Small business owners who worry more about how their website looks than what it says are making a critical error. That’s because site visitors and search engines pay more attention to a website’s content than they do looks.
In fact some elements often found on small business sites such as flash doorways are more likely to prevent a site from being found by humans and search engine robots.
So why is the content of a small business website so important?
One reason is that consumers don’t venture onto the web looking for information about your business. They often aren’t looking to buy something. They want information to solve a problem. Even when they are searching for information about a product or service, they are trying to get the facts that will help them make the best possible choice.
So if you’re creating a website as part of your marketing arsenal, the site needs to work for consumers. It needs to provide the information they are looking for before you can begin to prove that you’re the best company to do business with.
Small Business Websites Need to Speak the Consumer’s Language – Meaning they need to use the keyword phrases consumers are searching for.
Most consumers begin their web exploration by putting keywords and keyword phrases, also known as tags into search boxes – probably on Google.com, although other search engines get a fair amount of searches too.
All of those search engines uses robots to crawl millions of sites using complicated algorithms designed to return the best possible results. If the robots see that the individual is using a computer in Kentucky, based on the IP address from which they are accessing the internet, they are likely to serve up any available local resources when you are looking for a dentist or chiropractor.
On the other hand if geography is not a factor, the search engine robots will look for the most reputable sites with lots of smaller sites linking to them. It’s a good bet that there are a great number of websites all vying for the same keyword phrases. So your first challenge is to identify keyword phrases or tags that give your business a chance to get on the first page of the search results.
That’s not going to be easy unless you have an older domain and lots of sites linking in but that’s a different lesson. It’s important for you to understand the challenge.
Now let’s talk about content.
Search engines robots can’t see your pictures or your site’s design. They prefer sites with lots of relevant content. The site visitor also will respond well to strong content that relates well to their search. You know yourself, that when you perform a search, you will move past entries that don’t appear to offer the information you are looking for.
It’s only after the searcher has determined that you have the right information that they are likely to pay attention to the site’s aesthetics. So you do care about how the site looks but that is only a small part of your strategy in building a website to market your business.
In tomorrow’s post, we’ll talk more about what content really is. A lot of things you may not see as content could be just what your visitors are looking for.