Why you should keep going even if you don’t seem to be getting much traction.
When you create your company website, or social media pages, you are likely to be excited at the prospect of a new flow of customers to your business. Every industry will have its examples of start up websites that have built up huge traffic numbers and social followings.
In the oil and gas business we see examples such as my favorite oil and gas industry website, Oilpro.com. Here is a graph showing a substantial increase in search visibility:
It comes from an SEO monitoring tool that I use all the time, Semrush. Here is the link to the result: https://www.semrush.com/info/oilpro.com?db=us
Without going into too many details, or to risk confusion, this chart tracks the number of search terms showing in the United States Google search results. So, this isn’t currently in the region of 10,000 visitors, it is 10,000 different search phrases!! Imagine that this is your website, the period from late 2013 to July 2014 might have been tough. Around December 2013 it might have seemed like you were going backwards! But then growth roughly triples/quadruples in the last 12 months as the site takes off.
This companies website has plenty of visitors and the audience is now established. How do we get to this stage? Where a new post can get 10,000 views or 100 comments?
The problem is that when a website is new, it doesn’t have the necessary authority signals for the search engines to rank new content highly enough for people to see it. New social media pages simply don’t have enough potential eyeballs on them for the viral process to take place. There needs to be a ‘critical mass’ of authority and viewers for the rich rewards to come.
Here is the challenge:
So, between the brand new stage, and the viral stage, there is a gulf, a wilderness, a no-mans land of fear and anxiety. The fear is that your work will never pay off and you are simply wasting time and money.
Unfortunately, some of your online efforts will not work out. We test and scale what works and abandon what doesn’t. As we progress we develop knowledge of how our business proposition works in an online venue. We learn lessons as we progress.
The majority of intrepid internet explorers get lost in this wilderness and efforts stall. The potential rewards are huge, the mechanism for this to happen is obvious to all. But how do we get through the wilderness of fear and uncertainty?
Here are a few points to consider, to help you stay focused and on track.
- Sometimes it will feel like we are not getting anywhere because 99% of people who see something or read something to not take any action at all. When you are surfing the web, how often do you go through the process of making a comment on a blog? How often do you see something that you enjoy on Facebook, but don’t even click the ‘like’ button? Remember that the majority of people who notice and enjoy your message will not let you know about it. It could be that in 1 or 2 years time, a regular reader of your updates will need your product or service and will come to you. The time will be right for them. They will be a stranger to you, but they will feel like they know you already because you have appeared in their social media stream alongside their friends and colleagues.
- Even those people who see our tweets, but don’t click on them will keep seeing your brand name, alongside a sensible comment and relevant content. Every update, blog post, and share will help you chip away at the task of creating a brand. This is similar to the traditional advertising billboards and TV adverts. Most of them do not have a ‘special offer’ or a telephone number to ‘call now’. In fact many are put off by this, these types of overt sales commercials tend to appear on tacky shopping channels. Advertisers have realised the benefits of regular brand messages for a long time. Nowadays it is likely that a commuter sat in a taxi will be looking at their smartphone, not outside at billboards.
- The way that the search engines work involve an algorithm scoring system. Googles algorithm is reported to have 200+ ranking factors. It is very common for websites to ‘pop’ and take a big leap higher in ranking. Quite often a more established website starts ranking for hundreds of related search terms all at the same time. To make an analogy, we all know how credit scores work. You will get points for how many years you have lived at the same address, and how many years that you have been with the same bank. Your score will be effected by whether you have any default records or court judgements against you for non payment of debts and so on. All these factors add up to a score. When you are 16 years old and at school, you can’t get credit. When you start work, you should be able to get a credit card and a small overdraft. After a couple of years of handling your finances well, the chances are your credit rating will ‘pop’ and you will be able to get a car loan and a mortgage. This is the same as with the search algorithms. Progress can be slow for 6 months to a year, possibly more. If you keep committed to your goal, at some point, your website will be established enough that Google will ‘trust’ the content that you have posted there.
- Almost all of what you are doing online will have benefit for years to come. The editorial links that you have earned through doing good business will continue to link to your site and send referrals. The charts, research papers or instructional videos will be found by people that find them helpful. This could include the next generation of clients or peers for your particular industry sub-niche. Remember that the next generations will be far more tech savvy. If you want your business to grow, you need to embrace future trends, even if some of them seem alien or even incomprehensible to you right now.