More shopping starts with search engines.

Even before Google became a verb that means “use a search engine to find information online”, people have been relying on this engine (as well as Yahoo!, MSN, and various others) to help them locate products, compare features with other products, check availability, read user reviews, and get the best deals. So search engine optimization is no longer a luxury for website owners; it’s a necessity.

Currently, more shopping begins with search engines than any other method—regardless of whether the customer ultimately buys online or not. With the soaring cost of gas prices, it makes sense that customers use this most convenient method for browsing. Google has three billion searches per month, and 46 percent are for finding information on products or services. And 20 percent of the monthly “Googles” are for local businesses. Fingers are no longer doing the walking through the Yellow Pages, but on the keyboards of laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

And if you think you’re doing the job with pay-per-click ads, think again. Seventy percent of the links that get clicked for these searches are the organic ones—those on the search engine results pages (SERPs), not the paid ads. The top three organic search results account for 60 percent of the overall clicks, and 75 percent of surfers never scroll past the first page of SERPs. So if you’re not high on the list, you’re invisible to your prospects.

Find a top-notch SEO company or professional. Check out the work they’ve done for their client. Look at their client retention rate. Don’t be drawn in by link builders because the major engines will bump you for cheap SEO tricks. Find a good optimizer and invest in this critical step, because no matter how much you spend on making your website awesome, if Google can’t see it, no one else will either.


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