If I Can’t See You, Are You Real?

If I Can’t See You, Are You Real?

I never really got the point of that “If a tree falls in the words..” question. Of course it makes a sound. Sound does not have to be heard to exist, does it?

If I can’t find your business, is it real? How do we define the moment at which a business begins? Is it when you file the business license, the day you rent office space, or after your first customer hands you a check?

I had to explain to a recent client that without a website, his business does not exist. Too many people are using the internet as their Yellow Pages (you remember those, right?)…it would be like running a business without a phone in the old days.

Unfortunately, just building that website is not the end of it. Unlike putting up a sign outside your store, a website does not attract attention ipso facto. You have to reach out to your customer base to make your business real on the internet.

Visibility is Key

Visibility is an important aspect of your business. Imagine trying to run a retail business from a storefront with no sign. The walk-by traffic on your block of Main Street may be voluminous, but very few people will stop when they don’t know what you are selling. Without a sign, even your law firm will not do a swift business if it is in a building where no one can find you.

One of the reasons you built a website was to take advantage of online traffic. More people cruise around the internet in one hour than walk up and down Main Street all day. With an online presence, you immediately increase your potential customer pool exponentially — or do you?

Your website puts your business information, product descriptions and areas of expertise in front of millions of people. The drawback is that there are also millions of businesses out there on the web with you. Your business remains invisible to potential clients until you find a way to stand out from the others.

Are Customers Searching for You?

Most people navigate the internet through a search engine. Google, of course, is the most popular search engine, hence the phrase, “Google it!” After googling, we see a list of relevant websites, and we pick one to visit.

All of the websites related to a certain keyword phrase come up in a Google search and are listed in a particular order. Of the thousands of relevant websites, only a few make it to the first page. The rest can be seen on subsequent pages, but who really looks at more than the first two?

Google has a method of analyzing web pages to determine which ones it should list for any given search. If you searched Google and it gave you a list of random websites that were not what you were looking for, you would stop using it. Google used this concept to build a robust system of returning search results that people want.

What About SEO?

SEO is just a shortcut phrase to talk about gaining visibility for your website. Search engine optimization is a fancy way of saying, give the Google algorithm what it wants. To gain visibility for your business, you need to come up on the first page in Google searches.

The way to optimize your visibility in search engines is through content. Google analyzes each webpage to detect keywords that help it determine how to index that page. If your About page uses the word “attorney” six times, that page of your website is likely to come up in “attorney” searches.

The Google algorithm is much more complicated than this, and it is constantly changing as it better understands people’s search habits. The basic premise is that your website needs to have written content that includes the keywords your customers are searching for in order to become visible in Google searches.

Most Valuable Website Content

The content on your website needs to serve two purposes. It should give the Google algorithm something to index, and it must inform and engage your customers. Visibility is the first step, but once customers reach your website, you want them to buy. The longer they stay on the site, the more likely they are to make a purchase.

Looking at it from the perspective of keywords, the most valuable content on your website is on the pages that describe your products and services. If you sell sandwiches, you want your website to show up when someone searches for sandwich, hoagie, grinder, hero or submarine (does anyone call them submarine sandwiches anymore?)

The most natural place for you to use those words on your website would be in the product descriptions. Once your product pages are built out, these words will not be added to your website again until you build a new sandwich and describe it on your website.

Why Not Blog?

A blog is an opportunity for you to add content to your website regularly. Every time you post a new blog, Google has to index your new page and will discover more of your top keywords. By consistently posting new blogs each week, you can build up the relevant content on your website and increase your positioning in Google searches.

Because Google cannot understand the content on your website, it uses other means of testing the quality of the writing. If you simply listed your three top keywords ten times each, your webpage would not rank as high as one that uses the words correctly in sentences. Another way Google judges quality content is by how many other pages link to yours.

Adding written content to your website by blogging creates opportunities for other pages to link to yours when they find your information useful. An external link is a pathway for all of the traffic from another website to be directed to your site. Internal links to other pages in your website, like product descriptions, also improve the credibility of your pages with search engines.

You’re Not Alone

SEO, content marketing, algorithms…blah, blah, blah. I know. You want to run your business without a degree in digital marketing or creative writing. That’s why I created three different blog service packages, to make it easy for you. When you sign up, you tell me your topics and keywords, and I send you professionally written content every week. You need visibility for your website, but you don’t need to do it alone.

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