As the business world has evolved towards an online, virtual system, it is important to be visible in as many places as possible to create exposure and brand awareness, so your customers can access information in an easy, friendly, and flexible approach. Whether an individual is looking for services or suppliers, the first place to look is online. Having a large, strong, digital footprint is key to the importance of online visibility.
What is online visibility? In a nutshell, online visibility is how visible your website is online. The combination of the amount of search terms your website come up for, where the website ranks in a search and how likely it is that the website will be clicked on. Doing all these aspects ensures your website is seen by more visitors/customers. A digital footprint is the path of information that individuals share about themselves as they use the internet. Whenever you are online, you are leaving a digital footprint in all of the activities you do, including sharing, posting, and visiting websites.
There are different types of digital footprint; passive and active. A passive digital footprint is sharing data involuntarily i.e. when you visit a website and the website logs your IP address which provides your location. If you allow a website to install cookies, this information can be shared with the site and allows the website to track your online path and target you for advertising. The other type is active digital footprint, which is everything from signing up to newsletters or mailing lists, to completing purchases, creating online accounts i.e. anywhere you are actively placing your information.
So, how can I see my business digital footprint? Firstly, place your business name in different search engines and look over the results on the pages that come up. This will allow you to assess how much information is out there, how accessible it is, and whether the information is positive or negative. In addition, Google has a feature that is called Google Alert to provide your business a notification whenever you get mentioned online.
The next step is to check your social media accounts; see what information and details are visible to visitors that are not connected to your accounts. There are a number of ways you can change your settings so visitors that are only connected with your social media account can see your information, therefore giving you more control on your social media accounts.
What can be done to improve online visibility for your business?
- Start by creating a website
- Blogs are a great way to help with exposure and brand awareness
- Create social media accounts and update these regularly
- Encourage customers to leave reviews via Google reviews or Trust Pilot
- Use marketing tools such as campaigns and adverts
- Videos are great sources of information and help to capture customers attention
- The quality of your followers is much better than the number of followers on your social media accounts – remember quality over quantity
- When posting on social media, it’s also great to engage with other people. Make sure you comment on industry related topics or engage with your followers on their posts
- Make your online content searchable and unique so it’s easy for it to be searched
- Hashtags and posting at optimum times are crucial to increase visibility on social media
Without presence there cannot be visibility, and without visibility your website can no longer be in Google’s index. As a result, only people who know the URL of the website will be able to find the business on their browser, rather than it appearing in search results or in as part of a campaign.
Having a strong digital footprint is vitally important for your business to help you stand out and establish your brand in the online world. A strong online presence allows you to build your brand awareness and exposure to gain integrity that is needed to appeal to customers, and also allows customers to access information in an easy and flexible way in a global 24/7 world.