One of our clients is feeling frustrated. After nine months with us, his traffic has quadrupled, he’s getting 70% more traffic from paid search and paying just half as much per click, and traffic to his contact page has tripled.
No, those things aren’t the source of his frustration. He’s frustrated because he isn’t ranking where he wants to be for his primary keyword.
As it happens, his primary keyword is highly competitive, and the top spaces are taken by companies that have had their websites live since the 20th century, whereas he launched a new site on a new domain in January. These companies are much bigger than his, too. Frankly, they deserve their higher rankings.
We’d all like to follow the simple path to high rankings: start your business, choose the most general and popular keyword, get to #1 for that keyword, relax.
It doesn’t always happen that way.
Josepha has some good advice for those times when you can’t rank for your favorite keyword:
- Focus on the long tail. Often, the top ranking site for your keyword is a much larger and more established competitor — but sometimes it’s Wikipedia. Instead of focusing entirely on rankings you’ll have trouble achieving, look for the keywords for which you deserve high rankings.
- Use paid search. Our client may not have top rankings in organic search for the keyword he wants, but with a well-crafted ad and a high quality landing page, he has a strong presence in paid search. Our goal with paid search is to decrease the cost, improve the results, and increase other sources of traffic, but paid search is unquestionable effective for the right products.
- Work with other sources of traffic. In addition to organic and paid search, social media, email marketing, and linkbuilding can all be valuable sources of traffic. An integrated plan that includes all of these elements will get the best results.
“Be realistic,” Josepha reminds us, “but also be persistent.” A quality website, frequent content creation, and time are the perfect recipe for online marketing success. The simple truth for most businesses is that many if not most of your online competitors will give up. Just as most small businesses close their doors within their first five years, many of those companies that outrank you now will be gone if you’re consistent and persistent.
Remember, too, that those rankings are averages. Our client may not be ranking where he wants for that primary keyword, but it is still the top keyword in terms of search traffic coming to his website, and organic search is still the main source of traffic to the site. That means that his efforts are paying off,regardless of his rankings. Your traffic, conversions, and sales tell you more than your rankings.