The Waiting Game - Part 7
The final step in getting your website well listed is the waiting game. You have your site as well optimized as possible and you have some links setup to it from other websites. Now, all you can do is wait and watch.
The waiting is the hardest part because there is no way to know how long it will take to start seeing the results of all your work. We have done complete websites for clients and done all the things explained in these articles. We have seen some show up in the top 5 results for the phrases targeted in as little as 2 weeks. Then others we have seen take as long as 6 months. We have had some go right to the top and others start in the 200's. Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason to it.
If your site starts out showing in the top 50 listings then congratulations. A few more quality backlinks and a few more months and it will probably crack the top 20. With some more time it has an excellent chance of a top 10 listing.
If it starts out of the top 50 then you probably need to tweak your content with some more keyword phrase density, or more backlinks, etc. You don't have to start all over from scratch. You just need to make some slight modifications and then wait to see what effect they had. If your listings get worse then you'll know you tweaked the content in the wrong direction.
If you're not happy with your placement in the search engines and try making changes too much or too quickly then it will be significantly harder for you to figure out what the actual cause is. A simple thing like moving a search phrase to a different part of the same page could be all that is needed. It's kind of like trying to tune in a radio station that is just a bit too far away. The slightest little turn of the dial could get it crystal clear or lost and hard to find again. So be careful and patient.
Also, all the major search engines put different levels of importance on the various factors that get a site listed well. It is is not uncommon to get a good listing in one search engine and not show up anywhere in the others. The reasons why could be many. It could be that the others just haven't indexed the site yet. You have to be careful not to lose a good spot by trying to get another good spot somewhere else. It can be frustrating and tempting to try to do better in one search engine by changing something only to find that it didn't work and then you lost the good position in the other search engine.
During the first 2 years of the life of a website it is also not uncommon for any listings you have to suddenly disappear for no apparent reason. Many people make a huge mistake when it happens by panicking and trying to change the whole site to try and get the listings back. If this ever happens to you, leave everything alone for at least 6 months. Keep working on getting links to your site, but don't change anything on your phrase targeting pages.
In the 8+ years we have been working and studying search engine optimization we have seen the above happen to our own site at least 3 times. The first time it lasted about 3 months. The second time happened about a year later and it lasted about 8 months. The third time it happened about a year after that and it lasted around 6 weeks. It never happened on all the search engines at the same time. When it happened the first time we were mostly confused as to why. We just decided to ride it out and didn't change a thing. All the listings came back just as mysteriously as they disappeared. We did the same thing the other 2 times as well.
The fundamentals of good search engine optimization will never change. If you ever get good listings for any length of time and then they suddenly go away, just be patient and they'll come back eventually. In the meantime, there are other alternatives to keeping your traffic coming including more links and also pay-per-click advertising. If you ever choose to do any ppc advertising then be sure to read the article about it here first - PPC Advertising.
The last thing we want to tell you about is something of a new and relatively untested theory about one of the many supposed factors that Google has admitted to using in the algorithm that powers their search engine results.
In early 2005, Google filed a document with the U.S. Patent Office to protect the unique way that they rank sites in their search index. In that document they indicated that the length of the domain name registration period on a website is considered in determining how well that site should be listed.
The prevailing theory is that if the domain name of a website is registered for 5 years then that site is more likely to be better in some ways than another site with a domain name registered for only 1 year. At least in Google's eyes, a domain registered for more than 1 year shows a bigger commitment by the site owner to being around for the long term than someone who chose to only register their domain for only 1 year.
We chose to test this theory ourselves by renewing our own domain name registration for 10 years in advance. Prior to that we just renewed it every year before it expired. Within about 3 weeks, all of our targeted search engine listings jumped between 2 and 6 places in not only Google's search results, but also in Yahoo as well. Can we say for sure that it was all because of the extension of the domain registration period? No. In all honesty we cannot because our site has been around for a very long time and there could have been other factors that were involved in the jump. However, it's hard to deny that it didn't possibly have some impact.
So we recommend registering your domain name for as long as you possibly can afford to. Domain registration costs usually decrease for longer registration terms anyway. You might end up saving yourself some money in the long run by doing that. For more information about this particular issue and also about how to select the best domain name available for your site, be sure to read the article How To Choose Your Domain Name.
On the next and final page of this series we have linked to and briefly explained some of the third party products and services that we referred to. Some are free and others require a fee of some kind. Some are strictly for search engine optimization and others are for other marketing options that will bring visitors to your site for a price while you wait for your free seach engine listings to start showing.