In Google’s recently concluded consumer barometer survey, the facts about how today’s consumers use the internet is slowly sinking in; from how TV content is consumed across multiple devices, to where the purchase decision actually starts from. Stats that can provide real business intelligence and support marketing decisions are beginning to roll in, but one data set caught my attention.
It all starts with Search.
When asked “Which of the following online sources did you use while looking for information about this business?” almost 75% of all respondents stated a search engine as the preferred online source, while a meager 4% mentioned checking out the business’s website
Is this really shocking? No, its not, logically, we’d expect that people find your business on the search engines more often than not. But what does it really mean? It means that just setting up a website has become insignificant in the grand scheme of things, if your website cannot be found quickly with a simple search result for a related keyword, you’re screwed.
I know what you’re thinking, this isn’t really news right? Allow me show you a scenario, albeit, a worst case scenario. During one of my classes, while training a group of students at the Wild Fusion Digital Center, we decided to do some practical, basically everyone picked out a website they would carry out an SEO audit on, and a student picked out her company website. This company, coincidentally, was a digital agency.
On searching with the brand name on Google, here’s what we found:
Now for those of you new to SEO, this might not immediately hit home, so let me give you a background to the result you’re looking at.
With Search Engine Optimization, there are a few tips and tricks, one of which is refusing access to a section of a site through its robots.txt file, what this means is that if I have a backend I don’t want to show up on Google search (e.g. searching for FBI backend login and finding an actual result! – extreme example, I know, lol), all I’d have to do is put in a few lines of codes in my robots.txt file to say, hey search engines, if you see this URL (fbi.com/login) by any chance, just keep passing by, I don’t want you to bring it up as a search result for bloody terrorists.
Get the gist now? A robots.txt file will let you block out portions of your site so they don’t come up on search engine results. But what happens when someone intentionally or not, locks out the entire website? The result is what you see above.
So even if this website might have a million and one keywords that all talk about digital marketing, if I search for those million and one keywords, I will NEVURRR find this website, I’ll be a part of the 73% that go online to look for where to spend millions of the companies budget on digital marketing, but there’s one company I’m sure to not find as a potential agency.
Extreme? Yes. Harsh? Maybe a little, ask Google. Truth? Yes, absolutely true.
PS: This has since been fixed by the agency 🙂
Second statistic that should be of interest to you…
If mobile is the future, the future is now
When asked “Which devices did you use to look for information online, at any point from the start until you chose a business?”, 76% of all respondents said they used their mobile phones, and only 6% use computers to view these website.
Again, these statistics are somewhat expected, so we’re not entirely shocked, but the problem is that brands seem to just disregard and do whatever it is they like, which just pisses me (and the consumers) off. Imagine going to a business site on your mobile and realizing it’s loaded the desktop site… its almost always irritating.
Lets take a somewhat popular brand in Lagos, Get Arena, the popular spot for all things carting, and a lot of people visit Get Arena daily to have fun. My guess is, there are people that have no idea where it is or what other activities go on there, and what do they do to find out? They search for the brand, luckily it comes up on the Search Engine Result page (SERP) and then click on it, most probably on their mobile, here’s something very similar to what they’d see
Needless to say, I’d probably close this page before even thinking about what it could do. Now we can say for certain, that Get Arena is likely missing at least half its potential customers to a poorly designed website, and a developer’s unwillingness to do things they know to be right.
It all boils down to two basic issues that plague the average business, first ensure that you can be found through basic Search Engine Optimization tips, and ensure that your website is mobile friendly so all users have an equally exciting experience across multiple devices.
Have any experience to share? I’d love to hear them