A few years ago, when the bubble that was spoken of was of the Internet and everyone wanted to have a web page, no one imagined that the path that was opening at that time would mark the way forward for many onwards. At that time, “having web” was more of a fad than a real need to which many companies happily joined without knowing very well what it was for or what real uses it could give (beyond placing the web address in the business cards).
Some of the most coined phrases at that time were “If you are not on the Internet you do not exist” or “The Internet is the future”. The reality is that the Internet has been present for a long time and companies have gradually become aware of the need to have this channel of communication open with customers. A website is a window that brings our company closer to the digital world, a vast world full of opportunities. Social networks are just one of the latest additions to this world and its functionality can be seamlessly integrated into any web page of today. Today the buzzword is “If you’re not on Facebook you do not exist.”
The current economic situation has led many SMEs and MicroPymes have been in need of reinventing to survive. With the budgetary cuts taking over the conventional advertising actions (press, radio, television), the focus has been on online advertising since its development and implementation cost is quite affordable and the results and effectiveness are measurable 100%.
How to start with online advertising?
According to experts and professionals of some specialized companies like Webpositer, the most important thing in having a good base, in this case with a good web page. Our presence in the network must transmit the values of the company in a visually attractive and easy to navigate environment. It is useless to spend thousands of euros on online advertising if when the visitors arrive at our site we give them a bad image, we do not explain our services well, we do not present the products properly or we simply do not transmit confidence. Therefore, the first thing that we should consider before investing in online advertising is if our website is adapted to the current design standards.
The next thing will be to check that we have clearly defined the goal we want to achieve when a visitor lands on our site. It is not the same a corporate website with which we only intend to indicate the services and the location of our offices that an online commerce that mainly seeks to sell its products. Depending on the type of website and the type of activity, the following objectives can be established:
- The visitor calls us by phone
- Have the visitor send us an email
- Have the visitor subscribe to our newsletter
- That the visitor registers on the web as a user
- For the visitor to make a purchase
These are just some of the most common objectives but there may be many more depending on our needs and business intentions.
I already have an adequate website and my defined objectives now what?
There are several ways to start attracting visitors to our website. We have at our disposal the usual printed and audiovisual media, although we have already commented that they can get out of the budget, are less effective and their results are difficult to quantify.
If we focus on online channels we find the following disciplines:
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing): This would be the most conventional online advertising. It consists of placing text ads and graphic banners on different websites that we believe can attract potential customers’ clicks for our website. The maximum exponent (and in the world) of this type of advertising is Google Adwords, an advertising system by which we can stand out in the search results of the giant of Mountain View and attract visitors for a small price per click (depending on our niche and competence). This type of advertising has the advantage of getting results from the first day, although it can lead to high costs and develops a dependence on it that can be frustrating.
- SMM (Social Media Marketing): Marketing in social networks is already a reality that many companies want to take advantage of. Using this channel of direct communication with customers represents a unique opportunity for companies to grow taking advantage of the feedback offered by different social platforms. The ignorance of this medium by companies and the shortage of truly trained professionals are the biggest burden of this type of communication. In addition, it is very difficult to obtain measurable results in economic terms in the short term, which is why many throw in the towel as soon as they have started.
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization): Search engine optimization has been for more than 10 years, one of the most used online marketing techniques and offers better results in the medium term. It is precisely this long journey through time that has allowed SEO to have evolved and reinvented itself several times to adapt to the changing search engines.Web positioning combines programming and promotion techniques both on site (within the web itself) and off site (on other websites) to improve the ranking of the page within the SERPs (search engine result pages) . Since Google is the search engine that 98% use, today’s SEO mainly focuses on highlighting our website at the top of the results when a potential customer searches on any of our featured products or services or on our own brand (online reputation).
What concrete actions does an SEO strategy contemplate?
Within the actions that are carried out on our website, the company or the SEO professional who manages our project will communicate the changes to be made on our website. SEO is a tailored suit that adapts to each case based on specific needs derived among other factors:
- The niche
- The competition
- The keywords we want to appear for when someone searches on Google
- The structure of the web
- Usability (ease of navigating through menus and sections)
- Convertibility (the ability of the web to achieve the objectives set: records, purchases, etc.)
- The contents, quantity, quality and frequency of update
- The age of the domain
- The parallel SEM and SMM actions that may be carried out
After optimizing the website to comply with the main guidelines of Google and adapt the content to both search engines and users, the SEO machinery begins to work to increase the relevance of the web and thus improve positions in the results .
How is the relevance of a website increased?
Every time someone mentions our website on another page, each time a user links us recommending our products or services, each time someone clicks on a “like” or retweets one of our articles, this counts for Google as a vote of trust towards our web. The more votes and more quality (given by the relevance of the websites or the people who vote for us), more positions will scale our website in Google results.
How can SEO help my company?
The improvement of positions in the results of Google has a direct benefit that is the increase of visits to our website. A serious SEO project should aspire to place our website at least on the first page of results, since on the second page we will hardly get visibility. Within those top 10 positions, each post increase will imply an increase in visits.
In addition, if the company or the SEO professional who advises us has chosen the key words by which we must appear to the users, the visits that reach us will be of quality, that is, they will be users really interested in our products and services and therefore prone to perform one of the actions we have previously marked as objectives.
Therefore, the more visits, the more possibilities to achieve our objectives.
SEO, Spending or Investment?
We have already commented that SEO is an investment in the online marketing of our company that will give us its benefits in the medium term. Depending on the niche and the competition, it may offer earlier results; each case is unique but generalizing, we can say that in most of the websites you can see the improvements in terms of 1 to 3 months and the most complex from 3 to 6 months.
The ROI (return on investment) in SEO is given by what we spend monthly to maintain the positioning service and the benefits that generate its effects. This is easily quantifiable through web analysis tools as powerful and advanced as Google Analytics. It is part of the work of SEO to use tools like this one to measure the performance of the web and the behavior of users once inside.
With these data in hand you can continue to improve the actions to be carried out and optimize the strategy to obtain maximum performance. It is also possible to label the objectives that we set at the beginning to access such useful values as the conversion rate, which will indicate the percentage of users who end up doing some of the actions that we specify.
SEO work is not punctual but it becomes a crucial part of the company’s communication strategy and will accompany you throughout your active life on the web.
You can think of SEO as in the gasoline of our car. There are better gasoline than others, with more additives or that offer better benefits, what is clear is that we will need to have always full the deposit to continue in the race to position our website in the search engines. As is logical, the better the vehicle (the website) the more we will take advantage of the virtues of the fuel.
Where to start?
The most indicated is to be aware of the current state of the positioning of our site. Know the strengths or weaknesses of our website, both internally and externally. For this task it is essential to have an online marketing report that presents the situation and gives us some clues about what our action plan could be and the margin of improvement we can aspire to.
Companies like Webpositer offer free and make available to anyone who requests a complete SEO report that analyzes more than 63 variables of the website to provide a detailed summary of the current positioning of a website and a list of preliminary actions that could be carried out for start to improve.
An important recommendation when hiring an agency or an SEO professional is to compare and ask for several quotes before deciding. As a general rule it is better to be wary of the one that offers immediate results at very low prices, the good, nice and cheap SEO does not exist. A good positioning job requires time and dedication. It is also advisable to see success stories and testimonials from other clients who have worked with the company; This is, without a doubt, the best presentation letter of a professional.
In short, if we are interested in starting to take advantage of the presence of our company on the Internet and take advantage of all the advantages offered by this communication channel, it is essential to start thinking about how to position ourselves in Google and define an SEO strategy that allows us to face the online future of our website with confidence and with clear and defined objectives.