Running an e-business is easy. Running a successful e-business is not. There is no easy path to e-business success. The recipe for success consists of many different ingredients. The very first step in building a successful e-business is to give it a “virtual home”. Once the virtual home is found and secured, the next step is to receive “guests” (aka website visitors). The more visitors you attract, the faster your customer base will grow. The main question is – how to attract visitors to the site?
Your future customers can come from a variety of sources. Some are recommended to you by your trading partners, some by word of mouth and some you will find while browsing the web. With time and your growing fame, your URL will become a household name. But how do you attract those first visitors when your business is just starting out? Visitors won’t find your website unless you rank it highly on mainstream search engines like Google, Ask Jeevs and Lycos. An easy way to get good positioning is to subscribe to a service like Google AdWords. Google AdWords displays links to your website along with the search results. The cost of joining AdWords is relatively low, and there is a simple, step-by-step process to join the program and do it effectively. Alternatively, you can submit your website to search engines and aim to attract the web surfers searching for similar or identical products and services that you offer. However, without a consistent search engine optimization strategy, you will not be visible to them.
Search engine optimization is all about improving your website’s positioning on the search engines by identifying keywords and phrases that customers use to search for the products and services you offer. Numerous SEO (search engine optimization) tools are available to e-marketers. But while SEO seems simple and easy at first glance, it usually turns out to be quite a challenging task.
Entrepreneurs love to talk about their companies. They go to great lengths to explain the products and services they offer, but when it comes to SEO, they find that it’s still very difficult to put together a concise (just a few words/phrases) description of what their company offers. Business owners aren’t mind readers, but to promote their websites effectively, they need to find a description that matches the search parameters customers are most likely to enter.
SEO is more than the summary of a mission statement or product listing. It also includes the “common man’s” interests and perceptions of the commercial services that are (or should be) available online, as well as the WWW in general. Most internet searches contain words like “cheap”, “best”, “deals”, “discount”, etc. Therefore, you must consider using these words in the page description that you submit to the search engines.
Once the SEO process is complete and your website is registered with the search engines, it is worth testing the “searchability”. The best test run you can imagine doesn’t involve hiring the services of e-business professionals. All you have to do is ask your family and friends to pick a search engine (e.g. Google) and do a random search for your company’s website. If the search turns out to be successful for the majority of “investigators”, this is the best confirmation of your good work. If the website doesn’t show up during the search, it means the search engine optimization was unsuccessful and your choice of keywords and phrases needs to be reviewed to bridge the gap between the two.
SEO is a gradual process. There is always room for improvement. Also, your target market and consumer preferences may change over time, so be prepared to continually update your site’s description. It’s true, running a successful e-business isn’t just about SEO and the traffic it will bring to your website, but that’s where it all starts!