The top 10 spots in Google searches get the most traffic, so there’s no question that you want to be in one of them. But, if you’re just starting out with an SEO strategy, you may be unsure of how to rank on this page. It takes time to build a powerful online presence, and some of your competitors have been working at it for years. Is there any chance that you can come in and be competitive? Absolutely. While there’s no substitute for stability and consistency, there are strategies that can be applied to help you catch up. Let’s explore them below.
Discover What You Do Best
If you sell products similar to the big box stores, the competition can be intimidating. You may not be able to compete on price but there are surely other things you are better at. Maybe it’s an extended warranty, free personalization or free gift wrapping. Find the smallest differences and capitalize on them.
Also, consider how your products or services may vary from your competitors. Maybe you sell personal care products as other companies do, but yours are made with all natural ingredients or come in recycled containers. Or, perhaps that with each sale, you donate some of the funds to a nonprofit. Be different. Connect with a highly targeted audience. It may feel limiting at first, but it’s always better to spend time with the people who are most likely to be your customers.
Create a Local Presence
It doesn’t matter if your business serves the entire country. Find a way to get local. Google’s local search algorithm features three local results, which users are more likely to click because they are most relevant. Google takes a variety of factors into consideration such as domain authority, the quality and quantity of customer reviews and your listings with the local directories.
By optimizing your content with local keywords, you can separate your brand from others. You might have a smaller pool of prospects to work with, but your audience will be more targeted. Also, local SEO is not separate from national SEO. By improving your local presence, you increase rankings for both.
Aim for Long-Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords deserve most of your attention. Shorter keywords have one to three words, high search volume and high competition. You end up paying more for these keywords and put yourself in a lane with bigger competitors. It’s better to find long-tail keywords to rank for (use Moz’s Keyword Explorer or Google’s Keyword Tool to help). These keywords are less popular so they cost less and have almost no competition.
The great thing about long-tail keywords is that you can start ranking for them right away. So, if you’re new to SEO and feel lost in the sea, narrow down your SEO strategy by focusing on a few longer tail keywords. Ideally, they should be conversationalist in tone.
For example, if your company offers personalized ornaments, dig deeper and think of other ways to describe your ornaments (that your audience would be searching for). Personalized photo ornaments for grandparents, photo gallery ornaments or personalized glass tree hangings would all be examples of long-tail keywords. These would be much easier to rank for than personalized ornaments.
Don’t Focus on First Place
So many marketers focus all of their efforts on landing in the top spot of the search engines, but there are other spots that aren’t so bad. Second and third places are almost as good as first, and you can spend a lot less and still see the same traffic.
Plus, it’s great to say that you’re in the top spot on Google (everyone loves bragging rights), but this doesn’t mean that you’re going to get qualified traffic. Without qualified leads, it’s difficult to get conversions and sales.
Build a Healthy Link Profile
Inbound and outbound links can be tricky to understand, but they make a huge difference in terms of SEO. To put it simply, links help tell Google what your content is about and what others think of it. If reputable, quality websites rank to your website, this indicates that you have strong content that people trust. If only low-quality, spammy sites link to you, Google will view your site as being low in quality.
Knowing that links are a ranking factor, it’s important to maintain a healthy link strategy. Since you’re new, it helps to know what content your competitors are linking to. Moz’s Open Site Explorer lets you research your competitors’ inbound link profiles. Determine which sites boost their relevance and authority. This will save you time from the commonly used trial-and-error approach (though you’ll still need to do some of this).
Search engine optimization can be intimidating. There are rules to follow and strategies to implement. Competitors to watch and websites to maintain. This is why many companies eventually outsource their SEO needs to an SEO expert like WSI Net Advantage. We’ll be happy to speak with you and explain our time-tested strategies for getting our clients to the top of the search listings. Call us today at 510-687-9737 or fill out our contact form.
Kevin Dean, President of WSI Net Advantage...
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