When I talk with people about the web, my audience is often the owner of a small business or a professional who is interested in using the web to market themselves. I’m often asked what they can do to make their website appear closer to the top in the search engine results. Hardly surprising– You’ve spent time and money on your site and you want people to be able to find it! My answer, however, tends to catch people off guard. Getting your website closer to the top of the page on Google may not be a sound investment for your business.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about the internet is its increasingly global reach. Creating search results, from the perspective of a business owner, is somewhat like flying around the world and randomly dropping your business cards on unsuspecting victims. This forces one to consider how much your business depends on people showing up at your door. Will it help fill your Yoga class in New York if someone in Yorkshire finds it on Yahoo?
One other question to consider is one of opportunity cost. Whether you pay someone to manage your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy or choose to undertake things yourself, you will spend significant time or money doing so. The problem is that you are advertising to the whole internet. The whole wonderful, amazing, global internet. So, will that help you? Or could that investment of time or money be better spent on focused marketing closer to home?
The last question that I urge people to think about before deciding on an SEO strategy is what their strategy is for generating repeat business. Internet users are notoriously un-loyal customers. People search the net for the best bargains, as is evidenced by the success of low fair websites such as Travelocity. If your business generates a significant percentage of it’s income from repeat customers, such as a stylist might, the internet is a tough place to find customers.
I put these questions on the table to highlight how your internet marketing strategy is increasingly an integral part of your overall business strategy. The answer to the question of better search engine results comes down to the question of why you are on the internet in the first place. A website that sells widgets can probably quantify money spent on SEO strategy, whereas a nutritional counselor might be hard pressed to find a return on their investment.
Even if you run a service-oriented business, like a car wash, that relies entirely on people who walk through your door, I’m certainly not suggesting that you ignore your website. What I am suggesting is that you explore other strategies that can increase your internet presence. I’ll cover some of those alternatives in a further article, but for now, the challenge is to dig deeper into why you have a presence on the internet and what you want your website to accomplish for you.
Powered by ScribeFire.