If you build it, they will come

I have just been in Denver, Colorado for work and had the chance to catch a baseball game between the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks (for those of you interested my Rockies won by a not too shabby margin!). I must have had baseball on my mind when I started reading about creating website traffic, because that famous line from Field of Dreams kept running through my head – “If you build it, they will come” (it is actaully “he will come”, but I am somewhat of a feminist, so prefer keep language gender neutral!). It got me thinking, if only building website traffic was as easy as  ‘the voice’ in a Field of Dreams made building a baseball stadium sound!

Unfortunately it take more than just building a website to get people reading it. As Deirdre Quinn-Allan points out, “One of the most important tasks in developing a successful online public relations strategy is developing plan for getting the strategy noticed.” When it comes to getting your website noticed, one such strategy is to focus on search engine optimisation (SEO). Search engines facilitate traffic to your website though keywords entered by publics.  The idea behind SEO is to fine tune your website, so that when a public searches for something related to your company you are the most relevant page displayed through the search engine’s general listing, known as organic search. The concept sounds relatively simple, right? Tweak your page to receives higher listings in search engines like Google. However, as Brooke points out, in his paper “Is it worth getting in a bidding war?”, it can get a little complicated because, “… As the number of sites grows, so does the challenge of making sure this happens.”

It is this difficulty that has led to a plethora of search engine strategy companies springing up over the last decade. These companies offer their expertise in how best to optimise your website and they monitor the results for you, making additional tweaks along the way. SEO is a long-term investment, so hiring an external company for a significant period of time can become costly. To keep long-term costs down Brooke highlights Andrew Hood’s suggestion to, “Start with an agency and work on a knowledge-transfer basis to bring some of the expertise in-house.” For those of you who can’t afford to outsource to an external company, there are a few simple things that you can start doing on your own that will at least get you in the game. In keeping with my love of top ten lists here are Business Insiders’ “Ten Basic Tips to get you Started” with SEO.

It is good to remember thought that there can be time when having your businesses name ranking high in organic search results can be a negative rather than a positive. Take for example the blog of a disgruntled ex-employee or news articles about an embarrassing legal matter. You don’t want these searches to be the first thing that publics find when searching for your company or its related product/service. SEO is again a good strategy to combat such an issue, as it can allow your site to bump the problematic references to your company down the search rankings.