The other day, I had lunch with an executive of an international financial services firm. This firm is a major player in a number of financial services markets—but if I told you which ones, you wouldn’t be able to find them through the internet with that information. That’s because, although the firm’s website is well-designed, it’s not optimized. For example, when my dining companion Googled “valuation Los Angeles,” his firm’s site isn’t among the results on the first few pages of Google. The perspective of the firm’s management, he said, is that they’re prominent enough that they’ll be sought out for any work in their line of business, so they don’t need to be easily found through search.
To me, this illustrates perfectly how search engine optimization (SEO) has created an opportunity for small- and medium-size firms to compete against the major players. The reality is, no matter how major a player is in a market, some potential clients aren’t familiar with the market. They get familiar—and figure out whom to call—through Google, Yahoo and/or Bing results. A spot on that all-important first page can be snagged with the reasonable price of SEO services. If big firms like my colleague’s aren’t working to get their websites into those spots, that’s smaller businesses’ gain.
-By Berbay Principal Sharon Berman