In ever-increasing numbers, customers are looking to the web for discounts and deals, to research, and to network with peers before making purchasing decisions. In July 2009, on Google sites alone Americans conducted 76.7 billion online searches, up 41% over 2008 (comscore.com, 2009). Do you know where you show up when people are searching online for your business?
There are certain fundamentals to having a solid, search engine friendly website. Implementing these best practices result in search engines being able to really dig their hooks into the content on your website and get at the meat of what your business is all about. They then index this data, and provide this content as search results when users are querying keywords and phrases related to your products or services. If there is nothing on your site for the search engines to feed on, then it will be difficult for users to find you on the web. It’s really that simple.
As technology matures and competition increases, there are fewer shortcuts to improving search engine awareness. Having success with this aspect of your business will require as much effort as any part of running your company. You should plan for this and allocate resources to address these needs. If you already have a marketing budget, plan to use a portion of it for SEO. If you have a website, it’s time to take a close look at it and find out if it is leveraged as effectively as it can be. If you don’t know how to answer that question, it probably isn’t.
SEO needs to be an integral part of your business strategy because it allows today’s customers and prospects the ability to find you. When was the last time you used the phone book to look for anything? In today’s increasingly digital landscape, your online presence is as important as any traditional offline advertising you may be doing. Quite frankly, it may be the only way your prospects will be able to find you.