Using SEO to Grow Profits –Morgan

WHAT’S THE first thing a print buyer does when considering a new print supplier today? The answer, of course, is to Google them. Obviously, being listed on online search engines is directly related to the amount of traffic your Website generates. The higher your Website ranks on a search engine, the greater the chances a potential lead will click through to view your content. As you are probably aware, search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN use Web crawlers with complex algorithms to rank pages, and savvy printers know how to take advantage of the system.

Yet our research at Print Buyers has shown that printers are lagging behind in such marketing efforts. In January, we asked our print supplier members, “What efforts does your company take to ensure search engine optimization (SEO) for your Website?” Surprisingly, only 50 percent of our members are taking strides in this area. Forty percent said they were planning to incorporate SEO into their future strategies, and 10 percent said they were not interested in this process.

This is in stark contrast to an October 2008 study conducted by the Aberdeen Group, which found that 71 percent of all industries are now implementing formal search engine marketing initiatives. Yet our data demonstrates that many printers are not taking the initiative to ensure the highest online visibility for their organizations.

We recently launched a redesign of our Website, Although we are not experts on SEO, here are some of the things we learned along the way, which will be helpful to printers who are just starting out on the optimization path:

Don’t bark up the wrong tree. The first lesson in search engine optimization is to know your audience. Pretend you are a print buyer and need a printer for a major project that is coming down the pipeline. Unless buyers have to use printers who are on an approved supplier list, most will start with a quick Google search to find what they need. Think about what words they would use—embossing, diecuts, FSC certified—and, if you offer these services, get them into your Web pages and URLs. Learn how to let the system work for you by making it as easy as possible for those who seek your services—and speaking to them in a language they understand.

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