A decade ago it was not unusual for businesses of all sizes to budget thousands of dollars a year to advertise in the yellow pages or local newspaper.
But in reality, when was the last time you reached for the phone book when you needed a new product or service?
How about your mobile phone?
Not only is it significantly more convenient to carry a smartphone in your pocket than a phone book, but search engines are generally easier to use to get answers.
Where else can you ask a question and not only get an answer, but have your question revised to pull even better results? Where else can you type in “Mississauga Window Cleaners” and get 243,000 results – including reviews from other people who have already used the services?
According to Forbes Magazine, multiple studies confirm that 80% of consumers admit to searching the internet first whenever they need a new product or service. Internet Live Stats concluded that on average Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second – which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day!
It is no secret that more and more consumers are using the internet first when looking for a new product or service, and yet many small businesses are hesitant to invest money in online marketing efforts.
Search engines also open a whole new domain when it comes to sharing and distributing information.
When a potential client searches for a product or service online they not only get your “contact card” but – if your website is built effectively – they also get information on your company background, service offerings, perhaps even a catalog. You can share everything you want a potential client to know about your business without them even having to pick up the phone!
But let’s not pretend that no one else has thought about this type of marketing.
Yes, search engines are an easy to access and highly effective marketing tool and because of that search engine marketing is highly competitive. As with anything, the bigger the crowd the harder it is to be seen. In fact, many consumers do not look past the first couple of result pages; especially if they find what they want on the first page.
It’s no longer as easy as “set it and forget it” as businesses have done in the past. So how do you get to the front of the line?
The answer is Search Engine Optimization.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process of increasing the quality of traffic to a website from a given search engine. Quality traffic is, in simple terms, your target audience.
Think of what keyword or phrase your potential clients might search for to find products or services that you provide – don’t pick your company name because if they already know who you are, they aren’t your target market – remember, you’re looking for potential clients. A good example is, “Commercial Window Cleaner in Brampton”.
Now Google the phrase you came up with – can you find yourself? If no, you need search engine optimization. If yes, think about how you could better use that prime real-estate!
It would be incredible if a user searches “apple” and your page comes up as the first result; but if they want a new computer and you sell Granny Smith apples that user is just going to take a quick look at your page and then go back to searching for computers.
While that visit to your website shows up as a “hit” there is no desired action (or conversion) by the user. Your goal is to get the user to want to learn more, and if you have planned your online strategy effectively you’ve provided them with the information they need.
Search engine optimization turns your website into a marketing tool for you to share knowledge, tips and stories with your potential customers. You can build company rapport and credibility. You can even convince someone to buy from you without even having a conversation with them.
Imagine if businesses today invested the same amount of money into building, maintaining and promoting their business online as they did just acquiring a yellow pages listing in the past.