It happens all the time. People buy a domain, put up websites they think are better than their competitors’ and then just can’t understand why other sites outrank theirs. They push too hard, copy what other sites are doing, and then are baffled when their rankings tank. I worked for this type of e-commerce company and learned from their mistakes. So, if this description fits your expectations, please read on.
Design and Rankings
Okay, it’s time to get over thinking that your amazing web design is reason enough for people to prefer your website. Sure, a great design will appeal to visitors and will make you look like a professional company. Easy navigation will keep visitors on your site longer and fast loading pages will help deter back clicks. But, as far as rankings are concerned, there is much more than looks involved. When you right click on your mouse and select “view source,” then you’re looking at what the search engines care about. It’s the skeleton of your website. The search engines know which content to attribute to your template and when there is actually original content from one page to another. They know when you copy the manufacturers’ description for every product. As cool as your site may look, if you’re not presenting something better than your competitor’s sites’, the search engines don’t have a reason to rank your site higher.
Copying the Competition
Yes, you can learn from observing the things that make your competition successful. But, remember, when you copy what your competitor does right, you are also copying what your competitor does wrong. What your competitor does wrong may not be getting your competitor in trouble today, but if there are tricks involved, it’s a safe bet your competitor could get in trouble when a future algorithm update occurs.
Worrying About New Sites Ranking
This is the big one I heard about all the time. The company owner was furious when a brand new site came along and outranked his site. The best advice I can give you here is: relax. That site is enjoying a brief debut in the rankings while the search engines are exploring the site’s behavior. Chances are, that site won’t be showing up for that ranking for very long.
Safe Ways to Promote a New Site
New website owners are anxious to bring traffic in, but the wrong approach will land the site in Google’s sandbox where it will sit for months. Rather than focus on building links to a new site, you’re better off finding ways to encourage natural links. While many new business owners want to postpone social networking until a later date or cannot think how social networking will translate into sales, sharing your quality content will encourage others to link to it. Network with others in groups or complimentary fan pages. You might discover a cross-promotion opportunity.
When you do build your own links, start out with brand links, i.e. http://www.yourdomain.com, www.yourdomain.com, yourdomain.com, or your domain. If your business is a local one, get your business citations out there with business listing websites and network in community groups answering questions related to your business. Join associations related to your niche. These often provide high quality links.
Staying safe and experiencing steady growth may make you anxious, but you are far better off experiencing slow growth than risking harming your website. Familiarize yourself with the Google webmaster tools guidelines and focus the majority of your energy on making your website deserve to rank higher than your competitors. Improve the quality of your product pages, choosing your most popular products first. It’s a lot of work, but doing a good job of it will pay off.
Theresa Happe works with BuyDomains.com, a website where you’ll find available and premium domain names for sale, hosting services, registration, and excellent agent assistance.
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