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How to be seen on the Internet

We all know the Internet is saturated. There are endless websites, many of them offering eye-catching visuals and fancy add-ons. Standing out in the crowd is getting more and more difficult.


If you use a website to promote products or transact business, you have a lot at stake in the Internet game. With so many competitors clamoring for the public’s online attention, you have to make sure that your site is high on the web user’s radar.

One of the biggest “buzz-terms” of the moment is Search Engine Optimization.  If you haven’t seen the recent Pew study on search engine use, go take a look. As you might expect, use of search engines is increasing: up to 49% of web users use search engines on a typical day.  Search engine use is fast approaching that of email (60% usage), which is the dominant and most-used internet application.  The use of search engines goes up with education level, income level, and connection speed.  The correlation is reversed for age – younger users search more than older users.  And, oddly enough, men search more than women.

If you want to get people’s attention, you need to be found in a search engine. Search Engine Optimization helps web designers and developers ensure that the sites they create are found at the top of the list in the most popular search engines. You can even go a step further, and bid for a paid, high-profile search engine position (Search Engine Marketing, or SEM).

Of course, once you’ve brought a new user to your site from a Google search, you need to offer an experience that encourages him to stay there and do business with you. Many of the best practices for creating an appealing web experience will also boost your search engine rankings.

We’re going to highlight a few practical recommendations to help you make sure your website ranks high in search engine results, generates traffic, and keeps users engaged once they arrive at your site.

a.    Metrics. Tracking visitor behavior on your site is a very efficient and timely way to find out how well the site is working. The most common and useful metrics to analyze are: How many people visited? What pages did they look at? How long did they stay? What did they click on?
b.    Surveys. You can create a specific survey to send to your user database, asking for feedback on their experience at your site. Questions you might ask include: Did you find what you were looking for? Would you come back to the site? What did you like/dislike about your experience on the site?
c.    Blogs. There are countless ways to gather feedback from users once they are inside your site. Blogs, message boards, forums and rss feeds all allow users to post their comments about your site, the minute they think about it. You may find them being brutally honest! Content in these types of interactive areas are all traced by search engines, so encouraging users to leave comments can also improve your search engine rankings.
d.    Benchmarks. It’s a great idea to do a comparative analysis of sites similar to your own. What is their navigational structure like? How often do you have to click to get to the information you need? How quickly does the site load? Knowing what everyone else is doing can help you make changes that get your site noticed over the competition.

Using this multi-pronged approach to improving your site’s appeal will make sure that you’re visible on the Internet, and that once a user visits your site, they keep coming back for more.