Getting found online
Current day search engines have moved on from a time where they crawled and indexed a web site based on its keywords then retrieved it from a static database. The first generation of SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) resembled an old library catalogue from a bygone era. They would return results in a regimented fashion – often with the good bits being hidden way down the results list – never to see the light of day.
Now, search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo use thousands of powerful servers, complex algorithms and even Artificial Intelligence to return better, more relevant results to online users.
Peppering your site with keywords can be a waste of time – unless you do it right.
Websites are now ranked based on a variety of reasons, and in truth, most people working within the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) industry are left to guess exactly what formulas are used by Google, Bing and Yahoo to rank and display a website. That’s the way they prefer it.
Google, Bing and Yahoo have no interest in providing websites that are not relevant to their users. They want their users to have the best search experience possible because you and I as consumers are valuable assets to these companies and the businesses that market to us.
If search engines can provide the things we are looking for in a highly targetted way then much of the guess work for marketers is reduced. Marketers can then target us directly, filtering out the things we don’t like and zeroing in on the things we do.
In the early days of the internet it was possible for a site that was not especially relevant to a consumer to be ranked higher than a more relevant site because of the keywords embedded in its HTML code.
That’s simply not the case anymore.
My approach is different. I see each individual business as having unique real world and online needs. Some businesses may do better minimising their Adwords spend and pumping their marketing dollars into real world promotions. Others may need to push harder for their share of online real estate and others may need a balanced approach. In all cases their websites must be optimised for organic and paid search.
As a rule of thumb I use paid advertising early on in the life of a website then taper it off as it appears higher in organic search results. Depending on the type of business, Adwords can then be used less frequently and used more for promotions, product launches or new service offerings.
Of course, this is not always the case, especially in highly competitive markets where other PPC strategies such as using very specific keyword structures can be employed.
So how do we measure our website’s value to the business?
To gauge your site’s rank or “popularity” there are actually hundreds, if not thousands of metrics now available for SEO consultants and business owners to disseminate and analyse.
Metrics regarding keywords and impressions only paint a small picture about the value of your website and online presence. Don’t get caught up in trying to achieve as many clicks or impressions as possible unless you know you can convert them.
Your website is an asset that has intrinsic value to your business and you need to measure this value the same way as you measure any other asset. Website metrics for the most part can lead you as a business owner to utter distraction and occupy a great deal of your time – so be careful. Part of the trick here is to understand that what might be a relevant metric for one business is completely irrelevant to another.
You as the business owner should ask for your own customised metrics based on what you need – not necessarily what your SEO consultant is telling you.
What do you want to measure?
What value is the website to my business?
What return on investment is it providing my business?
What goals am I trying to achieve from my online marketing?
Is my PPC advertising just becoming an ongoing expense?
Is this ongoing expense providing me with a new revenue stream?
Finally, be patient
Listing your site and having it rank highly takes months, while refining your PPC (Pay Per Click) strategy should be an ongoing process of testing, analysing and testing again. It’s a long road but if done correctly it will give you a fantastic return on your investment.
Xflow Marketing & Consulting – Perth