If you’re worried about changing your website, web pages or domain name for fear that it’ll affect your rankings on the search engines, first ask yourself do you have any rankings to worry about?!
I recently consulted a small business owner who wanted advice with his web marketing. In particular he was ‘worried about the search engines’.
He was setting up a blog, and wanted to know if adding it to his current domain name as a sub-domain (so it would be http://blog.company.com) would affect his rankings on Google and other popular search engines.
I asked the obvious question, “What rankings do you currently have?”
His immediate reply was “Oh, actually, none at the moment!”
Now this fellow operates in a very competitive online industry.
The search engine phrases he would need to focus on to get a high volume of traffic would be nigh on impossible to get good rankings for. Unless he was prepared to put a lot of time and effort in, or pay good money for a top SEO consultant.
He told me he wasn’t going to do any of that, for various reasons (with the main one being his cashflow.)
So, after this brief dialogue we both came to the obvious conclusion… why worry about the search engines when his site didn’t stand a chance of getting ranked for phrases anyway?!
As a result, he’s going to host his blog wherever the hell he wants!
He’s not going to worry about Google, and instead is going to focus on proactive ways to drive traffic to his site.
I suspect that approach will generate more traffic, sooner, than spending up to hundreds or hours (or thousands of pounds) and waiting months, in the hope that Google will send decent volume of free traffic to his site.
Similarly, other business owners have grabbed me in a break at various seminars I’ve spoken at to ask some of the most detail-oriented questions about search engine optimisation.
Fastidious questions like ‘How many images should my articles have in them?’, or ‘How long do my articles need to be to beat my competitors’, and so on.
While there no doubt are specific answers to these questions, if Google change their algorithms, (as they frequently do) then those answers could change overnight anyway.
Worrying about things like this will prevent you from making rapid progress with your online marketing, and it’ll delay or even prevent you from getting results with it all.
Are YOU worried about the Search Engines?
I’m not saying you shouldn’t include SEO in your marketing mix. Quite the contrary.
If you operate in a niche industry and don’t have many competitors—or if you sell locally rather than nationally—then it could be very easy for you to get to the top of Google for key phrases.
However, if you’re a national firm and operate in broad industries, you would probably be better off starting with with paid advertising to bring traffic to your web site.
My advice to any small business owner—unless you’re either an S.E.O. guru—or actually work inside Google and have direct access to their algorithm (ha ha) is to get your sites online, start adding content and use proactive tactics to get targeted prospects on to them.
Because the more content you add, the more your rankings will naturally increase anyway.
You just need to write and publish consistently.