With the recent influx of venture capital, start-ups now have money to burn. Some of these start-ups receving Series B funding (second round of preferred stock in a private company) need to reconsider how they're investing that money to build their business.
Some venture capital firms understand the importance of SEO (define) and search advertising (define) marketing. Some don't. The most shocking fact: how few venture capital firms really understand the importance of SEO and how few resources are devoted to supporting it.
Dearth of search marketing strategies
What contributes to the lack of search marketing strategies? An overall lack of experience, for one. Another: the typical agency mentality commonly adopted. It's more important than ever for venture funds to show high-level interest in one of the highest rated and most successful ways to drive new and returning users to Web sites.
Recently, new search engines have been popping up all over the place, from audio search to shopping search engines. One of the most common problems found with starting a new search engine: the business model depends on people finding the site. More than 70 percent of online traffic starts at the search engines. That creates a huge problem for new Web sites. How can you share your relevance with the user population without the aide of natural search?
Death and taxonomies
Some sites have chosen to add a taxonomy-based browsing tree to expose their listings organized based upon pre-defined search results. In some cases, search engines do not like this particular strategy and will remove these listings since they add little to no perceived value within the results. This can be augmented by making sure you have unique and interesting content others may link to out of self-interest.
By simply displaying a list of other sites and only duplicating content, you're not adding any real value. Such listings will not be indexed in Google's SERP (define). Google's ability to sniff out worthless pages, underscored by the launch of Quality Score (define) in AdWords has advanced dramatically over the past few years.
When building a taxonomy it's important to take into account user experience. If you attempt to bury content in your footer, search engines will judge it not very important. How? By how far you push the content down. Your taxonomy cannot be too large in breadth and/or depth. The more clicks away from the home page your content is, the less likely it will surface at the top of the results.
This is considered a really poor user experience and will not be treated that well. It's also equally important this navigation is not just a list of links; search engines find these pages to have extremely limited value. Thus, add new and unique content explaining the higher level content categories. The lower level attribute pages should also receive the same treatment.
Think about how the user should get to these pages. You may find there could be five or 10 different paths to get to the same results. Leverage this to help your users navigate. Search engines will reward you for offering so much help.
Always keep it as simple as possible and the traffic will start to come in time. If you can actually build a decent engine with a good result and a great algorithm, people may actually return and use the site over time.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!