The power of search engines cannot be underestimated. Finding out how they are used by customers and how they list their results is the key to a successful business website. But let’s start by thinking about this simple question.
“What is the purpose of the search engine”
Search Engines were developed to assist the growing numbers of people using the internet to find navigate the increasing number of web sites, pages and information on the internet. They help everybody using the internet. Like reference book without an index page, the internet would not work without search engines.
” Why do I care about search engines?”
When you are trying to promote your business using the internet you have to face the fact that most visitors ( don’t forget - customers!) use search engines to find what they are looking for. Even those that know about your site will have lost the address, thrown the newspaper away, or can’t quite remember you business name. The first thing they will do is go to Google ( most likely, but also Yahoo and others..) and try to find you.
Search engines can work to the advantage of a small business because, with a bit of planning, you can appear in the search results of someone who needs your services but did not know your business existed.
There is little black magic about appearing in the results pages of a search engine.
If you appear in the results page of a Google search, people are reassured by your company’s presence on that page. You must be a genuine, successful business and Google is one of the worlds biggest and most trusted brands. Their brand’s reputation rubs off on any website they list in a results page.
In short, if you appear on a Google results page, people who trust Google - trust you.
” What do the results of a search mean?”
If you are familiar with a search engine results page, you will know that after you have typed in your search terms ( hopefully, three or more words ) a list of pages that link to other peoples websites will appear with the first one “ranked” at number one. This ranking is based on what the search engine thinks is most relevant to your search. This is why you will often not find what you are looking for using just one “keyword”.
Conventional wisdom is that in order for a user to click through to your site, you must be on the first or second page of results. In the top 20. Sounds pretty unlikely, given the number of people with websites all vying for position?
If you have a well written site that is THE most relevant to the search terms of the user, you have a better chance of a good position. This means using methods which are mystically called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) alongside some technical considerations, it comes down to good quality content that is relevant to your customers.
If you do appear at no. 1 for your keyword or in the top ten you will always get more visitors and that usually means more sales. Chew Valley Web specialises in Search Engine Optimisation for small businesses and can advise on both new websites and poorly performing existing ones.
In other articles, I describe the basics of Search Engine Marketing that you can use on your business website.