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April 2, 2007, 4:03 pm
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It's a dog eat dog world out there on the Internet. There is the
capacity for an unlimited number of storefronts on the web that you'd
never be able to find on main street. The fact is that there is even
more competition for business online than there is in the brick-and-
mortar world. This is only going to get more intense. It wasn't so
long ago that many people were afraid to use credit cards online.
Shopping online was a curiosity. Now, it's a given.
The battle of relevancy online is the battle of one site being more
useful than another. In the growing virtual marketplace, it isn't
nearly enough to just have a number of products and hope for the best.
Look at Amazon.com reviews-they are core to what has made that site
grow. A glowing Amazon review can do a lot for a product's sales. Web
surfers use Amazon reviews as much as they use a review in the local
paper, if not more. Reviews have made Amazon a relevant and trusted
resource for a department store's worth of products.
Not every site can hope to have the same review structure as Amazon. A
number of affiliate sites use Amazon reviews as their own content. Web
surfers are getting savvy to this: they can smell an affiliate site.
Why not just go to Amazon directly? The battle for relevancy, then, is
to become something as trusted and vital as the major sites online.
You can't necessarily wait around for people to write reviews, and the
process may not even apply to your site, so a site owner needs to
provide content of your own.
Another word for relevancy is usefulness. It has been shown that the
longer a person sticks around on a site, the more likely he or she
will make a purchase. Even if that person doesn't make a purchase the
first time to the site, the site will have left an impression. People
are looking for information on a product or service as much as they
are looking to make an immediate purchase. Web surfers like to be
informed shoppers and the web gives them an unlimited amount of places
to get this information.
This is where your site comes in. Don't make a web surfer click off
your site to find information on a product-give them the information
right on site. This means you should have articles available about any
and all issues affecting a particular type of product or service.
There can be hundreds of potential topics on one type of product, and
a site may have dozens upon dozens of products available.
Not only will this type of information keep your site relevant to web
surfers, it will be relevant to search engines as well. With content,
these make up your target audience: search engine spiders and real
people. If you provide relevant content that speaks to both, your site
can compete with the giants.
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