Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Spring Lake Beach: An SEO Lesson

The Organic SEO Blog experienced an epiphany this week while searching for vacation homes in Stone Harbor, NJ. A reviewer of a nice cottage in Stone Harbor happened to mention another beach town: Spring Lake, a small resort town in Monmouth County.

The reviewer mentioned that Spring Lake is what Stone Harbor used to be: an undiscovered gem. My interest piqued, we Googled Spring Lake--and discovered more than a few similarly promising reviews.

On Yelp, Jeff B. from Princeton, NJ wrote just a month ago: "Hands down nicest beach in Monmouth County -- quiet, family friendly, and very clean." Max S., from New York, wrote an especially convincing review, which he summed up with characteristic NYC bravado: "That's my Spring Lake. If what I described does not seem like your ideal beach experience - fantastic. Keep your ass off my beach."

Convinced by the reviews, I decided to take the day off on Tuesday to travel to Spring Lake.

Here's my review:

Spring Lake is a wonderful place. The beach is clean and wide and the water is clear with five foot waves that break about 50 yards from the beach and carry you bodysurfing all the way to the sand.

When I first jumped into the water and felt the crush of the waves, I had to stop and look around, just to make sure I hadn't been fooled, or worse, had died. The scene just seemed that impossibly pleasurable. Perhaps I'd somehow landed in heaven.

I spent about two hours on the relatively uncrowded beach, reading Love in the Time of Cholera with quite intensity, and without the distractions of my phone. I punctuated my reading with dips into the warm water.

The place is perfect for a day trip. There's a pavilion with park benches for eating, easily accessible bathrooms, and showers on the boardwalk. At the pavilion, there's a snack stand the smells of french fries. From the beach, you can easily see the majestic spires of the stately Essex and Sussex Hotel--a landmark from ages past.

The Essex and Sussex Hotel [Source]

On the way out of town, I noticed with a heavy heart that they were playing JAWS on a different evening at the local baseball field. I also noticed Lake Como, which I had somehow missed on the drive into town. It's a stunningly lovely lake with clear water spotted with white ducks. The lake is bordered by a trail and beautiful white houses.

What stunned me most of all about Spring Lake, however, was that I'd never even heard of it.

A lifelong beach enthusiast, I've made plenty of day, weekend, and week-long trips to the Jersey Shore--drives of two hours or more to Ocean City, or Stone Harbor, or Sea Isle City. My father, Ira, lives in Brigantine, and we try to visit him as much as possible. The drive to Brigantine always felt especially speedy at one hour and forty minutes. But Spring Lake? From our front door in Ambler to Spring Lake Beach, the drive is a mere hour and ten minutes. 

It struck me while driving home that my experience with Spring Lake might illustrate a crucial SEO lesson: even if you have a wonderful product, you will not succeed unless you connect to your true customer.

Do you sell a high-quality product at the right price? Well, then, you deserve customers. But how, and where, do you sell your product? How do you find customers? For years, businesses have relied upon physical locations to some customers, but a specific location is clearly no longer the only (or best) way to attract specific customers.

And specificity is key. I feel like Spring Lake Beach is perfect for me--so why didn't I find it earlier?

Perhaps I did not find it because, in an obscure way, the citizens and enthusiasts of Spring Lake are performing anti-SEO: they are keeping the place a secret! On Google, this might simply represent a lack of good content about the place. Is this intentional? Perhaps!

Now, whether or not this is true, we do know that many Spring Lake Beach enthusiasts want to keep their beach a secret (Just take a look at the Yelp reviews). If you own a website, your goal is likely the exact opposite.

So how do you find your specific customer?

An online business presents new opportunities—opportunities not available to a business with a  physical location. Without a website, in fact, you might miss your specific customer entirely. On the other hand, if you design a website that is optimized for search engines, you will not have to look for  customers—your customers will look for you.

You can create this opportunity for yourself by designing and developing a website that states your purpose with crystal-clear clarity, and by adding informative and relevant content to attract the right customers. Finally, you can keep these customers around, growing your business exponentially, by striving to convert each website visit into an actual sale. Fore more info on this process, please read our popular tutorials:

1. Website Design
2. Website Development
3. Content Creation
4. Conversion

At the very least, if you've spent the time reading this blog, remember the lesson of Spring Lake: you must find your true customer! And if own your own online business, do not forget to take advantage of Stepman PCs' summertime offering:

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With this information and more, you learn your website visitors in depth. Stepmans PC will monitor visitor’s activity on your website for a period of days and present as much information as possible about their engagement with your website.

In addition to knowing all about your customers, you will discover the most popular pages on your website. Stepmans PC can help you place special promotions on these particular pages—a great tactic for transforming visitors into customers.

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