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Petaluma Website Development & Online Marketing Blog

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Search Engine Tips to Increase Visibility for Your Sonoma County Business

Get found, build your brand, and convert more and higher quality clients and customers for your San Francisco bay area business

It’s Monday…are you ready? I hope the day is a good one!

Have you ever wondered why your company’s website doesn’t show up in the major search engines?  Or perhaps your website does show up for certain popular search terms, but you are not seeing much success with new prospective customers and clients contacting your company from the internet?  Could it be that the Internet just doesn’t work as a tool for quality lead generation for businesses like yours?  Or is it possible that something is missing from your current strategy?


Key components for a successful Internet marketing strategy--miss just one, and it doesn’t work!

An effective website marketing strategy must contain certain foundational elements in order to succeed in attracting and converting the right type of clients to your business.  There are 3 critical components: visibility, design, and content.  Miss just one of these, and the strategy does not work. Achieve all 3, and your Internet marketing will work to grow your business in ways you never thought possible!  Today I will focus on the “visibility” piece of the strategy, and then expand on the other 2 components in future posts (so follow this blog! ;-).

What is visibility in online marketing?

You probably figured it out!  Visibility is…well…being found!  But it is not just enough to be “found” online.  It’s not even enough to just get “visitors” to your website.  For a successful online marketing strategy, you ultimately want to be found and get visits by the right types of prospects, achieving the ultimate goal of getting them to contact your company and becoming a profitable client! And for those of you who still might think that prospect leads come through print advertisements like the Yellow Pages, please read "Print is Losing Ground".  So how do you improve your visibility to prospective customers and clients online?

It all begins with understanding WHY your prospective clients go online

A successful online marketing and Search Engine Optimization strategy begins with understanding the online marketplace and your prospective clients motives when they go online.  It is key to knowing how to get in front of them in a meaningful way, that brands your business as the one to contact when the time comes (or even sooner!).  There is a process that your prospects go through that can be very quick, or take months, which begins with “information gathering”, and ends with “selection”.  If you have properly positioned your company all along that buying process, the prospective client will have already decided to contact you early on in their informational gathering phase, cutting out much of the competition that can occur in the “selection” phase.   This is the power of high visibility and “branding”.  While a vast majority of companies focus on the “selection” piece when implementing an Internet marketing strategy for their business, they often ignore and miss out on the much larger opportunity to be in front of the prospect from the beginning and all along the way throughout their research and “buying” process.  High success with respect to being found in a meaningful way--that leads to client or customer conversion--will greatly depend on how visible your company is all along that information gathering and selection process.

“Vanity” search vs. “Long Tail” Search

Think of a vanity search as a search that is primarily done in the selection phase, when a prospective client knows exactly what they need, and are now seeking out companies who are in their geographical area to help them.  This search typically will have the following components: geography and keyword(s) for the service they are seeking. Below is an example of a vanity search for “best bay area architects”, a search that is done by a prospective client seeking a list of the “best” residential architects in the San Francisco bay area for help with their high-end custom project.  While it’s a good thing to show strong for vanity search, there is often much more competition and is even more critical to know your competition and stand out stronger.  At this point, you are competing for the “perception” that you are the company to contact.  Make the strongest 1st impression possible!

Vanity Search: " Best Bay Area Architects "

 Best Bay Area Architect for BLOG



Another type of search is “branded” search—they already your company, and are searching to get more information about you, and are typing the name directly into the search engine to find your website.

The other searches fall into what is called “long tail” search.  The longtail search is often overlooked by companies because to show for these very important searches, it takes a well coordinated strategy for website optimization.  Businesses who are not effectively positioning for long tail search, are missing a very big opportunity for greater visibility, traffic and conversion for business growth!  Below is an example that breaks down the long tail search vs. vanity search with the architectural firm example:













As you can see by the diagram, the “high value” term “architect” is at the top of the curve, indicating the number of times that exact term is searched, and as you move down the curve, there are other variations of the vanity search – “architect bay area”, “residential architect bay area ca”, “bay area architects ca”, etc.  Then, as you go further down the line, the searches become more and more unique to the point where each search might be so unique that it is done relatively few times.  While most architects will focus on the few vanity searches that are done, many completely miss out on the thousands of unique searches that prospects do in their research leading up to their project.  Having a more comprehensive approach will work to expand a company’s visibility on a much higher level, and position them directly in front of the right types of prospects throughout the buying process, leading to greater branding, higher conversion rates, and business growth.

In the below example, we explore a type of informational “long tail” search. You will probably notice right away that there are no advertisements on the page.  There is also no competition for the highlighted architectural firm:

Prospective clients and customers go online first to seek out “information” in advance of searching for a specific business to help them.


 This is the level of visibility where a large number or small to medium sized companies in the San Francisco bay area fall short, and represents a great opportunity for your business!  In my next few blog posts, I will give insights into what can be done to improve your Internet marketing and perhaps turn your “brochure” website into a lead generating machine that will work to grow your business!  Remember, there are 3 key components to a successful Internet marketing strategy.  We've discussed the "Visibility" component.  In my next 2 blog posts, we will get into "Design" and "Content".  Missing just one, an Internet marketing plan will fail to produce strong results.

So, rather than give up on Internet marketing as a lead generating tool, I’ll suggest that you join me in taking a closer look into potentially uncovering some important opportunities to make adjustments for better results!  Please bookmark this page, follow the blog, and/or leave comments! You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter!  Have a great week, everyone!  Thanks for stopping by!

Buchanan Web Marketing is located in Petaluma, California, and serves clients throughout Sonoma County and the San Francisco Bay Area.

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