Saturday, April 23, 2016

You Have a Great Website: Now Optimize!

A few days ago, Search Engine Land cited a report by a "local media forecaster," Borrell Associates, that estimates "total SEO spending will be just over $65 billion this year, growing to nearly $80 billion by 2020."

The report--which can only be accessed with a subscription--argues that "the two categories that businesses spend the most on--web hosting and design--are switching positions with SEO and social media management. In short, advertisers have finished the basic structure of their digital storefronts and are venturing out into their SIMS-like communities to find virtual customers."

As Search Engine Land notes, the numbers here "may cause some skepticism." After all, the SEO industry is as varied as it customers, and numbers of this sort are nearly impossible to quantify. However, the basic assumption of the report, that a majority of online businesses are now ready to promote viable storefronts, seems consistent with our experience.

The cliche "everybody has a website" really is true; in today's markets--local, national, or global--a capably designed and developed website is standard operating procedure. Yet, as this report argues, a capably designed and developed site is not enough.

To truly compete, you need a viable SEO and social media campaign.

Unfortunately, our experience has also revealed another fact. A majority of online businesses are ready to promote, yet many do not.

When speaking to small and medium-sized business owners, in fact, the sentiment we most often hear is, "I need SEO and social media, but..."

We've asked this question before, the most important question for any website: Do you hope to profit from your website?

For far too many businesses the website is essentially a high-priced business card. Brick and mortar stores, especially, view their own websites as mere information portals. Yet, even if your website is not a virtual storefront, you can profit from your online presence. After all, how do you drive customers to your brick and mortar? Traditional advertising? Today, traditional advertising is online advertising.

Again, most small and medium-sized business owners understand this. And most continue to offer the same excuse: "I need SEO and social media, but..."

Andy Warhol's One Dollar Bill [Source] Are you dissuaded by the cost of online marketing?

Many online business owners are dissuaded by the cost of SEO and social media. It is true, an effective online marketing campaign requires a significant monthly investment. It is also true: Doing nothing might doom your online efforts, and perhaps your entire enterprise, online and offline.

To quantify the potential effect of an online marketing campaign, you must, first, understand how your website drives traffic to your business. As Alex Stepman noted recently:

"Most website owners do not use (or understand) website data--the rich analytical statistics that detail the performance of a website. This data is available to all websites for free via Google Analytics, or for a fee via enterprise SEO platforms."

Check out the post (and comment) from Alex Stepman: "How to Analyze Three Key Data Points to Improve SEO."

Once you understand how the Internet drives traffic to your business, you can better quantify the potential effect of an online marketing campaign. To do so, perform a Google search for your business. How do you compare to your competitors. Are you the top result? The second result? The third?

According to a 2013 study from Chitika, top results receives 33% of all traffic; the second result receives about 18%; and the third result receives 11%. That's a significant drop-off. If you're not on the first page, you're missing out on nearly 92% of all traffic.

As we noted before:

"If you know how much traffic the Internet drives to your business, and you can quantify that number in dollars, you can easily see the difference between, say, the third result and the first. By optimizing your site to be the first result, you could potentially triple your profits."

Is your indecisiveness about SEO costing you money? Call Stepmans PC!

If you sell a high-quality product that deserves customers, you also deserve a well-optimized website. Do not let the changing search landscape compromise your sales. Now, more than ever, you need the astute wisdom of a professional search engine optimization professional.

Stepmans PC is now offering a free mobile website audit. Contact Stepmans PC today to learn how you can improve your website's mobile performance: 215-900-9398. 

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