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How do we join the brands?

 10:30 am on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

Many of us have seen our business sucked up by 'brands' with big websites that don't, in too many cases, have much to offer in the way of information about the niches they have taken over so easily. This can be either because (a) Google's algo is still evolving or (b) this is a deliberate and permanent policy move on their part.

So, if (a) is correct we may be better sitting it out but if (b) is the case how do we fight back and turn our websites into brands? Here are a few of my thoughts, can anyone add to these?

1) Build a mega website with hundreds/thousands of unique articles.
2) Put the site on a dedicated server.
3) Install an SSL certificate.
4) Use Adwords to promote some of the pages with cheaper search terms.
5) Put up youtube videos about the site.
7) Get hundreds of articles written and use an article submission service to persuade bloggers to use them as guest blogs.
8) Provide a large proportion of the pages with topical articles which are designed for information only and which do not attempt to sell anything.
9) Provide plenty of outgoing links to government organisations, trade bodies, even competitors that can provide useful and relevant information.
10) Pray.

Obviously most of these involve expense but if Google's intention is to only have professionally produced sites in their listings then it may be unavoidable, but then every business needs investment and perhaps the day of the amateur is over.

Any ideas/comments?



 10:31 pm on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is pointless, you have to read my whole post and 'go with the point' to 'get' what I was trying to say. The hair splitting is beyond ridiculous and doing it when it's things like the following is beyond hair splitting:

if there was no level of trust people would definitely not buy online
Not true as people have payment protection insurance on their cc's.

As I said in my previous post, which is not quoted: (You have to trust someone somewhere to ever make an online purchase, which means there is a level of trust associated with purchasing online.)

In this case, you're trusting the CC issuer!
Unbelievable silliness ITT

I'm done with it.


 10:46 pm on Nov 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm done with it.

No problem see you outside "Better Buys" where your taking back some useless branded piece of junk you could have saved yourself 15% online for................


 1:32 am on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

I guess you do not shop at Waitrose then...


 3:47 am on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

That was terrific cinema. More popcorn please! It does appear that the joys of webmastering are diminishing by the day. Anyways, a dust up from time to time is a nice change of pace. Cheers!


 8:40 am on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

No problem see you outside "Better Buys" where your taking back some useless branded piece of junk you could have saved yourself 15% online for................

What you are forgetting is, that not all customers are alike.

What use is it for a company to buy a cheap computer at Amazon and when something breaks, they say: Send it back you'll get a refund. A home users says: Great service! No hassle, I just get my money back and buy a new one.

A company says: Are you kidding me, if you do not have an expert technican here to fix it within one hour, go screw yourself! I have employees here that cost me money and can't do any work and I have orders to fulfill.

The point is: To develop a brand you have to closely look what your target market is going to be.

Developing a brand means exactly not to try to serve everybody.

Different customers have different needs. The key is to identify your target market. Like I said in my post above - the key to success for me was not to go for those who want cheap products but for those who care more for service and reliability.

I have people call or write emails and they ask for discounts - and I decline them. Often they buy regardless of the higher price. The question is - why do they even ask for a discount when they can have dicounts on other websites without even asking? Why do they write: Website xy offers the product for $x less, can I have the same price - instead of ordering there there right away? Clearly because they recognize that I offer more than the others do.

Why do people buy a game on Steam when they can have it for $10 less when ordering at Amazon? Because on Steam they can start playing right away and on Amazon they have to wait for one or two days. Price is not everything but customers are willing to trade price for speed, reliability and many many other factors.

[edited by: jecasc at 9:10 am (utc) on Nov 14, 2012]


 9:06 am on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

As I've posted many times, we are a pretty successful UK-based ecom, and we are not price competitive.

Our USP is not in any way about price. We tend to be 2-5% more than Amazon, and 10% more than the "bottom feeders" who drop ship.

If you think the only way to sell is being the cheapest, I think you are bound to fail.

Edit to add-
Actually, if you are selling on price, you DO NOT need a brand. What you need is non-Brand trust signals the let people FEEL that it's ok to buy from you.

If your target is bargain hunters, you need to keep your overheads low, your profit margins razor thin (i.e. be cheapest, not just cheap), and you need to give people "permission to buy". And you have to hope someone doesn't come along who is cheaper than you, or all is lost.

To me, that is a high-risk business model that I would not be comfortable depending on. You could EASILY be taken out by any big company who buys in bigger bulk than you and gets lower prices. Or any company who has the cash reserves to run at a loss to kill the competition, then hike the prices later.


 11:13 am on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

I agree it's not about price necessarily (which is ironic as that is supposed to be the big advantage of shopping online).

My stats show that most visitors buy within 10 minutes of visiting my site. From the search terms, ranking positions and other merchants ranking for those terms I can safely say there isn't much shopping around going on. Some, but not much.

I've always felt that the most important factor for being successful online is "being found". A proportion of visitors will always buy, even if your site is a dog to use. In the 10 years I've run an online business that's the thing that has amazed me the most - people really don't care too much who they buy from. I'm not saying they shouldn't be buying from me, but I'm often surprised how many do!

The difference between whether people buy or not is largely down to whether we have what they were looking for.

Being a well known name can be a big help but so is a great site that helps customers through the sales funnel without fuss. Both count, you can be highly successful in Google with either, but it's easier and cheaper to create a great site and establish your name through increasing organic search traffic.

I think this obsession with becoming a brand to overcome the limitations of a website is short sighted. I can see how it might work but I just don't think it's necessary. Focus on the website - get it right and the traffic will come, then you'll become a brand and we can all moan about you dominating the rankings.


 11:17 am on Nov 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

Any business that is 'cheaper' than the general prices rings alarms bells to me. Besides scammers, someone selling 'cheap' is cutting corners. My wife's been caught out more than once online. She's much more cautious and now lets me dig into the offer and company before buying.

It takes a long time to build a brand and next to no time to destroy it.

To build a brand, be absolutely have to be clear about your USP, and your logo, and your marketing activity. Aim to be the best in your sector, and word-of-mouth (including social media these days) will be your best marketer. If your customers are talking about the great product, the great service and the good deal they get from a business, not only will they return, but they will tell their friends and colleagues.

Obviously, if your site is poor, you're going to fall at the first hurdle.

Expect the process to take years, not months.


 10:22 pm on Nov 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

Obviously most of these involve expense but if Google's intention is to only have professionally produced sites in their listings then it may be unavoidable, but then every business needs investment and perhaps the day of the amateur is over.
Have you thought about trademarking your brand, or better still, have a registered trademark. Then you could put or in your cotent. Maybe this is something that Google picks up on.

And for inbound links, use words like "visit the official..." or "Original Source" etc.

Just an idea.

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