June 3, 2008
I am still amazed on a daily basis just how many people don’t know, don’t realize or simply don’t care just how powerful the average internet browser can be. It almost seems as though the average user either has their browser homepage set to their own website homepage (usually by the technician that set the network up) or to a search engine or directory of preference.
I have seen some people enter email addresses into the web address bar or even a full URL’s into the search bar. Some would even argue that entering the URL into the search bar and hitting the infamous “I’m Feeling Lucky” button is quicker than having to move the mouse to the address bar and typing it in. While this may be true, I’m still not buying it. But after looking into our larger client’s websites it would seem that the company name is more often one of the top 10 keywords. I would imagine that many fail to bookmark or add the website to favourites.
While it is very easy to gain a top ranking for your company name, especially if your domain name matches, how many know how much potential traffic (good qualified traffic) is lost by not ranking first for your own company’s name. Some marketers even bid on their own name in paid ads simply so that nobody else can rank higher for searches. Sometimes your domain name won’t match your company name; perhaps you’ve opted for a slogan or keyword phrase as a domain name. Will your website still be returned at number 1 for your company name?
Consider the following: You have spent thousands (insert any currency here) of your hard earned pennies into offline marketing. Slowly over the years you have created a good well established brand. A neighbourhood brand if you wish. Then, as time passed, you decide that you would move with the times and seek the additional benefits of online marketing. After having a website created, you just sit back and wait for the traffic. After all having a website guarantees you success online, doesn’t it? Surely you will be successful online, especially if you already have an established market?
Sometimes with a bit of luck you websites can indeed rank well for good converting keywords. This usually requires a lot more work. But surely your website will rank top for your company’s name? This may come as a shock, but, “NO!” Quite often you will find an article or a page of information that may actually rank higher for your company’s name than your very own website. This won’t come as a surprise to any seasoned SEO consultant.
“Okay, so what does this Matter?” Some may ask. Well while the search may lead to another website that endorses yours, many times it does not. Can you imagine the damage that could occur if someone searched your company name, only to find that some blogger had taken your entire customer support department to task. Even worse than that would be if you didn’t even know. Imagine losing all those years of building a good solid, respected brand name only to have it ruined in moment because of a careless search.
Going back to my original point you can see how valuable it is that you have a top ranking for your company name. This is just one incident where the variations of how people search, and more importantly what they can find, that you should consider when marketing your website.
Some web browsers have a built in default search function that will return a search results page should a URL not be found. Even if the searcher was to put in a correct URL it may occur at times that either the site or the network are simply too busy to return the correct results. If these search results are returned, will your website have the number one ranking?
As any marketer would suggest, study your market. Learn the search techniques of those that you expect to be searching for you online. By doing this you will pick up those points that are often overlooked. While the goal remains a number 1 ranking for you key search phrases sometimes you can harvest a lot more traffic by just getting the smaller details right.
Robert Cerff is a search engine analyst and marketing consultant for Prop Data Internet Solutions. He has ten years experience in e-commerce, online marketing and web development. http://www.propdata.co.za