In the past several months, I’ve noticed a dramatic shift in the ranking of hundreds of companies on most search engines. Unfortunately, consequentially, I’ve also suffered temporary hearing impairment as a result of business owners’ alarm bells going off at decibel levels not previously witnessed to date. Why is that?
Quite simply, the Internet has become a critical medium for the generation of revenue for many companies. Many of these companies rely heavily on the revenues generated from their organic traffic, or unpaid search results. The result of losing even a few positions in rank, often times is the difference between a business that is thriving and a business that is bleeding. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much to shift the tide, and the difference between a few placements could easily result in the loss of 70-90% of a companies’ targeted traffic. Think about how you use a search engine. Most individuals open the first 3-5 links that catch their eye and within a minute they’ve narrowed down their potential customer list to 2 or 3 options at most. If your website is not one of the links that catches their eye, then you don’t even have a chance to make a sale…. zero percent!!! That’s horrible odds!
How important is being at the top of search engine results?
Answer the question yourself. How many new customers do you gain monthly from your online presence? If the answer is 100, what if starting next month you only gained 30 clients per month for the next year? How well would your business fare during this lull? How about we reverse that thought? What if you’re accustomed to gaining 30 new customers monthly? How much better would your company fare if you were all of a sudden gaining 100 new customers monthly? Think about it… put tangible numbers on paper… visualize the increase or decrease in business…. almost there… visualize it a bit more…. there, you got it! Now you understand!
But my pages are optimized, what gives?
While your pages may very well be optimized, it’s not the only part of the equation. Let’s look at what is important to search engines:
- On-page search engine optimization (worth <=25% of your ranking score)
- Off-page search engine optimization (worth >= 75% of your ranking score)
The first item above refers to “page optimization”. This is an important part of the equation and complimentary for all other optimization efforts, however, it only has the capacity to increase your score by less than or up to 25% of its potential.
What is on-page and off-page search engine optimization anyhow?
On-page SEO is search engine optimization efforts done within the actual pages of your website. To name a few, this includes the organization of your website and the pages within it including filenames, titles, keywords, image file names and the list goes on.
Off-page SEO consists of search engine optimization with pages that are not actually part of your website. To name a few, this includes links to your website, including their appearance, how quickly these links are appearing, keywords used within links and the reputation of the sites that are linking to yours (warning: sites with bad reputation can cause significant harm to your search engine positioning)
Why can’t my site be search engine optimized once and then its good forever?
Search engine optimization is an ongoing effort. While on-page optimization can typically be handled once and then tweaked quarterly based upon new products and new SEO techniques, off-page optimization requires ongoing continuous efforts. Why is that? Because undoubtedly your competitors will continue to focus on their off-page SEO efforts and inevitably if you don’t, their rank will rise above yours in a matter of time. More importantly, search engines have built algorithms to prevent any company from trying to “cheat” the system and increase their rank through unacceptable techniques and furthermore penalizes companies who are inactive online.
Tell me all the techniques I need to know! What are they?
There’s no way I could do that in a single article. While there’s no definitive formula for each of the respective search engines there are some common do’s and don’ts you need to consider. Here’s the best recommendations that most individuals can handle on their own
Make sure each of your pages uses unique file names, page titles, image file names and content unique to the product or service you are marketing within that specific page. If you are a local bakery, don’t try to load all of your products into one page, break it up! One page that targets each type of product: pastries, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, etc.
Don’t spam the Internet. Don’t post on garbage sites (translation: unknown forums with a bunch of other spam posts is not a good place). I can hear you now… darn it… you’re making my job hard! I know… SEO is not easy work, it’s time consuming and requires patience and attention to detail. Sorry… like everything else in life… there’s no real way to get rich quick… well… beyond being lucky… but if you’re willing to gamble your business on luck, then stop reading my article now, cause I can’t help you.
Okay, so what you do is create one-way inbound links to your site from other sites (Note: reciprocal links, the ones where you ask someone to link to you if you link back don’t count, search engines don’t give points for these). Don’t just link back to yourself without any thought, consider what others will search for when looking for your services. For example, when linking to a local pastry shop, I’d be more inclined to name the link “Ottawa homemade buns” than to name it “PastrysRus”. This tells search engines what the link to your site is about, and when those search terms are used by individuals performing searches, you are more likely to be included in the search results.
Make sure you dedicate a few hours a week to creating inbound links. If you pay attention to quality and don’t spam, you’ll never be able to create too many, you can expect to create 10-15 quality links an hour once you get good at it. If you do this 5-10 hours a week, you’ll have 75-150 inbound links every week. If you use automated services, you’ll end up with thousands of “garbage” links and search engines will penalize you for it.
I want to learn more!
Consider researching “pagerank” and “social media” to get started. Having an in-depth understanding of how search engines position you can be a vital tool in your competitive arsenal when trying to increase your profits.
Want to increase your performance even more?
Hire a professional that knows what they’re doing. Hire someone who can explain the efforts in a way that you understand, so you know what you’re paying for. Unfortunately, there’s no way an article can teach you what I’ve learnt over thousands upon thousands of hours and there’s no way your efforts will ever beat a professional team that focuses solely on these efforts. Besides, wouldn’t you make way more profits performing tasks that you’re already good at with those thousands of hours… and wouldn’t you be happier as well?
You wouldn’t go to a gun-fight with a toenail clipper would you? If you’re serious about your business and its success within your industry (I know you’re nodding right now)… s-l-o-w-l-y… put down those clippers… and give us a call!
As you can see, there’s a lot to search engine optimization and reaching the top of search engine results, but, there’s even more to staying on top! It’s well known that search engines continue to enhance their ranking algorithms each and every month and this trend is only going to accelerate. It’s always been about location… location… location… and that’s no different today, when it comes to search engine positioning, where do you want your location?
CEO, N-VisionIT Interactive