“In many cases, it seems that small business sites are becoming harder to find through organic search. If you look you can find them, but users want convenience, and they are probably not going to look too hard if they can find what they are looking for on the first search results page…”
Costa Rica’s southern pacific zone is a sausage linkage of small towns: Dominical, Uvita, Ojochal, Hatillo, Matapalo, all chalk full of small businesses. There are no, none, zip, zilch – name brand hotels, restaurants, department stores here. Consequently, when people are preparing to visit here and they go into their favorite search engine, let’s say – Google, and they search for the nice, generic words “Hotels in Dominical Costa Rica”. What they are going to find in their returns are portal sites, like Dominical Dot biz, that deal with all that the town has to offer, and a smattering of long standing, hard working hotels in the area.
One of the most searched for words on the Internet is “Hotels”. There are hundreds of hotels in Costa Rica. They are all vying for that search term.
Dominical Dot Biz is what is known as a portal site, that is, it is a comprehensive guide to the town – specifically. It deals with surfing, vacation rentals, tourism, vacation tours, stores, health services etc… It is not a Costa Rica-wide website. It is dedicated to all things Dominical, Uvita and Ojochal – The Zone. This obviously includes the surrounding areas since all visitors venture out of the easily defined towns during their visit. So, since it is a website dedicated to The Zone, and it has content that deals with all aspects of visiting here, it will normally be found right at the top of all “Dominical” related searches.
I am frequently asked by the small business owners in the Dominical area how they can promote their website to where it will be found in Google, Yahoo and Bing. I feel a little awkward, because my counsel frequently is “don’t bother”.
The marketer’s mantra is “ROI”. It’s all about ROI – Return On Investment. If you put $200 a month into Search Engine Optimization (which would be a low SEO bill), are you recouping that amount from your website? Are you making more than that? Are you getting found at all, for all your efforts and expense?
This isn’t a brag, it’s simply the way it works. Dominical Dot Biz is a large and diverse site that is also the oldest of it’s kind – and it only deals with “Dominical” related matters. When there is a Dominical related search, this site always appears near or at the top of page 1.
So, is this to say that a small business shouldn’t have a site? It’s probably still a good idea to have a website. There are lots of reasons to have one not all of which are to “be found”. There is a prestige to having your own website. Credibility is helped by having a site. I once was asked by a business to build a site so that they could get a bank loan. One local Dominical merchant used his Dominical Dot Biz page to aid in the residency process.
There are lots of reasons to have a site. As far as your particular situation goes, and answering the ROI question, we should probably sit and talk a bit about your business to determine the best strategy. From where I sit, a page on Dominical Dot Biz is a no brainer. If you have a legitimate product or service I will guarantee ROI.
I found an interesting article that deals with the importance of having a website in the “Facebook” era that we live in.