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Does Your Search Engine Footprint 'Look' OK but 'Feel' Weak and Anemic?

Jan 29, 2008
Go ahead. You might as well find out. It's not hard. Just Google, Yahoo or otherwise search for your company name in quotes and see what your footprint or search engine results bring up. It's easy, it's quick and it won't lie or give you false readings. Your footprint is your footprint...

Odds are you have a decent website. Graphically, it is well balanced and maybe even designed by a webmaster or some such skilled webperson. It probably is user friendly, intuitive and does what it's supposed to do; that is, no dead links, all spellchecked, scrubbed text and it all looks good and makes sense.

Most likely your site talks about quality, integrity, customer service and how you offer the best value proposition in the area, region, state, nation and world. You maybe even have an interesting 'About Us' narrative, if there is such a thing. Quite possibly you even state that your goal is to save the world or eliminate poverty in Chiapas and/or the Sudan.

And your search engine footprint likely shows your website is number one or two or maybe both. Good job! This is to be expected since as a savvy web marketer you have search engine optimized or SEO'd your website since it was a baby. Good for you!

After the search engine picks up your site, it picks up all your listings in various directories and databases. Some of these are paid and others are just local or industrial listings...at one point you looked into all the listings and probably signed up for most of them. They are still there; at least some of them. And they are still just listings...

Next come your press releases or maybe that article that appeared in the local newspaper three years ago. But then it gets real thin. By page two you are running out of direct search engine hits and all the 'oddities' come in; other companies with the same name, foreign companies with the same name, odd strings of words that pop up regularly in text files and whatever garbage is left.

This happens because your search engine footprint is shallow. Technically you are allowing the flotsam and jetsam of cyberspace to pack your footprint because you are too lazy to do so yourself. Or forgot. This footprint packing could include material and websites of which you do not approve, yet you allow this junk to fill your search engine footprint.

Business wise, you've got the look but lack the feel. If 'look and feel' determine the viewer or visitor's experience, you are long on specs, data and substance but short on why you are different. And better. And more interesting. You don't have that unique value that causes a viewer to look further, pick up the phone or zap an email requesting more info. In other words, your look and feel doesn't stand out so nothing happens. And of course that's the problem.

Now imagine a different scenario. Your website is good and does what it should, you have a variety of local and regional listings and you even have a few press releases stating your latest company news. But interspersed are a series of articles, blogs and other sources that have third party news and views about your company.

This gives the viewer an impression of what others think of your products and services; a bit of 'feel' to go with that snazzy, professional website 'look' that you have so professionally adapted. It's a bigger and better and more well rounded you...but how to get there?

First, take a good look at your marketing plan and give a realistic assessment of what you need. Remember that what you need and what you want might be two entirely different animals but it's important to focus on what you need first. What you need is the right look and feel that gets your message across in a number of different ways and generates prospect response.

Second, take one or two strong competitive advantages you have and drive those advantages. Several ways you can do this are through media coverage and self promotion. Since increasingly media coverage is an iffy if not spotty proposition, your best bet is self promotion. One good tactic is to use self promotion to attract media coverage.

Your goal should be five or six pages of search engine results that show you have a varied, interesting and penetrating web presence. That means your company name appears on many websites whether linked directly or not. This gives a completely different 'feel' to your company that can make a difference in your first impression and whether your prospect becomes interested enough to respond or can't distinguish your company from all the others in cyberspace.
About the Author
Jack Deal fills shallow footprints and is the owner of Deal Business Consulting. Related articles may be found at http://www.jddeal.com/blog and http://www.freeandinquiringmind.typepad.com
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