The digital revolution did not change the rules of marketing; companies have been vying for visibility since ancient Egyptians placed posters made from papyrus on marketplace walls. The logic is simple: Before a consumer can want something from you, they must first know you exist. As technologies have advanced, businesses have gained access to many new tools that increase visibility. Perhaps none of these have been more powerful than the Internet.
The digital revolution has opened up many new opportunities for visibility. Because nearly everyone in the US has Internet access, businesses can conceivably use it to reach all viable prospects. At the same time, however, there is a new medium in play—search engines. To truly excel at marketing in the digital age, businesses must master the art of search engine optimization (SEO).
Visibility is Paramount
The companies that perform best in today’s environment are easily found and seen by their potential consumer base. Since the vast majority of Internet users navigate the web through search engines like Google and Bing, businesses must ensure that their websites rank highly in this medium.
Obviously, Google is currently winning the search engine war. It has become so popular that it has become a verb—many users find information by “googling” it. For businesses that are interested in prioritizing a single search engine, Google is the obvious choice because it has software controlling the order in which sites rank in its search engine results pages (SERPs).
Although the software is constantly changing, here are a few basic rules to help achieve visibility on Google:
- Secure your webpage. Google is stringent about the safety of its users, so the presence of detected or suspected spam or malware is a surefire method to be ignored (or flagged) in its search results. A general rule of thumb—if it looks like spam in an e-mail (i.e., containing ALL CAPS or numerous spelling errors), it will appear problematic to Google.
- Optimize your webpage for mobile. Google understands that its users search via an array of devices, so it prioritizes websites that work well across multiple hardware formats.
- Use niche keywords. Businesses with an incredible amount of resources fight over generic terms and phrases. Getting specific can separate your webpage from the competition and place it at the top of numerous search results.
- Keep the content coming. Search engines like Google prioritize websites that are frequently updated to ensure that their users find relevant information.
- Ensure that the content is keyword-optimized.
The Importance of Scalable Organic Growing
For some companies, the idea of prioritizing an SEO presence may seem like overkill. After all, a firm with great salespeople and a strong tradeshow presence might feel like it is already drawing the intended audience to its website. Unless the organization is working in an incredibly niche market, though, there are always new clients to be had—and some of them may be invisible to the firm until they make first contact!
With an optimized website, traffic—even visitors with no prior meetings/introductions—can reliably find an organization’s information, products, and preferred method of contact. This will cause traffic at the website to grow at a scale that is not possible with traditional sales and human presence alone. This scalable organic growth is vital for fostering sales, and can help mitigate company situations that might otherwise be losses.
SEO marketing is the way of the future in today’s digital landscape. All traffic flows through search engines, and the best way to be seen on the road is with a highway billboard, figuratively speaking. Companies that can’t compete will not be seen, and (to keep the highway analogy going) will likely end up on lesser-traveled paths far away from the main circuit.