SEO is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. One of the greatest distinctions between a website’s ability to optimize quickly is its age. Old websites tend to optimize more quickly than their newer counterparts. Why? Because having been on the internet for years (decades in some cases), Google has not only indexed the website, but also noted its consistent presence. The website itself might not be optimized correctly, but its presence as an indexed domain holds value for future SEO services.
In contrast, brand new websites take longer to optimize. Since there is no record of their existence on the internet (because it ceased to exist), Google won’t automatically trust it, even if it’s well optimized. Tenure is something that cannot be accelerated, unless an obscene amount of high quality links immediately pointed to your pages, something that is almost impossible to accomplish for a local plumber. Let’s discuss optimizing old vs new websites:
Older sites are the easiest to optimize. An even better way to put it, is they can achieve success through optimization very quickly. If your plumbing company has been around since let’s say 1999, and has had a cheap website up since let’s say 2003, it has a digital tenure of 16 years. Even if the site was pure trash from an SEO & content standpoint, the representation of your business on a legitimate domain name still holds value. In fact, once a professional SEO company optimizes your site correctly, you could see major improvements in as little as 3-4 weeks. The only scenario in which old websites are non-favorable is when they’ve been manually penalized by Google. This probably hasn’t occurred to your site unless you were heavy into link scheming around 2012. If you were buying contextual links from irrelevant sites and using them in an attempt to drive up your rankings, you might have been caught red handed. We doubt you did that as a plumber, but you never know if a rouge marketer that worked for your business was looking for shortcuts. Even practices like keyword stuffing, cloaking, and sneaky redirects could’ve got you slapped with by Google. Let’s go ahead and assume that’s not the case with your company. Here’s why age helps optimization:
- Authority: Your site’s domain authority is naturally higher
- Tenure: Its presence has been indexed by Google for years
- Trust: Google sees that you haven’t abandoned your web presence
Many plumbers don’t have the luxury of optimizing an old website because A) they are a new company or B) they’ve never been promoted online. In either case, optimization becomes much more time consuming and even at some points; frustrating. But that shouldn’t discourage you from trying. Better yet, there are ways to supplement traffic from SEO with long-tail keywords while you wait for your major terms to gain trust and tenure. Long-tail keywords are those that very few websites attempt to rank for. You can find a keyword’s difficulty using MOZ, SEMRush, or another similar SEO tool. Since there aren’t usually websites dedicated to sump pump repair, having high quality internal pages that focus on that topic can have websites (even very new ones) ranking quickly. The same website will still have trouble ranking for major terms like “plumber in city, state” but it can rank for auxiliary terms like “sump pump repair in city state.” Getting these kinds of jobs for the first 6 months to a year will help establish your brand, build authority, and set up an infrastructure for long term success. You can also use other means to generate leads during this initiation period as well. Whether it is PPC advertising or social media advertising, there’s always ways to buy your way in front of the eyes of prospective customers. Let’s be clear though, that is not sustainable. You need to simultaneously do SEO so that you can set your plumbing business up long-term. Here are the challenges of new website SEO:
- Freshness: Google can’t place ultimate trust on a site with so little tenure
- Reputation: Both Google and its users are largely unfamiliar with brand new domains
- Supplementation: More work is required to supplement traffic, including with long tail terms
Meeting in the Middle
At some point old websites and new websites will meet in the middle as far as optimization goes. The base philosophy for both types of entities is conceptually similar. The goal of course is to establish long-term organic rankings on Google for the most relevant keyword terms. With older sites, rankings for these terms can be achieved quickly. For newer ones, it will take time. But at some point (1 – 2 years) each website type will converge with one another. In other words 2 years into your SEO strategy for your old website will look much like the parallel of its newer website counterpart. Once rankings are established, the challenge becomes sustaining them, and gradually improving them from good to great. The work it takes to get from 50+ to top 10 can be usurped by the challenge of going from 10 to 1. Securing the #1 spot on Google is one of the hardest things to do on the internet. With so many people battling for the coveted spot, everyone is trying ways to achieve the goal. Consistency and fundamental SEO principles are key to gaining it. But you must exercise patience during this process. Attempting to gain the spot without putting in the work is a recipe for disaster. Once websites are 2+ years old, they focus on these principles:
- Keyword Research: Identifying the highest volume and highest opportunity terms
- On Page SEO: Implementing those keywords within great content and page elements
- Off Site SEO: Promoting your website and brand through 3rd party channels like Google My Business, Facebook, etc.