If you know anything about how search engine algorithms work, you know the system has an inherent weakness that unintentionally punishes new websites. That weakness can be described as a ‘wheel of authority’. It is a wheel that keeps on spinning even as new website owners desperately attempt to jump on.
The wheel analogy works very well for describing the authority problem once you understand ranking. Google considers page authority a major ranking factor. Simply put, they will rank pages with established authority higher than those without it. This creates a problem for brand-new websites.
Getting on the Wheel
By their nature, new sites have little or no authority. The only way they can gain some authority is to generate traffic from both organic searches and backlinks. But how do you generate traffic for a website that isn’t ranking well in SERPS? Therein lies the wheel problem. It keeps spinning, powered by those websites with established authority. As a new website owner, you have to find a way to jump on.
Webtek, a Salt Lake City digital marketing firm, has been helping website owners conquer the authority wheel for years. They suggest a two-pronged approach that starts with the right keywords. They also know how important keyword research is to finding those keywords that won’t be overshadowed by competitors.
Using Less Competitive Keywords
One of the first mistakes SEO newbies make is choosing the most competitive keywords. This is a mistake because the lack of authority prevents a new site from outranking an established site. Let’s say you are developing a website for a client who sells fashion eyewear.
The phrase ‘fashion eyewear’ is likely dominated by the biggest names in the business. It is too common and competitive for you to use. Go ahead and try it, but you are going to have a challenging time outranking nationally known eyewear retailers.
Instead, use less competitive keywords. For example, let us assume your client’s inventory includes sunglasses. A less competitive term might be something like ‘wayfarer sunglasses’. With a little research you can find the relevant keywords that are less competitive and more likely to generate traffic for your site.
Gradually Start Competing
Webtek says focusing on less competitive keywords is the fastest and easiest way to start generating traffic. As traffic increases, so does authority. After a while, you start expanding your keywords to the point where you are competing directly with the leaders. That is where the second part of the two-pronged approach comes into play.
With your less competitive keywords generating traffic, it’s time to find out what the competition is doing. There are a number of exceptionally good tools capable of scraping competitor sites and displaying those keywords that bring the sites the most traffic.
At the heart of this strategy is the same authority issue. Don’t start at the top of the list where you’ll find the keywords generating the most traffic for your competitors. Start at the bottom of the list and work your way up. You will build traffic and authority as you go. Eventually, you should make it to the top of the list and be able to give the competition a run for its money.
The authority wheel can kill new websites before they ever get started. It doesn’t have to, though. By starting with less competitive keywords, you can get a new site on the wheel and let it spin with the competition. A good SEO strategy will, over time, gradually bring that new site to the center of the wheel where all of the big boys reside.