If you had a mission statement for your company website, what would it be? I suspect that for most of us, it would be along the lines of “to present information about the company and its products, and to encourage prospective customers to contact us”. And while that’s reasonable enough, I think we need to move on.
I know many companies have set up separate, informative websites about the technology in which they’re involved, in the belief that an independent micro-site about “blue widgets” might soar to the top of the Google results for that term. Unfortunately, even on the rare occasions when they pull off that trick successfully, they find that almost nobody follows the carefully-placed links to their main company site. And as their main site gets no real boost in the Google results either, the whole exercise becomes a bit of a failure.
But what if that information was all within the company’s own site in the first place? This would give three advantageous results. Firstly, there’d be no need to try and tempt visitors through to the main company site. Secondly, it instantly and permananently associates the company with the technology in the minds of the visitor – they looked up “blue widgets”, and found out about them on your site. Finally, it makes the same association to Google, and that may be the biggest reward of all.
Have you ever searched for a generic product type (such as “blue widgets”) and been irritated that your competitors come up first in the Google results, not you? Of course you have. But why is that? It’s because – for all sorts of reasons – Google associates their website with being a better resource for finding out about the product than it does your site.
Building up more information on your own website is how you hit back. If you were to write a mission statement for your website for the next five years, I’d suggest you make it “a hub of information about the type of products we sell”. Make the authoritative material the core of the website, and hang your own product and corporate information off that. I’m convinced it’s the way ahead. To be honest, it probably always has been.