Just spotted this article Why Tom Cruise Should Be Your Content Strategist [Infographic] and opened because I’m a sucker for infographics (picture’s worth a 1,00 words) and I think the idea has merit.
Isn’t this what your customers want? Expect the expected and a little of the unexpected, for some frisson, if you will.
Once again I get a prospect coming to me for help with web promotions and see a website that is just not search engine friendly, let alone optimised. If designers/agencies build sites that can’t be found (in this case pretty easy – not much competition) then what is the point?
Would KFC or McDonalds build an outlet on a back street? Creating a site that is visible and easily found in search is the number one job!! If you’re looking at getting a website built – go to the company’s portfolio page and use Google to try and find those sites – not with the business name but with their services and location e.g. “house movers wellington”.
The “customer-centred” philosophy can be a bit abstract – so here’s a simple example. I came across a panelbeaters/smash repairs website that looks pretty good (built in Flash) and is a great comparison to a panelbeaters site we did a while ago.
First up – is it findable?
Yes, number 1 page 1 Google – it’s findable and the text displayed in Google is enticing “Drop your car into Wakefield & Scott…”. Not only do you need good position but the result text needs to induce a click.
In the previous post on this blog, we looked at the potentially negative effect on Google’s search quality by gaming the system through buying or exchanging inbound links with unrelated websites.
It was obvious that Google would change its rules at some point – and it appears that time has come.
This article “The Fast Unravelling Web: Here’s Why Google Is Killing The Hyperlink” is essential reading.
Moral – if you’re not helping Google produce better search results, your Google ranking will suffer sooner or later.
Almost on a daily basis I get emails that look like this:
Our company provide Quality One Way Thematic Link Building Services which will help you to improve your Google, Yahoo, and MSN and other search engine rankings. We are USA and UK based web design firm and we provide 10000+ one way links per month. We have a dedicated team of 30 professionals who are backed by experience and expertise. Our Parameters for Link Building: * Permanent Links * Only thematic Links * Links from Unique IPs * Regular Caching sites * Less Outbound Links * Links from PR 1 to PR 4 relevant pages Please let me know if I can be any assistance to you in any of your existing/future projects. One Way Link Building Package (Mix PR from PR1 to PR4) PR 1 = $ 1 PR 2 = $ 2 PR 3 = $ 3 PR 4 = $ 4 Packages -- 50 links = $100 100 links = $200 150 links = $300 200 links = $400 So give us a chance to build our long term business relationship, I am looking forward for your positive response.
The particular details are not important, the overall flavour is the same – let us build a whole lot of inbound links which will lift the Google rank and position of your search engine results.
I think of it this way. What are the odds that Google doesn’t know this is going on? Squat.
What does this do to the quality of Google’s search result quality? It patently erodes it. This SEO company is going to get a whole bunch of sites that have never heard of mine before to link to it – and via Google’s algorithm that gives points for inbound links raise my ranking. The links will be “thematic” – i.e. they won’t link pet shops to a web design business.
In my view this is very short-term thinking. Google is in the business of providing the best search results in the world. These techniques militate against that – end result, Google will change its algorithm, your SEO spend is wasted and worse Google may decide to penalise sites with tenuous inbound links.
Moral: if you want a quick burst in rankings paying for these services may work but long term they could be a liability.
Why do inbound links matter?
One of the things that set Google apart was/is that its search rankings were influenced by a factor we can call “reputation” – the more highly reputed a site the higher it ranked. How did Google measure reputation? It made the inference that inbound links from other (reputed) sites meant that the site must have a good reputation.
Given the importance of this factor, SEO companies have been gaming this as a way to improve rankings.
Google personalisation and what it means for your business.
When potential customers search for your company’s services on the internet will they see you in their search results? If they’ve shown previous online interest in your competitors they may not.
What is personalisation?
For a while now, Google has been watching where your customers click and which websites they visit. It then skews their search results to show them more of their preferred websites, more often and in higher positions.
For example, if they search for electronic goods online and visit the Dick Smiths website, Google will push pages from Dick Smiths higher up their search results in future. Google assumes that if you’ve been clicking around the Dick Smith website it’s likely you would be happy to return.
So what you are seeing in your search results is likely to be different from what others are seeing.
Personalization encourages repeat visitors to popular sites
So businesses who’s websites currently appear near the top of search results and are more likely to be visited, will be much more difficult to dislodge from their perch.
When I explained this to a client last week her eye brows lifted and she said, “Wait, I check my own website all the time so does that mean I’m getting a false impression that it’s ranking better than it actually is.”
Yes, she is. And if she were checking out her competitor’s websites a lot then her own website would look poor in her search results.
Can you turn Google personalisation off?
Not completely. When you search in Google, whether or not you are signed-into your Google account, Google will customize your results according to your past searches and the links you clicked.
However follow Google’s advice to reduce the impact personalisation has on your search results.
How can you take advantage of personalisation?
Firstly, if your business website is currently UNfindable it would be prudent to do something about it sooner rather than later.
Secondly, make sure your website is relevant to your customers. Think about what it is they are really looking for and make sure it’s on your website. Relevancy is king as far as Google is concerned.
Alistair McAlpine is a long-time broadcaster and resident writer/web strategist for internet marketing company Web Success in Wellington, New Zealand.
You can have the range, the quality, the reputation but can you make it happen for the customer when they want it? And, especially if you’re selling the same stuff as your competitors then being able to make it happen is a key competitive advantage.
The stove top blew up last week – no boiling, stewing or frying happening. Guests coming Saturday night – Saturday the only available day for shopping, we needed a new stove same day.
Pretty soon it becomes obvious that you have little choice – Westinghouse or Fisher and Paykel.
First stop Farmers – a couple of good deals, but no we don’t have a truck, we don’t deliver but you can take one from the display otherwise it’s seven days. Newbolds – same offerings, no deals but they do deliver – $70 – a possibility. Noel Leeming – same offerings, no price advantage – have to order it in, be two to three days. What about installation – make sure you take the plug off the back of the old one as you’ll need that for the new one. OK – back to Newbolds they look like they can make it happen.
Delivery and installation all arranged, be there in 2 hours.
Newbolds made the sale, I’m happy and their brand went up a notch or two in my estimation. They made it happen – same range, same price elsewhere.
In the mortgage finance field, Peter Bozinoff has built a business around his reputation for being the guy who can make it happen – fast. That’s not what he says; it’s what his customers say about him.
It’s not just delivering exactly what the customer wants – it’s delivering when they want it that creates superior customer service.