I was driving down to North Carolina a few weeks ago when I had one of the more shameful moments of my life. The five-hour road trip was taking its toll, and I was at the point in the drive where it feels like you haven’t showered in months.

I’d been through the entirety of mydescribe the image iTunes playlist twice, run out of coffee, and I was hungry. There are sections of North Carolina highway that seem to go on for hundreds of miles without a single roadside city or rest stop and I was smack dab in the middle of one of those stretches. The search on my phone brought up a city about 20 miles out where I could grab a bite to eat and stretch my legs a bit. I approached the exit to the town of Wilson thinking about what kind of mom & pop BBQ place I might find, and then it happened.

The glorious golden arches of fast-food flabbiness pierced the sky and I was captivated. But why? There were probably so many better, healthier, less toxic choices. After eating a counterfeit sandwich, then wallowing in my own indignity, I thought about why the towering McDonald’s golden arches were so effective at drawing me off the highway and through their doors and how effective online marketing can be profitable for brands and businesses.

3 Reasons Mickey D’s Gets Traffic from the Highway

1.    It’s Visible

The highway is a busy place. There are cars all around you, noises, things calling for your attention, cell phones, signs, billboards, and flashing lights. But one look to the right and McDonald’s has constructed a sign at least 900 feet high that towers over all other competition, even locally formidable competitors. You can see it. You CAN’T miss it. It is easy to be found. You might be the best shop in town, but if your “digital sign” isn’t visible? You don’t stand a chance. The Internet is much like the highway, and if you want to be found, you need to optimize your presence on search engines like Google and Yahoo in order to be seen. There are over 50 billion web pages on the Internet. Search Engine Optimization is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site is visible in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users. If your page is visible and findable, your traffic will increase tremendously.

2.    It’s Familiar

You trust what you know. When we see the yellow letter “M” against a red background, we all instantly know what it stands for. Such is the power of a logo. The main reason for having a logo is to create and reinforce your brand identity. It represents the ‘face’ of your business and is distinctive enough to separate you from your competition. It may be the spirit of your company. Clients and prospects must see it and recognize your business immediately and say “Oh that’s Nike, or McDonalds, or Apple.” It can also convey – literally in an instant – what your business does, or what it is like. Logos and designs should be simple, easy to comprehend, memorable, and represent your brand.

 3.    It’s easy to get to

Whenever you take an exit off the highway, there are always signs telling you where the closest food, gas, and lodging are. Usually, we pick the one that is closest or easiest to get to. The most navigable route is typically preferred, because we just want to get what we exited for, and then get back on the highway. We have a destination in mind and a reason for exiting the highway. The same is true for people landing on a website. We bounce from Google to a page that we found for a specific reason. Have you ever been on a website that was confusing? Cluttered? Unclear? You probably jump right off and go somewhere else that’s easier to navigate. Good, clean, controllable designs that have a focus and purpose to them are most likely to be user friendly and turn your traffic into your leads, and your leads into customers.

People on the Internet generally have a specific need and are willing to leave the highway for something they think will quench their appetite. It helps if you are easier to find, more recognizable, and easier to get to than your competition. McDonald’s has optimized how they draw customers from the highway, and your business can do the same with digital marketing. Digital marketing helps people find your business. The only remaining challenge once they find you is to make sure the product doesn’t leave your clients hungry.

To learn more about Search Engine Optimization, download our FREE whitepaper, “Website Usability: The Beginner’s Guide”