More than a few times during marketing consultations, clients have told me that they spent outrageous (relative term) amounts of money on building a website but no one can find them on the internet.
Creating a web site is no different than building or choosing a new physical location for your business. The old saying still stands strong: Location, location, location!
If your new office is off the beaten path, you need to take extra steps to tell the world where they can find you. You can build the fanciest, coolest, grooviest (outdated I know) office in your city, but if no one knows you’re there, you’ll be the only one impressed by its wonder.
Spending money on a web site is fine but simply having a site on the web does not guarantee, or even slightly mean, that your prospects will find you when they search in Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine.
So what’s the answer?
It’s called Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and it’s complicated and controversial to say the least. 20-30% of SEO involves what you do on your site—called onsite optimization. 70-80% of SEO is what you do on the internet to get noticed by the search engines—called offsite optimization.
Onsite optimization can be learned. It’s rather quick to do, so it should not take you more than a few hours unless you already have a lot of content on your site. In addition, you should be active on your site with fresh new content which is why I recommend a blogging platform as the base for your website. I use WordPress but there are others such as Blogger, HubPages, Tumblr, Typepad and the list goes on.
I like WordPress because it has a hosted option along with a self-hosted option and because it’s open source with a massive number of contributors. There are plugins that let you virtually do anything with your site or make anything easier. I guess you can tell I like WordPress. I also recommend that you self-host which can help with SEO in general.
Offsite optimization can also be learned but it involves an ongoing level of activity that now involves social media integration, creating backlinks from reputable sites and overall net activity targeting the correct keywords for your business and website.
How long in this process?
Let me put it this way: Longer than you want it to be, but not as long if you do it right.
Getting your new website to show up in search will depend on the keywords you use when searching but it can take months or even years to get any meaningful traffic from search engines depending on how competitive your business niche is. That’s too long… I know.
Getting search engine and traffic results faster:
The fastest way to show up in the search engines when you have a new website is to NOT focus on getting your actual site ranked. The focus should be to rank content instead.
By ranking content, I mean you should submit content to sites that search engines already rank highly and already have a mass amount of traffic. If you can’t bring the eyes of the world to your site, bring your site to the eyes of the world.
Articles, videos, podcasts and press releases are great ways to get content on the web that point people back to your website. Submitting articles to article directories has long been a powerful strategy and has the added benefit of building backlinks to your site as well. Submitting video to various video sharing sites such as YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo Video and others is one of the more powerful and speedy ways to get content to rank and traffic to your site.
By focusing on ranking content vs. ranking your website, you will get traffic to your site more quickly and start creating some buzz about your business online. The ongoing task of ranking your website should continue at the same time that you are constantly adding fresh and relevant content that points readers, listeners and viewers back to your website and assists in backlink creation for site SEO.