What is the first thing you do when you need to buy something, say, a fridge? If you are anything like me, or in fact most people, you hop onto Google.
Within minutes you will know what kind of fridges are out there, where to find them, and how they compare in price and performance.
Now imagine you are selling fridges. Having a business today means that when that customer goes online, your fridge needs to stand out from the competitor’s.
6 reasons why an online presence is not optional
In 2019 it was found that 88% of consumers search for a product online before making a purchase.
It’s also not just a matter of simply being online. If your business does not feature prominently in the exact places where potential customers are looking, you will be left behind.
How do you do this? Your website is your starting point. Your backbone. These are some of the reasons why having a website is not negotiable in this day and age:
- If, as we saw earlier, 88% of customers go online to find the perfect purchase, and you are not online, you are only selling to 12% of your potential market.
It goes without saying that this will lead to a massive loss of income.
- Many people won’t even consider making use of your company if you don’t have a website. Think about your own preferences. Don’t you also find it rather difficult to trust a business without one?
A website shows that you are professional, a ‘real’ business run by people who know what they are doing.
- Your website gives people access to your company right at their fingertips. Your website can also answer all the questions potential customers have about you.
In a single glance, they can see what you offer, how much it costs, where you are located, your operating hours, delivery options and more.
- A website is a powerful, yet fairly inexpensive marketing tool. It also offers you an excellent return on investment.
There are of course many variables involved, but odds are that you won’t need that many sales to make up what your web setup cost you.
Hosting generally doesn’t cost that much – it’s certainly cheaper than printing a couple of hundred flyers every month!
- A website gives you lasting value. Once it’s up, it stays and keeps working for you.
The value of this can’t even be compared to something like, for example, a newspaper ad that appears only once – unless you keep paying.
- Your newspaper ad will only be seen in the area where the newspaper is distributed. Your website can be viewed globally.
It will depend on the nature of your business, but this means great potential to grow your customer base.
Just having a website is not going to catapult your business into success, you need to make your website visible. Remember what we said earlier – you need to be where your customer is looking.
How do you do this? Being an expert on fridges is not going to be enough anymore. You will have to learn new skills. We’re talking about things like SEO and Google Ads.
The lowdown on SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It is the process by which you increase the visibility of your website in order to increase the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.
In layman’s terms, SEO means that your website is the one that’s going to appear when someone searches for fridges. The traffic that SEO generates for you is called organic traffic, as it is not paid for.
The idea of SEO hasn’t always been around. In fact, it is still young, having only come to life in the 90s. The first website was published in 1991. Fast forward six years to 1997, and this is when the term ‘SEO’ was first used.
One interesting story goes that a rockstar’s rantings was one of the reasons SEO came into existence.
According to author Bob Heyman, the manager of rock band Jefferson Starship threw a tantrum laced with expletives when he searched for the band’s website, and only found it on page four of the search engine.
Forbes gives a good explanation of how SEO is actually all around us: “If you are in an urban or suburban area, you might see billboards or ads for certain businesses.”
“The ads in your area, for any kind of business, were chosen for a reason: They’re put in areas where potential customers might see them. Instead of putting up an ad, SEO does this online.”
|15 SEO Terms Explained|
Keyword: This is the word a user enters when they do a search. Your web page should be optimised with the goal of drawing in visitors who have searched specific keywords.
Page title or title tag: The name you give your web page, which is seen at the top of your browser window or browser tab. The title tag is coded within the head section of the web page.
Page titles should contain keywords related to your business and the web page content. Words at the beginning of your page title are more highly weighted than words at the end.
Heading: A heading is the text you place inside of a heading tag, such as an H1 or H2. This text is usually larger or in a darker font than the rest of the text on the page.
Anchor text: This is text that links to another page or document within the current website.
Inbound link: A link from one site into another. Including links from other sites will improve your SEO, especially if that site has a high page rank.
Internal link: A link from one page to another on the same website.
Metadata: Data that tells search engines what your website is about.
Meta description: A short description of the contents of a web page and why someone would want to visit it.
This is often displayed on search engine results pages below the page title as a sample of the content on the page. Traffic: The number of visits to a website.
Crawling: The process by which search engines discover your web pages.
Featured snippets: Organic answer boxes that appear at the top of search engine results pages for certain queries.
Indexing: The process by which search engines collect, organise and process data on the internet. A search engine constantly scans the internet, looking for new content.
When it is found, the search engine indexes it so that users can find the information when they search for a relevant keyword.
Ranking factor: Any type of element a search engine uses to determine how a page is ranked in the search engine results page (SERP).
Alt text: The text description of an image that signifies what the image contains. You cannot see the alt text when you look at a photo, because it is hidden in the backend of the webpage.
Alt text boosts your search engine ranking because it allows images on your website to be found during a search.
Authority: A page’s ability to rank high in search engine results.
SEO Is not a sub topic
Now let’s be honest, not everyone was made to understand and enjoy the inner workings of the internet. If the idea of learning SEO makes you want to run away, still don’t despair.
There are folks you can pay to do your SEO for you. Include it in your marketing budget and trust a professional.
If you need any recommendation be sure to contact us and ask.
SEO vs Google Ads
Paid advertising, such as with Google Ads, is another way to build your brand. A great advantage of Google Ads is that it ensures your ads are seen by the people who are likely interested in your products/service.
If you think that I am repeating myself at this point, you’re not wrong. This indeed sounds similar to what SEO does for you. So why should you pay for Google Ads if you can just work on your SEO?
A perfect marketing plan will likely make use of both. They are similar, but also different in such a way that they complement each other.
Using both SEO and Google Ads in a well-thought out marketing campaign will see you achieving the best results. The table below shows how the two compare:
|Specifically aimed at Google sites and websites that use Google Ads.||Applicable over all search engines.|
|Traffic is paid for.||Organic traffic which is free.|
|Ads appear on the top and bottom of Google search results.||You can also get a top position in the organic search results, but it will take longer and require a fair amount of work.|
|Your advertising campaign kicks off almost instantly, getting you targeted traffic.||It takes a lot of time to get good rankings and traffic, especially if your website is still new.|
|Makes it easy to calculate your return on investment, taking into account ad spending and revenue.||More difficult to calculate your ROI because there are many more factors at play.|
|When you stop a Google Ads campaign, traffic also stops.||The results of good SEO will benefit you in the long term.|
|You can target many keywords at the same time.||You need to focus on a few keywords for best results.|
|You can advertise on other Google websites and websites that use Google Adsense.||Results from SEO only influence what happens on search results pages.|
The most significant benefit of Google Ads over SEO is the fact that you benefit immediately while SEO takes time. Another benefit is that you can be very specific in your targeting.
You can, for example, use Google Ads to choose your target group’s location, age and language.
You can even choose to run your ad at specific times, for example fast food stores who might want to advertise over mealtimes.
Furthermore, you can determine how often your ads appear, and they can appear on all types of devices. You can go as far as fine-tuning which devices your ads appear on and when.
With Google Ads you can track everything that happens. You will know when someone clicked on your ad, and when they clicked and purchased.
In time you’ll learn which ads work and which don’t, allowing you to meticulously fine-tune your ad campaign. You are fully in control of when and where your ads appear, as well as how much you spend.
Still not sure? Check out this handy flowchart from https://kowabundant.com:
Very few entrepreneurs have the luxury of knowing that their products or services are truly unique. Your competition exists, and is trying just as hard as you.
It only makes sense to invest in all the marketing tools the internet has to offer. Find the perfect plan, and give yourself the chance to taste success.