Monday, 24 February 2014

The perils of a mishapen digital footprint

If you had easy access to several leaflets about a company and they all had different phone numbers or different addresses what would be your opinion of that company? Chances are you'd feel unsure which number to call or which address to visit. At which point, it may well feel "safer" to use another company altogether...

In this increasingly online age that feeling of consistency and currency  - and therefore trustworthiness - is still vital. Your brand isn't just about the visuals, although I'll agree that's an important part of the whole.You can post the most fabulous content, but if it's lost in a sea of historical online noise it will lose it's impact.

I've been working with companies recently that have either ignored the state of their online presence, or simply haven't had time to audit where they appear on the web.

One business was quite shocked to realise that they were still on many of the free directories from their start-up days. Not only had their base of operation changed 3 times, but their phone numbers had too. The contradictory information that was appearing in their search engine results was confusing people that wanted to use their services.  They're currently trawling through the entries, tracking down log-in details (not as easy as it sounds!) and generally tidying up their digital footprint.

Then there's the business that has accumulated web addresses over a period of about 10 years. Not all the web addresses have content, some don't have redirects to the latest website and others have redirects that are not advantageous to SEO. It's also very confusing and off-putting to someone looking for them online. Needless to say, they're now on the case.

Then there's social media to add to the mix as well. Several popular platforms perform well in search engine results and may still be picked up even if you've not looked at them yourself for years. It's still a part of your digital footprint. Unused and unloved social media feeds don't make a business look good. This is especially true when it's Generation Y doing the viewing.

So, when did you last read your own bio on Twitter or update your profile on LinkedIn? Is there a blog sitting unloved in a corner of the internet that hasn't been updated for months? You get the idea.

Go and do a search for your business online. Take a look at the results as a whole, not just the one place your preferred website appears. Think about what that list of results says about you to potential clients. Then, start shaping your digital footprint into something that adds real value.