Week 3’s readings


This site, along with the second set of readings: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769, kicks off our readings for Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. It is explained by the third reading: http://www.anvilmediainc.com/search-engine-marketing-resources/search-engine-marketing-glossary, which should probably be the first one you read if this is something unfamiliar to you. Also if marketing in general is unfamiliar, as it’s fairly extensive.

The gist is simple: businesses need to know who is coming to their sites, and why, and with that, they need to know how to drive other people to their website. They can do this through adding terms and links to their site that increases their likelihood to pop up in a search result. By flushing out their site to include more SEO favorable options, more people are likely to see their site.

With that, its important to know how and why people came to your side, and a lot of people offer options to measure and refine this process for you. For instance, if you sell coffee, it would be important to know if people found your site via “roasted goodness” or “hot nuts.”

The importance of why you should do this comes from revenue. Are you a site that makes money from advertising or from products sold? Knowing who visits your site, how many times, and why, allows you to reform your advertising on the site to better target them, and your marketing budget elsewhere to attract more people.

My questions are simple. 1. Unless you’re making a sizable profit off the site, why spend the money to care? Google is so effective these days, if I want to find a local site for X or Y, Google automatically can narrow that down for you without much effort.

2. If you’re a large company that has a large online presence….why spend the money to care? People will find your site if you have a lot of traffic already, via word of mouth or reviews, or the fact that Google will rank you higher if you already receive a lot of traffic.

I guess my point is…there aren’t a lot of times when you’d really need to worry about where the traffic comes from, so long as it does. That said, if you don’t get any traffic, it would be important to know why.




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7 Responses to Week 3’s readings

  1. Amanda says:

    One of the big goals for most sites is to become so well-known that most of their traffic comes from direct visitors–people who arrive at the site by typing the URL into the address bar or something, rather than clicking a link from another page or using a search engine to find the site. There are many sites that have managed that, at least to such an extent that they no longer rely on Google for enough traffic to keep the lights on. But there are so very many MORE sites that haven’t managed that yet. And the thing is, all the big sites, the ones with the massive online presence, the ones that could survive on word-of-mouth alone if Google died tomorrow, were once smaller sites. Major blogs relied on strong SEO in their home pages and blog posts to draw eyes to the site. Online retailers relied on SEO on their product pages to draw customers in. Those big sites may not feel the need to spend massive wads of cash on SEO and testing anymore, but they almost certainly had to at one point. It’s a rare site indeed that becomes so big without putting a lot of effort into SEO.

    Additionally, there are some sites that aren’t really profit-based that still benefit in big ways from strong SEO. I work part-time as the secretary/in-house tech support for a church, so churches are one example that comes to mind first. For the most part, barring megachurches, churches don’t utilize advertising or ecommerce on their sites. They do, however, need a strong web presence so that people who are looking for a church home can hopefully find them and give them a try. If those churches don’t practice SEO on their sites, Google is unlikely to list them as a search result, even if people search for them specifically. This is especially problematic with common church names like First Baptist, Sacred Heart, etc. Just an example to think about.

  2. First, Christopher, I want to know how your heard about the two terms I prefer when searching online to purchase coffee.

    Amanda brings up some good points, especially about big established sites versus small floundering ones. To go from big to small, you need to let people know you are there. The only issue I have is with the example she uses. Are churches really trying to appeal to the masses outside their localities/parishes/dioceses? Or are they just trying to extend the reach within their own small communities? If I am a parishioner at Sacred Heart in Seattle, do I want to directly access the site for St. Timothy’s in Orlando or anywhere else in the world every time I’m online for church purposes? And if I’m at St. Timothy’s, why would I want to spend money and resources on SEO to reach non-parishioners? Usually if someone wants to research a church in their community once they’ve moved or decided they want religion in their lives, finding options isn’t too difficult with already established online resources.

    I guess I’m falling somewhere in the middle of your questions. Who and when should you invest in SEO? Retailers, like Amy’s Boutique, aiming for a national and international market? Yes. Hot Nuts Coffee Shop in downtown Plant City, Florida? Probably not so much, unless it is ready to franchise. I think that the nature of the business decides the extent of the SEO investment.

    One last example. My husband owns a dealership that covers only six counties in Florida. Yes, as the marketing person, I want people to find the site. The only problem is other dealers own other territories throughout the state and country. The national website carries our contact information online, but I wanted a site that featured our territory, photos from our projects, quotes from our customers, and so on. I want our customers and potential customers to get to our site. Do I invest time and money into SEO? Would it be worth it for our local business? That’s a tough call for me.

    • Amanda says:

      The thing is, SEO isn’t strictly global. The churches I talked about, and your husband’s dealerships, and Hot Nuts Coffee Shop in downtown Plant City… People have to find out about those things somehow, and search engine optimization helps the web sites for those businesses not just to do well in search results but to show up at all.

      I mean, if I had just moved to a new city or neighborhood and I was looking for something general, I would go to Google. I’d type in the name of the neighborhood, or maybe the zip code, and then I’d type in “church” or “car dealership” or “coffee shop.” For that reason, even those smaller, more local businesses/organizations need to use at least SOME SEO. It probably wouldn’t be worth it to go out and hire an SEO firm or anything, but incorporating some basic, common sense SEO throughout the web site would certainly help, so that when people look for “(zip code) car dealership,” your site stands a chance at showing up in those search results.

      Really, I think any site you want people to see NEEDS to have at least some SEO built into it, and that definitely doesn’t mean going out and spending money. You can do a lot of it yourself for absolutely free.

  3. alanyskpl says:

    I agree with Amanda on the fact that businesses need some form of SEO use. It doesn’t have to be an extremely expensive company that analyzes your website and optimizes it search rank, it could be just searching other websites yourself and seeing how their sites are ran to better their visitors and search results. So for smaller companies, it is not necessarily mandatory to spend a sizable amount of profit in this interest. I do think it benefits a company greatly to know what type of people are searching their sight to target more audiences more efficiently. For instance, an online comic book store would naturally market and target teens that are interested in their type of comics, however it could be mid-aged working adults that visit the site most frequently. This could be a finding through SEO.

    As far as large businesses, there’s always better ways to market your site and broaden your target audience. There could be a lot of visitors to the site already, but those people could be regular visitors and its beneficial to target new audiences. It could mean more business or more interest from a group that doesn’t wouldn’t normally find interest in the company.

  4. naseemspeaks says:

    Chris, I had the same question. Why spend money on multivariate testing, even when you’re a large company with a popular website? I would still ponder this even if I had a six figure budget to spend on MVT. It would boggle my mind to put it toward this type of testing. However, I can only assume that when your business relies heavily on online traffic and conversions you want to maintain that traffic, even if it comes at at a price. Plus, you can always aim for higher, so why not? At the same time, what would one get out of of paying thousands of dollars on paid MVT services that Google can’t do for free?

  5. Emily Davis says:

    I don’t think that SEO is something you should NOT do. Something you shouldn’t pour an incredible amount of effort into? Sure, maybe. I agree with the points above that it definitely depends on the business. If you are a local clothing store, you will want to tailor your SEO to that audience. As was stated in class yesterday, searches are getting more and more specific. If you can get someone to find your store by searching “women’s clothing Gainesville, FL” then you have probably done your job. In my opinion it is the national retailers that benefit from substantial SEO. Very well established brands like Nike or Verizon may be an exception. They can probably get by either way. People are going to search for Verizon or go straight to the URL, not Google “cell phone carriers near Gainesville.” It would more benefit a budding retailer, say something along the lines of Two Men and a Truck, that may benefit from generic “moving” related.

  6. Sorry for my lateness Chris! I missed a blog comment on this week that I’d like to get points on 🙂

    I’d have to agree with Emily. Unless you have someone that has the ability to create a HUGE presence for your company on the internet, through social media and every other porthole to get your list up, paying for SEO might be worth it. Coco-Cola and Budweiser may not have to do this but many other smaller but big names would – you don’t want to take any chances in getting lost in the clutter to brands putting in more effort than you.

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