So, you are the founder of a new product or service that you think could revolutionize the industry. You’ve invested countless hours of research and have a full, or at least a “good enough” understanding, of your buyer personas and really think you have a good thing going.
The only problem is getting the word out so people can start flocking to your product/service.
Obviously, the first thing you did was design a dashing website to represent your product/service since it’s the most effective way to market an idea. You hired a full marketing team, but they don’t seem to be getting you the traffic and leads you were hoping for. You ask yourself, what am I doing wrong?
Trust me, you’re not alone in this. Every company runs into this issue at one point or another in their life-cycle. In fact, most companies are still facing this same issue today.
For years they’ve spent thousands of dollars in marketing efforts and no matter what they do, they’re still not on the first page of Google’s search engine results page (SERP). Unfortunately, this isn't a battle you can’t fight and win overnight.
Let’s Try to Get a Deeper Understanding of This Issue
Let’s imagine a scenario where you were invited to sit with a representative of Google that truly understands how their search algorithm works.
His/her sole job is to give you a few tips on how to optimize your website in order to improve your page ranking. In my opinion, this is what that conversation would look like on a higher level.
Person: Hi, Google Rep. I have a really great product/service that’ I’ve been trying to market. In fact, everyone who has done business with me is truly satisfied with the product, and I can see how this can change lives/or their business for the better.
There’s only one issue, no matter what I do I just can’t seem to get my website to be properly indexed in your system. If I were to organically search for one of my products/service by category right now, I’d see all of my competitors’ stuff, but never any of mine.
How am I supposed to do business if prospects are not able to find my product/service?
Google's Rep: Sir, calm down. I hear you. In fact, I get this same complaint all the time. Everyone wants to be number one, but not everyone is willing to take the time to truly optimize their website so they can be easily found by searchers.
Person: But, I have a whole team of marketers. In fact, I myself have double-checked everything before pushing it live. I also ensured all the verbiage was perfect.
Google's Rep: Again, I hear you...Ok Let’s start from the top. What’s the name of your website as well as the page title? Also, while we’re on that subject, why not give me a brief description in 300 characters or less of the page and maybe a few keywords that will really stuck out or resonate with your product/services?
Here Google is asking for a few pieces of key information that they can use to properly index your website page. Since google isn't going to sit and read through every last bit of content on your website, it’s imperative that you help them out a little.
The key information Google is asking for in the above question is your Website’s Domain Name/URL, the Page Title (also generally used in your h1 tag), the Meta Description (which is simply a brief overview of a website page’s content/intent), and the Key Words list, which is basically one or more words that are easily associated with this page.
Person: Ok, so here’s all the information you asked for. Is there anything else you need?
Google’s Rep: Yeah, but give me a minute to have this information indexed and analyzed so we can compare this information with other information we have in our database. Mmmm...., ok so based on our findings, there’s nothing really impressive/unique about your product.
Person: What….well that can’t be right. What do you mean?
Google's Rep: Well based on our findings, there are at least 2,000+ other websites that are competing for the same keywords as well as using similar descriptions for their page.
In fact, the only thing that’s unique about your website is your Domain’s URL and even that is only at 5% at best. Why should I push you to the top of our search query when these other guys seem to be doing so well?
Person: Because I have the best product. I’ve done my research and I know that what I have is unique….Ok, clearly i’m not going to win this fight. So you're basically saying there’s no hope for me then? I just need to quit while i’m ahead and just make the best with what I have?
Google's Rep: Not exactly. What i’m saying is you still have some work to do that will help to get you on our first search results page.
Person: Oh really? That’s good news because I could really use a win right now.
Google's Rep: First of all, there are 200 factors that we take into consideration when it comes to the hierarchy of the results that we show to our searchers. However, here are a few you should focus on for now in order to get started.
- PPC: For a quick win, we offer a service commonly known as Paid Search or Pay-Per-Click (PPC). This is generally used to get quick wins for product/service exposure but not as an end-all. If used correctly, you can start seeing search impressions within 1-2 days. However, keep in mind that some companies may find this an expensive investment, so you should ensure you do your proper research and get a specialist before attempting this strategy.
- Website Edits: Go back and do an audit of your website’s Page Titles, URLs, Meta Descriptions, and each page’s content as a whole. In order for your site to rank well, it’s imperative to ensure Google can properly crawl and index your site correctly. Try to focus on the “wow” factor that demonstrates the uniqueness of your product/service and update your page accordingly. Now keep in mind, though your initial objective here is to make these updates to get a spot at the top of our search query results page, ensure you’re putting your visitor first. Whenever a user searches for something, we generally return results we believe are most relevant to them, so ensure your content pieces are user intent based, and not machine based.
Person: What does that mean? Obviously, if I were to be number one in your search query i’d get unlimited visitors.
Google's Rep: That may be true. But, how long do you think you’d last as number 1? A day, maybe an hour, maybe 10 minutes. See, no matter how great your keywords or meta descriptions are, if the searchers aren’t finding what they are looking for on your site and it’s causing a huge bounce rate, that just tells us your content isn’t informative and not worth reading. As a result, we'll have no choice but to replace you with a website that is more worthy of the spot.
Google's Rep: Oh, that reminds me of your Page Authority. This is important because this is one of the hundreds of factors we use to determine the quality of your website’s content.
Generally, when someone finds something they like or they think is worth mentioning, they’d tell their friends and family members they think would benefit from this information right?
Well, this is something we also take into consideration when determining if your site is worth being in the top of our search results.
Get others to link back to your website as a reference. And, I don’t mean to comment on someone’s work and then link back to your page from that comment because that simply doesn’t work.
I mean to have the author of the content link back to your website as reference. The higher the author’s page authority, the higher your points value. This tells google you have valuable information to share, thus others can trust and learn from your content.
Google's Rep: Moreover, start blogging. People need to be informed about your product and about the industry. Today’s marketers are more interested in informative information, than they’re interested in your bragging rights about your product/service.
This will create a good opening/opportunity for you to start talking about the pros and cons of your industry and what your readers should be looking out for so others don’t try to take advantage of their ignorance.
Plus, the more you blog, the more pages you’re going to have to index which will in turn help to get you at the top of our search results. Also, taking advantage of social media as well as email marketing to promote your blogs as well as other marketing materials such as ebooks, infographics, webinars, etc. will definitely help drive more traffic back to your site.
This is only a small way to get started working on your website’s SEO. And, while this is not something you will be able to accomplish overnight, the earlier you get started working on it, the better the chance you have to change your ranking status on Google.
But more importantly, you are going to be seen as relevant to not just your targeted personas, but to all of your visitors. If you find that this is still something you’re struggling with, now is a good time to hire a specialist or an agency that specializes in this area.