There are over 968 million websites online and from 2013 to to 2014 the number of websites online jumped 44%. that is an additional 590 million sites! So when it comes to ranking new websites, along with the older more established domains, search engines have a bit of a situation.
SEO professionals generally like to start with an older and more established domain, that either has never done SEO before, or at least has not done anything black hat, and is in a good position for growth. But for a new domain, the first year can be slow. Search engines actually do this intentionally. Think of it this way, if a new vendor showed up at your business and you did know anything about them would you immediately recommend them to the world as the best! Nope.
This makes it hard for the SEO company and the client in some cases if expectations are not set properly. In most cases, it is a good idea to also do PPC in tandem with SEO so leads can be generated while SEO is ramping up. In this post, I talk about why the first year is so hard for new website SEO. It is still of course a good idea to do SEO, but this post outlines this scenario so that people know what to expect.
There is no domain history
First, with a new site there is no domain history. Meaning, this domain has not even been found by good and added to the index yet. This means good has no rankings for the domain. It might not even be on the first 100 pages when searching for the domain name. So step one is getting the domain found and indexed. With an older domain, Google is aware of it and there is already credibility.
You have small social media communities that are not active
With a brand new site, you usually are also still just starting to build your communities. You might not have a Facebook, Twitter or Google + following. You also might not have a qualified email list yet. This is an issue because if you share a post on social or via an email, it gets no interactions. Google likes to see social shares and likes (although they don’t directly admit this). Also, in many cases getting content in front of a community leads to backlinks, which of course are critical to search engine optimization.
The website doesn’t have many pages
If you don’t have many pages and posts, then you don’t have many URLs that are optimized for keywords. In addition, you don’t have many things for people to link to externally. When we do SEO, we generally like to create large sites that address all the potential terms the client wants to rank for. With a new site all of this needs to be built out.
The website does not have UGC
User generated content adds to content length, content freshness and shows search engines that people are using the site and the content is quality. When the website has no user generated content, this element is missing.
There are not enough links
External links are really important for SEO. New websites generally don’t have any of these. Furthermore, generating links in a white hat way can be hard work. You really have to earn them through good content and by making a name for yourself in one way or another. If you try to cut corners it will catch up to you.
You have to figure out your keywords
New websites don’t always know the keywords they want to go after. This means you need to do keyword analysis, assignments and there is always a little trial and error. In many cases, it is a good idea to run a PPC campaign first so that you can find your most valuable keywords before spending months optimizing for them.
You need to figure out your value proposition
Unless they are veteran online marketing professionals, most people who are new to online business run into a little learning curve. Outside of flawed business models and other general beginner issues, one common problem is a less than well defined value proposition. It is literally amazing how much of a difference one sentences makes on a home page for conversion rates. I have worked with company’s that have invested significant money split testing different text and images. When you are a new company to online, you don’t have this data and will probably need to play with your value proposition, calls to actions and more.
Others have been in the space for a long time
You are a new domain who wants to rank of the first page of Google in the next 3 to 6 months. But the issue is, the people who are on the first page for the terms you are going after have been working for 5 or 10 years to get there. Ignite Visibility, our company, didn’t get ranked on the first page for our hyper-competitive terms over night. We earned it the hard way and beat out the competition fair and square. But it wasn’t easy, because there are other people out there working hard as well.
You cant cut corners
At the end of the day, your first couple years lay the foundation for everything you will do in online marketing. You don’t want to cut corners on content or links. You want to have a well defined plan and execute on it, building gradually over time. The first year of SEO is really a building year for a brand new domain. Sure you will start to have some wins in months 3 through 12. But they will be gradual. If you try to force it, it can hurt the longevity of the website. Good luck with your new site!