Getting a new website off the ground is tough. Even a professionally designed site that looks great and offers everything customers or clients need to learn about products and services won't be any help at all if no one can find it. Of course, that's where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
The problem for new websites is that SEO is generally viewed as a long game. It takes time to boost search engine results page (SERP) performance and start attracting tons of organic traffic. That doesn't mean all hope is lost and you should resort to nothing but pay-per-click advertising for the foreseeable future, though.
There are ways to start quickly attracting more traffic to a new website. To be most effective, they need to be incorporated into a broader SEO strategy. For now, though, let's focus on one thing at a time. You can get started by learning how the experts attract traffic to new sites and establish authority.
It can take months for even the most talented SEO experts to achieve optimal results for their clients, which can be extremely frustrating for those who don't understand how the industry works. Before diving into how business owners can achieve some SEO quick wins, let's take just a moment to discuss what makes them so rare.
SEO consultants don't take on new clients and then just dig right in immediately, or at least the talented ones don't. They know how important it is to research a website's target audience, competition, strengths, and weaknesses and typically begin not with code changes and content creation but with a full audit of the site's current SEO practices.
On-Page optimization involves improving site structure, optimizing metadata, and implementing technical SEO best practices. All of these changes occur behind the scenes, so business owners who don't know how to code may not even notice them happening. It also involves content creation, which can take time.
SEO-savvy content creators know that while site visitors should always be the priority, it's just as important to appeal to other creators. No one wants to link to sparse, poorly designed landing pages. Creators want to provide their own readers or viewers with valuable content, and that content often includes links to relevant, authoritative, and well-constructed articles, videos, and infographics.
SEO experts can easily create a more efficient site structure and add internal links to a client's pages. They can't work magic when it comes to off-site links, or backlinks, though, and anyone who claims otherwise is almost certainly employing black-hat SEO techniques that could very well get sites banned from Google completely.
Link-building isn't just about getting as many other websites as possible to link to a page. Effective backlinks need to come from sites that are both relevant and authoritative, or popular among Google users. There are some easy wins when it comes to link-building, but it mostly comes down to creating high-quality content that will appeal to other creators within the same or related niches, and making sure that they can find that content.
There has been increasing competition across all market sectors in recent years as ever more business owners realize how important it is to develop their online reputations. For small to mid-sized businesses, trying to compete with huge franchises and multinational corporations can feel like a no-win game. Thankfully, though, there are solutions to the problem of large companies elbowing out the local competition.
After all of the work that gets put into auditing a site, performing adequate research, developing an SEO strategy, making appropriate technical and on-page changes, and building authority within a niche, you can expect to see an excellent return on investment (ROI). As a page climbs in the SERPs, click-through rates rise, traffic to the site increases, and, if the whole process was done correctly, customer conversions follow suit.
If you're starting to get worried at this point, don't be. The fact that SEO is undeniably one of the most important parts of any long-term digital marketing strategy doesn't have to mean it can't provide any short-term benefits. It just means that you need to develop both reasonable expectations and a clear idea of how the process works.
If you've read even a few articles about SEO best practices, you already know that it's a fast-changing industry. The problem is that Google updates its search algorithms and ranking factors frequently, and the search engine giant isn't exactly forthcoming about what's been changed. SEO experts need to figure out for themselves which strategies still work and which of them need to be reconsidered after every update.
Early on, effective SEO strategies focused primarily on keyword research and use and building authority through getting lots of backlinks. The thing is, Google's algorithms have become more sophisticated since then. Keyword stuffing and adding random links just isn't going to cut it when currently, the bots crawling the web and indexing sites care only about providing a better user experience.
Lately, most of Google's updates to its algorithms have focused on three areas:
While it's frustrating to deal with changing standards, this altered focus is actually good news for business owners. Google's algorithm updates have brought it one step closer to really mimicking user behaviors, which means that instead of having to write for search engines first and actual website users last, content creators can now focus on providing the greatest amount of value to customers and clients.
The intention behind Google's algorithms has always been the same, and it's one that's shared with just about every other business. The search engine wants to provide users with the best possible product to keep them coming back. There are all kinds of minor ranking factors that point directly back to this one constant, from page load speeds to bounce rates.
Google's algorithmic changes don't indicate a divergence from its initial mission but a renewed focus on matching user queries with the best possible responses. Consistently creating and posting high-value content shows the search engine that a website might fit the bill by:
High-value content doesn't just refer to blog articles, product descriptions, and other writing. It also incorporates videos, images, and infographics, although in these cases, optimizing metadata and alt tags can be more useful indicators of quality to bots.
The best way to boost SERP rankings in a modern SEO landscape is to become a true authority in a particular niche. This requires choosing topics that are both relevant to your site's primary purpose and helpful to users. The key to choosing topics for pages and blog articles is to do plenty of research and acknowledge that no one post can resolve 100% of a target audience's questions and problems.
The most obvious aspect of relevance to consider in relation to SEO is keyword research. However, although keywords are certainly still relevant, modern search algorithms' ability to recognize synonyms and related terms has made it possible to incorporate them more naturally into written content. Depending on what stage of site creation you're currently in, it may make more sense to focus on more user-oriented topic research. To get started, try:
It's only after choosing a topic and ensuring a sufficiently narrow focus that you need to start worrying about what the bots will think. To do so, you can use keyword research and social research tools, or simply query related topics and terms on Google to confirm that there is sufficient interest in the topic.
Modern algorithms aren't looking for specific keywords. They try to understand user intent and how it relates to similar queries, then find pages that focus on relevant topics. This change in how Google's search algorithms prioritize results helps to explain why longer content now tends to rank better and overusing keywords can send pages straight to the bottom of the pile.
If you want to rank high in the SERPs, you also need to consider users' search intent as expressed by their queries. Some users are trying to find answers to questions, while others are looking for specific products, services, or websites. Figuring out how to accommodate different types of search intent can lend your pages greater authority and relevance. Some of the most common types of search intent to consider include:
Most searches are looking for information, whether it's about the local weather or a general topic. Some users with an informational intent are looking for introductory information, while others have specific questions that need to be answered. Google's algorithms are getting ever better at determining different types of informational intent and pointing users in the direction of content that explicitly meets them.
People with navigational intent are trying to visit a specific website. The best way to accommodate this search intent is to ensure that they'll find yours if they search for your company's name. Just keep in mind that ranking high for navigational terms is only helpful if users are actually looking for your website.
People who are searching the Internet with transactional intent are trying to purchase a product online. They often know already what they want to buy and are trying to get to product pages. This is one of the few circumstances under which optimizing product descriptions really can attract relevant traffic to your site and increase customer conversions.
Not everyone who wants to purchase products will do so immediately upon realizing that they need them. Plenty of people use the Internet to research products first, as well. They have transactional intent but often need some extra convincing.
Optimizing for search intent generally involves both using intent-specific words and ensuring that the site structure is set up to route users to where they need to go. People who include words like "buy," "sale," or "discount" are often searching with transactional intent, for example. Those with informational intent are more likely to use phrases like "how to" and "best way to" in their queries.
Your site's architecture also needs to be set up to accommodate search intent. If, for example, someone arrives at a page with commercial investigational intent, you don't want to show them a product page immediately but you do want that page to be no more than a click or two away.
Even if the nuances of SEO best practices change frequently to accommodate updates to Google's search algorithms, some things will almost certainly always remain the same. You'll always want to have a solid site architecture, on-point technical SEO, relevant keywords and topics, and authoritative backlinks. These backbones of search engine optimization best practices will almost certainly never be eliminated, even if they do need to change with the changing times.
Wondering what all of this has to do with quick fixes for SEO? It's simple. Implementing appropriate strategies that accommodate Google's current search algorithms and their priorities will start to boost rankings much faster than just throwing keywords at the problem. Once you understand how to do new-school SEO, you can:
Defining who you want to target with your site will do more than just help you figure out what keywords to use. Creating audience profiles can also help you generate topic ideas, understand search intent, and build trust in the brand. That way, consumers will be more likely to turn into loyal customers when they're ready to take the plunge and make a purchase.
Understanding how to incorporate keyword research and use into a modern SEO strategy is one of the best ways to see quick results. Using keyword research tools to identify not just what your audience is querying but also where your pages currently rank as a factor of search volume for those terms can clarify a lot.
Google already sees the pages that have high but not optimal SERP rankings as being useful and relevant. You can take advantage of that by focusing on those pages and the keywords they target. It will take far less time to improve rankings for those topics than for totally new ones.
For keywords that aren't being targeted currently, a competitive gap analysis can help. Treat this as a second research stage. Try to track down both direct and indirect competitors, then see what topics they cover and keywords their pages rank for. This should create a huge list of keywords to target in future blog posts and other quality content.
Now that you know how Google currently views relevance and authority, you can perform more effective on-page SEO. Focus on creating in-depth, high-quality content that addresses different types of search intent, then add appropriate internal links.
If your pages give users what they're looking for and make it easier to navigate to where they want to go, it will improve user experience and send positive signals to Google, creating a virtuous cycle. Your site will rise in the SERPs, increasing user trust and brand authority and drawing in new traffic, which will boost your ranking signals even higher, speeding up the process of getting to that coveted number one spot.
As you may have guessed by now, effective on-page SEO isn't just about optimizing service pages and product descriptions. It also requires effective content creation strategies that focus on using current SEO best practices.
Having a backlink-building strategy in place that accommodates Google's current approach to understanding search intent and ranking signals is just as essential as optimizing each page of your site. You'll need a lot of links, but they need to be relevant and, ideally, organically acquired. Google may penalize you not just for buying links, which is a big no-no, but also for over-optimizing anchor text and creating unnatural profiles.
To show Google and its users that your site represents a real brand with plenty to offer, you'll need to drive organic traffic from elsewhere around the web and build natural social profiles to send the right signals. As with content creation, social media marketing is deeply intertwined with SEO best practices, so you'll want to be sure to cross-post content between the company's blog and its social media pages.
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for building links. Just follow these best practices and don't get discouraged:
It can take weeks for Google to crawl and index a site and then boost its rankings for better link-building practices. Even with the perfect backlink strategy in place, you may still see it jumping around. Keep at it and don't get discouraged.
If you own a local business with a brick-and-mortar location, there's a quick fix designed just for you. Local SEO uses different techniques than its better-known, globalized relative, and they can work much faster. If you want to draw in more foot traffic or get more calls for service estimates, focusing on boosting your rankings in the local pack can be more helpful than the tips and techniques described above. To do that, you should:
Because Google's local pack is focused on geographically specific results and uses information from your Google My Business account instead of the company's website, it's generally easier to get quick results by taking this route. You won't have to compete with multinational corporations. Just the other mom-and-pop stores and franchises in your area.
There is no quick fix for SEO, although implementing the best practices above will certainly expedite the process. If you want to know that a strategy is working, the best way to do so is by tracking key performance indicators (KPIs). They include the amount of traffic to your site, individual keyword rankings on Google, and the number of organic backlinks to your pages. Performing periodic audits is also a wise idea.
While there's no shortcut to SEO, having a solid strategy in place is very important when it comes to determining both short-term and long-term effectiveness and ROI. Unless you have experience with digital marketing, in general, and search engine optimization, in particular, we suggest seeking some professional help.
At PosiRank, we have SEO packages that fit every budget and can combine this valuable service with additional digital marketing essentials like pay-per-click advertising and content creation. Unlike some of our competitors, we won't make false promises. SEO is a long game, but we can help you figure out the best comprehensive strategy for filling in the gaps in the near term, and we'll provide total transparency when it comes to following your campaign and tracking its success. Reach out to schedule a free consultation and learn more.