One of the biggest mistakes I see business owners make with digital marketing - SEO in particular - is failing to be "consistent and persistent".
There's an expectation or a belief that you can put up a website, write some content and start ranking overnight.
This inevitably leads to giving up - often when good results are just around the corner.
I'll let you in on a secret - SEO is a grind.
If you need quick leads/sales, then you need to look first to paid digital advertising (Adwords, Facebook Ads etc - these platforms can drive new customers to your business in hours, if done right).
SEO - in my humble opinion - is a long-term proposition.
It takes persistence (i.e. not giving up) and consistence (doing more of the right things) to see the best possible results.
Short of being able to tap up big/established sites for backlinks, if you're relying on content + occasional links (like many businesses do) then you need to have a longer-term mindset.
Attached to this post is a Google Analytics traffic stats image from a website I've been building up over the past couple of years.
My approach to this site was simple, I wanted to build a site and see how I could grow it doing only three things:
1) Writing keyword-focused content that solves people's problems, and is better than what other people are creating. Note - better does not just mean longer. Better means better presented, more informative, better insights etc.
2) Ensuring my content ticks the boxes for basic on-page SEO. To be honest, I don't even focus on this too much. I could probably do a better job at this, but I'm happy enough that the key elements are there.
3) Creating content consistently and persistently. I've got over 100 unique articles on the site now, and adding at least 2-3 more each month (on average).
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I haven't done any paid promotion, any active link building, anything advanced at all. If this site was a client of mine's, I would have a few choice words to say about its marketing.
But remember, this was a test. I started out over 2 years ago to see how much I could grow traffic for some fairly competitive keywords without doing anything else but adding keyword-rich content that solves problems.
I now have a site that ranks on page 1 for most of its keywords, and frequently hits page 1 or 2 within a couple of days of launching a new piece of content. See the rankings snapshot to see what I mean.
I fully expect this site to keep growing if I keep doing what I'm doing.
But it's been two years of patiently chipping away to get where I am now.
Are you going into content-driven SEO with a sufficiently long-term mindset?
** So What Should You Do? **
If you want to make consistent gains to your SEO and organic traffic over time - and you don't have the resources to undertake an effective link building campaign - here's a very basic guide:
1) Identify the keywords you want/need to be targeting for your business (if you don't know how to do this, contact me)
2) Plan out the content you can create to target these
keywords. Remember, content for its own sake that doesn't teach/inform/engage is not a good thing BUT if you can provide value in the process, then it's all good.
3) Create that content and keep adding it to your site. Present it nicely, make it entertaining etc.
4) Understand that Rome wasn't built in a day. You are going to have to stick at this to see the best possible results.
5) Ensure your basic technical and on-page SEO is good. Applying a content-driven approach to a site that has poor structure is like trying to walk the wrong way up an escalator - you might get there, but it's going to take longer than necessary.
6) Have a system in place for tracking how you're performing - I recommend using a basic software like Serplab.co.uk
7) Keep pushing - you'll feel like your spinning your wheels a bit at the start, but over time you will most likely see results.
8) Don't neglect other channels - social media, word of mouth, paid advertising etc. My example site was a test and I could afford to be patient. Your business probably can't wait that long. So use the other tools in your arsenal to reinforce your long-term SEO gains.
Think about this content-led approach to SEO like a Kiwisaver account. You won't get rich overnight, but over time your nest egg should continue to grow and reap rich rewards.
Your business website is an investment. Treat it as such.
As always, reach out if you need any help with this.