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Monday, 3 May 2010

The Demise of the Website as We Know It?

During the past couple of weeks I have been telephone cold called (pestered) by a company wishing to interest me in using its services in search engine optimisation (SEO). As good fortune would have it, all the calls have been at an inopportune time either when I was in a meeting (honestly) or in the car on my mobile.

In any case I am not enthusiastic about being solicited on the telephone so perhaps I was rather less than accommodating, but even so, it caused me to think about the whole subject.

They were right, my website does not rate highly in a search for the keywords which I am using but then again, the competition is considerable and in the end, what is the purpose of the website anyway?

It seems to me that there are very broadly two types of website, one which is essentially an electronic brochure with perhaps a modicum of interactivity, and the other a commercial site interactively selling goods and services.

There is a perfectly good case for both of these systems. In the former case, it is possible to provide updates and news on a regular basis always on the assumption that interested parties will go directly to the website having been encouraged to do so by.

I know that this is an outrageous oversimplification but I would guess that the percentages stack up. The marketing author and speaker, Seth Godin, says that, again in broad terms, it is better to focus on a very small section of the market place which you know is or could be interested in your products or services, than to use the blunderbus approach which is hit and hope.

I recall a Vistage speaker some time ago who said that just putting a brochure on your website was tantamount to putting it on a rocket at Cape Canaveral, blasting it off into the Milky Way and hoping that an interested customer would have his telescope trained on it at just the right time.

Thinking through the whole matter then, I have perhaps realised that the methods which I use are far more focused than using SEO on the website. I write a blog on a very regular basis once a week, then I advertise it on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as well as sending it to a list of perhaps two hundred named recipients who I know or at least hope will be interested.

That way I have focused my efforts on a genuinely potential market and I am not wasting my efforts hoping that SEO will bring up contacts. Focus as much as possible therefore on the marketplace which is appropriate to you and your products or services or at least on those people with whom you want to do business.

A man used a search engine to find a group of people who were interested in sex with goats and the search engine laconically asked him "Please specify the breed of goat". Now that's focus.

For more information visit www.maa-uk.co.uk
or email to ivan.goldberg@maa-uk.co.uk


Darren Bardsley said...

Hi Ivan

Good post and a highly debated topic. I know you have stated that your comments may be an over simplified view and why not. There are a couple of things to think about. In business, web sites are often merely an extension of ones marketing strategy and there are various ways in which you can play out that strategy on the internet. Your own blog site I view as an authority website, where you are building some level of authority on a particular area, topic or niche, which generates interest and ultimately followers, who may one day purchase something you have to sell.

Your point about social media is again a very debatable area, I heard an interesting statistic the other day that was something around 80% or more of Facebook users are bored. That’s a lot of unhappy people. Facebook is without doubt a great marketing tool if in the right hands and you know what you are doing. The issue is that Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Digg and the plethora of other social sites out there are time bandits and I truly believe that time can be much better spent, but this is dependant upon what you are selling. I am not sure too many construction business for example are going to find large sale opportunities from using Facebook, but someone dating business may do.

Many an Internet Marketer will tell you that ‘The Money is in The List'. When you refer to having better success emailing your updates to friends, colleagues, this is your list and what every business marketing on the internet should be aiming to achieve. Search Engine Marketing is one of the best ways to build that list, but again it is simply part of the overall strategy, all be it a big part. A quick word about keywords. One of, if not the biggest issue with low success in search, is poor keyword choice and a lack of good research from what the potential customers are looking for to what your competition is ranking for. But its about having a good solid plan and executing that plan, measuring the results and making changes where necessary.

There are some great SEO's out there and some not so great. The outputs are easily measurable, which is more than can be said for some other sales and marketing campaigns or consultation. Its worth remembering that if you are in a market selling blue widgets at £150 each, that has a highly relevant keyword search volume of say 3000 searches a day or more for example and you can be on #1 on page 1 of Google you are likely to want to be there; knowing that the top 3 positions in Goolge get around 60% or more of the traffic, 40% to #1, 12% to #2 and 8% to #3, page 2 and beyond gets less than 10% of any search traffic.

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