Meet the new Todaymade homepage. Does it look familiar?
[This post is part of the ongoing Better Websites Series.]
For all the talk about social media, there should be twice as much about Google and the other search engines. When it comes to measuring impact on your small business, there is little that can have more impact than a strong Google presence.
A 2010 Local Consumer Review Study (source) found that:
- 70% of people have used the internet to find a local business in the last 12 months
- 67% of local consumers have consulted online customer reviews of local businesses
- Younger consumers are more influenced by positive online reviews than older consumers
- Female consumers are more likely to select a local business that has positive customer reviews
- 69% of local consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
As more and more consumer behavior and habits move online, the race to the top of Google is intensifying, and really it should be. We now know that 80% of customers rank search engines as the most useful tool when making a buying decision.
- 96% Of Consumers Regularly Use The Search Engines To Research Professional Services
- 76% Of Consumers Use The Search Engines To Find Financial Services/Products
- 93% Of Consumers Use The Search Engines To Research All Health Related Service
- 70% Of Your Customers Use The Search Engines EXCLUSIVELY To Make Purchasing Decisions
- 78% Of Consumers Use Search Engines To Research Real Estate Purchases
When it comes to a brands online presence, we are use to thinking in terms of our own homepage and website – where we control the message. The reality is that Google.com is our new homepage, and much of the message that it shares isn’t up to us.
Take a restaurant as an example. It’s search page will probably bring up a map with directions and a listing of Google reviews, a link to a yelp.com page, negative or positive comments on Twitter or mentions included in various blog posts. All this is even before we get to sites like Trip Advisor, Open Table, local newspapers, and other business listings. Somewhere there MIGHT even be a link to the restaurants homepage, but with so many other entry points – who knows if anyone will actually get there!
And this is the way it is for the modern business. The old idea of homepage is disappearing quickly because of search. Even when Google does connect a search query to your website, it may send them somewhere other than your homepage. For example, your about us page could come up first.
This all highlights the need for us to better curate our own brand online. As many businesses are still solidifying their website, they should be moving outward, and participating in the various social channels and directories that are available. Google search is one of the most powerful tools in our economy!
Now, whoever thought I would say something like that?
Go do a Google search for your company – how does it look? What could be better? As businesses, we must start channeling a holistic approach to web. Search engine optimization needs to be something we all consider as core business. Businesses should be publishing and participating in as many channels as they can to remain relevant. The age of the customer is here, and that customer is using Google to find what they need.
Can they find you?