The short answer is: yesterday. And that applies no matter what stage of development your online business is in. If you have been online for months or years, you have been missing out on a wonderful opportunity to use that time to develop your online presence. One of the most often asked questions I get from potential clients is “how long will SEO take?” The answer is, it will take time. And depending on your budget and your competition, it may take lots of time. Don’t believe the charlatan, fly-by-night, snake oil, so-called “search engine optimization” firms who claim to guarantee rankings in days or even a few weeks. These types of guarantees often come with unbelievably low prices. If it sounds too good to be true, it is! But even if the price sounds reasonable (and by reasonable I mean the price would support a decent working wage for an educated individual doing a heck of a lot of work on your behalf each month), any short term “guarantees” should be avoided.
This is why the best time to begin an SEO project is always yesterday. It does take time. And each day that you wait, you are losing ground and opportunity to your competition.
But I haven’t even launched my site yet – it is still under construction!
Well, the song remains the same. You should have begun your search engine marketing campaign yesterday. We’ve had clients, and I’m sure we are not the only SEO firm who has seen similar results, rank on the first page of Google for competitive keyphrases before the client site was even live! Then, when the site is launched, ta-da! Open for business!
One way to go out this is to first go ahead and purchase your domain. Have your SEO firm throw a placeholder page up with some good title tags and a paragraph or two of content related to your future online business. And let your future customers know the full site is coming soon. If you are an established “brick and mortar” business, go ahead and include contact information such as your address and phone number. Maybe include a map.
Then, and this applies to brick and mortar business with a physical address, go ahead and get listed in Google Places. This provides you a free listing on Google Maps. In fact, you don’t even need a website for this. Either way, your SEO firm will know how to do this.
Now, for all businesses, brick and mortar or otherwise, let’s get back to the placeholder page. Include on the placeholder page a link to your blog (yes, you will need a blog, whether you knew that or not). A good SEO firm can install your blog at yoursite.com/blog, while the front end, final version of your site is still under construction. Your SEO firm can then begin creating content on a regular basis on that blog, promoting that content, and building links to that content. Following this methodology, you can get on the first page of Google prior to the launch of your final site. Even if you don’t get on the first page of Google prior to launch, you have that running start for when you do launch.
So the time to begin your search engine marketing efforts is now. Oops – I mean yesterday. Good luck!
About the Author: Matt Foster is the CEO of ArteWorks SEO, a full service Internet marketing firm, who has been active in the industry since 1995. Mr. Foster can be found on Twitter @ArteWorks_SEO. ArteWorks SEO can be found at www.arteworks.biz.