Has SEO Replaced Word-of-Mouth Marketing?

Google Takes Word-of-Mouth Marketing to a Global Level

Word-of-mouth marketing has been around since the beginning of commerce. Businesses have long relied on the recommendations of their customers to promote their products or services. The good things that others say about a business often carry more weight than advertising alone, and smart business owners know that word-of-mouth is a powerful force. In today’s tech-driven marketplace, Google is the biggest word-of-mouth marketing channel ever. When people go to Google and do a search, they trust the results they receive. But if your business doesn’t show up in a Google search, is it Google’s fault?

Has SEO replaced word of mouth marketing?

Google Visibility Beats Good Looks

There are some truly beautiful websites out there, but websites don’t show up in a Google search just based on good looks alone. If you have a beautifully-designed site that Google can’t find, you’re like Cinderella, but without the pumpkin carriage. How will you get to the ball? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what makes your well-designed site show up on Google, Bing, and other search engines. Without SEO, your site is at the mercy of direct traffic instead of organic traffic. What’s the difference?

What’s the Difference Between Direct Traffic vs. Organic Traffic

Direct traffic comes from people seeing your web address on a business card, billboard, or email. Organic traffic comes from search engines, which compile their results from the specific term entered in the search box. If someone searches the term, “coca cola,” they are likely looking for coca-cola.com. It’s a specific enough name that you might think the results are direct traffic. However, such a search is actually organic. Direct traffic would be the result of someone entering the full web address into the search bar. In fact, people are more likely to search for a general term instead of a specific web address. A commercial that runs during the Olympics will mention a web address for one to three seconds at the end, but most people will search for a company or product name.

 

how customers needs for information were addressed

This chart from ThinkWithGoogle.com shows consumer behavior. Almost half of the 14,000 users tested turned to a search engine first.

 

How Do You Control How You Appear in Google Search Results?

There are a number of ways your website can show up in search results:

  • Your company Facebook page
  • Your Yellow Pages phone book listing or Better Business Bureau listing
  • Another company or person with a similar name
  • A competitor that provides the services you provide but uses better SEO
  • The Google Business information that Google has collected

The problem with most of these options is that you have very little control over how you look on Google.

The things that show up in a Google search are there because that is what Google found when it crawled the site. Just like a big sign in front of a business or a prominent phone number on the side of a big white van, you can make information clear to Google when they look at your site. There are certain best practices that accomplish this, and we use these best practices when we make our clients’ sites.

Lieberman Technologies SEO search results

All of these sub-categories show up on Google because of the structure and design of our website.

Schema Markup*: Schema feeds exact details to Google such as star ratings on reviews, business hours, specific locations for local SEO benefits, and snippets to show up in the Google cards at the top of Google search results.

High-Performance Hosting*:  This is also a factor in SEO because if Google is going only to spend three seconds a day on your site, you want to give them as much information as you can in that three seconds. Website speed matters. Google has confirmed that a slow website will affect your search engine ranking. By making your site fast, we already have an edge on SEO over GoDaddy, Hostgator, or other cheap web hosting options.

Well-Coded WordPress Themes*: There are over  11,000 themes on Themeforest.net, which is one of the largest theme dealers on the internet. Though many of them claim great SEO features, these themes are mass-produced and not tuned to the specific customer. It’s typical of mass-produced themes to have flamboyant animations, unused and unnecessary options, unoptimized images and complex sitemap structure – all of which hurt the built-in SEO features.

Use Google and Your Website to Get More Business

The last thing you want to do is waste money on a website, so begin with a goal. Good design makes an attractive website, but it’s the word-of-mouth marketing provided by Google that will help your site work for you. A RightOnTarget website provides Search Engine Optimization from the start. We submit your site directly to Google when you go live and set you up with Google Analytics so that you can monitor your success. Your Google Analytics account will enable you to see how people are finding your site and which pages they visit the most. Is your site content effective? You’ll be able to easily change pictures and text on your site so that it will always be up-to-date. You can choose to automatically share every new post to Facebook. You can also be notified of comments on your site so that you can respond quickly with effective customer service.

Many do-it-yourself websites fall short on SEO best practices, and unless you’re knowledgeable about SEO, your site may not show up in Google search results. Take advantage of the built-in SEO best practices with a RightOnTarget website, and let Google’s word-of-mouth marketing work for you!

*Features that come standard with our RightOnTarget website.