The following tale must repeat itself a thousand times a day across the USA, and there is no telling how many times it happens across the world.
I am asked to attend a lunch with some of the principles of a soon-to-be-launched new venture. One of the principles, to whom I am known, believes that perhaps I could comment on some aspects of the company’s objectives.
As a good friend I return the favor for the lunch by commenting on those areas in which my friend was interested. Before we went our separate ways I asked my hosts what role a website would be playing in this new company? Their response was heartening: “Our website will play a significant part in assisting us to achieve our objectives.”
How wonderful I thought, and so another question followed. “You have told me that you have contracted with a company to design your site, and that the design is well under way. Has your contractor involved you, or any of your partners, in any strategic discussion on how the site will take advantage of the considerable internet traffic that already exists for this industry?” (I asked this question knowing something about what their new organization was going to be, and how it was going to operate.) “What do you mean Leo?” was the reply.
The next few minutes uncovered a number of disturbing details, but the most alarming fact of all, was that there had been absolutely no discussion of how this site was going to rank with the search engines…..yet the design was well under way!!!
There had not been, nor was there likely to be, at this stage at least, any review of the strategic opportunities (and they are considerable), that could be exploited by Search Engine Optimization. There had been NO discussion on possible domain names, key search terms, the role of link trading etc. Why? The answer is simple. The company contracted to design the site has no concept of seo. It is neither an seo firm, nor does it have links with an seo firm.
The story would have gone something like this. Several months down the track somebody in this new company would have realized that there was valuable internet traffic that they could exploit. The principals would have come together and asked themselves what could be done about this? They may have even gone back to the company who designed the original site (in reality this company has done nothing unprofessional-they did meet their original contractual obligations), asking them how to accomplish the task of attracting their share of this internet traffic?
The contractor now tells the client that this will require some modification to the website and that they will set up a meeting at which the pertinent factors will be discussed. Hopefully the contractor realizes that in order to meet the company’s new requirements they will need the services of an seo firm? Now the client is involved in discussions that should have taken place months ago, long before the company was launched.
The client’s focus is disrupted, they are involved in additional expense that could have been avoided and they have a less than positive view of a growth industry that is contributing to America’s global market leadership.
The seo message needs champions!