Brokers looking to generate leads or business through the web in 2009 will need to understand the new language of the internet, according to Robert Beerworth, CEO at Wiliam Web.
Speaking at the Mortgage Industry Forum in Sydney, Wiliam Web's CEO Robert Beerworth said that simply having a big brand was no guarantee that you'll generate business across the internet. Instead, online success depended on how well business owners interpreted the rules of the Web 2.0 business revolution.
He said that in the modern platformed environment, web success depended on savvy design and had nothing to do with the technology behind the site.
The more your site is able to attract users, he said, the more business it will generate for you.
"So when you build one, engineer everything with the intention of generating traffic in mind," he said.
He added that in the Web 2.0 environment generating traffic and 'search enquiries' were virtually synonymous.
And because Google processed 95% of all search enquires, Beerworth explained that getting your head around the Google SEO concept was the cornerstone of building an effective, volume orientated, site.
To the un-informed it stands for 'Search Engine Optimisation' and is the process of improving volume (and quality) of traffic to a site from search engines. Usually, the sooner a site is presented in the search results, the more it will be visited.
Essentially the Google search engine, called PageRank, is a scorecard - known as an algorithm - that tries to establish each particular sites importance in the eyes of Google. To do so it determines a weighting for each web page, between 0 and 10, roughly based on the quantity of inbound links to it.
So, according to Beerworth, building elements into your site that would appeal to users, and see them returning, is critical since it would keep your site relevant on the PageRank algorithm and have a positive impact on your SEO ranking.
"Either directly with things like webinars, newsletters and blogs, or via syndicated links from other sites," he said.
He added that the more users engaged in a web sites' content the more likely they were to form a relationship with it.
He believed the mistake most often made was to allow content to become stale, and said that users would move on to another site at the first sign that they were not getting value.
"So offers and forms should always be changed in tandem with changes in the market place," he said.
And according to him another mistake people made was to think that 'Search Engine Marketing' (SEM) is the new SEO.
SEM is an alternative way of promoting a website by increasing is visibility, usually by way of paid inclusion or placement. It offers a pay-per-click service for both text and banner ads.
Adwords is Google's branded SEM, and to demonstrate how quickly the pay-per-clicks add up, is often thought to be the main source of Google's mammoth (US$16bn in 2007) revenue.
But while the clicks add up quickly, Beerworth noted, and there was no guarantee they would generate any more interest in your site than a cursory glance.
"People are starting to realise that using Adwords is not a short cut to getting a higher rank," he said.
He closed by saying that the Web 2.0 business revolution provided site owners with a significant shot at success. But they had to provide users with honest value, and they had to give it time.
"It takes at least 3 - 4 months of focused effort," he said.
This describes the changing trends in the use of web technology and design, to enhance creativity and secure information sharing.
From it, web culture communities have developed, such as social-networking and video sharing sites; Facebook, You Tube, wikis, blogs and folksonomies.
|Wikis, Blogs, and Folksonomies
A wiki is a web page or collection of pages with content that anyone can access, contribute to or modify.
A blog is a website usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary.
Folksonomy is collaboratively creating and managing tags to annotate and categorise web site content.
|A tool designed to search for information on the web. Mostly they operate algorithmically, but can be a mixture of automated and human input.
|A sequence of finite mathematic, computing or linguistic instructions used for calculation and data processing.
|The link analysis algorithm trade marked to Google. It attempts to establish each particular sites importance in the eyes of Google.
|Stands for 'Search Engine Optimisation' and is the process of improving volume (and quality) of traffic to a site from search engines. To do so it assigns a 0 - 10 weighting to each page, roughly based on the quantity of inbound links to it.
|It is 'Search Engine Marketing' and is an alternative way of promoting a website by increasing is visibility, usually by way of paid inclusion or placement.
|Adwords is Google's branded SEM.