I have been using the term online visibility for quite some time. I decided to use this term because I thought it represented what SEM is trying to do, which is increase a business’s online presence . Also I thought it was a good “non-technical” term that small business owners could understand.
Hanan Lifshitz of Palore, recently had a very good article The Importance Of Measuring SMBs’ Online Visibility where he discusses what the term online visibility means to him. Hanan defines two terms “web site visibility” and then “online visibility.”Â Normally I have sort of lumped them together but I like how he has separated the two.
How is your website visible online? Search engines, directories, PPC ads and so on.
How is your online visibility? Hanan says “An SMB…can have various, sometimes very different, online appearances…online visibility for SMBs involves a broad array of parameters, on all forms of local search sites”
Online visibility, as Hanan says and I agree, is a relative term. The online visibility of one site will be different from other site based on business, online goals, location, money (how much they want to spend) etc.
In the article Hanan shows a graph of contractors in Georgia and their online presence- overall it is low. Why? Location. In Georgia, the top cities size wise are Atlanta, Savannah, Augusta, Macon, Columbus and after that is tails off. Outside of Atlanta (and maybe Savannah) most small business have lived off of word-of-mouth and Yellow Pages advertising. That is something I am trying to change! LOL
So if a contractor comes to me for help with their online visibility here in Georgia we pretty much would be starting from the ground up. Getting a web site visible initially, then getting their business profiles in appropriate verticals, IYPs, look to build online reputation and so on…
This graphs also should open the eyes to contractors in Georgia- the overall presence in your field is low so, with the right SEM, you could easily dominate or rise quickly within your online market. Thanks for the Georgia stats Hanan, keep them coming!
Hanan ended his post by saying, “For SMB owners, knowing what their real online visibility is, especially compared to their competitors, will let them know where they stand and how they can improve their online presence and reach more customers.”
This is so true. The web can open up a whole new world for the small business if they approach it properly.
So how is your online visibility?
I have a term for those businesses that are invisible online — they’re in Google’s Witness Protection Program. No matter how hard you search for them, they are safely anonymous. 🙁
Since I work both as a local business consultant and as a consultant to other Direct Response Internet Marketers around the world, I’m faced with helping all kinds of businesses improve their online visibility. I just never called it that before!
The differentiation between how visible you are and what, precisely, your visibility is, is excellent. Just because you may be “findable” in the search engines doesn’t mean an automatic increase in revenue.
There are several local businesses in my area that ranked highly for what causes them the most aggravation (freebie seekers, calls for services or merchandise they don’t carry, etc.). An adjustment to their website (on-page and off-page SEO) cured their problems in less than a month.
Frankly, many (if not most) local businesses cannot afford what I can really do for them: create total search engine domination. Along with optimizing their own website (or not, in some cases), I can create a veritable Pyramid of Backlinks that crushes their competition and grinds them into the dirt of the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages).
This is not hard to do in many niches, where the only competition is Yellow Pages site, business directories and the like. A simple blog post (by me) can often grab and hold the #1 spot, simply because the blog is geo-located and has decent SEO value.
Additional backlinks from select social networking sites (Hub Pages, Squidoo lenses, Slideshare.com presentations and others), blogs, YouTube videos, social bookmarking services (Digg, MyBlogLog, Technorati, among others), and an authoritative article at EzineArticles.com (where I am a Platinum Expert Author) creates a slew of powerful, search-dominating backlinks that is hard to compete against.
The key is to pick keywords that actually benefit the business. There’s no sense in having a commanding Web presence for the things that cause a business the most aggravation and least revenue!
A careful review of a company’s business plan, most profitable products or services, any underused capacity, current source of new customers and how the business keeps in touch with clients/customers that actually spend money is vital. Leave out that analysis, and your business owner may wish he or she was back in Google’s Witness Protection Program!