Respondents use search engines in the early phase of buying cycles
- High search engine rankings are critical; over 60% of respondents click on the top three listings
Is Your Business Findable?
Right now, go to Google. Search for your product or service, but not by using your company or first name. Instead, use common words and phrases your customers might use when searching for your Web site. (For example, a tile worker from Denver might search for “custom tile work” and “custom tile work Colorado.”)
Did you find your business come up in the results? If you so, congratulations. But if you did not show up, or are invisible beneath a list of your competitors, you need to improve your online findability.
Achieving good findability is a result of understanding and applying insider search engine tips and customer psychology. Poor findability means that your prospects are finding your better-positioned competitors first because they rank higher up search results.
Key elements of findability include:
- Understanding the terminology and phrases that your customers use, what they’re interested in finding, not what you want to sell,
- Knowing how search engines index content and determine its focus, and applying that to your own site design, and
- Producing content that’s not just search engine- friendly, but customer-friendly too, because getting them to your site is only half the challenge.
Mastering Google for Your Business Success
Did you create your web site years ago, and it now serves primarily as a static, virtual brochure that you never update? Do you dutifully pay $20-$100/month for hosting, but give little thought to how your customers are supposed to find you? If so, you’re wasting opportunities.
Even if you already have a web site, if it was created without proper consideration of how search engines work, it won’t help you engineer your business for the new online world.
You don’t need to become an expert in search engine optimization to improve your Internet findability, but you do need to understand the basics of how search engines do their job.
1. Content is King
Search engines like web sites that are well-maintained and have original content that is frequently updated over sites that languish in obscurity.
Types of Google- friendly content include:
- Articles about your product, service or marketplace.
- Case studies that feature customers.
- Q&A, FAQ and troubleshooting information that can really help your potential customers.
- News and industry analysis.
- Interviews with key or popular members of your market segment.
Google-friendly web sites are dynamic and content-centric. Strive to produce a few hundred words of new content at least twice a week to ensure that your web site is Google- friendly.
2. Traffic Does Not Equal Customers
A critical element of findability is driving actual potential prospects to your site, not just generating random online traffic. An effective Google strategy should result in targeted, qualified visitors to your web site rather than thousands of non-potential-customer visitors.
Google is perhaps the best market research tool ever invented. Use it to take the pulse of your target market, then devise a content strategy that attracts your most valuable prospects.
3. Become An Online Expert
One of the best ways to really build your business in the online world is to produce informative and helpful content, articles or newsletters that helps establishes your position as a market leader or industry expert.
Expertise breeds confidence in others. Experts are widely quoted, cited, and receive lots of inbound links from other related sites.
4. Take Full Advantage of Google with Adwords
Google is a highly efficient advertising venue, one that makes the Yellow Pages, the local newspaper, and radio ads seem antiquated by comparison.
The cornerstone of Google is its paid advertising network called AdWords, the system that places those eerily relevant advertisements adjacent to your own search results when you use Google.
How much are you paying to acquire a customer today? $10? $100? Creating effective AdWords campaigns can dramatically increase your revenue, with sometimes amazingly low customer acquisition costs.
5. Steer Clear of Hype
Unfortunately, there are many fly-by-night con artists who will charge you lots of money to attain unsustainable results and risk getting your business banned from the search engines completely.
There is really no magic elixir that makes your business super-findable on Google, no shortcut, no one particular approach that will guarantee them #1 placement in the search results.
So instead, share your knowledge online, but do so strategically with an understanding of how search engines work. Give your industry expertise generously in the form of useful search engine optimized content.
This is a cornerstone of Steven’s Get Slightly Famous marketing strategy, and one you can use to increase your online findability.
Steven and I are also pleased to announce that we’re doing a FREE Teleseminar:
Growing Your Business With Google: Attracting and Converting Visitors Into Customers
Steven Van Yoder and Dave Taylor
Thursday, March 9; 1:00-2:00pm Pacific Time
Are you interested in maximizing your position on search engines to boost your business and attract more clients and customers? Join Steven Van Yoder as he interviews Google marketing expert Dave Taylor, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Growing Your Business With Google.
This class isn’t about how to program web pages. Instead, you’ll learn how to think like an online entrepreneur and how search engines are impacting the world of business, online and offline. You’ll learn the basics of optimizing your web site for search engines, identifying compelling content for your customers, joining the online discussion, and much more.
- What makes a good business Web site
- How to choose a good domain name
- How you can promote yourself and become an online expert
- How to assess the risks and rewards of online advertising
- How technologies like weblogs can dramatically improve your findability
Dave has been involved with the Internet since 1980, “when it was barely a dirt road” on the information superhighway. He has grown and sold a number of online companies. Throughout this class, he’ll share how his current web sites have certain features in common and how they have improved his bottom line.
Ready? Please start by signing up on the simple form below:
Steven and I both invite you to join us for this call. I promise, it’ll be both fun and entertaining, and hey, it’ll definitely be worth the investment! 🙂