SEO Island Theory blog post cover photo


One of the biggest misconceptions about web development is the more money you poor into building a website the better it should rank in Google search. Nine times out of 10 this is never the case. If your new domain ranks at all consider yourself lucky. It happens to the best of us. It can happen even if you’ve employed SEO services. Allow me to explain what’s going on.


Okay so you’ve done everything right up to this point – a graphic designer designed your site, a copywriter wrote your content, a UX professional or some experienced person in this area laid out your architecture. The site was built on a powerful platform that is secure & page loads speeds are less than 3 seconds. You hired an SEO to go through the site & take advantage of all the SEO tools at his or her disposal. You can spend as much or as little as you want but if it’s all flying under the flag of a new domain, it’s not going to do squat in search results. Here’s why:

The search engines know very little about your spiffy new domain. The search engines are going to avoid it at all costs. Simply stated, there is no history, no credibility, no authority, & most importantly, no trust. It is lacking inbound links from reputable third party domains, which by today’s standard is still a powerful ranking factor. Few people are talking about your brand online. You’re probably not externally linking out to other domains.  Finally, there are few, if any, supporting citations.

The search engines index the Internet by sending out bots that literally follow every link & learn along the way. From the search engines’ perspective, there’s no path to crawl to your domain. There’s little reason to even visit your new domain. And there’s no path off. Your newest investment is like a mysterious island floating out in the middle of cyberspace. You would avoid it too!

Now, your site may rank for branded search queries early on in the process such as “Tony’s Real New York Pizza.” Maybe. But for non-branded search queries such as “New York Pizza Salt Lake City”? Fuggetaboutit. You need to build up trust with the search engines to be considered for non-branded search queries. Establishing trust with the search engines takes time & effort on both your part as a business owner as well as your web master, SEO person, content strategist, or whomever you have helping manage your web presence. We refer to the time it takes for the search engines to start trusting your domain “the warming up period.”


The best way to mitigate the island theory & speed up the warming up process is generate online chatter about your brand & usher in the construction of virtual bridges to your island domain. A few strategies that come to mind include:

  • Publish authoritative, timeless, non-self-serving, non-superficial blog posts anyone, anywhere, at anytime can apply to his or her daily lives.
  • Establish profiles on all relevant social media platforms with links back to your domain. Rollout routine status updates to all platforms. Promote blog posts in social media. Get lots of Likes, Shares & Followers. Utilize dashboards such as Hootsuite to simplify multiple social media account management (think one tool to rule them all).
  • If an address is published on your website, it’s only a matter of time before review aggregators such as Google My Business, Yelp, etc. create listings on your business’ behalf. Also referred to as “citations,” these listings cite your business information. Citations are where users can rate & review your business. Create, claim & optimize to the fullest capability all citation listings. Learn more about citations here.
  • Press releases are another great way to increase the online chatter & possibly even build bridges to your domain. There are a number of different ways to go about getting press releases published on our behalf. Ideally, your brand or product is spectacular enough where press release outlets come to you. Always try to negotiate a link from their content to yours. If they won’t allow a back link, even just a mention on a trusted online source will help mitigate island theory.


Your business may be at a fork in the road where it might make sense to start whipping out microsites. Before you do you must ask yourself “how are users going to get to this site?” If your expectations are users are going to arrive to your microsites via organic search, then be prepared to apply this article times however many microsites you intend to build. Each microsite will require professional graphics, professional copy, professional hosting, SEO, content strategy, routine blogging, & active social media management for up to 4 – 6 accounts — pretty much a dedicated team. After reading that, do you have the budget, & even more importantly, the bandwidth to give your microsite the attention it needs in order to navigate the island theory?

Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s more on microsite SEO & how best to go about organizing web content.

Happy Trails!

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