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There’s a Verizon commercial on the radio where they’re pushing web services and small business web sites through intuit.
During the commercial a Verizon employee has the owner of Isabella’s Boutique in New York search for her business online. When she can’t find it they make out that it’s time for a Verizon web site.

I laugh every time I hear it.  How often do you search for a business online? Specifically a business name?

I don’t know about you but whenever I use Google (or any other search engine) I search for what I’m looking for, not who I’m looking for.
If I knew who I was looking for I kind of wouldn’t be looking for it.

Have you looked at your site analytics? Just how many visitors are you getting from people searching for your business name or for your web address (for that matter).

Hopefully it’s not too many. There will be some. There are always people who choose to put web addresses in search boxes instead of address bars or can’t for the life of them remember what the web address of a site is so they search for the business name. It shouldn’t be the majority of your traffic though. If it is then you have other problems.

What should your customers, existing and prospective, be searching for to find you?
Well, what is it that you do? what are you selling? who are you?

Think. Think long and hard. Most importantly, think outside of your little box. Think outside of your company. Think outside of you.

Don’t look for what you’d look for to find your web site. Look for what total, complete, weird, unknowing, strangers, would look for.

Ask strangers, ask friends, ask family members. Look at what people search for online, look at what they type, think about typos and other typographical mistakes.

Study your analytics. Really, really study your analytics. If you don’t have site analytics then talk to me.
Look at what people typing to get to your site. Work off what you’re seeing, maybe work off what you’re not seeing too.

In all – don’t look for and don’t optimize your site for what you know. Do it for your customers. Do it for people who don’t know you. They’re the ones who you want to find you.

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Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Known globally as a willing source for tech news and views, Andy takes great pride in consultation and education.

Should his schedule permit, Andy is available to help you with your SEO and Web Analytics needs.