5-Minute SEO School: How Do I Compete?
All right, everyone. Sit down, grab a cup of coffee, and prepare to be honest. Show of virtual hands: How many of us have felt like we’re unable to compete with all the other websites and companies out there?
We’d be willing to guess that most of you have felt this way at one time or another (if you haven’t, you’re either the kind of person who hits the jackpot after playing the lotto once, or you’re the kind of person who has unceasing self-esteem; in the latter case, we commend you and wish you’d share your secrets with the rest of us). If so, there are a few bits of advice we’d like to share with you.
Hard Work Almost Always Pays Off
There are two key ideas to remember when working with SEO: 1) hard work is REQUIRED for success, and 2) you have to do that hard work for a long time. You can read more about number two below. For now, we’ll focus on number one.
Hard work almost always pays off in SEO because it’s pretty hard for search engines to ignore a well-executed SEO plan. If you know what you’re doing (or if you’re working with people who do) then you WILL see results. The only time hard work won’t pay off is if you’re doing something shady (like buying links or followers) or if you’re confusing the search engines (for example, by constantly changing your keywords and content). That’s the beautiful thing about SEO—while there’s no exact formula for success, we do know a lot about it. We can play by the rules and maximize our chances for success by simply educating ourselves and putting regular effort into our marketing plans.
It Takes Time
Can you guess what the average age of the top 10 sites on the FIRST page of search results is?
Between 1.5 and 2.5 years. And most pages are actually at least 3 years old.
Did you read that right? It says YEARS. That means that if you just started a website, you can’t expect to rank on page one immediately.
Now, let’s not confuse this with how long it takes to rank. Just because the top-ranking pages are typically older does not mean that it MUST take that long to rank. With targeted SEO and competing in the right categories, sites can rank in about 60-180 days. But that requires dedicated work with professionals (and hey, that’s what we’re here for!).
Focus on Local If You Can
If you are a local company, it might seem even more daunting to try to achieve a page one ranking. But the news is much better than you might imagine: when you’re local, you have a much better chance of ranking higher than you would if you were competing with national brands (and their enormous marketing budgets).
When someone local searches for products and services that your company offers, you want to show up in the search results. Ideally, you will want to shoot for the 3-pack, which is a coveted spot and much tougher to nab. The 3-pack is that little section at the top of the search results that highlights the top three search results:
So, as you can see, it would be fantastic to rank in this section, but it is definitely NOT necessary for great website traffic. You can still reap rewards if you rank below it.
[Not familiar with the 3-pack? Check out our article here to learn more!]
We hope this has helped you feel a little better about your ranking prospects. It gets overwhelming--we understand! But there's no need to feel like it's all just too difficult. You'll get there. With time, effort, and dedication, you can rank on page one.
But if you want to get there a little faster, just give us a call. :)