A Few Web Publishing Tips for New Sites

By: Daniel Imbellino
Feb 18, 2014

Over the course of this previous year, I’ve heard constant cries from webmasters that theircomputer keyboard with seo button sites aren’t getting indexed, or in some cases are getting indexed but aren’t scoring for almost any keywords, and it doesn’t appear search engines are returning their content in search results at all. Some have stated they had to wait as long as 8 months before they were ever properly indexed by Google and saw their content actually score for anything. This phenomenon is known as the “Google Sandbox!” For those who are just starting out, don’t worry, I’ve been down this same road myself, and I’m going to help you to speed up the indexing, performance, and ranking processes of your site with some useful web publishing tips.

Understanding How Google Views New Sites:

For starters, since Google implemented massive changes to their search algorithms throughout the previous year, it appears a majority of websites are taking what feels like forever to appear in organic search results. For new sites and those who aren’t yet experienced with internet based technologies, getting indexed and ranking can be a problematic process. The reason is, Google has gotten a lot more stringent with its system of checks and balances for new domains, and until you have other credible domains linking back to yours, the odds of ranking are slim to none. The problem isn’t that search engines aren’t indexing you it’s that they don’t trust you, and you need to give them a reason too. Once a few trusted domains start linking to your site, Google will slowly start to allow you to rank for some keywords in organic search.

The question is if no one knows you exist because you don’t rank for anything, how do you get others to take notice of you to begin with, much less actually link to you? Well, unless you have deep pockets and can pay for advertising options like Adwords, you’re going to need to find another way to get the word out, the answer social media! The problem here is if you don’t gain traction on social media, and no one is taking notice to your content, then you’re on a road to nowhere. I spent the whole last year reading post after post on Google+ of people claiming it’s impossible to get others on social media to link to you. This very website is proof those who made that statement are truly wrong.

One thing I will mention, while this site has plenty of credible domains linking to it, the ratio of page views to links pointed at the site are about 400 to 1, not counting links from social media, and only counting links from external domains. This means I can expect one person to make one link to this site for every 400 times it’s been viewed on the web. Believe it or not, this is actually a very good ratio of page views to actual links being made. The results for others will vary wildly depending on a number of factors. The point here is social media does work for attaining high quality back links to your site, unfortunately about 90% of those who attempt to get back links this way actually fail to do so, simply because they failed to get anyone to take notice of their content.

Either way, if the content is really good, trust me, people will link to it! That being said, you may want to reevaluate your purpose of being on the web in the first place. Is your purpose to make money, or is your purpose to pursue something you really enjoy and are passionate about? If your entire goal online is doing business and making money, you better not quit your day job, because I promise it’s never going to happen!

Hire an SEO and Web Developer:

Yes, if you aren’t tech savvy, you definitely will need to get the help and seek the opinion of a qualified web developer and SEO. This isn’t enough though! To make sure things are in proper running order with your site, seek a second opinion from an additional SEO specialist and Web developer. Keep in mind, if you aren’t the tech savvy professional as I mentioned above, then you effectively have no way to tell whether or not what the SEO specialist or web developer says and does is actually effective, much less true and correct at all. Hiring just one of each won’t cut it! More than 80% of all SEO’s on the web could not optimize a Frisbee much less your website, because they’re lying to get your money. Likewise, many web developers are not as experienced as they claim to be, although they tend to be a little more honest than your average SEO in my experience.

Another reason to get a second opinion on your site is because the SEO and web developers you hire, even if they are experienced, may accidentally have overlooked some important aspects of your site or content that could seriously have negative consequences in terms of performance and ranking. You don’t want to cut corners, as you are competing against a world or people who either already do rank, or want to rank as well. Large publishers tend to have whole teams of SEO’s and web developers at their disposal for this very reason. They don’t want problems large or small to impact their performance on the web, and you shouldn’t either, regardless of the cost, and trust me it won’t be cheap. Then again who in their right mind would want to spend tens of thousands of hours learning all this stuff like I did? I don’t recommend it.

Know What to Implement on Your Website:

Make sure you get an XML site map and have it submitted to Google, and while you’re at it, make sure you have an HTML site map no matter what! I saw a huge increase in rank after implementing one on this very site, which is available from the front page. If your site is content based (meaning you aren’t selling a product or service, but rather producing articles) then you will want to get an integrated search engine for your website, and make sure it’s available from every page on your site. Also make sure your social buttons work, if they don’t, then get them working or just throw in the towel. Without working social buttons you can forget ever getting those much needed back links from social media as I pointed out above.

Another great option that will have an effect on ranking is the implementation of a custom 404 error page that provides not only a link back to the homepage, but maybe a few links to popular posts on your website. While this one is purely optional, and you can still rank without it, I recommend it.

Build Social Status and an Engaging and Dedicated Audience:

Regardless of your interests there’s the opportunity for everyone to build engaging social channels on networks like Google+, such as brand pages and communities. As your social channels grow you can benefit from the traffic they bring. Google+ pages provide a dedicated social channel that only you have control over! You literally dictate what people see in their home streams with brand pages. Communities on the other hand help to build relationships with others who share your interests, as well as provide you with a prominent place to post a link to your own site. By the way, those people who share your common interests may have their own websites, and many of them may link to yours, exactly what you want. The really good part about this is that, being as they share your same interests, it’s likely their websites content is centered on the same subjects as yours, and links from relevant content on relevant sites offer a boost of page rank, also something you need. The more relevant the links, the higher they're weighted. The less relevance between links, the less they are weighted, and too many non relevant links could actually hurt your website.

Build Links Yourself:

Yes, you can build your own links you just have to know how to go about it the right way. In one case this past Halloween I came across Halloween.com’s website while surfing the net to find new games for our site when I happened to realize they had a games section. I thought, what a coincidence, we have a Halloween games section too! While the site locked anyone from posting without a moderator’s approval, I submitted a link for our Halloween games. About 2 days later I received an email that my post was approved and a nice welcome from a moderator. That being said, sometimes it’s just a matter of reaching out to other relevant sites on the web and building relationships with them whenever possible.

While building links on your own is perfectly fine, don’t go crazy with it! It’s not about how many links you can build in how short of a time period, but rather what quality links you can build that have real relevance between the content that is being linked together. In the case of Halloween.com, their entire domain, and their game section were both relevant to the games section on my site, a huge plus, and a link from a high ranking domain back to mine as a result. I even found some cool games to play while I was there, and by providing a link from their games section back to mine, there users will have more options for more games to play when viewing that section of their site, an added benefit to everyone involved.

Produce New Content Often:

Not only should you be producing new content on a regular basis, but make sure that content is prominently linked and displayed on your front page. The last thing you want is a bunch of outdated content that is several months old flashing in people’s faces. The reason I know this is because I’ve done this myself, and the results of this on ranking aren’t good. Search engines seem to reward sites that feature fresh new content on their front page often, vs. sites that feature outdated content.

Another note here, the average website tends to carry the most page rank on the front page of the site. While I mentioned having outdated content there is bad, it can be good to display links to your most popular content, regardless of its age. The reason being is that the most popular content often tends to be the highest ranking. So if you have an article that ranks spot number 7 in search results, posting a link to it from the front page of your site could effectively drive more page rank to that content, pulling it up several spots in search results. I do this myself at times, and it does work! If that content starts to become outdated, update it and add a few additional and informative notes to help keep it relevant.

Also, make sure you date all of your content! I’ve read too many posts where the author states that you shouldn’t include a date in your articles so that search engines won’t know when it was created. Too bad they didn’t realize that search engines like Google actually time stamp your content the first time they crawl it, they know how old it is. One of the things that frustrate internet users the most, including myself, is to come across content on the web that has not been properly dated. This is just bad news for users who are searching for time sensitive information, such as when someone is searching for web design tutorials or a college student is searching for up to date information regarding something they are researching. Some content such as games like the ones on this site, are not necessarily time sensitive, the content is unlikely to change, and so you don’t need to include a date for when they were authored.

Those who manage to make use of the advice I mentioned above will perform perfectly fine and achieve a good jumpstart on their ranking. Those who don’t will be in for a big surprise. While the statement I made to hire more than one SEO specialist and web developer may have seemed a little extreme, based on my years of experience in information technology it definitely is not, unless you know how to do this stuff yourself. By hiring an SEO and web developer this will allow you more time to focus on your actual business, and less time frustrating yourself on how to make something work that you have no knowledge about, although it never hurts to learn something new.

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