How To Rank Top In Google
Posted by Charles | Filed under SEO
When creating a page, the first thing to check is where it will rank once it hits the search engines. The following 6 steps will show you how:
1 – Make a list of all possible keywords
Brain storm lists of all possible keywords that may be relevant to your business. Try to figure out what possible searches someone would be typing into a search engine and would like to find your content at the other end. You’re not trying any sort of linkbait here. What the goal is here is to picture someone saying “I was searching for XYZ and I came across the perfect site.”
This is the time to get far out and come up with words and phrases that your competition may have not. It is true that the more out there you go the less search traffic there will be but, the less traffic, the less competition for these keywords. If your just starting out, there is a good chance that you don’t command the authority to rank for the top keywords. In that case it’s best to start with some search terms that are a bit out there, have less traffic, but you’ll be able to totally own.
2 – Check PageRank (PR) using Google Toolbar
Once you install the toolbar in your FireFox browser, you may have to enable the PageRank feature. To do this you can simply:
Adjust Google Toolbar Options (blue wrench on the far right) -> Tools -> check off PageRank -> Save
Now that this is complete, you will start to see a small green bar up on the toolbar for each page you go to. If you mouse over this bar you will see the numeric PageRank (ie 5/10). Each page on your site will have a unique PageRank assigned to it. Normally internal pages have a lower PR than your front page. If your site (at least the first page) has less than a PR3 your going to need some link-building work before you can rank for many search terms.
There are many arguments out there that the Google Toolbar is no longer a useful tool for checking PageRank. My responses to that would be
1. Since we don’t know exactly how the search engines work this is more of an art than a science
2. It’s one of the best tools we currently have to figuring out page authority so I will keep using it until something better comes along
3- Check PageRank for your keywords
Now that you know the PR of your site, go back and figure out what you’re up against. Take all of the keywords that you came up with in step #1 and search for each in Google (feel free to use Yahoo, Bing, etc. but most of your search traffic will come from Google, so I recommend you start there). Make a list of the PR for the top 3 results that come back from Google for each search term.
This will give you a clue of the competition out there for this keyword(s). Keep in mind that if you are a lower PageRank, it is possible to beat out a higher ranked site using onpage SEO tactics. Just make sure that you are realistic, if your site is a PR1 you should not be attempting to go after PR8 sites.
You need to pick a set of search terms that will have an opportunity at coming up in the top three page results. That means for 99% of people trying to go after a term such as New York Lawyer is pretty much out of the question. Instead you should be trying to get much more specific, for instance Staten Island Medical Malpractice Lawyer.
4 – Check the overall search traffic with the Google AdWords: Keyword Tool
After you’ve completed step #3 you have the short list of SEO terms to target. Using the “Keyword Tool” you’ll be able to focus your efforts on the best choice. Out of all the terms that you can compete against, run them through the Keyword Tool. Sort the results by the “Global Monthly Search Volume” and that will give you a fair indication of how many searches there are each month for this term.
Now that you have these terms, and the amount of search traffic each of those terms have, it’s up to you to make the choice of what term(s) to optimize for.
5 – Highly optimize your content
You will find a great checklist at Google Ranking Factors – SEO Checklist of what Google weights each of these on page elements, but here are a few places to start.
- Title tags
- Page descriptions
- page content
- H1, H2 and H3 tags
- Image alt tags
Now don’t go and stuff a lot of worthless keywords in each of these tags… Google does not like that and more importantly your users will not like it. Instead, just keep your terms in mind when building your content. For example, you make choose a title such as “Bob Smith – Staten Island Medical Malpractice Lawyer” instead of something less specific such as “Bob Smith – New York Law”.
See what we did above? You’re not stuffing keywords where they do not belong. Instead, be aware that the terms you use reflect what your page will be known for. Have a goal of the terms your optimizing for and keep that in mind while you’re crafting new content.
6 – Get links from other pages with high page rank (see step #2).
This may be the most important step that has been left for last… without inbound links, nothing else you do matters. The number of quality inbound links your page has, the higher your PageRank will be. Also, since the results are cumulative, the more high quality inbound links the better.
What is a high quality link?
A high quality link is a link from another authoritative page with the less outbound links, the less the better. For instance, normally if your site is the only external link on a PR4 page, that is better than being one of 1000 links on a page (a directory for instance) even if it’s a PR5.
Just off the record, I would not pass up the PR5 link but I am just saying that I would pick the PR4 if I had to choice.
How do I get inbound links?
Most of the time you’ll hear “Create remarkable content” and that will get you inbound links. It will usually involve publishing a blog, writing interesting articles, and getting people to link to you because of it. This is what inbound marketing is based on, and it’s honestly one of the best ways for building long term value.
Contacting site owners directly is another method of getting inbound links. This will have a lower chance of success in most cases but it is usually worth trying. To increases your odds of success, try to be sure the link will be mutually beneficial to both you and the other site owner. This will usually mean that your site will have to offer information or a product that is useful to the users of the site linking to you. Don’t just email random site owners but start with a small number of highly targeted emails.
Other methods are to simply buy your inbound links. Many directories, blogs and other small sites are willing to sell text links to your site. Just make sure that they do not include a nofollow tag. I believe this a gray area in search engine policies… Google has openly stated it is against their terms to buy links. At the same time preferential treatment is given to sites listed in pay-for-inclusion directories such as Yahoo! Directory. This is a gray area so use it at your own risk.
Keep in mind that as you do this, your PageRank will be increasing. This does not show up on the toolbar right away… updates to the public PR only take place about 4-5 times a year. This does mean that as your PR increases, you should go back to setup #2 and re-evaluate your list. Now that your site has become more creditable, your going to be able to go for the more popular search terms, so constantly be reviewing where you stand.
This is just a crash course in how to rank top in Google. Keep in mind that this subject is always changing and evolving so you will also have to.
Have these methods worked for you? If not, what have you done that has worked? Please let me know in the comments section.
@petewailes has suggested the following link for additional research on what factors most effect your ranking. Thanks a lot Pete.