What is SEO and why is it critical to your retail flooring business?

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Volume 26/Number 17; January 7/14, 2013

By John Weller Jr.

Most flooring retailers today are aware of the immediate need to have a great website and how it keeps their retail flooring stores relevant to today’s consumers. What seems to be less understood is the importance of ongoing SEO (Search Engine Optimization), or Internet marketing, to drive high-quality traffic to a high-quality website.

Fact No. 1: Having a great website without ongoing Internet marketing is the same as having a great showroom without ongoing advertising.

Fact No. 2: Spending money advertising a less-than-great website will not yield more business. If your website does not have equal or more compelling flooring content than box stores or Lumber Liquidators, it is not going to convert most consumers to customers.

Fact No. 3: Internet marketing is far less expensive than traditional advertising and, when paired with a great website, has a much higher return on investment.
It is no secret that today’s most successful flooring retailers are enjoying tremendous growth due to limited competition from the small number of other flooring retailers that have both great websites and an adequate commitment to Internet marketing.

The good news is the opportunity to capitalize on the on line marketplace continues to grow as close to 90% of retail sales are driven by website visits, the numbers continue to rise.

Internet marketing encompasses many different types of marketing, including websites, social media, pay-per-click advertising and SEO.

Companies are investing heavily in all of these marketing methods and today’s most successful retailers are deploying them. They are the most effective marketing avenues to reach today’s hyper-connected consumers. We are focusing specifically on SEO as a means to drive more traffic to your website and ultimately to your business. SEO is a combination of actions that are taken to increase the ranking or visibility of your website.

Here is a list of SEO tactics that should be deployed for all websites:

1. Header tags – There are six types of header tags that are basically descriptive words strategically placed on website pages to help the consumer and the search engines find content pertaining to the information for which the consumer is searching.

2. Keywords – These are specific words that are placed into the content of a website to let the search engines know that the exact information for which the consumer is looking is on the site.

3. Meta data – This is descriptive data that is placed in a specific area of a website that helps the search engines describe to consumers the data found on a website.

4. Backlinks – These are links from websites, blogs, social media pages, etc., that contain your web address. It is important that these links are connected to trusted entities that are about something related to your business—otherwise you could be penalized for spamming.

5. Website content – These are the pages on your website and the words, images and videos on each of these pages. Websites with the most informative data and those that are updated most will be ranked higher than those with less con- tent and updated less often.

6. Directory listings – Website directories such as Yelp, Google Plus, Angie’s List, etc., are all very helpful in directing traffic to your website and take little time to set up and populate with the needed content to be effective.

As you have read, SEO is complex and encompasses many elements. It takes diligent monitoring of website analytics and keeping up with the constant changes being made by search engines to create real time strategies that will be effective.

Search engines are constantly raking through the Internet to see which websites are changing and attempting to put out the most quality data on any given subject on the web. Quantity is not better than quality when it comes to SEO, which is why it is extremely important to have a proven expert handling it for you. Every word, whether it is used in a header tag, keyword, meta tag or just plain content, must be well thought out and strategically placed on the website to help the site’s ranking on the different search engines. An SEO expert will often deploy several changes, monitor the changes over a period of time, and revise the same area several times to maximize the results of a given section of the website.

Most websites (including FloorForce websites) are built and launched with a fair amount of SEO included. In some cases, these prelaunch optimized websites will perform at a high level for a period of time. However, in most cases, ongoing Internet marketing efforts including SEO must be made in order to move up on the search engines or maintain a high position.

For more information on SEO, visit seomoz.org/beginners-guide-to-seo. To see a short video that will give you even more information on SEO, visit youtube.com/watch?v=hF515- 0Tduk.

FloorForce has recently invested significant resources into launching a new SEO division that is solely focused on providing the best ongoing SEO and Internet marketing services in the floor covering industry. Call us at 561.299.0159.

John Weller Jr. is the vice president of marketing for FloorForce. For more information on how to create a professionally designed website, visit floorforce.com or email socialnetworking@floorforce.com.

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