What Every Business Needs to Know About the Web

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This morning I read a post: Most Companies Still Don’t Get SEO – Yet They Want to go Social.  It reminded me of how many businesses there are that don’t understand things you take for granted when you build some experience of working on the Internet.

It astounds me that there is anyone involved with a website that doesn’t understand the value of search engine optimisation (SEO). 

Not the details.  Just the concept that ranking in the big search engines for some really important terms would mean more sales.  It astounds me but I know it’s true. 

Here are some figures that help with understanding how important the web is to a modern business if you only do things right.

  • Google alone accounts for 87.8 billion searches in a month (December 2009 figures)
  • US searches were up 22% on the previous year.  UK searches were up by 35%
  • Google was up by 58%
  • As long ago as 2007, search engines were already more important for finding local businesses than the Yellow Pages.  74% using search engines to find local business information vs. 65% print Yellow Pages, 50% Internet Yellow Pages and 44% traditional newspapers.  More details

If you don’t sell online but run a store, these might help:

  • 69% go online to research product features
  • 58% locate products online before going to the store to purchase them
  • Only 13% of survey respondents felt the Internet has not improved their shopping experience

Source: Accenture 2007 survey

Those numbers are only going up.

If you read last weeks digest here you’ll know that 75% of US adults are now on the mobile Internet and that smart phone users are contacting local businesses after finding them through search on their phones.  If you own a shop, they are checking reviews and prices on their iPhone while they are in your shop.

If you are thinking about E-commerce:

If you are only interested in Ireland:

  • 69% of Irish people are regular Internet users
  • €2.5 billion was spent in total online transactions in Ireland in 2008

Source: Don’t know, Google posted it to me. :)

Just because you know how important SEO is, doesn’t mean you should think that Social Media is somehow not important.  The web is a social medium and becoming more so and this is crucial to understanding where your business needs to be in 5 – 10 years (it is also likely to be crucial for your SEO).

Regardless of your business, you should know:

  • 50% of Irish consumers look for advice online before purchasing
  • The only thing that influences purchasing decisions more than word of mouth is online reviews.
  • The Internet ranks above calling the manufacturer when looking for customer support information.  Second only to user manuals.

Source: Search Engine Watch and the aforementioned mailing from Google.

Think about this…
If it is not you, someone is at the top of the results.  Someone in your market is making sales, getting enquiries and/or getting their message out through the web.  They understand the earth shattering magnitude of the importance of the web to modern business.  They understand the near complete stranglehold that Google has on search traffic.  They understand that being in front of searchers when they are looking for what you do is immensely valuable.  And so they have done something about it.  They have invested time, or money or both because they understand that the return will far outweigh the cost.

If your business uses the web then you need to know that search engine traffic is vital.  If your business doesn’t use the web then you have some very serious questions to ask yourself.

Once you start to understand the value of search traffic in terms of generating sales and revenue, you can start thinking about it’s value in your specific case.  Then you can think about how you can do something about it.

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2 Responses to “What Every Business Needs to Know About the Web”

  1. BizSugar.com says:

    Some Things Every Business Should Know About the Web…

    There are some things that every business needs to “get” about the web so that they can make informed strategic decisions about what might work for them and what impact the Internet can have in their business. Here are some facts and figures that mig…

  2. [...] sure whether the Internet can make a real difference to your business, have you read our post on Internet usage statistics and consumer behaviour?  Have a look at it, but more importantly with a little bit of time and a small budget you can [...]