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Every retail business owner knows that one of the most significant business decisions is location – where are you going to locate your store front?

What does that translate to when you are developing your online business plan? There are 2 dimensions to your online “location”:

  1. Your main source of visitors – usually search engines
  2. The search terms (often referred to as “keywords”) people type into the search engines to find your kind of products or services online.

So what exactly is a search engine?

A search engine is a “phrase-based information retrieval system”

How does this work?

  1. You create a link to your new website from a well established webpage such as a directory, or Social bookmark site
  2. Google’s robot follows the new link to your site, and automatically reads your web page
  3. Google robot stores a view of your webpage, and automatically classifies it according to the phrases it finds on your page and other pages on your site
  4. When a searcher enters a search term in the Google query box, Google automatically retrieves listings related to the search term, and determines the order of the results to be displayed, taking account of many factors such as:
  • how relevant Google considers the listing to be to the query
  • how current the information is
  • the “authority” of the site hosting the listing
    and for “sponsored listings”
  • how much revenue Google will earn from ads whose display is triggered by the search term.

Google Page 1

  1. Searcher behavior:
  • most searchers have their browser settings at default – so each page of results from Google contains about 10 “organic” search results and about 10 sponsored search results.
  • few will scan more than 2-3 pages, so to be visible to your potential customers, your listing needs to be in the top 20
  • >50% search terms used are unique

For an example of this, Google “long-tail keywords”…

So what does this tell us?

  • if the search query is not included on your web page, that page probably won’t be listed in the results displayed for that query
  • Google ranks each webpage for each individual search term (keyword)
  • This is true for every search term your potential customers might use – for every phrase relevant to your market.

But even if I have included the right search phrases in my site content, I may be competing with millions of others. So how can I get my webpage entry on to the top of the Search Engine listings?

And in answer to one of the “Big Questions” – how can I ensure my listing is displayed in the top 10?

Answer: You either:

  • buy an ad position, for every keyword important to you, or
  • learn an organic listing position, for every keyword important to you
    • by giving Google what they want, better than your competition
    • that means following Google’s guidelines, and optimizing your web page for search engine ranking

Of course, the next questions forming in your mind are:

  • which search phrases (keywords) matter to me?
  • which keywords best match my offer(s)?
  • where do I start? Isn’t it too complicated?

Yes, it is complex, but it could be very worthwhile if you can reduce or eliminate the expense of buying leads from elsewhere – leads that have already been sold to your competition.

Just as with any new revenue stream in your business, you need a plan:

  • identify your potential online market niche to target
  • check feasibility
  • check viability – cost of entry & likely timescale
  • develop marketing strategies
  • Decide on best fit to your unique business model
  • Implement