A few months back, I set out with an important goal. I had just been let go from a good marketing role, and I knew it would be an uphill battle to find another one in this economy, especially with limited experience. Since video games and unemployment weren’t my thing, I decided to take my domain name off the back-burner and do something about my dilemma. I wanted my name out there and I wanted to prove that this 22 year old knows a thing or two about inbound marketing.
I tried solving problems that I had never considered before. At first, I made a few rookie mistakes like not realizing the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. I obsessed over things like the site loading time, usability and social networks integration and I found solutions-all within my total budget of less than $100. Though I enjoyed that search and destroy problem-solving, it wasn’t all fun and games. I saw firsthand how one misplaced comma can crash a website, and in a flurry I learned how to use an FTP to fix it. There was a quick learning curve for the dedicated and thankfully my efforts were well spent. I wanted to own my site, I wanted it to be fast, and wanted Google to like it (or plus one if you will). I’m happy to say that over the past three months, my strategy has prevailed.
To get my name out there, I decided to focus on two keywords- my brand name MrRyanConnors and my name Ryan Connors. I knew the clever folks at Google use hundreds of factors to determine relevancy for searches and simply using the URL www.mrryanconnors.com was not enough. I was up against established sites like my own LinkedIn and Twitter, and even a longtime photographer named Ryan Connors and an adult entertainer. While I wasn’t exactly trying to rank for “World’s Greatest Marketer,” no SEO trickery or meta tag was going to make or break my efforts.
My strategy has been simple and it is has three pillars:
1) Content – without provided good information, there is simply no reason for anyone to visit or link to your website.
2) Promotion – if people don’t see your content, the will never know they want to visit or link to your site.
3) Consistency – it doesn’t happen overnight. People will only become regulars after a few visits and in order to make that happen they need a reason. See #1
Whenever I create a new post, I make sure to ping Google to let it know to crawl my site, and I submit a new sitemaps for good measure. Additionally, I added the author rich snippets a while back to ensure my photogenic smile would also show up in the search results. Though I’m not personally a fan of Google Plus, I make an effort to +1 everything I create because I considered the crazy idea that Google might value its own social network for its own search engine. Not too farfetched right? I also tweet, like and add the content my LinkedIn profile and groups. Slowly but surely, I’ve built my daily website visitors up from zero.
Another great tactic I’ve used is reposting the articles onto relevant and established websites like www.socialmediatoday.com and www.business2community.com. Granted they don’t have to publish everyone, but if you provide great content, you should get some traction and get your name out there. It’s a win-win relationship with the publishers because they get free content for their visitors and advertisers for a return of credibility and name recognition. While it’s cause for concern, it’s good to know the duplicate content shouldn’t hurt your original source if everything is set up properly. At the early stages, the exposure to greater networks and well-placed back links are tremendously helpful.
From what I’ve learned, it doesn’t take gimmick and trickery to get to the top. You can buy back links and hope that Google doesn’t blacklist you, or you can give the customers the quality information that they want. Focus on the customers and the keywords you’re aiming for and work a strategy based on the successes of those before you- it’s worked for me and it will be just as valid for those who start today. Forge relationships, track your results, and keep the momentum alive from the 10th page all the way to the front.
Three of the first four results out of over 4 million on Google for Ryan Connors are about me, and not surprisingly, all 10 results for MrRyanConnors are too. My mission has been accomplished but now I have greater goals that continue the momentum. While it may take you longer than a few months to get your desired results, you simply can’t afford digital irrelevancy in the age of information. It’s true that most keywords will be harder to rank for, but the simple concepts of SEO still apply. Start owning your keywords today.