Getting Noticed on the Internet05 January 2011 Online Innovations
Let’s get started with the facts. It is estimated that currently there are around four million internet users in South Africa. With connectivity becoming more and more affordable, that value will exceed to eight million in no time.
From these numbers it is very apparent that; firstly, if you don’t have a website – you will get one soon and secondly, if you do have one – you need to make sure that it accessible.
Now for the fiction: Just because you do have a website – don’t think that you have a web presence.
The majority of companies have a website and I can pretty much bank on the fact that most of them are unhappy with how their websites perform on the internet. By all of this, I mean:
- do their clients visit their website regularly,
- do their clients derive any benefit from their website,
- do they derive any benefit from their website,
- do their clients know that they have a website or, even worse, can their clients find their website on Google?
Being in the industry for quite some time now, we get confronted daily by customers with this usual problem: “I have spent a fortune on my website, why doesn’t it feature on the first page of Google?”
Well, the answer is simple! It takes a considerable amount of focus and investment on Search Engine Optimisation (usually more than you have ploughed into the development) to get your website noticed. The perception out there is that if you have a website, the customers are going to suddenly come streaming in – and that just isn’t true.
Simply having a website does not mean that you have an internet presence. You need the traffic and the visits to the website and only then does the internet work for you.
So How Do You Take Full Advantage of the Internet?
There are 3 simple rules to follow:
- Your website must be populated with useful and current information.
- Your website must be put together and structured properly and honestly.
- You need to take advantage of the tools and services that are available out there that will drive traffic to your website.
Let me elaborate these points for you.
On the internet, “content is truly king”. If you are selling lawnmowers and your shop is in Port Elizabeth, you can be sure that the first thing a user is going to do is enter “lawnmovers Port Elizabeth” into Google.
If you have no mention of lawnmowers and/or Port Elizabeth in your website, you’re just not going to feature. The more often you feature these keywords in your content, the more relevant Google will perceive you to be and hence, you will be ranked better.
This being said, your website does need to be put together properly so that search engines like Google know how to identify, interpret and index the information in your website correctly and accurately.
Rule number 3 shows that you need to drive traffic to your website. Having a well- developed website with loads of good information will probably get you well positioned on Google. However, all your competitors are vying for the same business and are always going to try and outrank you. So how do you stay on top?
Luckily for all of us, Google is very clever! Google will aggregate the amount of links from other websites back to yours. The more people linking to you, the more credible Google perceives you to be. If a very credible website, let’s say News24, has your link somewhere on an article on their website – it will carry a lot of weight as their credibly rubs off onto your listings.
You also need to make sure that you publish as much information about you and your services on other websites as possible.
So how do you get your information, website address and links out there?
- You can send out regular press releases to recognised media houses.
- You can send out regular e-correspondence keeping your clients informed and updated.
- Ensure you publish information on as many business directory services as possible.
- Ensure that you are featured on all the major search engines.