As a Seattle SEO firm, often we have new business web design clients come to us with a simple question: “why isn’t my current website ranking in Google?”
They've invested in business website design. (Or maybe they tried to save some money and use a cheap template service.) The website they've created may look nice, but it's not doing their business any good.
They've built a beautiful website that no one ever sees.
Maybe they subscribed to the old philosophy of "if you build it they will come." Or maybe they had a previous success, and got lucky with a site that ranked quickly in a less competitive field, or in a less competitive era.
But these days business marketing doesn't work that way. If you're in a business worth being in - if you face competitors and even more so if you're the new competitor on the block - you can sometimes find yourself presiding over a beautiful empty new website and wondering how you're going to get website traffic.
SEO, or ranking in a Google search, is an arms race. Your most successful online competitors are most likely investing in it. Chances are they've been doing it for years. If you want to outrank them and win new business through Google, you may need to do it too.
99% of new customers go to the businesses who appear on Google Page 1. But getting there is not easy. If it were easy, everyone would be on page 1. But there are only 10 listings there. So what we face is an SEO arms race.
The good news is: it's winnable. With patience and consistent effort, you can get there and stay there.
Big Picture: What is Smart Business SEO?
Let's assume you've already created a site with great content and an attractive design. (Google cares about these things above all else.) But you still aren't ranking. What you need next is Smart Search Engine Optimization ("SEO") - aka "how to get a better Google ranking."
There are 2 aspects to Smart SEO. Both are essential and each is responsible for long-term rankings success.
1) Onsite optimization.
So your content is brilliant. Punchy and clear, thorough and relevant. Your ideal buyer would love it if only they were reading it.
But have you optimized it to reflect the search terms that your customers are typing into Google? Onsite optimization is about making sure Google understands your site and understands that it's relevant to what your customers are searching for.
It's a key element in ranking. Optimizing your site’s content and incorporating strategically-selected keywords into the structure of your website, from your title tags to your meta descriptions, helps Google understand what your site is about.
Consistently continuing to add new, extensive, optimized content is one way to continue improving your rankings.
2) Offsite Authority.
Google doesn't reveal the inner workings of their algorithms - and they are changing them all the time. But in the business SEO industry a great deal of research has gone into trying to understand these algorithms so that we can help our Seattle SEO clients rank in Google. One result of this nationwide SEO industry research is the concept of Domain Authority.
Domain authority is a scoring measurement that effectively predicts higher Google ranking. And SEO specialists have learned how to increase it. Obtaining higher offsite authority means Google considers your site more important than your entrenched competitors and hence ranks you ABOVE them.
There are many things that factor into a site’s domain authority – some of which, like the age of the domain, are impossible to influence, while other factors such as external links that point to your site, can be actively improved through the consistent application of offsite SEO investment.
To be successful at increasing your site’s offsite authority ultimately means outperforming your competitors who have been around longer and some of whom are already doing SEO.
Consistently adding legitimate, quality links that point at your site from other sites around the web is the most essential ingredient to improving your offsite authority.
It works best if it is done consistently over a long period of time. This is what your most effective online competitors are doing. In any competitive industry, in order to be on page one, your competitors are using a combination of both
- onsite optimization and
- offsite authority.
If you have a good understanding of Domain Authority and the ability to stick with it consistently over a sustained period of time, you can do this yourself. If not, the great news is that this is something you can outsource - and wherever you turn for this service, you should expect them to prove their ROI within a matter of months. Once that's happened, the results can be very long-lasting. Working with an ethical practitioner of Smart SEO is a great long-term investment in your company and your online presence that can pay dividends for years.
SEO is an Ongoing Investment
In every industry, our competitors do not stand still. New sites are climbing (and falling) in the rankings all the time. That’s why businesses who really want to rank in Google are investing in SEO on a consistent, long-term monthly basis.
For new clients who walk in our door having just built a brand new shiny website, wanting to know why it isn't ranking in Google, it might not seem fair. They invested in their site! It looks beautiful! It has great content!
But we are living in a era when your most savvy competitors are investing in consistent, dedicated SEO campaigns. They've been doing this for years. That's why they are where they are. It's an arms race. And to beat them you might need to do the same.