I do not provide direct SEO marketing services, but following good web standards aligns with Google’s recommendations to help search engine results. Many people want to be on the top, sometimes going as far as practicing Black Hat SEO (that violates search engine policies) to try to get to the top based on keywords, backlinks, and so forth. Few realize that Google engines are more intelligent than that, designed by humans to automatically fight unethical practices. If you don’t get caught now, you better hope you don’t get caught later.
In addition, even if you spend thousands on Google Adwords, an SEO firm to “optimize” your site, or if people find your website, it doesn’t necessarily mean that users will stay or that conversions will be made. Note that Adwords is not factored into Google’s algorithm to increase ranking, nor adding keywords to meta tags. If your site design is not up to standards, if it’s hard to navigate, has lack of information, or too much information users may leave, due to confusion, unprofessional impression or mistrust. Users need to find a reason to stay and if you’re “selling” something, you need to give them a good reason for them to use their time and/or give you their money or personal information.
Not saying that a website is useless. It just means that it’s a lot of hard work, that must be continuously worked on to improve and grow, as much as opening an organization or business at a physical location. It is not a set it and forget it, and not something to quickly throw together. You should have a well thought identity on the web because it represents who you are, says “Hey I’m a professional,” makes an impression, and increases trust value. If you want to be even more successful than you are today, get yourself on the web. I’m not a very competitive person, but think about it this way– if your “competitors” are on the web, and you’re not, chances are they will get the business instead. Not having such key factors, won’t win people over, no matter how much you spend on ads, or “optimize” your pages to be on top of search engine results.
I was at a business network before, and was surprised to come across a businessman who told me “I don’t need a website” as soon as he found out I was a web developer. He told me that he can easily throw one together if he wanted to, but just doesn’t want to or need to because he is successful without one. He did sound in a familiar tone with others that I have met that perhaps they feel they are too good for a website to not need one. Whether you are or not, a business could do much better, being on the web, but make sure you have a good one within Google’s guidelines, or it can be your greatest downfall. (Read my Black Hat vs White Hat SEO post).
I have heard so many times from people, that if a business doesn’t have a website, they are not going to go eat there, buy there, or try to go see it at all. Why? The trust factor. In this economy, they are reluctant to spend on gas, time, money, or anything if they have no idea who you are. Why would they?? Would you?? That is another thing.. time, money, gas. When people can find you through the web, such information is at their fingertips which would save them time and money, and with information, give them a reason or not to visit your business/organization. As a web developer, I am a little more lenient with that if I met a business owner in person at an event, without a website, at an event, as long as they present themselves well enough to give me reason to.
So get a website, get yourself listed on the search engines, and get social network profiles like a Facebook. Interact and engage. Also remember, if anyone promises you top search engine results at all times, or promise top search results will bring you sales, veer away, because no one can really promise you that. There are billions and billions competing for the same spot and you will end up spending more resources in trying to get on top than focusing on what really matters. Once you build trust and identity, people will know your business, you website well enough and trust to type it in directly and not have to go through a search engine to find what they need.