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“I launched my site last week and I can’t find it anywhere on Google. How do I get it there?”

Have you recently launched your new website only to be disappointed when you went to your favourite search engine and couldn’t find it on the first, second, third, or any page at all? You are not alone.

I frequently consult new business owners who have overestimated the volume of search engine-generated traffic their website will enjoy after its launch. They anticipate the site will be flooded with visitors courtesy of search engines, when in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Many new website owners look over a sea of successful websites and expect to enjoy the same success on their site on Day 1, not realizing the struggle many of these successful websites experienced when they began. So, unless you’ve got a budget for Google Adwords, the question is not, “How do I get my site on Google?” but, “Who are my customers, and how do I reach them?”

Launching a website in this sense can be likened to opening a retail store. As a business owner, you know you can’t just open a store, not tell anybody about it and expect that people will line up at the door. Websites are the same way. You have to get the word out and promote your website. I hear you saying, “But what about Google? My competition is on Google. I need to be on Google. ASAP!” Yes, your competition is on Google, but they didn’t get their overnight.

Here are some suggestions to build traffic while search engines warm up to your site.

  • Take advantage of free social media. Social media is a natural fit for many businesses and most should have a presence on Facebook, Google+ and other popular social media sites. Create posts that feature snippets of information taken from your website—products/services, a testimonial, a free give-away—then copy/paste the corresponding page link to your site in the post. Visitors will go from the post to your site. Look at that, you’re building traffic!
  • Hold a contest. Once you’ve got some Likes or followers, hold a contest asking your followers to promote your business within their social network. Give away a small prize to one of the random sharers.
  • Get networking! Any new business owner worth their salt knows that they have to network, network, network. Have a small teaser phrase in mind when telling people about your business and tell them they can find the answer on your site. Example: If you’re a bookkeeper, you could tell people that you’ve got 5 ways small business owners can save money on their taxes and that it would be worth their while to check it out. Make sure that you have that content on the site of course.
  • Downloadable offering. Offering your visitors something of true value will make their experience more memorable, and it makes your business spreadable. If you’re an accountant, perhaps a checklist for all the documents to have ready for tax time.
  • Create a business profile in relevant online directories. If you own a BnB, there many websites you can create a profile for your business; BnB associations, tourism sites, Trip Advisor etc. This provides more ways for users to find you. They can find you in search engines and they can find you on these directories. Better still, search engines can also find you on these directories, so instead of coming up once in the search results, you come up multiple times.
  • Write articles and post them on your site. Promote your articles to different organizations you feel would be appropriate. Example: Perhaps write an article about how to recognize fraudulent businesses in your industry. Your local Chamber of Commerce would probably love to promote that to their members.
  • Get out into your community. Volunteer your services to an organization that could really use them. Find speaking engagements, tradeshows; anywhere the presence of your business is appropriate.

The good news is, that the more of these activities you do, the more traffic you’ll naturally receive because you’ve generated the interest in people. When the search engines see that your site is getting traffic, this will prove that your site offers something people are interested in. Between the traffic you receive from your efforts and the increased presence you’ve created in different websites, search engines will learn that your site and business is legitimate because only a credible business owner would invest the time to promote their business in this way and will begin boosting your listing when people search keywords relevant to your site.

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