If your Web site's goal is only to
expand your message to existing customers and current prospects,
simply include your site address in your newspaper ads
and on all of your printed material.
However, you probably would like to
extend your advertising reach to new prospects, people
that do not know you and have not seen your print ads or
brochures. That requires a little more effort but is
necessary if sales growth and a return on your Web site
investment is important.
Find Web Sites
There are only two ways people can
find any Web site. One way is to type the known website address into
the locator bar on the browser. The other way is
to click on a link to your site from another Web site.
Here are the places people may find
links to your site:
- Search engines
- Industry-related directories
- Banner ads and paid links
- Online articles about your
- E-mail solicitations
- Discussion groups and blogs
For the purpose of this article,
we're going to focus on links from search engines and
directories since that's how most people
find what they are looking for on the Web.
Search engine promotion can be
divided into three parts. One, being indexed by the search
engines, two, getting a position (relevancy ranking)
near enough to the top so that your site will be found, and three,
buying advertising on the search engine.
Most of the important search
engines such as Google, Yahoo or MSN will index new sites when
they find a link to the new site on a web site they
have already indexed.
Search engines use a software
program called a spider or 'robot' to
determine what a Web page is about. The spider 'crawls'
the page that has been submitted or found via a link and uses the words and
phrases in the title tag and text to determine what the
site is about and how high on the list to put it.
A high relevancy
ranking is important because searchers often will
not go beyond the first few listings delivered,
especially if they feel their needs were met in those
first few listings. This important job of having a good positioning
in search engines actually begins at the design stage of
creating your site.
Each search engine crawls the
content of sites differently. Some in great depth, others
just sample the content. Some ignore certain words. Some
dont recognize certain design techniques such
as frames. None are able to recognize graphic
Although the major search engines are
constantly improving their ability to decipher 'high-tech' design
elements, special handling is generally required to make those
techniques work well for the search engine robots.
The third means of getting exposure on the
search engines is by purchasing ad space. For example Google Ads
allows you to bid on certain key words and place an ad on their
first page of search results when someone uses those key words in
Although the ads can be expensive, if your
website is not optimized to position well in the 'organic' (unpaid)
listings, ads may be your only alternative to first page exposure.
Optimizing Your Web
Site for the Search Engine
Unless you were fortunate enough to have a web
site designer that also has an appreciation and understanding
how to rank well in search engines, chances are you will need some
A whole new industry has evolved around
helping achieve good ranking in the major search engine. Although
in-house optimizing is possible, there is a fairly steep learning
curve, so unless someone in your company is web-savvy and has the
time, it's probably best to out-source this important task.
A word of caution if you decide to hire
outside help with your SEO (search engine optimizing) - there are
lots of not-so-reputable companies is this field. It's best to get
references and to avoid any company that tells you they can
'guarantee' a high ranking.
Here's an excellent source for reliable help -
These are the Web site resources that list
other Web sites by industry or otherwise. Given proper
attention, this aspect of your promotion strategy will
bring traffic to your Web site that may have missed your
search engine listing.
Because most directories are
typically operated by Internet professionals who spend
more time and effort to promote their sites, they are
more likely to be well positioned on the search engines.
Because of the specific nature of their content and the
links to their site, they tend to congregate traffic that
is looking for something specific.
There are many directories of home
builder related Web sites on the Internet. Having your
Web site listed on as many directories as possible
increases your chances of being found by someone looking
for a builder.
The downside to many of the
directories is that its easy for your site to get
lost in a long list of builders. That's
especially true if youre a late-comer to the Web or
your companys name is alphabetically challenged.
Its tough to keep someones attention long
enough to get through more than a few Web sites.
Often Web site designers include
some degree of promotion in their services, but not
always. Its a tricky task that requires on-going
attention and effort. You can handle it
internally or outsource the task, but without due
attention your Web presence will be for naught.