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Q: We’ve recently had a new website designed for our financial services group. We’d like to find out why people come to our site, so we can develop the site to better meet people’s needs. Would a site search facility be a good way to do this?

Overall, we’d also like to market ourselves more effectively online, and win more sales leads.

How should we go about this?

Marketing Manager
Financial Services Group

A: Financial services is already a heavily marketed area of the web. So the first and most important thing to do is to identify clearly the niches you sell best in, and focus on winning in these niches.

While you already know your own niche markets you need to discover how your potential customers perceive this when they’re on the web.

As ever, the answer starts with thorough keyword research.

With online services like Wordtracker or Keyword Discovery, you can research the search terms that users are actually using.

You’ll be able to find out:

> What the search terms for your niche are

> Which are the most popular search terms that have offer the most potential traffic

> You should also be able to find out how heavy or light the level of competition is on each search term.

Your goal will be to identify the best most active terms (keywords) for your niche that aren’t competed for too heavily.

You can do this yourself, or you can hire a professional agency to do it for you (possibly Studio Rossiter – wink)

Once you’ve accurately determined your best keywords, you can start to make plans based on sound knowledge.

The easiest way to start is to begin writing new web pages based on your keywords. There are lots of ideas for this.

You have to do is remember that each keyword represents a search by someone with a problem. So start solving that problem.

For example, you can write about common problems, unique solutions, case studies, or even a history of the keyword. Your sales staff, who are always meeting customers and solving their problems, will be a mine of information. Just ask them what they did today, what problems they had, and write about them.

Google and the major search engines will reward your regular efforts in writing new pages, as these search engines are always looking out for useful new content.

If you give them what they’re looking for, they’ll give you what you’re looking for, ie, higher rankings in searches around your keywords.

Gradually your website will grow in importance as you keep proving regular information as new web pages.

In principle this is simple. But in practice many people fail to do it, as it requires a new regular habit, and one that won’t pay off for a while. Their work performance isn’t yet measured on this so they get excited for a weeks, then quietly drop it.

A website is like a garden. It takes time. The best most productive websites take years. But once they’re developed they deliver and deliver and deliver.

Part 2 is continued tomorrow

© Studio Rossiter 2006

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