The Internet has changed the way “people” solve business problems and make purchase decisions. No longer is it just OK to have a web site. That is so web 1.0; when your business was not cool if it did not have a web site.
Still businesses are putting up web sites with pages that are NOT optimized for search engines. You need to do more than just put up pages. Each page has to have a unique Search Engine Optimized title, motivating description and page content. Your web site should also have an XML site map placed on the server to make it easier for search engines to index your site.
Also businesses that have catalog pages, need those pages to be indexed too. Here’s why…
Recently I had to change oil in my wife’s Mazda 3i with the 2.3 liter engine. I have changed oil in my cars for more than 20 years, but if anyone has owned a Mazda 3, this is not your typical oil change. So I Googled, “ How do I change oil in a Mazda 3?” which offered more than 3 million results. Being a typical consumer I began looking at the results and selected one that I thought might be helpful based on the description. Robert Atchison’s page(on the first page of results) was the one I selected. He listed the steps and the tools necessary. One of the tools I did not have, a Cap Type Oil Filter Wrench – Diameter 76mm x 14 flutes. The link on his site took me to a Internet parts supplier, but I needed the tool right away, so I searched for “Oil Filter Wrench – Diameter 76mm x 14 flutes” local shopping results and found more Internet based stores and then a hit on a SEARS automotive tools. There is a Sears real close by and for $13, I could have the tool right away.
But then I wondered, “
Why didn’t the other Auto Parts stores like O’Reilly’s, NAPA, AutoZone or Advance Auto Parts” show up in the results on the first several pages.
Surely they would have such a tool. That is there business and the tool cannot be that uncommon.
I started a search on each one of the specific Auto parts stores and discovered that I could not see their online catalog unless I put in the Make, Model, Year, and engine size for my wife’s car. Guess what? Search Engines cannot provide such information to index these pages.
That can, and will lead to lost sales opportunities. Now I understand
that these auto parts stores are trying to provide useful targeted information to the specific vehicle to the consumer to help make a purchase decision. Hey, this is for an oil filter wrench? This could be for a variety of cars, not just a Mazda 3. Don’t you think they are also missing the point of not having their catalog indexed?
Big and Small, makes no difference
Now this is just a simple example of a consumer making a purchase decision on a low ticket item. For larger purchases the process is somewhat more involved and will take more in-depth research. This process could last a week, month or several months. It all depends upon the item or the problems that needs to be solved. When I was working at the software company that that was a VAR for several hardware companies, a purchase cycle could take 18 months. Due diligence would require a lengthy search and review process.
Speaking of reviews, when I was making a purchase for a large screen TV last December, I specifically read many reviews on the make and model I was considering. I specifically avoided reviews on any manufacturer web site. There were plenty to see. Now have you Googled your company, its products or solutions lately? You need to see what other people are saying about you and your company. This “Listening” process needs to be a daily part of your social media strategy.
Whether it is the consumer making a purchase decision, or a business manager solving a problem, your web site, and other internet activity, needs to be Search Engine Optimized. I would be interested in hearing what you are doing to make your site SEO friendly.