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The best time to start working on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) for your website is right now. The reasons for this are that:
- It takes a lot of time for any work you do to have any effect.
- This is particularly true for new websites due to the Google “sandbox” effect.
- The more “keywords” or topics you want your website to rank for, the more work needs doing. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get results.
There are some other issues that we’ll touch on later, but for now let’s look at these 3 points in more detail.[Before I answer this, and since I’m obsessed with the marketing companies use, whether it makes sense or not – have you ever noticed that all clocks for sale ALWAYS show the time as ten to two, or ten past ten? Do you know why? Answer at the bottom with an amusing observation.]
It Takes time For SEO To Take Effect
There are different things you need to consider when it comes to SEO, and it has changed tremendously over the last few years.
In the past you could throw up a pretty “thin” (thin means a website that didn’t really have a lot of useful content on it, maybe 500 words per article, a page that is just there to mention the keyword or phrase so there’s something for Google to show in the results, but that doesn’t really help the person who is reading it) on an EMD (exact match domain – this means a website URL of say “tennisshoes(dot)something that is all about tennis shoes), and hey presto you’d be on page 1 of Google.
Well, that’s not quite all there is to it, of course you’d also blitz your website with lots of software driven backlinks (links from other websites that point at yours) using the “keywords” (like tennis shoes – instead of “click here” or “visit this website”), and then you would definitely be on page 1.
The more backlinks you built, the higher you’d go in the results, it was super easy.
Sadly it is nothing like that today, and even more sadly people still think it is, and throw money at supposed “seo gurus” to do the same things that worked 10 years ago, that today will at best do nothing, and at worst will get you banned.
When you get those emails offering you SEO services for $100, $300, $500 per month, or whatever, this is all they do. They fire up the 10 year old software, spam your website, and then eventually Google bans you.
SEO today is far more sophisticated, it’s much more content and end-user driven, and it requires much more time, effort, and know-how to make it work.
However, if you know what you’re doing then you can achieve fantastic results in the fastest possible time and at the lowest possible cost.
But – it is not what you might call “cheap” (if you think even £500 per month is going to cut it, then you’re in la-la land), and it’s not going to be a “do some work today, and tomorrow you’re on page 1” – it takes time and continued effort to get anywhere, the days of free business and money from Google are over.
What Is The Google Sandbox?
The Google sandbox was something I honestly thought we’d seen the end of for good.
Back in the day when the tricks and links and spammy methods I mentioned above worked, Google needed to build up some trust in your website, they didn’t want to rank you today and start sending people to you, only to find that suddenly your website was selling dodgy things, or getting involved in other potentially illegal activity.
Because scammers want fast results they wouldn’t hang around, so by having (in essence) a time delay between a new site being seen by Google, and it appearing in the results, it weeded out the trash.
As the Google algorithm got better and better the sandbox seemed to disappear, if you had a brand new website, and they were sure you were legit, then you’d rank fast. However…
…today it seems the sandbox is back with a vengeance, and a brand new site could be looking at a 6 to 8 month wait to really start seeing any kind of traffic.
Usually what happens is that after the 8 month or so wait you see a massive “hockey stick” type swing, where your traffic and visitors just go through the roof suddenly – as long as you’re doing the right things to make that happen, which we can help you with.
It’s really odd because it’s like going back in time to the way Google used to work before they had confidence in their algorithm and A.I. rank brain, but maybe as Googles A.I. capabilities increase, so do the A.I. capabilities of the spammers and scammers who are trying to trick them?
Google have one A.I. swordsman trying to fight away the bad guys. The bad guys have 100,000 A.I. bad guys to pitch at Google – maybe it’s as simple as that? It has to learn how to defeat them all, one bad guy at a time?
Anyway, if you have a legitimate business website, and you are really providing a great product or service, and even if your website is brand new – there are some things we can do to help you get your site ranking much faster than 6 to 8 months, give us a call or drop us an email to discuss it.
More Topics = More Work
This is just common sense really, if you are a mechanic who fixes only rolls Royce’s, then you only need to rank in Google for Rolls Royce’s.
You’ll have a really tight, targeted group of customers, looking for a very specific service, and you’ll be able to focus solely on exactly what you do.
If you run a garage, you do servicing of every make and model of car, MOT’s, you buy and sell cars, etc and you’re in an area where lot’s of other people do that too…
…well you can see you have a lot more work to do.
Not only are you fighting a lot of other people for the same business, but you’re also trying to attract customers for a whole range of different services.
This requires a lot more time, effort, and money, so you need a strategy that focuses the main thrust of the effort at the beginning on the most lucrative business segment – like the 80/20 rule.
That is to say if 80% of your income is from 20% of what you offer, then focus all of your SEO efforts on that first. But make sure you get it right, because if you try spamming it by taking cheap short cuts, Google will ban you.
And then you’ve got real problems.
The Other Issues
This is not in any real order, but:
The main thing is that Google can see your website is alive and functioning and represents a real business, blog, or other online entity, so you need to keep adding fresh new content.
The more often you can add content the better, and it needs to be more than a couple of hundred words, it needs to be a good useful piece of information.
What tends to happen, as per the details above, is that people start their website, get fed up when nothing happens, maybe throw a load of money at online advertising, get fed up when that doesn’t work (because they don’t know what they are doing), and then they just stop doing anything.
So their website never progresses from more than a few feet off the launch pad, and just dies a slow and painful death.
You need to keep going until you hit the “hockey stick” where visitors suddenly go through the roof.
How Do You Get Hockey Stick Growth To Your Website?
The first thing is that you need to keep adding useful content, and you need to keep adding it regularly.
This is one of the things that really bugs me about companies like Yell Websites.
They charge you between £400 to £2500+ for a website, then charge you monthly fees, then charge “SEO packages” and all the rest, and really it’s useless.
The basic Yell website is (it might change over time but right now) 5 pages of content, and that includes a contact page, an about us page, and it might even include the terms and conditions page and privacy page.
Well, if you have 5 pages of generic content, at least 2 of which are useless in terms of explaining what you do to both your potential customers and Google – well how many customers do you think that website will bring you?
Especially when your competitor has a website with 10, or 20 or 50 or 100 or 200 pages of unique, specific content about the very services or products you offer in your town or city.
You can pay for all the Ads, SEO backlinks and other stuff you like, but you can’t fool Google, you can’t sway a visitor to buy from you when they got ten times more help from the other guy, so you need to really wake up to the reality of what you need to do to make your website work.
It doesn’t need to cost the earth, it just needs someone who really knows what they are doing – to do it for you!
If you get it right you’ll dominate your market forever, if you let someone else get there first you’ll always be looking for the crumbs while they take the cakes.
However, they have forgotten why they do this, and so without any thought they also make digital clocks always say… can you guess what time?
Welcome to the world of marketing.]
Learn more about how SEO really works in our guide.
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