There’s nothing like applying principles to your own project to determine whether or not you really believe in them. Over the past few months I’ve been working with a colleague on a website which we’ve given ourselves 12 months to “get going”, and we’re at a point where we have enough content that it could be attracting interest. But as yet, that’s not happened (although there’s no reason why it should have). We’re finding ourselves ranking in Google for a miscellaneous collection of searches, including a few high positions on infrequently-made searches, and some lower positions on some big ones. There’s no real pattern yet, but we’re confident we’ll still make the breakthrough.
Now we have to focus our efforts, and instead of spending the majority of our time on the bread and butter stuff (let’s call it the equivalent of most companies’ product pages), we need to accept we’ve invested enough time in that, and devote our energies to whatever might make an impact in Google. To this end, we’ve identified two areas where we could score: pages about topics which won’t be covered elsewhere, and pages about topics which will be covered elsewhere, but haven’t been covered yet. In other words, show off what we know about uniquely, and what we know about before anyone else.
Once we’ve got those articles in place, we should get a double benefit from the search engines: good rankings on those searches, and links from other sites because we’re the best result they can find on a topic when they need to link to something. The second benefit will help the first, which will boost the second, and we set up what those of us who studied control engineering call a positive feedback loop …for a while at least. What’s more, any links to the site will benefit the search engine rankings of all the pages on the site. You can see how it will work.
What we need to do, however – and here’s the hard bit – is to stop concentrating on the easy, day-to-day stuff, to the exclusion of all else, and get on with identifying the real opportunities. That’s hard, and it’ll be a real slog. But we think it’ll work, and it’s one of only two ways to make a site work. The other is to spend a lot of money on advertising.
What do you know about that nobody else knows about? And what do you know that nobody else has written about yet? These are your big opportunities to make your website stand out. Don’t keep conveniently ignoring them in favour of the easy stuff.