Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
July 7, 2009 5:07 PM

On Being Findable

If someone can't find you off of a simple search engine query, all is lost.

It doesn't matter if you're representing a brand/company. It doesn't matter if it's just you. It doesn't matter if you're a start-up entrepreneur, and it doesn't matter if you're a multinational company. If people can't find you online, you are invisible. The argument could be that you don't want to be found. The only reason to not want to be found is if you are doing something illegal. No matter how small or specific your niche. No matter if you sell to the mass public or if you're only doing B2B. It doesn't matter if your product sells for one dollar or twenty-million dollars. Be findable.

The amount of content being pushed out by your company and the website that you are driving them too is not working hard enough for you.

In the advertising world, there is a saying that we have to "let the creative do the work." Great creative really can convey much more than a strong brand message. It can tell a story. It can sell a story. Nobody is going to care about any of those stories if they can't find you. Which leads us to:

"Let your website do the work."

How many companies do you know that do not have a website? Agreed, it's laughable. Even if it's old and never-updated, most people do have some form of web presence (even if it is almost a decade old and simple brochureware). The truth is, if you have the space (and you should) and it's not really working for you, now is the time to turn the corner. Yes, this Blog posting could have been written five (ten!) years ago. The truth is, the majority of websites are not weaving their magic the way they should.

Shall we talk about usability, functionality, design, back-end technology or search engine optimization?

It's probably some or all of the above. Here are the six steps to start thinking about it differently right now:

  1. Admit you have a problem.
  2. Grab four people into a room and ask them what they would do about it. These could be employees, friends, your agency or hired guns.
  3. Create a strategy that will have a twelve-month shelf-life. Make milestones for each week's goals. Every goal should be around how you're going to do something to make yourself more findable.
  4. Figure out if Social Media can help you be more findable (hint: don't go here first, if you don't have a competent website to drive them to once they've engaged).
  5. Execute, execute, execute. We've all seen countless organizations do numbers 1-4, but when it comes time to implement and do it, nothing gets done. Don't be one of those stats. You know that old Nike chestnut: "just do it."
  6. Rinse and repeat. This is an iterative and ongoing process. It will take time and it will take even more time to always keep it moving forward.

If you really do love business you won't take this lightly.

The harsh reality is that more and more people are having their first brand interactions at the search box. As weird and strange as the search engine results may seem, they are fairly agnostic. They're simply looking for the most relevant results. Our jobs - day in and day out - is to make sure that we are findable.

How can we care about online social networks, Twitter, FriendFeed, lifestreaming and more when businesses - for the most part - have a hard time being found online?

By Mitch Joel