When promoting your website and looking to win new business using the internet, the subject of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is always a hot topic. The common expectation is that being number one in the Google listings for the key phrase of your choice is the answer.
In reality, this can be tedious, time consuming and costly task that can often yield fewer results than expected.
If you consider how people get to your website, in essence there are three fundamental types of visitor:
1) Direct Traffic. This is where people type your web address directly in to the address bar of the browser, they know who you are, and how to get to you, and that’s just what they do.
This can be an existing customer, the result of a telephone conversation, clicking on a link to your site on your email signature, or simply someone who has your business card and wants to take a look at your website.
2) Search Engines. This takes little explanation. Your prospective customer types something in to a search engine and up comes your website. From the Search Engine listing they click through to your website.
3) Referrals. This is where someone has seen a link to your website on another website and clicked through. In effect your website has been referred to or recommended by another website.
Most business owners focus on Direct Traffic in day to day conversations and when networking.
Search Engines are more often than not most website owner’s primary focus, with so much buzz around Search Engine Optimisation and a weight of expectation in Google being the answer.
So what about Referrals?
This is the one grey area that most Search Optimisation companies gloss over and most business owners shy away from and often don’t understand. The reality is though, that done well this can seriously improve your business online as well as offline.
What is a Referral?
Simply put, it’s a link from someone else’s website to yours. There’s really nothing very technical about it, it’s just a hyperlink, or could even be an advert, it really depends on what you’ve agreed with the owner of the website linking to you.
Sounds simple enough right, so where’s the catch?
Read that last part again “it really depends on what you’ve agreed with the owner of the website linking to you”. This is the bit that presents a challenge to most business owners .
If you think about what type of websites might link to yours, they generally might fit in to a few categories:
1) Local or business listing directories
2) Portals running articles or press releases submitted by you
3) Suppliers or strategic partners
4) Customers, brand advocates, resellers of your products
1 and 2 you can achieve quite easily with a bit of thought and investigation, however 3 and 4 and much tougher ones to crack.
That said, most of the time they’re not. More often than not, it’s a simple conversation that needs to be had between two business owners to get to know each other and discuss how they might be able to collaborate together and advertise each other’s services via a link on each other’s websites.
Now that in my book is called “networking”, and as those who read this who regularly go “networking” know, it’s all in the relationship and the simplest of initial chats can lead to untold opportunities.
The most successful websites that we’ve built that have really achieved great things online, have used this approach.
The best bit about it is; take care of the link building and relationship building and more often than not, your Google listings take care of them self.
Want to find out more, why not give us a call on 01727 739812 or book yourself on one of our free workshops.