Describing social and traditional media as channels is accurate in the sense that it is the purpose of channels to lead to a destination. It is our belief at BBI Brandboost that the corporate website, particularly in a B2B context, should be that destination; at the core of business communication.
That is not to say that social networks or online and offline media should simply be used to shoo visitors rapidly to a website’s products and services sections. Their potential value for brands as a means to engage and inform is much greater than that. But the website is where the big picture of a business and all it has to offer can be presented in full.
In a Search Engine Land article “4 Reasons Organic Search is Better” the author Kristine Schachinger observes: “Today, we live in a different world. We diversify. We use AdWords and Bing Ads. We create identities across social platforms, and we promote via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. No longer are sites living and dying by their Google Rankings. Organic is no longer one of the cool kids. Organic is passé. Or is it?”
Quite rightly, she declares that decidedly it is not!
“Social media and paid ads might be traffic generators, but they are not long-term customer creators. The bounce rates are high, and the number of pages visited is often very low, in my experience.”
“Organic is different. Matching keywords to user intent means you may be present in many searches. The user may find you consistently, and once they get to your site, they are more likely to stay. Organic users are still your best long-term customers. In my experience, they have lower bounce rates and more pages visited, and they are more likely to return…
If you want people to find your store and remember you, organic is the way to go.”
Rediscovering an added value UX
If organic SEO is a good way attract visitors with a potentially higher level of interest in your business, then how could their experience when they visit your website be enhanced?
Naturally the quality of the website content must be excellent and accessible, but could something still be lacking even when this requirement is fulfilled?
Management Today’s editor Matthew Gwyther consistently writes well-crafted blogs that are invariably perceptive and never boring, whether you agree with his views or not. His recent contribution “Why I miss reading newspapers the old way” is no exception.
While he explains that he usually reads many newspapers every day in digital form, he recently decided to purchase a bundle of printed versions of the nationals to see him through a couple of two hour Airbus flights. He describes the experience as follows:
“Online you move around like a heat-seeking missile in search of your quarry. You see what is ‘above the fold,’ quickly scan the toolbar. And, of course you can search. It’s in and out. Smash and grab.
Much is ‘curated’ these days. The whole world of data gathering means that content providers know what you like and direct you towards more of the same…
The talk is that the Home Page - the digital equivalent of the front page - with the splash is history, as so many arrive via Google search and social media at the particular story they wish to read. In the old days the hacks had the power to pronounce what was important and required our attention. That’s no longer so.”
This is very true. A website’s Home Page is losing some of its importance as search algorithms become more sophisticated and can, in theory at least, direct users to a landing page with exactly the information they are looking for. That can be very useful, but Matthew Gwyther points to something that has been lost in the process.
“Reading something made from trees is rather different. You wander around, backwards and forwards. You also stumble across unexpected pleasures. It is this serendipity which is so pleasurable. I found stuff in the FT, The Times and the Independent's i that I miss entirely when I read online because I simply didn’t know it was there.”
It’s important to realise that this excellent article is not an exercise in nostalgia but a timely warning that, with the declining readership of media in printed form, a valuable user experience could be lost.
There is no way that the tactile pleasure of thumbing through a newspaper or magazine can be replicated through the internet (at least, not with today’s technology). However, we believe that using well devised design structures and SEO strategies can create website environments where you can “stumble across unexpected pleasures” and find things that you weren’t initially looking for.
BBI Brandboost has a lengthy experience in both online and printed communications and believes in the lasting value of both. We also use our accumulated knowledge to create holistic, informative and pleasurable experiences for users of our client websites.
Contact us on 01494 452600 or via email to discuss how we can assist your business through organic SEO and imaginatively add value to your website’s UX.
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