If your Web site doesn’t rank in search, then it really doesn’t matter how it looks. But once it does rank, how good it looks and converts visitors to buyers is critical to acquiring new customers online.
These days, with constantly rising postage rates and mailing costs, finding new customers online is mandatory. It’s no longer a “nice to have” option. Smart online marketers realize their Web site’s search engine optimization performance is key. They also know it’s not just about how your site looks and performs, but also how your site ranks in Google and other leading search engines. It’s all about potential customers being able to find you through paid search (pay per click) or organic (free) search ranking.
What gets your site found? It’s all in the ranking of your site — or more precisely — about the ranking of ALL the pages of your site. Most sites have thousands of pages. The search engine crawlers pan all these pages looking for various criteria they use to decide whether your organic ranking is No. 1 on the first page of search results or 1,000 on the 50th page.
Obviously, your goal is to be on the first page and above the fold for the search terms that are most relevant to your business, or, more importantly, the item you’re trying to sell.
So, try this exercise. Take your top 20 products, search for them on Google and see where you end up. Hmmmm. Not pleased with the results? Here are some basic pointers to help those of you who flunked the above test.
* Do you conduct keyword research? Find out which words and terms online shoppers are using in their searches. Then make sure your site contains those terms — repeatedly. It’s all about being relevant.
* Examine your menu structure. Do you refer to your product categories and items in the same way shoppers are searching for them? Too often catalogs and Web pages are organized using terminology that makes sense to the marketers, but isn’t an exact match to the search terms online shoppers are using.
* Examine each page URL. Can your URLs be read by the crawlers? Does each page’s URL reflect the content and search term most relevant to the page?
* Do you have dynamic content on your pages? The more relevant, fresh and updated content you have, the more the search engines will like your site.
* Can your page be easily and completely crawled? Watch out for page content that stops or diverts crawlers, causing broken page crawls.
I could write a book on how to do each of the above items. But if you don’t clearly understand the importance of these basics, it’s probably time to call your local Web doctor. Better still, call a specialist.
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (954) 383-5221 (direct line).
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221
Comments or questions are welcome.