If you’re a business owner or work in the marketing department for your company, you’re most likely looking for three things out of your website: more traffic, leads, and sales. If you want to hit your targets for these three metrics, your organic and local search presence is something to pay special attention to.
Everyone wants their business to be featured on the front page of the search engines, but one major roadblock always stands in the way: it can take weeks or even months for your website to achieve the organic search visibility you want.
If you’ve launched a brand new website within the last few weeks or months and are still not showing up where you need to, don’t worry. Here are five ways where you can jump start your rankings to get a head start on your SEO campaigns.
Promote all of the pages on your site – not just your home page
There’s a reason why Amazon dominates product searches, Wikipedia dominates informational type searches, and Yelp dominates local business type searches. They’ve built a trustworthy brand by using the content found on their websites.
In technical SEO terms, your digital search brand can be linked to a metric called domain authority. Domain authority is a metric that represents the popularity of your website as a whole.
One of the biggest mistakes I business owners make is over-focusing on promoting their home page. Don’t get me wrong; Your home page is important. But from what we’ve seen, you’ll have an easier time getting your website to rank quickly if a large percentage of your website’s pages are popular, not just one or a few.
In addition to building links to your home page like business citations, make sure that you’re promoting your inner pages as well. Writing content in your blog and promoting those pages on sites like Quora or Reddit is a great way to build popularity and traffic.
Actionable tip: Build links to the inner marketing pages or services pages on your website by creating relationships with other website owners. Take this a step further by blogging regularly then promoting your blog within discussions on popular websites like Quora or Reddit.
Leverage the power of niche Business Citations
Business citations, or company listings on sites like Google, Yelp, Bing, and Foursquare, are another way to quickly build up your search engine reputation. Outside of these popular websites live hundreds or even thousands more niche-specific business citation sites that you can publish your business on.
Creating niche-specific business citations not only helps you build the popularity of your website, but they also help the search engines understand what type of business you have by adding context.
For example, if you are a chiropractor, you want to make sure you’re getting you’re claiming your listing on sites like 123chiropractors.com or chirodirectory.com.
If you’re a doctor’s office or physician, you want to make sure you’re on webmd.com or healthgrades.com
Or if you’re a lawyer, you’d want to make sure you’re on lawyers.com, avvo.com, or justia.com.
The number of business citations you need to build to rank high in organic search needs to match or exceed the number of citations that your top competitors have. There are plenty of competitive analysis tools out there to help you find this information. But if analysis and repetitive data entry isn’t your forte, hiring a professional local SEO company to do it for you might be your best bet.
Actionable tip: Visit Moz’s guide to the most popular citations by category by clicking here to find the best business citations for your vertical.
Buckle up your Webmasters tool belt
Google WebMaster Tools (GWT) and Bing WebMaster Tools (BWT) are two must-haves for every website. Metaphorically speaking, if organic search is the main vehicle for your website’s traffic, you can look at GWT and BWT as the steering wheel and dashboard of your website.
First and foremost, GWT and BWT allow you to directly submit a sitemap of your website to each respective search engine. Submitting a sitemap helps the search engines navigate your website and its internal pages. Your sitemap also gives the search engines a guideline on how often to crawl your website to look for new content.
This is super important if you’re publishing fresh content on a regular basis. Instead of having to manually submit each new page or blog post to the search engines, you can configure your sitemap to have the search engines crawl your website every X days to check for new content. This alone can save a lot of time (and money).
Furthermore, GWT and BWT allows website owners to diagnose critical issues that are unseen from the public eye. Common issues that you can diagnose and rectify are things like 404 errors and other crawl issues, sitemap formatting errors, manual penalties, and canonical domain issues.
Often these seemingly small issues can lead to big problems that can cost you valuable traffic later on down the road, so don’t forget to configure GWT and BWT. The devil really is in the details.
Actionable tip: Go to Google.com/webmasters and Bing.com/webmasters then read the Bing Webmasters Guidelines and Google Webmaster tools guidelines to familiarize yourself with each platform
Attract quality links and mentions from reputable brands
This piggy backs off both tips 1 & 2 but deserves its own explanation due to its importance. Attracting links from other websites is important, but when it comes to getting visible in the search engine results as fast as possible, quality is more important than quantity.
We touched a bit on domain authority and how it measures the popularity of a brand as a technical SEO metric. To find websites with high domain authority, there are tools out like the Moz or Majestic SEO to help you determine the trustworthiness and popularity of a website as whole.
The key here is that if you want to rank quickly, you should focus on getting trustworthy, popular sites to talk about you.
In social terms, I’ll explain it like this: Imagine that you’re a singer and you collaborate with other local singers to get your name out there. Then one day, Beyonce gives you a call and asks you to do a feature on her album where you’re singing the hook.
In SEO terms, high authority websites would be like Beyonce, where a mention would skyrocket your popularity and trustworthiness to the public. On the other hand, collaborating with local singers would still get people to discover your talent, but being featured on a Beyonce song would get you instant credibility.
Actionable tip: Use tools like Moz or MajesticSEO to find high authority websites in your niche, then do everything you can to get your website featured on them to give you instant credibility.
Align your expectations with the level of SEO competition
When it comes to Google and Bing, there is one important thing to remember: The search engine’s primary objective is to connect the searcher to the right content, not necessarily your content. A successful SEO campaign will join the two objectives, so it is a win-win situation for the searcher and your business.
However, there will definitely be other people trying to achieve those two objectives. Some may do well; others may do poorly. Regardless, you should pay attention to the other websites that are doing well, gauge the popularity of their brands, and then set your ranking expectations on how long it would take to build a similar level of trustworthiness.
For example, if you’re a local shoe maker, you most likely will not have the time, resources, and manpower to build an online brand like Nike.com which attracts millions of links. Expecting to outrank Nike, therefore, would be an unrealistic expectation.
The only way to gauge the level of competition is to use tools like Moz, SEMRush, or Ahrefs. You’ll want to look for the difficulty of keywords related to your business, then center your keyword strategy around balancing the popularity of the keyword (how many times it is being searched) with the difficulty of the keyword.
Actionable tip: Use competitive analysis tools like Moz, SEMRush, or Ahrefs to set a benchmark for the competitiveness of the keywords you are trying to rank for. If your niche’s SEO competition is high, expect it to take longer to rank for target keywords (and vice versa).
Important: There are no shortcuts
When it comes to tackling the organic search channel, there are no shortcuts. Building out a stream of traffic and leads from organic search requires patience, hard work, and a thoughtful, consistent plan.
Despite this, tackling some basic tasks like submitting your website to business directories and properly configuring your Webmaster Tools dashboards can give you a bit of a head start. When planning and executing an SEO campaign, always rely on the data to guide you. Don’t forget to measure your results and iterate as needed.