My desire is to provide helpful and thoughtful information about all aspects of doing business. Feel free to share your comments, experience and insight!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Searching From Your Customer's Point Of View

There is a lot written about search engine optimization (SEO)...how to achieve it, how to do it better, why you should pay professionals to do it for you and the list goes on and on. But the reality of it is quite simple - you have to put yourself in your customer's shoes.

This is no earth-shattering revelation but it is not easy to remove yourself from the depths of your business and look at it from a fresh perspective. That is exactly what good SEO principals begin with. When you are trying to develop your message and get your point across to web site visitors, you need to stop and think, "What do they need...what is the message they want to hear...how can I help them find what they are looking for?" It is no doubt a shift in thinking for most and it is a hard transition to make without some thought.

Following just a few simple suggestions will help:

1) Avoid industry jargon and language whenever possible. This may vary by industry of course, but really focus on the concept of using more standardized terms. Consider what the largest population of your web site visitors might call your products or services - and use those terms when developing keywords.

2) Keep your information organized and simple. Over-the-top web site design and intricate, hard-to-follow navigation does nothing to help your customers. Remember, it is not about having a "cool" site - it is about serving web site visitors and helping them find what they are looking for!

3) Enlist the help of trusted contacts to look at your site. Ideally, have someone who is not overly familiar with your business give you a fresh perspective. Have them review your site and even have them try to find your site using search engines. You will be amazed the insight you can get from those looking at your site (and your products & services) for the first time. Note those comments and consider them as valuable nuggets of insight as you work on SEO.

Again, not earth-shattering suggestions, but important considerations to help you get started. Regardless of your SEO budget, every web site owner needs to consider these things. It will put you in a better position as you develop content and try to service the very customers you have a web site for in the first place.