Why does your business need to be in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS)?
Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing both have the same goal, which is to help visitors find your website. Ten years ago there was probably nobody searching online for your product or service. Five years ago, there may have been a couple of dozen people looking for it in any given week or month. Today, in 2005, you can be sure that there are many people actively seeking your products or services each and every day through the search engines. Can they find you there?
According to a Fall 2004 report by http://www.comscore.com/ nearly 40% of all internet connections in the United States are now broadband, “always on", high speed internet access. As this becomes the norm, there is also a steady merging or “convergence” going on between our computers, our cel phones, and even our television sets. Pretty soon, we'll all have access to worldwide information in the palm of our hands at any given moment. Do you think that might affect how customers are going to look for you?
It's never been more important to be listed in the Internet search engines and directories than it is right now. I see websites that have been around for years and never even been submitted to any search engines. (I've also seen sites get penalized by the search engines for improper or “over submission", so don't rush out and do it!).
Yet some of these same businesses will pour hundreds or thousands of dollars each month into local Yellow page advertising because they believe it to be the most effective form of advertising. Well, phone book use has been steadily declining over the past 10 years, and it's not bouncing back any time soon.
Why would anyone open up a big heavy book, when they can just click and type “West Los Angeles plumber" and find immediate phone numbers? Online, they can also find maps, hours, prices, and even sound clips and informational videos. With high speed Internet now available in most metropolitan areas on cel phones, you can forget about it!
For some businesses, being on page one of the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) will be more valuable than having a full page ad in the Yellow Pages ever was. Those thick phone books are going the way of the dinosaur, I guarantee it. Ten years from now, how cost effective will it be to publish, print and distribute these books when nobody uses them or wants to advertise in them anymore?
Your business probably has a website already, and that's a good start. But are you ahead of the curve in your industry nationally? How about locally? If you're selling Rolex watches or male potency pills, you're admittedly behind the 8 ball, but if you're a local business person, take stock in your future today. Make some time to check out your competition. Go to Google or Yahoo and search for your product or service in your city or state. How many total results come up, and are you or your competition in the SERPS?
Compare those well ranked websites with the largest most expensive listings in the Qwest Dex (or your local) Yellow pages. Are the same companies at the top of the search results that have the largest print ads? I'll bet they're not. You might be surprised that some of the biggest industry names in your city are practically nowhere to be found in the search results. Of course this isn't true for all industries, but it still is for most of them. This opens a huge window of opportunity for the savvy business owner. Diversifying your marketing dollars to include your website will simply have the best ROI (Return On Investment) for your company’s future.
Scott Hendison is living in Oregon, and is the owner of Portland Technology Consultants. He is a computer and internet consultant, and has been in the industry since 1995. For over 75 other articles, visit his website at http://www.pdxtc.com