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Imagine for a second that you sell Swingline Staplers (it could be anything, but I happened to be looking at a stapler when I wrote this, so that’s what I’ll use as an example).

You really want to get more traffic to your website for Swingline Staplers. You just KNOW that if you could rank as high as the Swingline site, you would sell more.

But there is a problem: Swingline is a registered trademark. Even though you are an authorized reseller of their staplers, they won’t let you register a domain name with their trademarked name in it. So using a name like BestSwinglineStaplersinAmerica.com isn’t an option.

Let me ask you a question: If I could raise a magic wand and get your website to outrank Swingline.com for Swingline Staplers and you were number one and Swingline was number two, “Why would someone choose to buy from you instead of buying directly from Swingline?”

Regardless of what product you are selling, you need to ask yourself this question.

Why would someone purchase a product from you rather than going directly to the source? Click To Tweet

Why would someone purchase a product from you rather than going directly to the source? And if they don’t buy directly from the source, why would someone buy a product from a WooCommerce or Shopify store when they can get it cheaper, faster, and more easily on Amazon? And in this case, you are also competing against big box stores: Office Depot, Staples, and WalMart.

Why would someone buy a product from a WooCommerce or Shopify store when they can get it cheaper, faster, and more easily on Amazon? Click To Tweet

Outranking Swingline, Amazon, and Office Depot is NOT enough. And most likely, based on the way Google works, probably not going to happen. You are not going to outrank Swingline for the word Swingline.

This is why I believe that SEO doesn’t work for most small businesses. At least not SEO in the way that most people think of ranking on page 1 of Google.

The key to success search engine optimization (SEO) for most small websites is to rank for long tail keywords, in this case it might be a specific model of stapler. Then, once you are ranking for a long tail keyword, your goal should not be to sell them a stapler, but to get them on your email list. That way you can build up a relationship with that customer so they will buy from you over and over again. Let me explain:

Let’s say you rank for the term “advantages of a heavy-duty stapler.” You start getting traffic your your website for this search phrase and it links to a page that describes the advantages of a heavy-duty stapler. So on that page, you provide a lead magnet to collect their email address.You aren’t trying to sell them anything, you just want their contact information. So, both in a link in the copy on that page, as well as an exit-intent popup, you make them an offer: “Take a quiz on the best type of stapler to use in your business!” Get an instant report of which type of stapler is the best solution based on volume, project types, and frequency of use that is specific to your needs. Once they finish the quiz (which only takes a minute), make them enter their email to get the results. Then, display a short report based on their answers.

Now you have their contact information, and just as importantly, you know what their stapling needs are so you can segment them. You can now send them a series of emails tailored to their needs. The emails can then drive them to your product page that meets their needs. It might be an electric stapler. It might be a long-reach stapler. It might be a standard desk stapler. A mini-stapler. A pneumatic stapler. A booklet stapler. You get the idea.

When you send them an email, you write the email based on the type of stapler that will work best for them. Now you are starting to build a know, like, and trust factor that Swingline or Amazon can’t compete with. On top of that, you throw in some bonuses that really makes you stand out. You include testimonials from others talking about your great customer service. You offer to include a free box of staplers when they buy from you. You offer free shipping. You provide a free comparison checklist of Swingline versus Bostitch and Arrow staplers. And you give them a free consultation showing them how they can get the most out of their new stapler. They now have a very good reason to purchase from you instead of the manufacturer or from Amazon!

Okay, you might be thinking, “I get that, but I still need to know how to rank for those long tail keywords in the first place!” Hey, I get it, SEO is one of the best ways to drive free traffic. In fact, the average web user won’t go past the first five listings on a search engine results page (SERP). According to a study from Advanced Web Rankings, more than 67% of all clicks on SERPs go to the top five listings. Things start to get grim when you look past those first few results. The next five receive just 3.73% of clicks. If you aren’t in the first 5 listings on the first page, you are going to struggle with search engine traffic (yes, there are other ways to drive free traffic, but search remains a top priority for most website owners).

And when it comes to your SEO efforts, NOTHING will have a bigger impact on your ability to generate visitors from search engines for free… than your link-building strategy. Here is how it works:

In spite of all the sizable algorithm changes Google underwent during the last few years – backlinks still lie at the core of the way Google ranks your website online in search results.

A backlink is a link that links back to your website from another site. You can use the free tool at https://openlinkprofiler.org/ to see exactly how many links you have pointing back to your site (and which sites they are from).  Go there and see how your website is doing. Also check to see how your supplier is doing and how your competitors are doing. For example, here are the results of my website:

In simple terms, Google considers a hyperlink a vote of confidence from one internet site to any other. In this case, I have 10,000 votes. Make sure you do this for your competitors as well as for yourself – if you are trying to sell more Swingline staplers, note that Swingline.com has 6,000 votes. You are going to have to figure out how to get more votes than they have if you want to outrank them.

And the more votes of confidence your website has the more influential Google deems it to be.

To put this another way, the more votes you have from other high-ranking websites, the more your site matters. In the example above, my site scores a domain rank of B+, which means that if I link to your site, it will count more than a site that has a score of C.

In order to dominate Google, you need to construct as many votes of confidence as you can. Preferably more than your supplier or Amazon. That is not an easy task and you would probably have to pay someone $1,000 to $3,000 per month or more if you can even accomplish this.

You should start by creating links on all your social media channel based on content you create. For example, create a post about the advantages of pneumatic staplers. Create another about the advantages of long-reach staplers. And another about the advantages of electric staplers. Etc. Use the words “advantages of heavy-duty staplers” to link to the page on your website.

Now repeat this by writing guest-articles for other people’s websites. Add your website to every directory you can find, especially (for this example) ones about office supplies. In the description, use the appropriate anchor text for your keywords to link to your page about the advantages of different stapler types. Neil Patel has an article about 25 different ways to generate more traffic to your ecommerce website, which you can read here. Also check out this article on 9 Link Building Strategies by Ann Smarty here. These two articles provide great tips that will help you generate more free traffic to your site. Ann Smarty’s article discusses another program, SEO Spyglass for finding your backlinks, which uncovers more links than Open Link Profiler does. I checked some of these and they are real links, so I’m inclined to believe this tool more. I discussed this program, which you can download for free, in this article: https://webstoresltd.com/affordable-diy-seo/. Here is an example of the output:

Now for the way to really out-do your supplier, Amazon, and any competitor you might have: create a YouTube ranking video. Remember how we said that a site with a higher domain rank counts as a weighted vote? Well, YouTube is huge, and the fact that Google owns YouTube makes it count even more in the confidence votes. Here is an example of a video I recently ranked on page 1 of Google using this technique:

Outrank Your Suppliers

That is a video on my client’s website, which ranks #1 on YouTube and on the first page of Google for the search term “house cleaning in Green Valley Ranch.” Ranking for the term “house cleaning” might not be feasible, but ranking for the long-tail keyword, which is more likely to result in a sale, is very do-able.

I describe the exact method I use for doing this in this article: https://webstoresltd.com/proven-method-for-ranking-on-page-1/. If you would like to get a ranking video for your website, contact us.

Now the video you create should NOT be about Swingline staplers – it needs to be about a very specific long-tail keyword for which you can out-rank everyone else, such as an exact model number, like “Swingline NeXXt Series WOW Desktop Stapler”. You want to talk about just that model of stapler and load it up to YouTube (not Vimeo and not Facebook). YouTube is owned by Google, so those links (votes of confidence) count more.

Make sure that your long-tail keywords (model number) are listed in the title of your video and are also in the first sentence of the description. Now, and this is important, include a link from the video to the specific page on your website that sells that model number. Be sure to include the https://, for example “This stapler is available in multiple colors from https://mywebsite.com/swinglinenexxtseries.” (The https:// prefix tells YouTube this is a link.)

Finally, be sure to embed the video into the description on the product page. Now when Google looks for backlinks about “Swingline NeXXt Series WOW Desktop Stapler” it will find your link on YouTube, follow that back to the page on your website that sells that model, see that you have a great product description which includes the video, and push you up in the search results page.

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If you do a link analysis of competing sites, you will find that few companies are doing this on a product by product level, and when you do, you can absolutely dominate the search results.


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