Thursday, June 14, 2007

Value of Portals

I'm going to write today about how portals have really changed the way that we do business. Before (and I mean back in the old days prior to 2000), we would register a trademark and a company name and really blast that trademark out there and build goodwill as well as brand recognition. Companies like Coca Cola, McDonalds, IBM, Apple, and others were extremely valuable and most of them really were marketing companies (Apple for example gets most of its parts overseas and simply assembles them to sell to you). Today, these brands are extremely valuable as end products. However, online, purchasing these products has never been easier or more competitive.

Think about how your web browser fires up. It usually opens to some type of portal page (most are set to Google). In fact, the most searched for term every month is "MySpace" or some variation of. So that really does change the way we do branding. If you are selling the latest no frills mp3 player, how can you compete against iPod? You can't, but you can optimize your website to be on the first page of search results.

In fact SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a ever growing field where firms charge anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a hundred thousand dollars per month to ensure that your site stays on top. And usually if your site is on top, very few people pay attention to your URL. So even if you have a it won't matter because people are clicking on the link anyway. Which leads back to making sure that your page is optimized for those terms that people search for. There are a bunch of different tools out there that determine "keyword density" and a bunch more that tell you how often a given term is search for.

Overall, if you are running an online business (or conduct more than 50% of your business online), I would think about hiring an SEO firm before you purchase another full page color ad in the New York Times.

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