In case you are unfamiliar with Will Ferrell’s character Ricky Bobby, in the movie Talladega Nights, and his ever endearing catch phrase “If you’re not first, you’re last”, it is now quickly becoming the motto for our online marketplace. Where once the prime real estate on the high street resulted in the bulging bank balance, it is now the position on search engines results pages where the battle for dominance has continued.
Due to the massive explosion of the web and in particular online shopping, those top positions on Google can make the difference between a company posting massive profits or being lost in the digital abyss. The importance of search engine optimisation has never been more prevalent. For this we have a certain couple of Stanford graduates to thank. Mr Larry Page and Mr Sergey Brin wrote their college thesis on an idea wherein search engines would ultimately be a global popularity contest with the most relevant, well-connected sites ranked accordingly. This vision gave birth to arguably the most successful company in human history, and as most of you smarty pants out there already know, that company with the funny sounding name was Google.
Google changed how we find our way about the web. It changed our very behaviour because whether we consciously realize it or not, we trust Google to provide us with exactly what it is we are looking for. Between 80-85% of people will click on the top 3 results on Google (or any other search engine out there, just in case Mr Gates over at Bing has stumbled upon my blog), so those positions become goldmines for the companies that occupy them. But therein lies the beauty: these companies cannot stay there on merit alone; they have to work at being the most relevant in their particular field, to prove to Google that they deserve to be there, that Google can happily say they are providing their billions of customers with the right answer to their searching needs.
And that is why, my friends, it is more important than ever to have your website optimised to its full potential or else you run the risk that Google will cast you aside as an irrelevance; and believe me, unless you want your website to be found only by your silver surfer Granny, you should avoid this at all costs.
So, I hear you shouting at the back, “what is this search engine optimisation you speak of?” Basically, SEO is the process of making your website as attractive and relevant as possible to these Google crawlers (sounds very matrix I know) that search the web. This is achieved through a process of proper coding, relevant content and back-linking from other sites. Sounds simple enough right? Wrong! Not only are the man-hours needed to continually update this information unachievable for most business owners, those wily old dogs over at Google consistently change their algorithm (the rules by which the pages are ranked) that only those clever clogs at Google HQ know about. I bet you’re starting to wonder why I’m telling you all this if there is nothing you can do about it, well thankfully there is.
The birth of the Internet has produced a whole new industry of clever marketing types whose very purpose in life (yeah I know I’m a geek, no need to point it out) is to figure out how to grow your business online. If you want your website to capture the massive potential revenue stream available to you then it really is in your best interests to dedicate a part of your marketing budget to a reputable SEO company. The great thing is that even for you sceptics out there, a well-managed search engine optimisation campaign can provide you with tangible facts and figures for your return on investment. You are able to monitor and tweak it every step of the way to carve for your business a slice of the e-commerce fortune. I may be biased, but I don’t think I recall any advertising agencies ever providing that for a customer when charging an arm and a leg to get a billboard up beside your local B&Q.
So you see, it might just turn out to be the best investment you’ve made in the continuing success of your business.