In many instances rankings are determined by past performance, experience or expertise - but not internet search engine results. Search engine rankings do not take into account how long you have been in business or how skilled you are when they determine where you fall in a given set of search results. Instead, search engines use proprietary ranking algorithms to decide where your website should rank relevant to each search. If your website ranks well, you have a competitive advantage over your lower positioned competition. As long as your business has a website, you have the opportunity to get found by more customers online with search engine optimization (SEO).
Increasingly people are using internet search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing to help them find the products or services they are looking for. Most people begin their online search by inputting a keyword or phrase into one of these search engines. The websites that the search engine believes to be most relevant to the user's query rank highest. According to Marketshare.hitslink.com, October 2010, 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
Businesses should develop a SEO strategy. Generally your site needs to have keyword rich content for the search engine to find you and list you in the search results. Your content needs to be substantial enough that the search engine crawlers reading your pages will deem you an authority on the keywords people will be using to find your business. Additionally internal and external links to your site will improve your position as these are viewed as a "vote" for your business from the referring site.
When improving your SEO there are also certain tactics you should not use. Search engines will block you from search results if you use keyword stuffing (putting a list of keywords on your site and making the text invisible by coloring it white on a white background) or using a link farming site to get more links to your website.
Search engines have helped to make advertising in the Yellow Pages almost obsolete as people are trending toward online searches instead of reaching for the phone book. According to an industry study, the commercial use of the internet by American adults has grown since the mid-2000s, with 58% of Americans now reporting that they perform online research concerning the products and services that they are considering purchasing. While businesses may be able to spend less on advertising in some traditional formats, they now need to make sure their site is optimized so that search engines include them in any relevant search results.
Although SEO is not an exact science and search engines are routinely changing their algorithms, it is important for businesses to consistently review their ranking in search engine results and to adjust their website to improve their position. A superior rank is a definite advantage for your company.
If you would like more information on Search Engine Optimization for your business please contact us at www.BuddinghAssociates.com.
Pepper Erdmann is Marketing Manager at Buddingh & Associates, Inc., an award-winning strategic marketing consulting firm in Naperville, IL. Contact her atwww.BuddinghAssociates.com.