The most important function of a website is to help a company to sell their services/products to new clients.
When potential new clients/tourists need to choose between two companies with whom they aren't familiar, they are most likely to compare the websites. This is because a website is almost the only method for a person to actually see beforehand what he/she pays for. In general, more than 90% of these potential new client's decisions are decided upon the impression that is reflected from the website, regardless of the competence of these companies. The general truth is that most potential clients do not know how to technically compare companies, and therefore trust that the website's professionalism will reflect the expertise.
Therefore large amounts are invested in corporate website development.
Unfortunately most companies tend to overlook the importance of building a trusted web presence. Without having a web presence with authority almost no new visitors will end up at your website. And since every company wants to expand, they need to focus on improving their web presence in order to increase the chance of getting new customers.
The best and most effective long term solution to increase your web presence is known as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It is a highly specialized field that focus on improving the amount of trust the rest of the world will have in your website. The more trust you have, the more potential new clients will visit your website daily.
The amount of trust your website has, is most of the time determined by search engines (for example Google, Yahoo, etc.). This is because the search engines have the most advanced mathematical algorithms available today, hence the acronym, SEO. Of all these search engines, the world's most accepted benchmark of website trust is known as the Google rank (or page rank) of your website. Therefore, if you could increase your Google rank, your number of new visitors to your website will most certainly increase.
Google Rank of well known organisations' home page:
4/10: Pick n Pay, Steers, KWV, News 24
5/10: Anglo Gold, Checkers, Spur, Shoprite, Nedbank, Old Mutual
6/10: Anglo American, Absa, Stellenbosch University, Telkom, MTN, Vodacom, Mobil, Virgin, Standard Bank, Die Burger, Sasol
7/10: McDonald's, Ford, General Electric, Nike, Coke
8/10: General Motors
9/10: Microsoft, eBay, Amazon
10/10: Google, Facebook
Another reason why Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is so important is because of the quality of the traffic (website visitors) you receive on your website. If somebody visits your website due to a search engine query, as opposed to other reasons (such as typing in the web address/clicking on a link from another website, etc), the new visitor will most likely already be looking for your services. For example, if someone types in the word "wine" in Google, they are probably looking for wine. So if your site comes up first on Google you can probably sell a bottle of wine if your offering is satisfactory. The contrary is that the person accidentally lands on your website, but has no immediate desire for the product or services.
Please note that it is possible to buy quality traffic, but this is expensive (depending on the product value and competition) and only effective in the immediate short term i.e. while it is active. SEO has a long term cumulative effect and is relatively inexpensive to maintain once a certain level of optimisation is reached.
Tips when hiring SEO experts:
- Whenever using a company in order to improve your SEO, always check out the Google Rank of their website. Since SEO is not that well known in management circles, there is a lot of companies that will try to sell SEO skills while there own SEO are terrible.
- Also try to get some form of guarantee. It is very rare that marketing companies ever give guarantees about the effects of their efforts, but if they actually do, you know they are serious about their skills.
- Try to get clear benchmarks to calculate the results of the SEO campaign. For example monitor the number of visitors that your website receives that came from natural search engine queries during and after the time of your campaign. (If your marketing team don't know how to get these figures, don't use them!)
- Make sure your SEO team have a clean record. Sometimes SEO companies may get desperate in order to get results and might step over the moral line by trying to fool search engines with unnatural 'black hat' methods. When caught out, these websites are usually banned from search engines and will not show in any search result. To look into any company's track record simply Google them. Disgruntles clients tend to write their bad experience in public forums that will normally be listed in Google's search results just below the company's own website.
Good luck with your marketing campaign!