“If you build it, they will come.”
That made for a spooky message from the beyond for a has-been baseballer in Field of Dreams, but if you thought it was a website building strategy, you’re likely finding out just exactly how well that works.
In the old days, a site with a decent amount of content around a single topic could hope to get found quickly and even draw traffic, but with billions of internet properties in existence and more cropping up every day, even if everything was done right, you’re probably looking at a bit of a wait for the search engines to find you.
How long you have to wait depends on a lot of things. First, is the volume of traffic looking for your topic. Then, the amount of competing content already available. Things like local versus global search also have an effect on things. For instance, in an area, or even country, where your chosen niche is not that common, you’re likely to have less competition and may get found faster. The factors are so varied that trying to provide a one-size-fits-all answer is nearly impossible. But there are some best practices you can follow.
1) Be patient
GoDaddy, one of the world’s leaders in domain name registry and hosting suggests at least a week for the search engines to find your new site, and a further two weeks before it begins to index it and organically send traffic back to your awesome content based on searches. We tell our clients that it can take a month or so. As with all good things, this will be worth waiting for.
So, what should you be doing while you wait?
- Research your topic and the keywords surrounding it to find high traffic searches, with low competition.
- Create content around those prime keywords and add it, a page at a time, to your site. A blog works well for this.
- Spend some time building some inbound links in places like business directories. The more pages that link back to your site, the better.
Look for high authority sites, like Yelp, that will index high for best results. The deeper a link is, the better. Share specific pages, such as blog posts and informational pages about your goods and services, not just your home page.
2) Fine tune your site
If it’s been a week or two, and you are still not seeing any organic traffic, it’s time to go back over your site and make sure you’ve followed the best practices for making your site easy to find. It takes more than just content and some of it requires back end work.
- Make sure you’ve chosen more specific keywords to narrow down the traffic you are looking for. For example: “Fly fishing for Brown Trout” instead of “Trout Fishing”. Longer-tail keywords can be less competitive than one or two-word keyword phrases.
- Set meta tags on content and media and be sure images and other media contain keywords in their descriptions. We’ve prepared a handy SEO checklist in the event that you want to make sure the awesome content you’ve created can be found by search engines.
- Re-read your content for flow. If your keywords stick out like a sore thumb, consider hiring a writer to make them blend in, creating high value content search engines love.
You’ll also want to make sure your site has a properly formatted XML map to tell the search engines what to look at. Many Content Management Systems (CMSs) do this automatically, or on command, but it’s good to have someone who understands basic coding take a look to make sure yours is right.
3) Educate your audience
Once you’ve established your SEO protocol and made sure your site is visible to the search engines, engage in creating awesome content. This is the single best way to get search engine traffic, social media referrals and even make the most of any ad buys you might have. The key is relevant content.
- Give your audience a reason to visit and spend time on your site and they will find you and bring friends over time. Be valuable, not spammy.
- Relevant content that is optimized will rank your site higher than sites with less quality content, there is a very competitive market for most high traffic keywords.
- As your content volume grows over time, so will your value in search. The more you have, the easier you are to find.
By setting up tools to syndicate your content to social platforms, book marking sites and the like, you can begin to build links back to your site with each piece of content, blog post, report, etc that you add. For building sustainable, consistent organic traffic, this is the biggest key.