So They Stole Your Business Name?

So They Stole Your Business Name?

by Dave Curtis on 01/26/2010

“Help! They stole my name! Webmaster, you have to help me stop them – They’re showing up in the search engines with my store’s name! Surely this is illegal!”

identity-thief

identity-thief

No, this is the world wide web. America has 50 states with dozens of counties in each state – and millions of businesses, many with the same name as yours.

There is no malicious and evil person out there who got a hold of your business card and is now building and optimizing web sites to take away your business before you can get started selling on the web.

(Don’t laugh – I have actually had more than one client think this exact thing!)

The truth is that although your local business may be alone and face little or no competition in your town, your county, your city, or even your entire state, chances are that country wide or  worldwide online there are quite a few other businesses selling the same exact thing, and there are plenty of other businesses with your name.

These businesses with your name that come up in the search engines are already well established.  That should be seen as a good sign because it means that your site can do the same thing as theirs with time. It’s also a good thing because most likely the other older sites with your business name got to page one in the search engines simply because they were there before you and thus they didn’t get there on purpose. (Yes, the web designer wanted the site to show up, but it’s highly unlikely that there’s any serious SEO behind the scene). A good SEO can get your site on page one above them, and for more than just the company name – Lots more. Search engine optimization is the process of applying certain keywords and hidden code enhancements to a site that boosts search engine rankings for your pages.

To make a site work you need to provide content for your site and updated it often. Five pages with nothing but products and a contact us page won’t make it on the web today – you’re going to need a lot more content than that if you expect the search engines to take your site seriously.

The more fine tuned your SEO the more profit you will be making. This is because of something called analytics. Difficult but necessary keyword tracking is required if you expect to know overall progress  done through competitive analysis. SEO is “easy” and effective if your SEO can focus on what works by determining which SEO efforts are getting you the most visitors and sales. While the right tools make gathering the information easy, the analytics itself remains just as hard because the more information your tools give your SEO firm, the more information your competitors analytics tools give their SEO firm – and that’s where the true competition begins.

Budgeting for Optimization

Every SEO campaign budget varies due to the individual needs and characteristics of each site. Considerations include site layout and type of code, competitiveness of your type of industry, what your goals are (how much would you like to be making from your site?), and your customized maintenance requirements are just some of the factors that determine what your estimate will look like. An ongoing maintenance plan is something that is a necessity, however, if you’re going to want to continue being competitive on the web. Stopping SEO is like driving a racing car race after race against finely tuned and expertly maintained competitors – while you just take your racing car in to your local mechanic. It may do well in one more race, maybe two, but it will soon fail to even qualify.

Which Business Model is Yours?

Model A

Local Business Only

Model B

Local Business Plus Internet Business

A small town, down-town brick and mortar businesses located on Main Street may make it fine without much competition on a shoestring marketing budget, but competing world wide against hundreds of thousands or millions of other businesses just like yours is another story.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained as the story goes – no risk, no glory. Your web site without a search engine optimization marketing budget won’t do much. It may hiccup once as the search engines try it out on page one for a day or two to see who notices (but you would have to be on page 2 or 3 for even this to happen, so SEO is still needed) but your site won’ compete and bring in global dollars and world wide opportunity if you don’t have a successful SEO campaign set up.

A regular keyword ranking report gotten with a detailed analytics package that tracks your website statistics and pay-per-click tracking (if you’re planning on budgeting for pay-per-click as well) are imperative. The more highly tuned your SEO is the greater your profits will be.

You can perform your own web analytics in-house or hire an SEO company to manage your SEO campaign for you. It takes years of practice, experimentation, and study to learn SEO – so hiring an outside SEO consultant means you’re hiring the technical expertise to crunch the numbers and perform the statistical analysis for you.

Do not fall for uninvited email solicitations from strangers claiming they will perform SEO for you by entering your site in thousands of directories or submit your site to hundreds of search engines.

SEO campaign prices vary greatly – but remember – quality is more important than price. A good SEO will include several paid options deemed necessary in the base SEO campaign price. Cutting the price down will remove some essential paid options (outside fees the SEO wold otherwise pay) that you need to compete. I will not sign an SEO contract where I see that the client’s budget is not enough to give them sufficient return on their investment.

Done properly and with enough commitment from you and by following the advice of your Search Engine Optimization marketing firm your web business can easily become a huge success.

The Sky’s The Limit!