Although there are tons of people on the web at any given time, they are not always there with the same purpose. If you have a business that has a brick-and-mortar store, you are well aware that everyone who comes into your store does not have the same purpose. You likely set up your store with things that will draw in browsers and serious shoppers alike. Well the same thing happens online. People will stop by your website for different reasons and it is up to you to keep them there and lead them to make a transaction.
Even if you do not have a bricks-and-mortar store, you too have to be aware of the different ways that people use the web—
These are people who are online looking for facts, news and information. They may type a phrase into search engine because they are looking for some very specific information. However, if you sell a product that relates to their query, you may be able to help them and they will visit your site if they think you have valuable and useful information.
Web surfers are hanging out and hanging ten as they peruse the web, not looking for anything in particular. When they come across your web site, if it clearly communicates a message that addresses their interests, you can get them to stop surfing and start hanging out at your website.
Navigators are on the web with a particular destination in mind. If they know the exact name of the website, they will go right there. But if they do not, they may have to search for it, and if you come up in the list when they search you may be able to get them to your site instead. (Unless of course these navigators were looking for your site in the first place. Then you want to make sure that your site name is firmly placed in their mind so they can type it right in without wandering.)
Increase Visibility can help you snag internet users who are looking for information, surfing around to see what they can find and those who start out with a specific destination in mind. We can analyze who is visiting your site and track you current online marketing campaign so that you can see who is visiting your site and what they are doing while they are there. Take a look at our SEO plans and give us a call at 877 SEO ADVICE (877 736 2384) to disucss which plan will work best for you.
There is no more powerful example of the power of the Internet to drive commerce than the events of the recent holiday season. Cash-conscious consumers took advantage of in-store Black Friday and December holiday sales but stopped there. Even day-after-Christmas sales failed to spark shoppers’ enthusiasm. The hoped for shopping frenzy never materialized; and retailers, decimated by the lack of spending, are starting to file for bankruptcy. Experts expect retail store closings to reach levels not seen since the 1970 recession 35 years ago. Burt Flickinger, managing director of retail industry consultant Strategic Resource Group, said 160,000 stores have closed this year and an additional 200,000 will be forced to shutter their doors in 2009. If you walked into a brick-and-mortar store or mall during the holidays, you found them depressingly empty. Parking was not a problem.
The picture was decidedly rosier for businesses with an Internet presence. Cyber Monday after Thanksgiving and Cyber Friday after Christmas resulted in high sales volumes. With no crowds or nasty weather to contend with and no schlepping from store to store to find what they wanted, buyers this year preferred to do their shopping online. Many Internet vendors sweetened the pot by offering excellent discounts and free shipping. It’s no wonder Internet sales did better than brick and mortar sales this holiday, and it’s a trend that retail analysts expect to continue.
A flagging economy escalates business competition. More people are competing for fewer consumer dollars. Businesses that don’t use every possible opportunity to reach potential customers will be left choking on their competitors’ dust. With most consumers now using the web as a first choice to research and make purchases, Internet marketing is no longer a luxury; it’s a critical business essential. But without search engine optimization (SEO), you’ll be wasting precious marketing dollars and fail to achieve the Internet presence you desire. Search engine optimization maximizes your presence on the internet to ensure that users are directed to your site, not your competitors’.
With SEO services provided by Increase Visibility, you can successfully optimize your website to increase your search engine ranking. Search engines are constantly changing their search requirements to better answer users’ queries and to weed out spam. If you don’t stay current with the parameters used by search engine spiders and bots to crawl your webpages, if you don’t regularly review and tweak your site to make sure it follows the most recent rules posted by Google, Yahoo! and the other primary search engines, your site will falter in the rankings and your business will go to your competitors. Effective SEO is an ongoing process; and given today’s emphasis on computer sales, it has been shown to be the fastest, most effective way to drive customers to your business.
Surely you have heard someone say that they wish they could clone themselves in order to do all that they need to do. In the 21st century, you really do need to be in more than one place at a time and accomplishing this is possible in the virtual world, although it is not possible in the physical world (at least not yet).
Perhaps you have already set down your goals for next year and these goals include ramping up your marketing efforts. Even as you wrote them down, you probably knew in the back of your mind that your goals were lofty. You probably wondered how you were going to get some of this done with all of the other things you have to do. Did you include “get more help” or “delegate certain tasks” as one of your goals? If not, it is not too late to include that in your plans.
The great thing about hiring a firm such as Increase Visibility to assist you with SEO and your efforts to improve organic search placement is that you really can be in several places at once. The real you can take care of the day-to-day tasks that are a part of running your business, while the virtual you can be active in various online communities and showing up in the places where you need to be to reach your current and potential customers.
You can work on your own behalf, even while you are sleeping, taking a well-deserved vacation or chatting with a client by participating in:
In addition to this, you can also create promotional videos that you can put on your website and promote in the avenues mentioned above.
Although you may want to choose a certain aspect of your online marketing campaign that you want to maintain personally, Increase Visibility is there to help with the rest. We are also here to offer advice on just how to shape your online presence.
Professional search engine placement will help you gain more national and international exposure, generate “hot” leads, and ensure that your marketing campaign is effective and brings the return on investment that you seek.
The move to digital communications is changing the way we think and do business (see our Dec. 19 & 23 posts). Tech-savvy young people raised in a world of computers, electronic gaming and cell phones spend most of their time in the virtual universe. They use texting and instant messages to connect with friends. Facebook has replaced face time as a way to share thoughts and life events with friends and family. These so called digital natives eschew the brick and mortar stores of their parents’ generation to shop almost exclusively online. They don’t read the newspaper, go to the library or buy books and magazines. Everything they need they find online, from directions to the concert to a recipe for vegetarian chili to where to buy the hot pair of shoes they saw on their favorite cable show last night. The next generation’s reliance on all things digital is already impacting the marketplace; and, with more digital natives entering the workforce every year, is beginning to change the way America does business.
Websites have already become an essential — and increasingly primary — element in business marketing strategies. Repeated studies have found that even people who eventually purchase from a brick-and-mortar store begin their search for products and services online. Savvy businessmen have already jumped on the You Tube bandwagon, posting humorous videos and sponsoring mini film contests to connect with techno-driven young consumers. Businesses have started using Facebook to get their message to the next big group of paying customers. Social marketing is adding a more immediate, more personal and more casual emphasis to Internet marketing.
The Internet information highway is becoming so littered with new technology and new choices that it can be hard for consumers to even find your business. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) focuses attention on your business and makes it visible to potential customers. As our reliance on digital technology increases, new platforms will allow greater interconnectedness. Blackberries and iPhones, which already allow a certain amount of integration, are just the beginning. Businesses that pursue and maintain aggressive SEO programs now best position themselves to take advantage of future technological advances and increase their visibility in the digital world.
Increase visibility offers search engine optimization plans to fit every need and budget. Contact our SEO experts to find out how we can position your company to compete in the digital world — now and in the future.
On Monday we talked about how SEO and organic search placement can be compared to two different decision-making processes: one where a person makes a quick decision using instincts and one where someone takes their time to talk over the advantages and disadvantages of the choices at hand. When it comes to deciding how a website ranks in search results, search engines use a more than a few criteria (in fact Google looks at more than 150!).
Well, although Google uses a sizable number of criteria, it does not take forever to come to its conclusions. This is why you need the assistance of a firm like Increase Visibility, so that your website marketing program has all the correct components in place when Google stops by to check you out. You definitely want to be prepared. Search engines do check often…at first. But if it seems like your site has little new material to offer, they will space out their visits more and more until your website becomes an afterthought and you do not want this to happen.
Many of your customers may also make rather instantaneous decisions. Whether they see you in search engine rankings or see your company name in a list of press releases, they probably will not spend all day deciding which link to click to continue their online journey.
Again, you need to be primed and ready. You need to make certain that the prose they see is crisp and clean. You also need to have already worked on name recognition through your online marketing efforts. We all go for what is familiar–even when we do not realize that it is familiar. Returning customers know you already. However, the newer customers whose attention you want to grab may not be acquainted with you just yet, but if your name has been floating around the web on blogs, directories and social networking sites, they will click on a link leading to you because your name is familiar.
Let Increase Visibility help you make sure that your name is front and center in people’s minds when they think about your industry. One of our SEO marketing plans can put you at the top. With our Bundle 3 Plan, we will help you broaden your customer base with blog commenting, article marketing, video marketing, podcast marketing and social bookmarking—just to name a few of the services that we provide.
The digital world is changing the way we communicate. Poor readership is forcing newspapers to dwindle in size and number. The once-storied heft of the Sunday New York Times no longer requires a weightlifter’s physique. In a harbinger of things to come, the Detroit Free Press recently announced it will end daily home delivery in March and shift its resources to an online edition. The media conglomerate Tribune Co., publishers of some of the nation’s most respected newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Baltimore Sun, has filed for bankruptcy. Even the Tribune’s 23 television stations couldn’t save it from doom. Ratings figures are down across the board on national television news programs, and even local news broadcasts are suffering from poor viewership. Book sales are at all-time lows, forcing struggling book publishers to close divisions and cut e-book deals with digital publishers like iPhone and eBook.
Led by the up-and-coming digital natives, wired-in teens and 20-somethings who have grown up with computers, cell phones, Nintendo, Xboxes and iPods, communication is becoming increasingly digital. When people need information today, they Google it. You get exactly the information you want and you get it instantly. And with the advent of wireless technology, Blackberries and smart phones like Apple’s iPhone, you’re no longer tied to a computer terminal. Information is available on the go — anywhere, any time.
The downside of this digital revolution is the loss of face-to-face human interaction that has been the basis for human communication for the past two thousand years. As discussed in last Friday’s post, UCLA psychiatrist Dr. Gary Small is among a growing number of scientists who fear that the next generation’s penchant for instant messaging (IM) and text messaging is degrading our ability to read and understand facial cues and body language. While there is sure to be some initial fallout, over the next decade business will continue to change to accommodate our increasing reliance on all things digital. A growing number of workers already work remotely, connecting to customers and the home office via the internet and phone. Digital conferencing, web cams and screen-sharing technology make it increasingly unnecessary to meet face-to-face. It won’t be long before we spend most of our time in a virtual world.
For business owners, the challenge will be to embrace the digital world of up-and-coming consumers while maintaining a connection to older, less tech-savvy customers through traditional communication paths. Because industry experts expect communication to be nearly all-digital within a decade, it will be critical to monitor your communication balance and shift resources and emphasis accordingly. With an increasing portion of business coming from digital channels, the foresight and flexibility to take advantage of new communication opportunities like Facebook, You Tube and Twitter will drive business success. On Friday, we’ll talk about how search engine optimization can maximize your ability to succeed in the digital world.
When you make a decision to choose one thing over another–be it a burger over a chicken sandwich or a blue sweater over a green, you are probably unaware of just how complex this transaction really is. Well, if you take a while to make decisions and spend time talking it out and going over the pros and cons for each option, then you might be aware of some of the complexities.
However, if you are the type of person who just picks something quickly based on instinct, then you may not really be aware of all that goes into choosing one item over another.
Ok, so how does all of this apply to organic search placement and search engine optimization, you ask? Which scenario–the instant decision or the talking-it-out decision–be compared to SEO?
Well, the answer is that both scenarios can be applied to SEO. And here is how:
A Large Number of Factors Go Into Search Engine Placement
Did you know that Google uses more than 150 different criteria as they try to figure out where your website should fall in search results? This means that like the person who talks over every aspect of a decision, Google has a lot on its mind when it is selecting which websites will rise to the top and which will sink to the bottom. And of course Google is not forthcoming about sharing exactly what these criteria are or how they may change. They are not going to reveal their recipe and have everyone else cooking up a monster search engine.
Increase Visibility Can Help
This should not scare you, however. It simply means that trying to get into the mysterious mind of Google is not a job you should tackle on your own. Increase Visibility specializes in search engine optimization, but cannot promise to have all of the answers, Be very wary of anyone who tells you that they have cracked the code and that they know all the secrets of the various search engines.
Here at Increase Visibility we do not claim that we know every, single aspect of just how a search engine makes its selections, but our staff does have long and solid relationships with many search properties and we will put this to will put to work on your behalf. The search engine industry is constantly changing and with our continual vigilance in studying the latest trends, we can provide you with a competitive advantage.
Call us today at 877 SEO ADVICE, 877 736 2384 or email us at info@IncreaseVisibility.com with questions.
And check back on Wednesday for more on this topic.
Some scientists believe the wired world is significantly changing the way people read, learn and interact. UCLA psychiatrist Dr. Gary Small postulates that our daily dependence on digital technology is actually altering the way our brains work. It’s the Darwin principle on fast forward. Small believes fundamental change in the way humans communicate is coming not in millennia but within a few years.
Small and others in the psychiatric community say that society’s emphasis on technology is causing people to lose the basic social skills upon which human interaction has been based for thousands of years. Young people who interact with their peers almost strictly via Internet instant messages and text messages are losing the ability to read facial expressions during conversations. With fewer daily interactions taking place face-to-face, the ability to understand important body language cues is being lost. Loss of use is causing the brain circuits used in face-to-face communication to wither, Small asserts. The result is that we are becoming a society of social misfits. Particularly among young people in their teens and 20s, the so-called digital natives, social awkwardness and isolation are increasing. Interest in traditional classroom learning is lagging. The communication and social interactions that define us as a human society are changing.
Small, the author of iBrain: Surviving the Technological Alteration of the Modern Mind, likens today’s digital communication revolution to the dramatic societal changes precipitated by humankind’s move from oral to written communication more than 2,000 years ago and, more recently, the advent of television. At the time, both raised strong concerns among the established members of society, despite which, both prevailed and have significantly changed the way we communicate.
With these digital natives poised to enter the workforce and become the next major consumer group, what does this mean for business owners? To a degree, the established values of the current business community will mold new entrants in its own image. Digital natives will be forced to acquire at least some social skills to survive and compete in an environment that still values face-to-face communication. But as the number of digital natives in business grows, they and their viewpoint will exercise increasing control over how business is enacted. As the reigns of power are handed from one generation to the next, the preference for digital communication will change the way we do business.
Next Tuesday: Positioning yourself to meet the communication challenges of tomorrow.
On Monday, we talked about how entering the world of Twitter without a little guidance can be like jumping into the pool without your water wings. Twitter does not have to become overwhelming and over time you may find that it is actually very helpful.
Twitter poses the question “What are you doing?” and then limits you to 140 characters in which to provide the answer.
Business works on connections and if you are genuine, people will be drawn to you. Ask to follow people and give them permission to follow you, if you think it will be beneficial. Aim to post often enough, but not too often. It will take a little time before you find your comfort level. Obviously, a post every 5 minutes is too much, yet posting once a month means you won’t gain a lot of momentum.
But be warned: If you are using Twitter for business, it is not a confessional. You probably would not always tell a client exactly what you are doing over the phone or in an e-mail. Keep that in mind while you are using Twitter.
Last week I went to a networking event where a woman noted that some people seem rather whiny in their Twitter posts. Think about the sum total of your posts and put your best foot forward. You can be human and admit a bit of frustration, but if you use Twitter to vent constantly, people will be turned off.
Instead, use your Twitter account as a way to publicize your new and existing products. Let people know about the new, exciting things you are doing. You can also use it to link your company to current events.
While it is true that all of your customers may not flock to Twitter, know that the ones who do are people who like to stay on top of things. These are people who are likely to help spread word of mouth quickly to their contacts when they learn of something new. You want to harness the power of these connections to get the word about your products and services and grow your business.
Since you may not reach all of your customers through Twitter, you still want to keep the other components of your web marketing plan going at full speed too, Increase Visibility can help you do this. We specialize in Search Engine Optimization, but we have a full menu of services to make sure you and your business get noticed.
Another year is winding down which means it’s budget planning time again. It’s time to assess how wisely you spent your marketing dollars last year and where they’ll do you the most good this year. In a poor economy, everyone has to tighten their belt. We’ll all be faced with hard financial choices in the coming year and cutbacks are inevitable. However, marketing is what brings customers in the door. The challenge will be to make savvy choices that maximize value received. Including search engine optimization (SEO) in your 2009 marketing budget will ensure that your marketing dollars work hard for you.
On an average day, nearly 70 million American adults access the Internet for information and news. An additional 30 million Americans go online on a monthly basis. As a method of reaching potential customers, the Internet far outstrips its competitors. The Internet allows businesses instant access to a larger, wider and more focused audience that print, television or radio media — and for far less money. When optimized for search engines, information placed on the Internet via a website, social network, directory, press release or pay-per-click ad will reach more potential customers faster and cheaper than any other media. SEO is the most effective way to maximize the value received from your marketing dollars.
Who you choose to provide SEO services will make a difference in the effectiveness of your Internet marketing campaign. With more than 20 years of combined experience in search engine optimization and internet marketing, the experts at Increase Visibility can guarantee you maximum return on investment. Increase Visibility is one of the most successful website marketing firms in the U.S. Consistently ranking at the top of consumer and industry Best SEO lists, Increase Visibility was recently named Best SEO Firm and ranked No. 1 out of America’s top 30 Best Organic Optimization Companies by TopSeos.com. PromotionWorld recently chose Increase Visibility a Best SEO Company.
A nationally recognized industry expert with more than 10 years experience in the top echelon of SEO, President James A. Lisi has attracted 30 strong SEO experts, SEO developers, content specialists and pay-per-click (PPC) experts to create one of the most accredited SEO companies in the field today. Other marketing agencies outsource roughly 96% of their business to us and co-brand more than 60% of our marketing services. Our dedication to our customers’ satisfaction has earned us a 96% customer retention rate. On TopSeos.com, Increase Visibility was voted the No. 1 most highly ranked SEO firm over 2,500 competitors for superior customer service and rankings achievability.
Increase Visibility offers a variety of SEO plans to fit every budget. We also offer targeted Internet marketing services to meet the needs of our clients. For complete information on how Increase Visibility can maximize the earning potential of your marketing dollars, visit our website. At Increase Visibility, we pride ourselves on providing “SEO you can understand. Results you can see.”
You may have heard people tell you should use Twitter, but actually taking the plunge can be rather intimidating. Since I just got off of the phone after trying to explain the difference between MySpace and Facebook to my mother, I know that hearing the phrases “Twitter” and “tweet” make some people’s heads spin.
I am going to be brutally honest here: I’ve only recently embraced Twitter myself. I quickly jumped in to the world of blogging, but I had to be coaxed into taking the plunge into micro-blogging. And that is all Twitter is–a blogging application that is shrunk down so that each entry has a limit of 140 characters.
They are small but you better believe that this tiny microblogs pack a powerful impact and they can go a long way towards boosting your business. Just be sure that you do not jump into those waters before you’be had a few swimming lessons.
Like all social networks, Twitter has its own etiquette, and you do not want to be the one at the party who is unaware of the rules. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
Conduct Business as Usual
If you want to use Twitter for business, set up an account specifically for that purpose. You can use a separate account to keep family and friend updated on your latest personal news.
Just as you would not interrupt a private conversation, be aware that when you see @[insert name here], then that is a Twitter post that is directed at a specific Twitter user and you shouldn’t interrupt.
(Now some of you will say that if a person really wanted to say something privately, they should not post it on Twitter. You have a point, but I do not make the rules; I am just passing on the tip.)
It’s Okay to Pull Someone Aside
That being said, it is possible to send someone a personal message via Twitter. The Twitter control panel will allow you to do this and then the message is like an IM (instant message) and it will not be visible to the public.
Of course Twitter is just one aspect of social media. If you want to implement an entire social media marketing strategy, turn to Increase Visibility. We can go over your business and help formulate a comprehensive SEO marketing plan to optimize you web presence. Then we will assist you in creating buzz by using article marketing, social bookmarking and blogging. Social media marketing will help your search engine ranking by improving link popularity while at the same time building direct traffic to your site.
Come back on Wednesday to learn more about how Twitter can be great for business.
Although it is early December and many people’s minds are on holiday decorating and shopping, some of you may have already begun the year-end evaluation process that won’t hit some people until the end of the month.
Even if you do not make New Year’s Resolutions, you cannot help but think back over the past year and map out what you would like in the coming year.
Is your business doing as well as you would like? Do you keep intending to do more with your website, but keep putting it off? Your website is the face you present to the online world—a portal that can help you bring in huge revenues if it is used correctly.
Maybe you have looked at your websites stats now and then and sighed because you are not getting the traffic you would like.
One way to get the SEO results you want is to make goals. That way you can do the work it takes so that you are in the places where you need to be for your customers to find you.
Is your blog readership not quite what you would like? Think about how many page views you would like to have.
Do you have a product that you think is top notch, but isn’t selling?
Is that product visible on your website? Have you written press releases to link that products to current events?
To get somewhere, you really do need some sort of plan or map. More customers will not simply show up because you wish they would. And you can set both short-term and long-term goals. If you want to be an industry leader, it will not happen overnight. It is great to plan big, but some things take time. Look down the road to your ultimate goals, but also set some goals that you can achieve sooner and you will feel a great sense of accomplishment.
If you are unsure about how to examine your business and set goals, then turn to the team at Increase Visibility. Our experienced staff will learn about your business and analyze your website to help you form goals that will get you where you want to be.
After working with you on setting targets for Organic Search Placement and SEO, we can start work on it right away. In the meantime, you can continue to run your business and prepare for the increase in customers that comes when you have optimized your online presence.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the most effective way to drive traffic to your website. When consumers search for products, services or information on the Internet, Google, Yahoo or whatever search engine they use sifts through millions of websites in its data base looking for the best matches to the query. It ranks those matches according to its particular standards and algorithms and shoots them back to the consumer. While the search engine may produce thousands, even millions, of matches, only about 10 to 12 at a time are displayed on the consumer’s view screen. Most consumers will check out matches on the first page provided and a few will click to view page 2 or page 3. Beyond that, your website might as well not exist. Search engine optimization is like putting bright, blinking neon lights around your website. It tells search engines: “Here I am! Choose me!”
By targeting search engines and the techniques they use to match consumer queries to websites, SEO effectively increases the visibility of your website on the Internet highway, increasing website traffic and bringing more potential consumers to your door.
“The typical website gets 61% of its traffic from organic (nonpaid) search engine results, and 41% of all traffic from Google alone,” Christopher Null wrote in a recent posting to PC World’s Business Center blog, “Ensuring that the company’s site ranks highly in search results is, for most businesses, a make-or-break proposition.”
Optimizing your website to consistently gain the attention of Internet search engines requires a multi-dimensional approach that specifically targets your preferred customer base. The goal of SEO is to place your website as close to the top of the results list as possible when a consumer initiates a search related to your business/industry and the products and services you offer. It’s not a job for amateurs. Search engines are constantly changing the way they rank pages to keep up with new developments in computer algorithms, spam avoidance and technology. Web pages need to be re-optimized monthly to keep up and maintain their high rankings.
You can’t count on search engines to simply “find” you. Web pages must be manually submitted to search engines in strict accordance with highly technical guidelines developed and constantly revised to eliminate spam. Experienced SEO firms have also found that it’s not good to put all your eggs in one basket, so they also submit web pages to major directories. Directories are human-edited lists of websites that are also indexed by search engines and included in their query response data banks. Placing your website in major directories increases your opportunity to be cataloged by search engines and discovered by consumers.
On Friday: Specific SEO techniques that improve search engine rankings.
One important thing to remember about increasing your visibility is that you have to meet people where they are. While it may seem logical for web users to use certain phrases to find you, they may not follow “logic.”
Even when the customer is wrong, they are still right. Your potential customers may not have found you yet because, to them, you are inaccessible. Now, you may have done all the “right” things, and yet you remain invisible to them. How can that be?
Here is one example of this: It is quite possible that your website can get high rankings for a certain keyword or set of keywords…but if the consumers you seek do not use that keyword to find you, then what good is it? You may be getting all sorts of people to come to your website, but if they are not your target audience, then you will have a great search engine ranking…but you still will not be connected to the people who really want to reach. Increase Visibility has been recognized for its work in organic optimization and reputation management.
There are SEO firms that will promise you great rankings, and they may help you improve your ranking for a while, but will you see results and growth in your customer base? Plastering keywords everywhere is not a strategy for long-term growth. As we mentioned above, if you are getting lots and lots of hits from people who do not purchase your product and spend only a few seconds on your site, you may not have gained very much. Even the exposure to your site may not really pay off if they are not interested or spend so little time there that they don’t glean enough information to remember your company.
This is one reason to hire experts, like the team at Increase Visibility to analyze your website. Yes, you can get information on search engine rankings and page views on your own, but are you certain that you know how to interpret them. Do you have the time to really sit down and analyze your website stats AND take care of your day-to-day operations?
Increase Visibility has the expertise you need to figure out not only how many people visit your site, but how they use your site. Gaining information on user behavior is critical to understanding how to make you website “sticky.”
If you don’t know, when people in the web world refer to a site as “sticky,” this indicated that the site has pages that hold web users’ interest. When a website is “sticky,” web users are not quick to leave and they stick around to view other pages, getting to know the website and the organization behind it.
Remember when you were a kid and you went to the store with mom or dad. There was a big sign over the door announcing “Hale’s Hardware” or “Belmont Cleaners” or “Grier’s Grocery.” As you walked in, the shop owner greeted you from behind a high, polished wooden counter. Maybe he chatted with your parent while he walked around his shop, helping your parent find what he came for. They’d exchange a few more pleasantries while purchases were rung up and bagged and you were waved off to the next errand with a cheerful good-bye. Shop owners who were able to create that special personal connection with their customers thrived. People enjoyed shopping in their stores and kept going back.
Even in today’s world of impersonal big-box stores, business owners understand the value of creating a personal connection with their customers. That’s why Wal-Mart employs seniors to welcome you to the store and hand you a cart. It’s the reason someone calls out “hi” when you walk into a Staples or Best Buy. It’s why Target employees walk the aisles asking if they can help you find what you’re looking for. And it’s the reason savvy business owners today have websites.
Websites are like the polished shop counter of the brick and mortar stores of your youth. They’re what greet potential customers as they exit the Internet highway and come in the “door” to your business. The tone of your website content, the ease with which customers can move around your website, the depth of the product information provided, pictures, video feeds, Q&A features, chat rooms, forums — all of these website elements work together to build that highly-prized personal contact with your customers that keeps them coming back.
What many business owners fail to realize is that no matter how fabulous their website, no matter how gleamingly polished their “counter,” customers will never find them without a nice, big, bright “sign” over the door. When you create a website, it comes with an ordinary, little sign, your URL. But there are thousands of URLs out there littering the Internet highway, competing for customers’ attention. It’s search engine optimization that surrounds your sign with bright lights and makes it stand out above your competition. It’s search engine optimization that catches the attention of consumers and leads them to your door.
Next Tuesday: How SEO increases website traffic