Friday, June 17, 2011

The SEO Waiting Game : Domain Age, Authority, and the Long-Tail

As a Mac webmaster you can do 1001 things right: Find a good, high-traffic niche, get a keyword loaded domain, build a multipage site with diverse and strong On-Page keyword usage, and promote it with a diverse set of backlinks. And yet your site may still just flat-line and not respond to your best efforts. Or so it seems...

Pictured above: An example of what happens when Goog finally lets a site out of the 'sandbox'. Sometimes it happens as it crosses the 3/6/9 month - or 1 year mark. In this case; a site for Apple compatible printers for Mac and iOS devices. For a _full year_ this site has struggled to rank for anything but an Exact Match Domain keyword: 'Mac Compatible Printers'. Bing & Yahoo have ranked this site well for a long time, but Goog just never allowed ANY other exact match keyword or phrase-match keywords onto Page 1 - for a full year. Until today, when the floodgate of keywords opened and traffic exploded. From a few dozen hits - to hundreds upon hundreds - on one magic day.

Will the new traffic and Page 1 rankings for more long-tail phrases last? Ya never know. Sometimes Goog will 'open up' to your site periodically, sample it, but then send your traffic right back down after a week or so. But in the process, you'll often settle down to slightly HIGHER levels than before the jump. And that's a good thing: MORE of your keywords have worked their way to somewhere on Page 1. And once you do get there, the additional traffic will tend to KEEP you there.

The takeaways from this example: 1. Time is your (somewhat painful) ally, just keep relentlessly improving your site in the interim as the site ages. 2. Trust your keyword and traffic research and keep writing about what you KNOW people want. 3. You often won't truly know a sites FULL potential until it's at least a year old. 4. Keep building backlinks! Keep blogging, commenting, Tweeting, submitting to directories, social bookmarking, writing articles... These will provide a sustainable 'baseline of traffic' that's free from the whims of search engines like Google.

One last notion: Going after the general notion of 'Printers for Apple Computers' may ultimately be simply TOO COMPETITIVE of a market to go after - slugging it out with HP, Canon, Lexmark, Best-Buy, Amazon and for Page One ain't an easy thing. But ask anyone who's succeeded in going after things like 'Weight Loss' or 'Mortgage Refinance' or 'Nintendo Games' whether the long, slow struggle was worth it. Sucessful SEO and Internet Marketing demands patience, hard work, faith, and time. If your niche has a big audience - you WILL be rewarded as long as you don't give up.