So many gurus, packages, quick fixes -- what is one to believe?
Believe that getting great rankings are within your reach if you are willing to earn them.
Earn is an understatement. I've seen many a credible business with excellent websites get hammered by Google for doing nothing wrong other than what worked the day before. I'm not talking about folks trying to game Google - just trying to play by the rules. Playing on the game board that the search engines created.
Then the rules change without notice...
Without ability for the average small business to easily recover.
That's why many years ago, I chose the methodology to work on brand building. The approach has allowed my sites to garner great referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations that helps to minimize (not negate) the need for me to have to worry or fret about rankings. Keep in mind I have this luxury because I've been working hard to build my brands for over two decades
This article is for those just starting out who need to acquire realistic expectations when it comes to improving their current rankings.
There is no secret formula!
So let's start with this fact -- there is no secret formula. There is nothing you cannot do yourself -- if you want to roll up your sleeves. But first you have to wrap your head around what it takes to position your site for potential organic (free) rankings.
Who doesn't want to be in the top 5, 10, top page for organic listings? Everyone. Every site owner out there. The Indexed Web contains at least 4.62 billion pages as of 2016 with 75 million on WordPress. So how do search engines really decide who gets listed where? Let alone the coveted handful of above-the fold or top page of any search engine?
Hundreds of Ranking Factors
Your organic (free) listings are gained by how your site is ranked based on a combination of unique variables (algorithm) of each search site. Google has oodles of variables. Things like relevancy to the term(s) searched for, popularity, responsiveness, https, social signals, site speed/performance and a healthy dash of "no one knows for sure what else" will determine how your site ranks. Then, to muddy things up further, these algos evolve without notice.
Are we having fun yet?
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.
Shuffling or adding keywords in your Meta keyword tag won't do it -- search engines basically ignore that tag. Keyword stuffing your content is a no go. Just makes your content unreadable to your site visitors.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn't the end-all-be-all either. You have to have a well rounded, smart long term marketing plan for your site that includes certain basics such as new content, Blog, social media, forums and rabid networking for you to rise in the organic rankings. (In my experience social media participation/mentions/shares/links are crucial.)
So, are you ready to get your head in the right place. To understand the reality of what organic rankings entail?
Can you wrap your head around...
- Knowing up front that it will take time (maybe years) and more effort than you can probably imagine to be viewed as more relevant than the sites that are already online in the organic positions you seek. You are really going to have to roll up your sleeves and work it!
- Putting a plan together by doing searches with your top keyword phrases on the various search engines so that you are aware of the competition and the volume of sites already successfully ranking for the terms you are targeting. This gives you a real-world understanding of the level of competition you will be up against. You are starting at the bottom of the barrel -- only the cream rises to the top! (So Google says.)
- Understanding that how your website ranks has nothing to do with how good you are at what you do for a living. It has to do with how good your site is and how good others, including the search engines, think your site is. Don't want to participate online, add new content, interact with site and social contacts? Oh-oh... You have to honestly ask yourself if you have what it takes to strive to be the best most comprehensive resource for your niche to gain the rankings you desire.
- Knowing what your target visitors are searching for, want to know about, problems that they need solved and then writing about it. There are several free tools to assist you in investigating what keyword phrases your target market is actually using. Use these tools to your advantage!
- To "top" the sites already out there, you have to do just that! Top them! What can make your site better or more valuable (or more popular) than the sites already in the positions you desire? Can you be more focused for the topic searched for than the other sites? If you don't have anything unique and of quality or value to offer, you'll never push those who already hold these positions out of your way. May the best most determined marketer win!
- Adding new information to your site on an aggressive basis. Daily, weekly - make a schedule and stick to it! Resources, white papers, "how tos" -- even commentary based on your experience will not only add value but will naturally work wonders as keyword targeted pages. Let your sparkling personality show through -- that's what will set you apart!
- Plan on having lots of patience. Lots.
Wrap your head around doing what it takes to make your site the best it can be -- whatever that takes. THE site for your niche product or service and your rankings will improve! Online success is not on your terms or only what you are willing to do. You compete in the market or you are irrelevant.
There are no short cuts or trickery for fast top 5, 10, top page organic results. If someone tells you otherwise, they are trying to use what you don't know to get into your pocketbook. The good news is that if you make a commitment to continually build your site, and more importantly build your brand, to be exactly what your target market is looking for, you'll get your rankings.
The bad news? You have to keep working at it to maintain rankings and no one can tell you how long that will take for your particular site. Online there is no rest for the weary. No set and forget. Wrap your head around that too.
At your service,