When we look at search engine optimisation (SEO) we can relate it to the real estate industry catch phrase of ‘Location, Location, Location!’. In this post I’ll relate the physical location of a business to the location that a business has on the online real estate of search engine results pages.
If we are setting up our small business, which relies on passer-by traffic, then the choice of location for the store or shop is important. While it might cost much less in weekly rent to have a location in an industrial area such as Snook Street, where I am today, there just aren’t many people driving or walking past and its very unlikely you will have people wandering in for a look with any resulting sale.
Consequently in your business planning you factor in the higher rent of a busy location because you know that the increased sales will offset the increased rental outlay. Or at least that’s the thinking behind the decision on location. In this case ‘location’ becomes part of your marketing strategy and advertising budget.
Businesses that choose the cheaper rent of locations with little traffic need to have other strategies in place to get people through the door.
The investment that you make in signage and business fit-out will also relate to the location that you choose. You would be unlikely to spend up big on flashy design, signage and shop fit-out if you are in a low traffic area because there just isn’t the number of eyeballs passing by to warrant the investment. In a busy mall, shopping centre or main street location, however, your signage needs to compete with other businesses, which are all out to grab the attention of the higher number of people passing by.
Let’s tie this in with search engine results. The high-traffic real estate is in the first few results that are returned when people search for your product or service. If you are not on the first page then you will receive very little traffic and if your business doesn’t make it to the second page then you are, in practical terms, invisible to potential customers. Just as in the decision of where your physical business location should be and lease cost vs. amount of passer-by traffic you will get – so to do you need to decide on your online location based upon the traffic it provides.
There are different sources for driving online traffic to your business and a major one is a high search engine ranking. This doesn’t happen by accident in any field where there is money to be made and there is often fierce competition for the top spots. Good rankings take time or money, or both, and are grouped under the term ‘search engine optimisation’(SEO).
The results make it worthwhile for exactly the same reasons that real world places with high traffic cost more to lease – you get more visibility, more visitors and more sales.
The same rules apply to the decision on how much to spend on building a website vs. the investment in getting to the top of the search results. An extravagant shop fit-out in an industrial location is probably not a good use of your funds; an extravagant website for your business that only makes it to page 4 of the search results will provide a very poor ROI. You are much better off with a simple website on the first page of the search results, which can pay for itself through new customers. Then you can upgrade the quality of the site over time with the new income.
How is your company website looking with respect to time/money invested in the website ‘fitout’ vs time/money spent on getting it in the ‘right location’.