Are you struggling to get your website or brand listed when people search for you?
This post contains key areas of you to work on and think about, so that you can be found more easily online.
The action and concept of ‘finding data’ is not just theory of course, it’s been around, and a proven technology & approach, for a long time. Search and Information Retrieval (IR) from small to large databases have been around for decades.
But, before the Internet and the ease of access to tools and systems, you likely used either a local system (desktop), or your print materials, books and directories. Nothing has changed in the approach, but the tools and systems have. And, when it comes to the online world & search engines, you have many options.
Let’s discover some of the strategic ways you may have overlooked, and uncover hidden secrets the monster way…
#1 Image search
These are often searched (by your users), but I’ve found it’s an underused option for companies to get their brand and traffic lifts. You should name your images by keywords to be found for, including given them ALT descriptions for use on your website. Uploading them to Flickr and photo sites like http://www.photobucket.com and http://imageshack.us/ are also valuable & useful.
#2 Crowd Lovin’ (search impact)
While not a search functionality per se – it impacts your visibility favorably. That is, when people, friends and networks recommend you, talk about you online (social). Adding “like buttons” on your website and engaging with your community on Facebook and Twitter can help lift your score and ranking. Social signals are indicators for search engines. We see this in local SEO / search as well. Reviews and ratings help position you higher, which is good.
#3 People search
Google has created something called micro-formats for specific searches of people, products, books and more. They understand the value of specific, itemized search options, and the clarity, importance of those results. For example, search for people and specific profiles that exist in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other specific directories (for your vertical), and you’ll see it’s all alive & well! (techie geek: Use http://schema-creator.org/ to create the new formats for use within websites and databases)
#4 Instant / Real-time Search
Twitter includes a powerful search engine, and data is available, and refreshed all the time. Yes, a massive database that you can get access to in seconds. The advanced search gives you additional filters and data results. Instant search in Google indicates displays (text) inline when you search – showing you options for your intended or likely search.
#5 YouTube and Video search
YouTube is owned by Google, and the worlds #2 search engine. comScore’s 2011 October search rankings show Google as the leader in search, with over 65% of the market place (and growing).
#6 Navigational (direct) search
When you are known to your marketplace, many will opt to type the search or website direct into the web browser address bar. This could be your brand name, but also books, podcasts, special product reviews and software downloads on other sites too. You should make sure to optimize on these other websites as well.
#7 Remarketing (display)
The idea that somebody came to your website and left (quickly) is expected when you are doing business or sharing information online. However, many will leave as soon as they arrived (for a variety of reasons). So, how about becoming “top of mind” – after the fact? Well, retargeting (fetchback.com, adroll.com) can help. Essentially, you are seen on other sites in a network based on a cookie/script that was set when that visitor entered your website. Powerful. (and controversial)…
#8 Local search
Numbers change of course, but 1 in 5 searches have “local intent”. Somebody is searching for local products and services in their area, and Google and search engines will try to display the most logical, neighborhood option. Just typing the word “dentist” into Google, will yield local and blended results from your geo-region.
#9 News search
Journalist scour for news and information. If you can get them to read and notice you, write up a snippet, article on interview – it’s a great thing. However, being found in news (Google in specific) is not necessarily straight forward. Just realize that while press releases can get you there, a BORING non-eventful press release is exactly that. I have clients who complain about PR agencies that claim “big distribution numbers” – but no real effect (and no follow-up). Try to make it a bit more remarkable.
#10 Blog search
blogsearch.google.com (http://www.google.com/blogsearch) is an amazing asset for your business. For research and gathering information, connecting and finding RSS feeds you can get ideas from, etc. And, you have a blog for your company, right?
#11 Price and Product search
If you want a new wide-screen TV, for example — you’ll likely go to search to find pricing, reviews and more. The results are displayed with pricing, reviews, ratings and links to online stores, shopping centers near-by (local again!), and the ability to transaction online. Making sure your product and pricing feeds area available and searchable, is an obvious option (but not always straight-forward).
While these are all important search and visibility strategies, you should consider starting with the highest pain-point or opportunity from this list. For example, if you have a lot of images in your ‘closet’ – get them positioned and used within your website, resources and libraries. And, don’t be afraid to share them either. Brand the images, and let the world see what you have!