by Kenneth Rudich
Getting the optimum value from a small business website involves a handful of considerations. One of the more important of them is called search engine optimization, or SEO for short.
search engine optimization
SEO provides the website with a unique marketing capability, one that truly sets it apart from other visually-oriented materials like brochures, posters, signs, flyers, or business cards.
In order to appreciate the power of SEO, you’ll want to understand it from at least two perspectives: the technical perspective, and the marketing value perspective.
seo technical perspective
From a technical standpoint, SEO addresses how search engines like Yahoo, Bing, or Google see your website. As you might imagine, this is quite different from the way a human being sees your website. Consequently, the trick behind good search engine optimization is to think like a search engine, not like a human being.
The objective is for your website to win a prominent ranking when someone does an internet search for the types of products or services you offer.
Ranking refers to the placement your website gets among all the websites that show up during an internet search. The higher the ranking the better for you. That’s why it’s called optimization, because you’re seeking the highest possible ranking.
There are specific techniques for achieving a high search engine ranking. People who specialize in website development know how to deploy these techniques, and they will even use terms like SEO or search engine optimization as a selling point in their sales pitch. In fact, if they fail to mention SEO, don’t use them. Find someone who proudly boasts about their SEO skills, can explain their SEO strategy to you, and give you examples of rankings they’ve gotten for other clients.
By the way, a keyword to listen for when they talk about SEO is the word “keywords.” Keywords are the words or phrases prospective customers typically use in the internet search about a product or service. SEO attempts to identify all the keywords associated with your business, and then cleverly incorporates them into the design of the website.
For example, when looking for a certain brand name barbecue grill, a prospective customer might enter that brand name along with the word “grill” or “grills” in the search field. If you offer that kind of grill, then your website will hopefully stand atop all the others in the search results. That’s the purpose of SEO.
seo marketing value perspective
Why is SEO so uniquely valuable?
It is estimated about 80% of customers perform an internet search before purchasing a product or service. If you rank within the top five results, there’s a good chance they will visit your website. As such, it becomes a virtual storefront or gateway for your business – much like having them walk through the front door of a building.
On top of that, you’re getting highly targeted customers who are already actively shopping for that product or service. If the rest of your web content is engaging, or they like the price, or perceive some other form of a value-added benefit…well, you get the picture.
enhanced marketing for your business
A well designed website can be more like having an extra sales person on the floor, as opposed to just another piece of promotional material.