Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia said ‘if it isn’t on Google, it doesn’t exist.’ What I see in cyberspace a lot of business out there seem quite happy not to exist. Existing on the internet is not about just throwing up any website, any old way and thinking it’s job done. Far from it. If your going to build a website then start considering how people are going to find it. Remember these people have already made up their minds they want your business.
Lost in cyberspace
When I run analysis on websites of small businesses around the country I see the same trend and it’s not a good one. Websites looking good in many cases but structurally flawed and functionally useless. They don’t achieve a simple objective ‘being found’. In the vastness of the Internet these lost souls lie in space never to be clicked on. To me this is tantamount to a business saying they don’t care people are looking for their goods.
Ask the SEO question
The simple reason for this is these websites are not optimized for search engines to find them. When these websites were being built nobody cared to ask ‘What is the SEO Strategy?’ or simply ‘What happens after it’s built?’. Forget planning design for SEO lets just live for today. The Result: Potential customers are looking for your product and you are nowhere to be found. If you are a small business out there let me highlight this to you by taking a common local business.
A Bad Example of SEO
On running an analysis of the dental industry in Ireland I can see there are thousands of searches every month for all sorts of dental treatments ranging from general dental care to implants to teeth whitening to dentures etc etc. The general standard of site optimization is pretty poor to say the least and even those appearing towards the top of the search engine results are not optimized properly. They are only succeeding because everyone around them is so bad. I see this trend following across many different SME businesses from solicitors to accountants to beauty salons. It also seems that chains are performing better against the independent smaller outfits. My guess is the chains have copped on to the importance of SEO and are picking up all the search crumbs at their smaller competitors expense. If many of these SME businesses knew how many people were searching for these services my guess is, they would fast change their tune. I wonder does the dentist know how many people look for teeth whitening every month in his area? I know a dental chain in my area that does.
Internet Retail Estate
If we take certain industries like books and music, Amazon, Apple and a few other players have almost shut down all our independent stores by taking control of the Internet retail estate for their respective products. Thankfully not every product is homogenous like books but it shows how holding good online retail space is becoming paramount to capturing the hearts and minds of intending-to-buy consumers.
It is good for nobody except the chains themselves when our high streets and local businesses fail to compete. Our high streets and local businesses are the character of our towns and the livelihoods of their people. On the flipside, I had the pleasure of working with a small business recently who don’t market themselves anymore and are booked up a month in advance simply by getting SEO right. Their problem now is how to expand and cater for the demand being put their way.
As more and more people decide their purchasing behavior through Google and few other engines continuing to stay lost in cyberspace will ultimately cost your business dearly. Weather you are a small business or a large multinational SEO or search engine marketing performance can define your business. Your website needs to be set up to reply to the searches your potential customers are making. This is where the decision making process is happening so be there.
It’s about time you asked the question about your website, are you search engine optimized or are you happy not to exist?
We are in the digital age so you better start at asking yourself ‘What’s your SEO Plan?’