How PROSPECTS Find You
The large majority of prospects find websites by using Search Engines. A small minority of visitors will come to a website by either a direct link, having remembered and typed in a Domain Name or being referred by a link provided by a friend or relative. So Search Engine positioning is a major determinant if your site will be found and visited by prospects frequently or not.
PRIME Search Engines (SEs)
Current visitor statistics indicate that over 75% of all searches were done on Google, about 15% on Yahoo and about 10% on MSN, with very few done on the other specialty Search Engines. Therefore it appears that optimizing rankings in the same order of priority as the ratio of searches done on the Search Engines is not only relevant, but crucial. For certain specialized market segments, those search statistics and ratios may differ, but these ratios remain true for most markets.
SE ORGANIC Position
Search Engines generally show 2 columns of results. The Left Column typically is about 80% of the page width and has a relatively long description of the website (2-3 lines) and there are usually 10 entries per page. This section is the so called “Organic” or “Natural” Search Engine list. These terms simply mean that the sequence of the list (the Ranking) is determined by the Search Engine’s ranking algorithms and is not effected by payment for the positioning. The Search Engine’s so-called “Spider” crawls websites on a regular basis (daily, weekly or on some other schedule) to process the page contents of websites, determine their content relevancy and index (Catalog) them appropriately (creating the Rankings).
Advertised – PAID-FOR Positioning
Advertised positioning are the listings that appear sometimes at the very top of the WIDE-Left-Column (usually highlighted and marked as: “Ads”, and/or on the NARROW-Right-Hand Column, again labeled “Ads”.
Pay-per-Click or PPC
Pay-per-Click refers to the method of pricing and paying for Advertised Search results. The Ad Links appear on the Search Engine results page based on a competitive bidding by the buyers. Each buyer places a bid price for specific search phrases on the Search Engines listing page. Once a visitor clicks on an Advertised Link, the visitor is “taken” to the website and the Search Engine bills the business the amount offered by the bidder for the particular place in the Ads list. The actual precise pricing is a bit more complicated, but the higher positions cost more than a lower position. Since the advertiser pays the Search Engine when a visitor “Clicks” on a listing, hence the term “Pay-per-Click”.
DIFFERENCE Between Adbvertised and Organic Positioning
The difference between an Organic (or Natural) listing position is simply that both the listing business as well as the visitor knows that the Organic results are determined by the Search Engine’s ranking formula without any payment by the business, while the Advertised Links are simply a ranking as to how much more the business was willing to pay to rank higher than the other competitor for the same search phrases. As the old marketing expression goes for the difference between Public Relations and Advertising “PR is what you pray for, while Advertising is what you pay for”. Therefore Organic listing is what you “pray” for and Advertised Search is what you pay for. Search Engine Optimization minimizes the costs of the “paying” forever factor and provides high Organic rankings.
Usability is the measure of how easy a device (or a website) is to use for a particular purpose. Ease-of-use is defined as the user’s ability to perform the desired task, without having to read any special instructions or be trained by an instructor on the device’s operations. In case of a website user training is an impossibility and a usable website has to respond to commonly accepted commands of website operations, with features and functions conforming to standard Internet practices.
Importance of Usability
Usability is the key to success on the Internet and E-Commerce. If a site is not usable, regardless of how attractive its design may be, or how many of the most advanced features and functions it uses, it will likely be abandoned by most visitors. Visitors unable to perform their desired tasks on a website, will abandon it and are unlikely to ever return again. Visitors remember a usable site and frequent it, sites that frustrate them are also remembered, but never again visited. Caveat business owner, usability is the only common factor among successful websites; design elegance, Flash, sound, video, pop-ups, fancy graphics are not.
Typical Issues of Usability
- Confusing navigation
- Meaningless icons & graphics
- “Next-Step” Action-Items not readily visible on the page
- Confusing wording
- Getting “lost” on site – not knowing where one is currently
- Inability to readily go back to prior page or Home page
- Slow loading pages
- Irrelevant sound, video, Flash or other multimedia features
- Hard to read fonts
- Long “happy-talk” kind of content
Visitors on a website want to easily, quickly and reliably purchase a products or service OR obtain information that is precise, to-the-topic, relevant and reliable. The websites we place in our “Favorites” list and/or recommend to our friends are always the highly usable sites. The “frustrating” sites never make it to your “Favorites” and are seldom revisited again. Which category do you want your site to be in?
Many websites are frustrating since they make the visitor:
* Wonder where they are on the site
* Can’t figure out how to get back to a prior page
* Are confused about what the “Next” step is
* Can’t repeat a previous set of steps
* Have to wait far too long for a page to load
* Have confusing wording or terminology
* Require reading long paragraphs, instead of brief statements
* Can’t find the specific information they are looking for.
Improve the Usability of Your Site
It’s relatively simple to improve the usability of any site keeping in mind the following 3 requirements:
1. Be totally objective (completely ignore the fact that the site may have been designed by you or your nephew) and disregard the opinions of the family, relatives and employees
2. Have clear-cut business objectives defined for the Internet presence for the business
3. Have experience in human factors, software interface design and the principles of E-Commerce and Internet methods.
After that it’s easy and straightforward, that’s why we can do it inexpensively, quickly and with guaranteed results.
We Can Help
Objectivity – we listen carefully to your business goals and plans for your Internet presence, while at the same time analyzing the approaches anbd the websites of your Competitors for objective comparisons.
Expertise – we have the experience in human factors and user interface designs, while using the best analysis tools available.
Attentive Listening Skills – we carefully listen to your objectives and are impartial when comparing your approach to those of your Competitors
Expert Analysis – we use “State-of-the-Art” & “Best-Practice” tools and techniques to analyze your site and are frank in presenting you with the results of our evaluations.
Low cost – we carry a low overhead, are quick and responsive to your needs. PLUS we guarantee our results –
if we can’t show you documented improvements – you don’t pay.