We speak a foreign language in this industry. If you are reading this article, then you are most likely fluent in the language of the printing business. Our collection of lingo, jargon, and technical mumbo jumbo is a foreign language to our customers. The sooner you can quit speaking to your customers using this foreign language the more successful you will be.Let’s take a look at search engine optimization (SEO), which—in everyday English—is understanding how your customers are trying to find you and making that search as easy for them as possible. You want to avoid losing a customer or having them go to a competitor because he/she couldn’t find you. To capitalize on SEO, it is important to understand the answers to three key questions:
1. What is a search engine?
2. What is a keyword?
3. What can I do to help people find me?
What’s a Search Engine?
A search engine is a program that searches the Web for data, organizes and indexes the data, and makes that data accessible when someone enters a query. Oftentimes a search engine is referred to as a spider, and those spiders go by many names: Google, Yahoo! Search, Bing, and Ask are some of the more recognizable ones.
The key to success with search engines and making sure a client can find you is using proper keywords. If you aren’t using proper keywords, your client may have to sift through unnecessary information. A recent Google search of “How to use a search engine” produced well over 53 million hits. I encourage you to type “printing company” into Google. I believe you’ll understand why it is so important to communicate the right way with customers.
What Are Keywords & Which Ones Do I Use?
At this moment, one of your customers may be accessing a search engine, asking: “Help me find what I’m looking for.” No one is there to tell your customer what words to enter that will best pinpoint their needs, so your customers are entering words that they believe are appropriate. The challenge is that your customers are not educated in the world of printing, and words they use to describe your services are quite different than what you use. The words that your customer uses are what we refer to as keywords.
You want to prevent lost opportunities—that is, the future clients you never meet—that use a completely different set of keywords than you do, because you speak a different language. Your customer is searching for the term red flag and you are frantically waving a burgundy banner in vain. Using keywords on your website and in all marketing pieces is absolutely critical to your success.
Back to our friend the spider. The spider looks for whatever it is told to look for. As it scours the Web for any and all information related to your customer’s search request, it pulls in the keywords your customer or prospect entered.
The most effective keywords are basic, they are simply the names of the products you make in the way your client thinks about them. What you do, what you make, what services you provide. Finish it, put it in a box, and wrap it up—that thing in the box is your keyword. And for every four-color, tri-fold in the box, there are about a dozen names it goes by out in the non-printing world. It’s a brochure, a pamphlet, a hand-out, a bag stuffer, a mailer, and so forth. Those words—call them layman’s words—are the best keywords money can buy. By the way, you can take these and use them in your marketing.
There are numerous resources available to you to help determine the best keywords. Google Adwords and Google WonderWheel are two Web-based tools you may want to consider. It’s easy enough to open up Google, type in those keywords and click through their “getting started” and “step-by-step” pages. Very quickly, you will learn how your clients and potential customers are navigating your website and the websites of your competitors.