A company that I work closely with is Computer Recruiter, a recruitment agency that people use when looking for IT jobs in Cardiff, Wales. A press release of theirs was recently published in a national newspaper and included a discussion on their new website and the URL (the address of the site). When I checked their Google Analytics the next day to see the effect this release had on their traffic, there was roughly a 50% increase. This was to be expected, but there was also one surprising fact that I did not expect to see.
When looking at the source of this extra traffic, I assumed that a large part of it would be direct traffic, i.e. people who typed the URL that they had just read into the web-browser address bar. There was actually zero direct traffic that day. All of the new visitors chose instead to visit Google and searched for keywords like “computer recruiter”, “computer recruiter Cardiff” and “computer recruiter ltd”. Even when presented with a URL, not one person chose to type it into their address bar and go straight to the site.
What does this mean to your business? It highlights that if for no other keywords then your business needs to rank well on the ones that make up its name. This sounds obvious but many companies do not, especially those with names made up of generic, descriptive words. For example, a car retailer with a name like “Prestige cars” will be competing with thousands of other sites for the keyword “prestige cars”.
For businesses of this type, the consequence of not appearing for their name could be severe. It is likely that your competitors will rank for these search terms, especially if they practice search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques. Imagine that you had paid for the writing and distribution of a press release or the inclusion of a magazine advert and rather than bring new visitors to your site all your marketing campaigns did was lead customers to your direct competitors. Your market share could start shrinking without you even knowing it.
So, how do you stop this from happening? A few search engine optimisation basics include having your business name as, or at least within, your URL. You should also include your name on your homepage and “about us” page as 5-10% of the copy. When generating links to your site, you should make most of the anchor text rich with the keywords that you want to compete for, but every once in a while put your business name in there as well. You could also set up some Pay Per Click adverts that bid on your company name and similar keywords.
In future blog posts I’ll discuss online marketing and search engine optimisation techniques further to help you start appearing before your competitors on Google.