As a Columbus website design firm, we occasionally design websites for start up businesses, and obviously, these websites are the first sites they've ever had.
For these entrepreneurs, it seems like an overwhelming endeavor to get prospects (who don't yet know them) to find their website. And they may be right, depending on:
- their industry,
- how tough the competition is, and
- the market their in.
But even though they're essentially joining a race that's been going on for years, and starting at the back of the pack, we tell them: don't let that deter you.
This isn't the first time in life you're starting from the back of the pack and have to play catch up. Take your career. At one point you came into your industry as a lowly intern, graduate, or entry level person, and look where you are now: starting your own company.
And if you hadn't heard, the internet can level the playing field between newly formed start ups, and larger, existing companies, faster than anything else.
With that in mind, remember: it's never too late to start.
The newer the website, the more important it is to jump into using SEO to get your name on your prospect's radar. By using SEO, content marketing, and social media, you can get your company's name in front of people who don't yet know who you are.
Plus, you'd probably be surprised how many of your competitors aren't using SEO. When you see many of your competitors not taking advantage of it, you'll soon realize, you already have an advantage over them.
How can you tell if your competitors are using SEO? By looking at the Page Title below their domain name (see inside red box in screen shots below).
The Page Title is one of the first thing Google looks at on a website. If your competitors' aren't using keywords phrases (like "new home builder" or "custom home builder"), that's a dead giveaway they're not using SEO. It's also a dead giveaway the people who built their websites were total novices when it comes to SEO. So if your competitors have no SEO in their websites, you've already gotten a huge leap on them.
SEO helps people who don't know you by name
Matter of fact, that's what SEO is: to help people who don't know your name find you. If someone does know your name, they can easily find your website. Why is that? Because your website is the only one with your name, or your company's name, throughout. And your name isn't in anyone else's website. So when someone searches your name, your website will come up. If it doesn't, you have other, more serious issues with your site.
Success Story: Metta Psychology
In the summer of 2016, we built a website for a start-up psychology group called Metta Psychology.
Six months later, even with very occasional blogging, they're showing up on page 1 for their two main search terms: "Central Ohio counseling" and "Therapist Columbus Ohio." See the two screen shots below for where their website appears in Google's search results.
How long does it takes to show up on page one?
It depends on, as we mentioned earlier:
- your industry,
- your competition, and
- the market you're in.
If you're a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, and your main keywords are "Plastic Surgery Orange County," and "Breast Augmentation Newport Beach," you're going to have a tough time showing up on page one. Not that it can't be done, but it will take time and money, because the competition is tough.
We have a client in the Los Angeles-area (Newport Beach, actually) called SSK Plastic Surgery and their main keywords are, in fact, "Breast Augmentation Newport Beach" and "Plastic Surgery Orange County."
The way Dr. Sean Kelishadi is doing it, is through:
- regular blogging, including using keywords
- lots of social media, including YouTube videos, and
- search engine marketing, including getting lots of backlinks to his website
He's in the one of the toughest markets for what he does, but if you Google "Plastic Surgery Orange County," you should see him showing up on page one.
If you're a psychology group in Columbus, Ohio, as you might imagine, it's a lot easier to get to page one.
Three ways to show up on page one
This is an overview of three of the ways to show up on page one Granted, we've over-simplified the explanations in the interest of brevity (though it might not seem like it!).
- Not much: If the web design firm (that'd be us) did their job and your website has the right keywords placed in the right spots behind-the-scenes (as we have), you can get to page one in a matter of months. Like Metta Psychology, you can do a relatively minimal amount of blogging, and if your competition isn't doing much in the way of SEO (which is a big factor), you can show up on page one of Google, with minimal effort, in a relatively short period of time.
- Lots of blogging: If you're a Columbus web design firm (like us) and there's a lot more competition (there is), it takes a lot more work. Our main focus of getting on page one of Google is called "content marketing." We post 1000+ word articles on our website every week. We use our two main keywords "Columbus website design," and "Columbus web design" in exactly the right ways. It took a few months but we're now on page one of a Google search for both of those search terms. (Note: we'd been on page two for a long time until we started blogging seriously, so it wasn't like we had to go from page 10 to page one.
- With lots of outside help. If you're a home builder or plastic surgeon in a major market, you'll need both social media and Search Engine Marketing. This approach can get expensive, and time-consuming. For a plastic surgeon in the LA-area, you have to go all out. Below are some of the elements of both SEO and SEM.
Search Engine Optimization/Content Marketing
Content marketing assumes you've created worthwhile, educational articles on your site. Without that piece in place, there's no way you'll see the benefits of content marketing. Creating content people find interesting and want to share, is really the only way to go about earning backlinks from other authoritative websites.
The main elements of SEO and Content Marketing that we employ, are:
- Writing educational articles on your website that incorporate your keywords in the copy (keywords should be about 5% of the total copy). This is the "content" part of "content marketing."
- Posting your articles on social media. We post each of our articles on LinkedIn, Google+ Twitter and Facebook. This is the "marketing" part of "content marketing."
- Use keywords in your Page Title tags and Meta Descriptions. To see what Page Title tags and Meta Descriptions are, watch the first 40 seconds of this video.
- Name our images with descriptive copy and keywords. This is so our images can show up in "Google Images."
- Use keywords in the “Alternative Text" field for each image. This is for sight-impaired individuals who have software on their computers that read that Alternate Text to them when they roll their cursor over the image. Even if you don't have sight-impaired clients or prospects, search engines want this in your website, because it brings your site up to world-wide standards. And search engines know if you have your “Alternative Text" fields filled in.
- Headlines and subheads Page copy that have headlines and subheads with keywords in them.
- Clean URLS, which means URLs that read "http://example.com/property" and not "http://example.com/index.php?page=property"
- Optimizing how quickly the page loads. Load time is a Google ranking factor, so don't underestimate the importance of this.
- Having social media icons on your blog post pages for easy content sharing.
Search Engine Marketing
The main elements of SEM are getting backlinks from authoritative websites back to your website (without paying for them):
Electronically submit press releases to over a couple hundred of the top news sites and the popular news channels. The idea behind this is these websites link back to your website, and help you get found by search engines. This helps increase the "authority" of your website in Google's eyes.
Create individual profiles on other websites that have with high domain Page Rank, Domain Authority, with links back to your website.
Create links back to your website from educational and government websites, because these are some of the web's more authoritative sites.
Do Google Ads, ads of other other search engines, and other websites. The cost-per-click for each ad can be anywhere from pennies, to $20 (or more) depending on the popularity and search traffic on those keywords.
- Posting on social media (We post our articles on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.)
If you're having trouble showing up on page one because you've got a new website, lets talk.