Getting a new site listed on Google

Post by 
Phil Holt
Last Updated: 
March 28, 2021
T

his blog is how we make it happen. We have set ourselves the task to rank on page #1 of Google for 6 keywords. These are local search keywords, such as "web design Macclesfield" and so on.

At the start of this challenge (January 2021) we are not ranking for any of these terms as our domain name is new and the competitor environment is tough). At the outset of the project I did some initial keyword research to establish 6-10 high demand search terms and from this establish the extent of local, online competition. I have identified 16 online competitors that I will have to out-perform in Google for high value search terms.

Marketing at it's core is about differentiation and how you add value profitably for you and your customers by understanding and fulfilling customer needs. It's clearly more than just optimisations and rankings, but also about being 'on-message' for the the type of customers we want to attract.

So my strategy comprises the following component parts:

  • Populate the website with relevant content for a local audience
  • Ensure the site does not suffer any technical penalties from Google
  • Get listed in relevant online directories
  • Construct well-written page titles, headings and Meta descriptions
  • Register with Google My Business and complete a business profile
  • Add Google Analytics and measure our results each week
  • Optimise the site to improve our rankings

Each week I will post an update on my progress:

Week 1:

This week has been all about getting the building blocks for SEO in place. This means setting up content plans, social media accounts, technical on-page audits, a strategy for obtaining client reviews, directory listings and backlinks and setting up systems to track competitor activity. It sounds a lot, and it is, but these are the core elements of a successful SEO campaign. I know it will take time and I like to work in a structured way, so getting all my 'ducks in a row' in important.

Results after 1 week

Technical and auditing tools are now set up. After running several audits we have fixed a few issues around optimisation, page load times and removed duplicate Meta content. We've also listed the business on several key directories, including YELL.com, and set up competitor tracking to see how others are performing in what is always a fluid environment. After 1 week we are already ranking in Google's top 100 for 5 of our desired keywords.

Above chart shows increase in number of keywords ranking in Google top 100 after first week.

Week 2:

This week has focused on two things: refining the keywords in our page titles and improving the number and quality of our backlinks.

It's fair to say, that progress has been slow. But this shouldn't be surprising as it's a new site, with currently low domain authority. Our strategy if very much to focus on the things we can control and if we stick to the basics, then we should see a steady improvement across the board.

The SEO basics

  • Adding new content every week
  • Fixing any technical SEO issues
  • Aligning keywords in page titles, content and Meta to align with keyword research
  • Set up auditing and reporting
  • Test, refine and repeat
Week 2: We're now ranking in the top 100 for 14 keywords. We're now ranking on page one for brand search.

Weeks 3 & 4

We are now starting the see the 'green-shots' of organic growth and visibility for our targeted keywords. If you compare the above keyword ranking distribution table with the one below, you'll see that we are now ranking better in most areas.

The main gains are:

  • we now are ranking on page 2 of Google for 5 different keywords (it was zero a month a few weeks ago)
  • we are now ranking for 7 keywords, compared with 4

These are promising gains that are resulting in more traffic to the site, but we need to do a lot more over the comings weeks and months to dominate Google for our desired keywords - those that we believe will deliver the sales leads into the company.

In preparation for these visitors we have improved our landing pages and CTAs (Calls to Action) and added integration with our CRM platform. This is useful in providing more analytical insights, which we will go into more detail on the next post.

Weeks 5 & 6

It's taken six weeks to reach our goal. We are now ranking on page #1 of Google for the six keywords that we set out to rank for.

We are also now out-ranking 10 local competitors for the same, important keywords. These are keywords that our research confirmed would drive the most relevant traffic to our site.

The chart below shows the impact on our visibility in Google search for those keywords since the start of our SEO campaign six weeks ago.

From 0% visibility at the start of January to over 11% visibility in Google Search within six weeks

Summary

What this exercise has proved, is that it's possible, within a relatively short period of time, for a new business to compete with established businesses within Google Search.

A well-planned SEO campaign can make a big difference to the volume and quality of leads that reach your business. The process we followed is listed below:

  • Keyword Research
  • On-page, technical optimisations
  • Directory listings
  • Local pack SEO
  • Monitoring movements and adjusting Meta settings
  • Continual content improvements
  • Setting up social channels and connecting to the site
  • Establishing back links
  • Fixing any technical issues that would impact SEO
  • Improving page performance (compressing files and images)

What Next?

So, this initial campaign has successfully concluded, but it doesn't end here. In fact, this is just the beginning. SEO is a continual process of optimisation. Over the next 3-6 months we plan to improve content, continue to back links and improve our domain authority.

Hopefully, this blog, has been informative and useful and shows that any local business can improve it's online visibility by folllowing a well planned and structured campaign of SEO activities.

Our follow on Blog will be about Marketing Attribution and how we can prove which marketing channels deliver the best ROI for you business.

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