The Shaw-Walker Company was a manufacturer of high quality office equipment. Their motto, “Built Like A Skyscraper,” and their logo showing a filing cabinet standing next to the Empire State Building with a man jumping in the bottom drawer made a powerful statement about the durability of their products.
I had the opportunity to land a national standardization contract that would have been the largest sale in the company’s history. Prudential Insurance Co. agreed to consider a new source for their office furniture and equipment as they updated all their offices in the USA. We were leading the competition for the lucrative contract until a team from Prudential visited our manufacturing facility in Muskegon, MI.
Although our product was by far the best in the industry, the factory was antiquated. Bare light bulbs hanging from the ceiling barely pushed back the gloom. The team saw a foreman walk over and unlock the single Coke machine at precisely 10:00AM. He stood next to it with watch in hand as employees lined up to make their purchase. At precisely 10:10AM, he locked the machine. Other out-of-date processes offended the Prudential team. Subsequently, they decided to contract with the fledgling Steelcase Company for their furniture needs, an agreement that remains in place to this day.
The Shaw-Walker Company that was founded in 1899 failed to reach its centennial celebration. The factory has “gone condo.” Although its products can be found in offices throughout the country, the company simply “withered on the vine.”
Frequently, we focus so much of our attention upon our products and services that we neglect our infrastructure. While we make vague references to the time in the future when we can focus upon our own needs, prospective clients select competitors who apply state-of-the-art techniques and procedures for their own benefit.
The company that charges thousands of dollars to create sophisticated interactive websites yet applies dated, ineffective SEO techniques to their own website is “shooting itself in the foot.” Sophisticated buyers can easily check meta tags in website source code. They know that “Flash” presentations cannot be viewed on iPads and iPhones. They have read about the challenges of optimizing “Flash” websites, about ColdFusion.
Search Engine Optimization is a particularly critical element in website development. Website structure and content must be carefully researched and planned in order to have an effective SEO strategy. Creation of a website with a plan to optimize it after the fact or to leave optimization to a third party is a costly error that will affect the level of website activity.
This website, http://www.mollyshouse.org, was created on the basis of an SEO plan. Twelve out of fifteen key words provide placement in the top 10 search results of all major search engines. If you’re not delivering similar results, your competition will eat your lunch.
Start the process with meta tags. While they are a relatively small portion of the process, they are highly visible. Their quality can raise a red flag when not used properly. The rules regarding content and length are easy to find, and implementation is easy. Do it right, and you will generate more website activity while demonstrating the depth and breadth of your skillsets to prospective clients.