Founder and President, Imagemakers
How do your customers discover you? Maybe through a friend of a friend. Maybe at a trade show. Maybe by reading a brochure.
Of course, they may discover you through Internet search. 89% of consumers surveyed used search engines to make their buying decisions according to the Fleishman-Hillard 2012 Digital Influence Index. A snappy print ad may plant the seed, but it's a safe bet that your newest customer looked you up online before committing to buy.
The good news: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help you be in the right place, in front of the right customer, using the right words on their computer, tablet or phone, at the right time.
Connecting customers to you on their terms.
By learning a little about SEO, you can ensure they find YOU, and not just your competitor.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
The easiest place to start is your own website. Customers search using Google, Bing, or Yahoo, looking for a key need that you might fill. Customers type in descriptive "keywords," -- maybe rubber gaskets, custom trailers or commercial real estate -- and a search engine like Google crawls, looking through millions of websites, to return a page of results. The order of these results matters. A study by Chitika found that moving from the second result to the first can almost double the traffic you receive for that keyword.
Where your company falls in the list is largely determined by your popularity and content. High up? Second page? Here's what Google is looking for:
- How many sites link to you? If 250 sites link to your competitor and 20 link to you, we've got work to do.
- How popular or trustworthy are the sites that link to you? As more reputable sites link to you, the more reputable Google or Bing deem you.
- Do the keywords on your site match what the visitor is looking for? If you sell rubber fittings for large machinery, you probably need to strategically mention this within your content.
- Have other sites linked to yours using these keywords? Whether it's your local chamber website or an online directory, ask them to include a brief description of your business -- using your best keywords -- when they link to you.
- Lack of negatives. Google and other search engines monitor quality over quantity, so playing games with SEO doesn't work long term.
- Don't look like spam. Dropping "rubber gaskets" strategically into two articles is fine. Mentioning rubber gaskets in every sentence won't help. It may actually hurt.
- Don't create links from sites whose sole purpose is to improve search engine rankings. Deceptive "black-hat" SEO techniques can get you banned from the search engines.
Download the QuickStart Guide for a checklist of specific steps you can take to improve your search engine rankings.
Over the past 12 years, we've seen SEO efforts produce results for customers in almost every industry.
One example is Dymax (www.DYMAXinc.com), a manufacturer based in Wamego, Kan. They produce highly-specialized products in competitive global industries. By paying attention to SEO -- terms like "attachments for heavy equipment" and others -- Dymax has opened up new markets globally.
"Imagemakers' ability to get us listed in the top four or five results in various search engines translated into several million dollars in sales in the first couple of years," said Clark Balderson, CEO of Dymax.
Since incorporating SEO, Dymax has added new customers in Russia, Australia, South America and Indonesia. SEO has fueled their growth -- and their revenue -- one day at a time. They got here by incorporating SEO into their marketing strategy, paying attention to the results and experimenting over time. Here's a few guiding SEO principles they -- and we -- have come to rely on.
SUCCESSFUL SEO PRACTICES
1. Know your customers. We don't always know exactly what the customer wants. But we can continue to learn about their perspective. Ask current customers how they found you; what they value about your service. It's a good bet that some of these keywords will translate when you plant them on your page.
2. Know your competition. What are your competitors doing well? What keywords are they using? What sites are linking to them? Do some searches on your own, or ask us about a competition report.
3. Know your keywords. The old-school trick to SEO was dropping artful terms into your own website, to drive search results simply through overwhelming clutter. That no longer works. By tailoring your webpage content to a few keywords and keeping your descriptions short and simple, you'll make search and discovery simpler for your customers.
4. Keep measuring results. We love SEO because it's easy to monitor. A newspaper ad may take days and weeks to wrap up its effect, but with SEO, we can see results as they happen. Google Analytics is a great tool for seeing what phrases customers used to find you, how many, what works and what doesn't.
5. Keep experimenting. SEO keywords and your web presence are constantly evolving. So are the search engines. If search terms aren't working, you can target others. You may even discover it's fun to review phrases, and you may learn more about your customers' preferences.
STEPS YOU CAN TAKE
Download the QuickStart Guide at www.imagemakers-inc.com/webtraffic that walks you through boosting your business' online profile. These starter steps will help you position your business for SEO and should also provide you a roadmap for your web marketing efforts.
Let us know how it works for you!
And if you have questions, feel free to give us a call at 888-865-8511.