They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery and that might certainly hold true in many cases, when it comes to search engine optimization strategies however, it’s a completely different ballgame. Have you ever been thinking up your next big-idea and wonder what would be necessary to pull it off? More specifically, have you ever considered what it takes to rank on the front page of Google’s search results and if it’s even possible for you to do it? If so then keep reading because you’re about to discover a simple method of seo research which is going to allow you to determine if it’s worth your time and effort to try ranking at the top of google for any particular keyword you might have.
Step One: Search Your Keyword
Yes, it’s the most basic step there is and it’s also extremely necessary in order to advance to any other step. Once you’re results are showing on the screen (by the way, you’ll want to do this on a computer and not a phone) you should scroll down to the bottom of the page and take notice of the following things:
- Are there ANY ads at all on the page?
- Are there videos at the top of the page?
- Is there a “top rated” section displayed at top of the page?
- Is there a map displaying local locations for your keyword?
- Is there a “people also ask” box near bottom of page?
- Is there a “searches related to” list at bottom of page?
- Are there Ads at the BOTTOM of the page?
- See your EXACT keyword-phrase in titles of results?
- Is the search result counter OVER 1-Million results?
If you answered yes to at least half of the above criteria then chances are high you are working with a high-competition keyword… and that’s a good thing!
Now let’s quickly go over a few “sticking points” you’re bound to run into when dealing with high competition keywords for SEO purposes:
- Top ranking results are high authority websites like Amazon, WebMD, Cnet & etc.
- Search results counter over 10-Million?
- Titles of results with exact match keywords makeup half page or more?
It’s important to note that the three items above are only “red flags” but do not necessarily mean you can’t still rank on the front page of Google… it only tends to mean that you will have your work cut out for you if you with to take on those giants populating the first page search results.
Quite often you’re not going to see high competition keywords that won’t populate high ranking authority sites at the top of the results, this is unfortunately just the way things are as Google gives priority to these types of websites automatically where deemed appropriate by Google.
What this also means is that you can still pull off a 4th, 5th, 6th place rank (or whichever place lands right below those high PR pages) and that’s still excellent as you’ll still show up on the first page which is always a good thing!
Once you determine if your keyword is a high competition one or not, you can move on to the next step. The idea is to pick keywords which do have a high enough competition while still giving you the possibility of ranking at the top page of Google. Now, you don’t necessarily need to rank on page one in order to see positive results. You can rank on page two or even page three and still see a fair bit of traffic depending on how many monthly search results your keyword gets which can be checked in the Google keyword tool under the monthly searched column. If you determine that you’re willing and able to at least attempt ranking your chosen keyword, meaning the front page isn’t almost entirely populated with high authority sites, then go ahead and proceed to the next step.
Step Two: Ten Pages of Research
Why ten you ask? Simple… there are 10 pages of results on the 1st page of Google and we are now going to open up each one and look at them to see what each page contains within it.
Quick Note: Sometimes a certain keyword will have 12 results instead of 10 in which case go ahead and open up all the pages which are NOT ads… Ads are paid for so they don’t count in the ranking system which means you can ignore them for this step.
Let’s assume you’ve now got each page of the search result open, it’s time to take a look at the content of each page, one page at a time. What you are looking for is the specific keyword and how many times it’s appearing on the page. The idea here is to not go above this number when creating your own articles and content. The reason for this is because Google tends to have no set criteria as far as keyword count goes, it will vary on a case by case basis. The easiest way to know how many times you should repeat a keyword is to just look at how many times it’s displayed on the pages already ranking so you can replicate their results with a little effort.
Take note of the following elements on each page:
- Number of times your keyword shows up in the article (if there is an article)
- How many images are used and what they are titled as (also image alt-text)
- Are there any videos on the page? What are the titles of them?
- Any other elements which stick out such as download links, out-bound links and etc.
- Word-count of the article (again, if there is an article on page)
- Any related keywords? If so… how many times they each appear in the article.
We’re basically going to duplicate the elements already proven to work because Google decided to rank these pages, just be sure not to directly steal the elements and claim them as your own. Use this information you discover in your research for indicators you need in order to rank your own page with SEO.
The general idea is to make your own version of the top pages which are already ranking. Write your own content, use your own images and embed your own videos… But! Go right ahead and use the same keywords where appropriate as this is clearly a big key component for obtaining your desired first page rank.
Step Three: Expectations and Additional Tasks
This is where we wait, assuming you’ve just created your own article (or whatever type of webpage you wish to) it’s now time to handle a few more tasks then sit back and wait for the page to rank. It’s not a guarantee that you’re always going to achieve the high ranks you wish to, but if you do this type of research before pouring time and effort into content creation then you stand a much higher chance of ranking well.
There are a few additional things you can do in order to help assure your page ranks higher in the SERPS:
- Get at least a few backlinks to your page from any high ranking site possible
- Trickle in your own source of traffic over the course of a week or two… or three
- Stay away from aggressive blackhat SEO practices
- Make sure the speed of your page is quick to load
- Make sure your page has no dead links (no redirects to 404 pages)
The majority of the items in the list just above are pretty straightforward with exception perhaps of the blackhat seo practices, so let’s discuss that for a moment.
There are a number of different ways to get backlinks to your pages. When you shop around for options you’re bound to discover services which offer to send these links to your page for a fee and though some of them are pretty reliable and take care of their customers, it’s dangerous to play around with something as important as backlinks to your web pages. Google is always updating its filters in an effort to seek out those who are trying to take advantage of the search algorithms and sooner or later they will discover your less than legitimate attempt to game their system and punish you for it.
Now, although the dreaded “google slap” no longer means the end for your page or website (in most cases) it does mean you could one day wind up with a sudden drop in visitors to your pages and if you happen to have a solid stream of revenue coming off of one of those types of pages it’s probably going to hurt the ol’ bank account in the end… so play it safe and don’t go with blackhat means to achieve your goals.
It can take weeks or even months for your pages to climb the ranks and reach the top page of Google. Patience is required for this to happen so simply do your required tasks of creating and optimizing your pages and then let them sit and climb while you move on to the next project. Getting a number of pages all revolving around similar keywords is an excellent way to better your odds of at least one or two of them seeing the top three pages of Google search results.