I need to optimise our new website
There are few things with the same sense of urgency and excitement as launching a new website, especially one for a new business.
However, new websites require a slightly different approach to SEO than more mature sites. The most significant part of that difference lies in the approach we take to building the sites' credibility.
If you’ve already read our insights on how search engines work and link building then you’ll know that search engines look intimately at a website's content and thematic nature, to determine which search terms it might be relevant for.
Given the sheer number of web pages on certain topics (there’s 109,000,000 of them just for “car insurance” for example) and the minimal gradations of difference between those web pages, combined with the likelihood of everybody having tweaked themselves for better search engine treatment; the search engine’s job of creating a neatly ordered list is almost impossible. It’s just a huge pile of incredibly similar over-clocked pages, where any attempt to order them is almost meaningless.
Search engines look to assess the credibility, popularity and trust of each page by analysing the quality and quantity of people linking to it. They weigh this factor considerably more in their decision of how high to list your site for any given keyword.
The quality of your content gets you classified in the pile and the quality and quantity of your links helps you to the top of that pile and on to page one.
This is where new websites commonly have a problem - the desire is to rank for specific keywords. However, content aside, there are more mature websites, which are just as relevant, already ranking in these positions, based on their link based credibility.
Part 2: Working out how to beat them
To get your new website to meet or beat these sites onto page one of Google will require more than the basics of “on page SEO”. It will require your site to accrue a parallel volume and quality of links to amass a similar credibility score in the eyes of the search engines.
The sites that are already ranking have probably amassed their link credibility over many months, possibly even years. Maybe through direct attempts to acquire links, maybe through sheer age old reputation, advertising related awareness, specific actions, consistent PR etc.
...and you’ve just joined the party! So this means there’s a lot of catching up to do.
This gap between their levels of link credibility and yours is also unknown at this point, suffice to say it’s obviously more than your site. It could be minor, but it could also be simply astounding. Typically this is somewhat predictable based on industry and the keyword.
As a rule of thumb, the more generic and popular the keyword, the higher the standard of credibility is likely to be amongst those first page inhabitants that are in your way and the more numerous sites of this standard will be. Hence the greater the amount of credibility you’ll need to ensure your SEO plan delivers you a ranking.
This standard is also going to be further multiplied if that industry is a very popular and common one online, such as retail, finance, travel, gaming or insurance. In industries like these, the market place is awash with major and mature players of all types. From end purveyors like banks, casinos or hoteliers, to intermediaries like loan aggregators, brokers, affinity suppliers, white labellers, through to the affiliates and sales partners of all these companies as well. In some industries it can feel as though everyone’s having a good go at SEO.
The sheer number of companies with very strong link equity in these industries is going to make scaling page one tough. Not impossible, but tough and time-intensive.
Part 3: be prepared
You need to be prepared for this inevitable fight in terms of:
Finding battles you can win
Find keyword opportunities that are both commercially opportune and realistic, in terms of ability to achieve in a reasonable window of time. Your agency should be able to help you with this, so choose an agency with enough cross-market experience to know what these are. You don’t want to be paying an agency for 18 months to chase an unassailable keyword, and find you still haven’t got anywhere at that point. You need to get into the return zone on your investments.
Investing in the right skills
There’s no point in paying huge amounts of money to have your Content Management System reprogrammed if that’s not the source of the problem. In this case, it is most likely not. Building credibility for new sites is a link-focussed effort, and having taken care of the internal aspects of the site should be the project's main focus over the long-term of the SEO project. This means investing in technology, skills, assets and creativity that have the capability to generate links. It can be tough and gruelling work too, so you may find that highly priced freelance SEO consultants see this as a bit beneath their super advanced technical wizardry. It is therefore important to choose carefully.
Stay on course
Remember that you won’t reach page one for a keyword until your standards of credibility meet or beat those of the people who already occupy the space. It will be a lengthy effort during which you’ll need to apply your resources and investment at a faster rate than them to close the gaps. It’s very different from on-page SEO work, where re-wiring the site, developing content and removing bottle necking technical obstacles can show substantial results in a matter of weeks. Remember, that these techniques are just making the most of the site's existing credibility, which is why they deliver immediate benefits. If you have none to start with then these efforts, while necessary, will show fewer immediate dividends.
So, if you’re launching a new site, you will need to work harder to amass credibility which is the currency of rankings, and this means link building. Not all battles are winnable from the off, due to the mature nature of the area you're likely to want to compete in, so focus on giving yourself early wins, and allow yourself to build upwards from there, apply the right resources and stay the course. The more resources you apply and the better you focus them, the faster you’ll close the gap and start pushing on to page one for major keywords.
To find out more about what Greenlight can do for you in your site launch endeavours, why not get get in touch and speak to one of our consultants?