Most companies approach the web from the stand-point that it is an extension of their core business. In practice this just doesn’t work.
Online businesses must, right from the outset, be set up to succeed, and although the list of requirements for this is vast, there are three elements which are the pre-requisites for success.
Everyone expects to be closer online. They expect to get to know you as a brand, and the team behind the brand.
If people can’t interact with the team, or at least some team members then you’re immediately in a credibility deficit. Little more than a faceless organisation.
If you don’t run a blog on your site providing an informal communications channel then you’ve lost the most effective way of getting your message across and engaging with your customers.
If you don’t have unique content, and this can be almost anything, then you won’t get ranked on the search engines. If you’re not going to get ranked, don’t bother with any SEO investments since they’ll present you very nicely on page 1,000 where no one will every see you.
Creating unique content is simple, but requires your team to be engaged and enthusiastic about what it is that you do. Taking a stock product catalogue and posting it online will always have very limited value for anyone, unless you have the lowest prices (and smallest margins).
You add value by having the best content, whether this is: original reviews; original product descriptions; comments and ratings (on the page); useful images and videos and relevant links and associations.
Doing anything else means that likely as not, Google simply won’t even index your pages, let alone rank them.
If you think about it from your own perspective, how engaging are the spam sites which exist all over the web with generic content promoting the same or similar products. Now how different is your site from these?
OK, this is a made-up word, but its point is simple, Now equals Cash.
The web is immediate, everyone knows that if they go to your homepage it could have been updated one second ago, so if they’re seeing content from three months ago then they know you don’t care.
In fact the way the web works, if you haven’t done anything in the last week, they know you don’t care.
If you don’t care, then why should they.
For that reason Google demotes pages which don’t have fresh content on them. You can be top today, but if you’re not current then slowly your rankings will decline until you’re nowhere to be found.
It means that any online business aiming for success must have in place a constant stream of fresh, relevant content. The great thing is that if you’re engaged with what you’r’e doing then this is easy to do.
I’m going to be posting a SEO series on how to get the most out of what you’ve got, but the truth is that if you don’t do the basics then you’re wasting your time.