Author Bio: Joel Ohman is a Certified Financial Planner? and serial entrepreneur. Some of his most recent web projects include a website with a bunch of easy to use tools for finding great domain names and a website that makes it easy to compare car insurance online. He is a newcomer to NickThrolson.com and would encourage you to check out the recent post from Nick with a review of Fiverr.
The acid test for any website in any market is quite simply if you can objectively take a look at your site as compared to the other top sites in your market and then ask yourself the question: “Is my website honestly the best website out of all of the other websites gunning for the same keyword?” and get a resounding “Yes, my site is the best.” If you cannot honestly answer yes then it's time to get back to work and/or go back to the drawing board.
Give the Search Engines What They Want
The biggest mistake that many newbie SEO's make is to try to “game the system” by “outsmarting Google/Bing”. Even if we put aside the ridiculous notion that any one person can consistently outsmart a team of highly paid and highly intelligent engineers for any amount of time let's just first realize that if one truly wants to make a substantial amount of money with their website(s) then they will have to do one thing. Work hard.
Yup, I said it. W-O-R-K. So if it's going to take a lot of hard work either way then why not put all of that hard work into actually building a great web property? Why try to scam and trick your way into getting your site ranked ahead of other sites that are much higher quality websites than your auto generated splogs will ever be when you can work hard and build a website that people can look at and honestly say SHOULD rank #1 because it is the BEST?
Assuming that Google wants to make money by having people continue to use Google instead of BING (and vice versa) then it is in Google's best interest to want to provide the best results possible and the best user experience possible so that people will continue to use their web search rather than jumping ship to BING or another competitor. If this is the case then why not build the absolute best (honestly now – the best) website for a given niche and give users and in turn the search engines exactly what they want? (HINT: If you do this then that means that you will get what YOU want: loads of traffic and in turn hopefully you can convert that into loads of $$$)
Questions to Ask Yourself
It's pretty easy to tell with some sites whether they are a top tier web property and deserve to rank for a competitive keyword phrase. Conversely, it's also very easy to tell when a given site has no business ranking for anything (i.e. MFA “Made For AdSense” websites, auto generated “splogs” spam blogs, etc). However, most sites are not really one of the extremes. Here are some questions to ask yourself about YOUR website as you compare it to some of it's competitors to see how it stacks up:
- Does my website cover the topic (topic = main keyword phrase that you are trying to rank for) in terms of content as thoroughly or more thoroughly than any other website? – For example, I own a website that has information on anything and everything to do with credit cards. I am constantly adding new high quality information to the website so that the websites will have every possible piece of useful credit card related information on it including credit card reviews, interactive calculators, humorous feature articles, etc. BUT what if I thought that I could just launch up a quick 10 page website and expect to outrank many of the other great websites in the credit card market that have thousands and thousands of high quality pages? Yea, fat chance.
- Does my website LOOK just as professional, creative, polished, etc as my competitors? – This one is not as important as the meat of the website (the content) but all the same the design of your website speaks volumes.
- Does my website have all of the functionality as my competitors? – For example, if you want to compete in one of the ultra competitive niches like travel, financial software, etc. and your website can't even come close to a Hotels.com or a Mint.com then you are probably in trouble (which just goes to show that there are solid reasons why each of those sites deserve to have such high rankings in their respective niches).
What do YOU Think?
Do you find yourself tending to think short term and focus on quick results rather than on a long term focus on quality?
What are some other ways that one can evaluate their website to determine if it is best in class?