Having a Nice Website is Only Half the Battle…

by Greg Wilson
POGO Marketing

…The more crucial component is making sure it can be found.

Several years ago, I wrote an article about website development for this magazine. Having worked at a newspaper and for a magazine publisher, in addition to owning a print shop, I am a big fan of print materials as advertising tools. That said, I have preached for a long time that a company website is the “biggest, best, most powerful marketing tool” a company will ever have.

Today, I still agree with that statement… but realize it is only half the battle. Having a nice website with all of the bells and whistles will do your business little good if your customers cannot locate it online.

I have always been a fan of exotic cars, so I will use that as an analogy. If I were to go out and purchase the latest and greatest Ferrari, how much would I enjoy it—and how many people would see it—if I parked it in a barn, covered it with a tarp, shut the door and walked away? The answer is: I would not be enjoying it, and people would definitely not be seeing it. The same is true with a website. No matter how much or little time you spend developing one, the more crucial component is making sure it can be found.

Moving Up the Rankings
Roughly 80 percent of all online searches are captured by the top three company websites listed organically in the search results. The top website receives 53 percent, the second receives 15 percent, and the third gets nine percent—everyone else fights over the remaining potential customers. If your organization’s website is on page three, four, five or 20 in the rankings, you are likely receiving little to no traffic. Something else to consider: the top-ranked organic position has a 34-percent higher click-through rate and an even more amazing, 160-percent higher conversion rate—it’s like owning valuable beachfront property.

This is why Search Engine Optimization is so important. SEO is the process of moving a website up the rankings on a long-term basis. It allows companies to strategize and work on building a long-lasting presence in the key areas on which they desire to focus, and it’s all about return on investment: a single sale could mean thousands of dollars in business, repeat business and referrals. Imagine how that translates if a website generates 50 new clients per year. As a business owner, if you could spend $1,500 a month to generate $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000 per month in new business, you would be very happy. That seems like a “no-brainer.” It may not even be a matter of spending more money, as companies can often move marketing dollars around that may not be showing results elsewhere.

An assortment of amazing tools is available to help your company determine the best course of action. A website audit can rate your current website in a number of categories, from design to content to functionality to marketing success. You can discover how many people are finding your website each month and from which areas of the community, as well as how they are looking you up (via smartphone, tablet or laptop/desktop). You can learn which keywords rank highest in searches for your industry and even the rates that are being paid for pay-per-click campaigns. You can learn, by category, how far your business has climbed or dropped in the rankings, and even where your competitors rank.

All About ROI
And that is why SEO is so important. It’s an organic way for businesses to drive their websites toward the top of the search engine rankings. The top position is not guaranteed, and there are times when even the top three positions are not likely, depending on the industry. Some industries are very competitive, while others are not. In fact, some industries that one would think are competitive are actually wide open for someone to take advantage of.

Again, it is all about return on investment. If your business offers 10 products or services, you might focus on the three with the highest returns. Once those objectives have been met, you can focus on the next batch of keywords or categories in which you would like to rank higher. In addition to a good website, proper SEO is vital to claiming your online presence, which is an essential part of a well-rounded marketing effort in today’s technology-driven markets. iBi

Greg Wilson is the founder and president of POGO Marketing, formerly Peoria Logo. To learn more about SEO or other online marketing solutions, call (309) 693-POGO, or visit www.pogomarketing.agency.