Years ago, business owners invested significant resources in a physical storefront. To get noticed, a business needed a brightly lit sign close to a well-traveled street, an accessible parking lot, and a clean and attractive entranceway. Marketing staff focused on designing eye-catching advertisements for “The Yellow Pages” and created promotions to be shared via local television and radio commercial spots. Remember these days?
Now, businesses don’t even need a storefront—Amazon was founded in a garage. In 2020, 60% of small businesses in the United States operate out of someone’s home. Instead, today’s businesses are reliant on electric storefronts: websites. In mid-2020, Smart Insights conducted a survey of Internet users aged 16 to 64 and found that 81% of people used an online search to find a product or service. In fact, 40,000 Google searches are conducted every second worldwide, and that doesn’t include other popular search engines like Bing and Yahoo.
It’s because of these statistics that a spectrum of build-your-own website companies have sprung up. With minimal computer skills, it’s seemingly simple to create a website using an attractive, pre-designed template that just requires “fill-in-the-blank” type development—all at an extremely low price. If you’re in charge of your company’s web presence, your executive management has likely asked you why you can’t lower expenses by using one of these services.
When this happens to you, here are some suggestions for your response.
Consider these types of DIY websites as electronic billboards. Most people who use one of these solutions to create a company website spend weeks adding pictures and content to the site and then hit the magic button—“PUBLISH.” And then they wait and wait, and wait for people to find it.
That “build it and they will come” theory doesn’t work with websites. In fact, unless a customer searches for your specific business or types in your website address into the search bar, it is becoming increasingly difficult for a website to show up in search engine results. Professionals invest time every month keeping up with how the most popular search engines rank their results to help companies show up at the top of the list.
And isn’t that why you want a website? So more people who are searching for a provider to meet their needs can find you online? To accomplish that, you need to achieve a fancy term called “search engine optimization” or SEO for short.
Here’s the challenge. As of the exact second, I am writing this article, there are 1,840,160,580 websites on the Internet. And as I watch, that number just ticks higher and higher. You can watch the number grow by clicking here. Of those, they estimate about 200 million are actually active—meaning many are either static sites or are no longer being tended to.
With over a billion websites on the Internet, how does a search engine find yours?
I’ll use Google as an example since they have over 75% of the market share when it comes to searches. When a customer goes to Google and types in “off-road motorbikes,” Google would have to scan all of those websites to figure out which of them have something to do with off-road motorbikes and report it back to you in some random order. That’s not very efficient or helpful.
Google had to get much more sophisticated to be able to perform searches successfully. When you hear about “Google’s algorithms,” this is what people are talking about. Google is programmed to pick up on clues to figure out what the user wants, uses tricks to search the most popular websites, and then reports them back in order of what Google determines most relevant at the top of the list.
Marketing professionals are constantly working to learn the latest updates to Google’s search algorithms to be able to help their clients design and manage their websites to achieve good rankings. SEO would be easier if Google published a list of qualifications, but their programming continues to change as the Internet evolves. But here is what we know helps achieve good rankings:
- Visitors must find value in your website. Google measures not only how many people visit your site, but they look at how much information they review (they see both clicks and scrolling behavior) and how much time they spend there. The more attention you capture, the more relevant Google thinks you are. If visitors share your link on another site—that’s a huge bonus!
- Your content must contain unique information. Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” As such, it gives a higher ranking to sites that contain unique and valuable information. This means that to rank well, you don’t want to just have a sales site and you can’t copy content from other websites. Having well-written and original content that users click on and then take the time to read is critical.
- Your website must be active. When you are constantly adding information (ie, content) to your website, Google sees the amount of information you are providing is growing and acknowledges you with higher rankings. It assumes that when you continue to grow information, your website becomes more valuable.
- Google must be able to read your website. There are a number of ways specific website pages are coded to help Google understand what’s there. Keywords are a part of that, but there are a variety of ways to code a website to promote SEO. The best website developers know all the tricks.
To produce a website that gets found when customers perform online searches, you need a professional marketing team like Paradux Media Group. When you’re considering the cost of a professionally built and managed website, you have to measure the whole value of your online presence in a world where your virtual business footprint is how people find you, evaluate your company and your products, and often conduct business with you, too. Our team at Paradux Media Group has the knowledge and experience to help your company achieve its goals. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.