Regardless of how big or small a company may be, a presence on the internet is crucial for attracting additional clientele who would otherwise be impossible to attract through traditional outlets (e.g. television, radio, and print). A website often comes with a great duty to try to expose your brand to the most amount of people possible. Whether that may be locally or globally, the best way to accomplish this is through search engine optimization (SEO). In this blog, we’ll discuss what SEO is, how it can benefit a firm being near the ‘top’ rankings in search engines, and the challenges that businesses can face when trying to spread their word.
Fundamentals of SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) has been around since the rapid expansion of the internet that took place in the mid 1990’s. Some of the most well-known internet browsers back then were Mozilla Firefox and of course Internet Explorer. Excite, Yahoo!, and Webcrawler ruled the roost for people trying to find information on the rapidly growing internet (SEO, 2017). As it grew, so did the ‘encyclopedia’ of website pages that people can search to find whatever he or she wanted. Naturally, the need for businesses to be right in front of those searchers led to the advent of SEO.
SEO, in a nutshell, is a practice that attempts to gain exposure to websites and their contents through the use of free and organic methods (Search Engine Land, 2018). Paid advertising, for comparative’s sake, applies the task of companies paying for a spot on an internet page to trigger and entice users to click the link and redirect them to their website. SEO is a science in itself because it requires a lot of creativity and logic in order to get the best result and rank near or at the top of search engine results. Words or phrases used must match the website and/or purpose of the page as closely as possible for maximum potential. In essence, it is a simple way to control the quality of websites (Red Revolution, 2018).
Reaching for The Moon While Staying on Top
Much like the goal of any company, the best place to be is at the top of every search engine’s ranking when users search for the keywords that you’ve strategically placed throughout your content. For example, an article written by Jessica Lee concluded that “the top listing in Google’s organic search results receives 33 percent of the traffic, compared to 18 percent for the second position, and the traffic only degrades from there” (2013). Even if one looks at other web browsers, the data runs along a parallel path, where the top dog gets the first nibbles.
Turning to a different angle of being at the peak of the internet mountain, we ask the question, what are the potential benefits for a firm? Regardless of one’s size, the major benefit that can be taken away is the exposure that their website is likely to receive. Being creative in the build of the website and creating an enjoyable user-experience are extremely important. As Charlie Rose mentioned in his article, “the more original content that you can produce, image, video, or written content, the more users with actionable intent will be attracted to your website. People like things that they can quickly digest” (2016). When a person see’s the firm’s site and notices its look and feel, they are more likely to spend additional time on it if it suits the purpose of what they are attempting to offer and the relevancy to the search engine result. In short, being on the first page or even the first link can have huge financial benefits and growth opportunities that can exponentially grow much faster than trying to convince others in person to buy into the business.
Challenges of SEO
While it is definitely a plus to be on the first page of a search result, there are some unique challenges that SEO provides when compared to other marketing counterparts. Above anything, the biggest challenge, by far, is the use of keywords. The (American) English dictionary according to Oxford has 171,476 current words, along with thousands that are obsolete and not in use (Oxforddictionaries.com, 2018). What this number shows, is that all of these words could be used to define a company’s website. Pair words up in phrases, and naturally, there are infinite possibilities of how to describe a website.
An equally difficult challenge of SEO rests on the type of business that is promoting themselves online. SEO can work both in favor and against a firm depending on what they are. For example, companies that offer fairly general services are likely to be searchable in their local area, but as it expands outward, the likelihood that they will rank on the first page or in the first few pages decreased dramatically. With boutique firms, the opposite is likely to occur. Though they may be seen from a distance and from around the world, it may be difficult to get the right keywords in place to have a local impact.
One final challenge of SEO is the competition with paid advertisements. Search engines provide equal real estate for website pages that rank near or at the top of a search with firms that are willing to receive views and clicks of their own advertisements on the same page. A challenging battle between free promotion and paid promotion erupts and firms have to ask themselves if it is necessary to spend resources on getting a paid ad on the page instead of just relying on SEO?
Conclusions on SEO
Firms, big or small, must have a website presence online in order to reach as many people as possible to maximize the successfulness of their businesses. While a substantial amount of thinking is required in order to get the right keywords and effectively present them through a website, the concept is fairly simple. For more than 25 years, search engines are our go-to point of contact for information. If you, your firm, or someone else you know is getting lost in the forest of words, give Integrity MCG a shout today. We can help clear a path towards creating an effective and strategic marketing plan to fit all needs and budgets.
Dr. Danielle Jenkins provides insights and tips on how to strategically run your business in the most efficient manner possible.