The Big Website Question: If You Build It, They Will Come?


 The Big Website Question: If You Build It, They Will Come?

There are plenty of article on the internet (on Medium, for example) about how difficult it is to get your website found and ranked in Google. These articles try to answer this big question: If you build it, they will come? But most of them focus on only one aspect of the equation. Why? Because every website has different goals and requirements that can't be addressed by one article alone.

So let me tackle this big question from both ends. First, I will go over the basics and the well-known SEO practices, and then I'll focus on more advanced techniques. And later, in a second article, I will cover one very important aspect that often gets forgotten: Content Quality. (I know many of you have heard enough about SEO already so you can skip that part if you like.)

But let's be honest here: Most articles are not written to teach us something new. They are written to get more traffic, because the more traffic you get, the more likely you are to be able to make money in some form through ads or affiliate links. And I am not complaining about that — it's how our internet economy works. But what if that was not your goal?

In this article I will try to cover all aspects so if you don't care about revenue from ads or affiliate links, sorry, but this is not the right article for you. It's also difficult for me to talk about "how much effort" it takes to achieve a certain result because I can't answer that question without knowing something about your goals and objectives. So let me try to answer this question differently:
Does a website need to be found and ranked in Google?
A website needs a lot of things. It needs an easy to remember URL, good content, unique content, an SEO-friendly structure that doesn't lead readers away from the site, and a way for people to contact you with their feedback. But does it really need to be found by Google?
In many cases the answer is yes. A well-optimized website can bring new customers who can then refer more people, bring more traffic and further increase your profits. But success is not guaranteed — how many new customers did you lose in 2017? And Google updates its algorithm all the time as we speak.
To keep the math simple let's assume that you start a business with one website. I'll call it "The Shop". It's a great idea because The Shop will be able to sell different things to its customers and generate more revenue. But is it going to be successful? Maybe not, because there are many other shops on the market already and no website can get away from competition alone.
So you decide to build another Shop — this time for products related to "Home". You fully optimize your new website, it's easier for visitors to find, and you have some unique content that will get your customers excited about your products. And of course you have some special tools on your site that help people make smarter purchasing decisions. In short you have everything under control.
But wait a minute — how do you plan to market your new site? Unless your last name is Google, there are many small shops that already exist in your area that will compete with you.  And what if they offer better products or prices or service than you can offer? You might only be able to sell one kind of product at a time because it will be hard to find customers among the small shops with only one things to offer. And then there might be some other big competition — like Amazon, for example, who has an enormous market share and millions of customers.

Conclusion: If you rip your customers off, they will leave. If you have nothing to offer that is better than Amazon, they will leave too. If you can't communicate with your customers and make them feel comfortable about purchasing from you — they won't. And if your image in the Google search results looks bad or if it's hard to find your website, some people will leave even before they get to know anything else about you.
To be honest here: There is only one way to avoid competition — that's by having a monopoly on an idea or a product, like Apple does with their iPhone (or did 10 years ago).

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