While it may be a common after-lunch ritual to check your website positioning in Google for your company name, there’s another online traffic source to keep an eye on – Web Browsers. Here’s why: not everybody uses a search engine every time to find a company’s website. It’s just as easy to type a company name into your browser’s address bar as it is an engine’s search field.
Now let’s take into account that the majority of people on the Internet use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer as their daily web browser. So if someone types your company name into IE’s address bar, it would be nice to assume that your company website is promptly delivered. However, that assumption would be wrong.
For awhile now, Microsoft has been sending these browser bar queries to an MSN Search results page. For example, if I enter “microsoft” into Internet Explorer’s address bar I am served an MSN Search results page, just as if I had performed a keyword search for “microsoft“. No big deal, right? Your website should be sitting in the #1 spot for a search on your company name, or at the very least somewhere on the first page. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Case in point: an episode of the TV show Globetrekker inspires me to search for more information on an exotic escape to Guatemala. Sidestepping a trip to my favorite search engine, I plug “globetrekker” into my browser’s address bar. But even with the unique spelling of the show’s name, I don’t find the TV show’s website in the first 10 results. A look on the 2nd page of results reveals the site halfway down the page. But how many searchers would have kept looking?
Normally, if I don’t see a company positioned at or near the top for its own name, I conclude:
a. The company doesn’t have a website (which is preposterous)
b. Some shady dealings have transpired and their site has been penalized or banned
or c. Their site is so new it has yet to be indexed by the search engines
Regardless of the reason, a lack of positioning equals lost visitors.
Even more interesting is how the Firefox web browser handles address bar searches. With Firefox reportedly grabbing more than 25% of the web browser market share last month, it’s a no-brainer to make sure your site plays nice with this browser.
According to Firefox, “By default, if you enter a search term in the address field and press Enter, a Google ‘I’m Feeling Lucky‘ search is performed, and you’re taken to the first result of that search directly.”
Therefore, using my previous example, when I enter “globetrekker” into the Firefox address bar, I am automatically served up Globetrekker.com, an online travel service that holds the first position in Google for a “globetrekker” keyword search. Since this is by no means what I was looking for, I could easily become a lost visitor.
So, the moral of the story is: Help guide your online trekkers (and potential customers) to their goal by taking the necessary steps to ensure your website holds strong positions in all search engines for your company (or TV show) name.