For years now, this site has been ranked on the #1 page of Google for many competitive keywords and when I show people, they always want to know what trick I used in order to do it. Well, in this article, we are going to look at what it takes to get your site or blog well ranked in the search engine results pages (SERPS). There are really only two things you need to get right: on-page optimisation and off-page optimisation and we’ll cover both of these in this article.
Actually, before we get into the meat of the subject, it is worth just dwelling on those two phrases for a moment or two: on-page optimisation and off-page optimisation. You see, I did not use the terms on-site optimisation and off-site optimisation, and that’s because Google ranks pages, not sites. That’s a very important lesson right there. Every single page on your site has the potential to rank well within the search engines and if you want your site to rank well for a new search term, then you should create a new page. You probably won’t be successful ranking a single page for multiple keyword searches.
The next thing to consider before you start is that you need to make a decision right up front: are you going to work with Google or are you going to work against Google? This is a very important decision so let me explain what I mean by that. Working with Google means that you set out to provide Google what she wants and in return, she rewards you by sending you visitors. This approach is often called ‘white hat’. The alternative is that you try to find loopholes, tricks or other ways to game the system, trying to beat Google at her own game. This approach is usually referred to as ‘black hat’.
If you want my advice, I would suggest that you decide right up-front to concentrate on white hat methods. If you try the opposite approach, you can be sure that, even if you are successful for a while, Google will eventually change their algorithm and drop your site like a sack of potatoes. Working with Google, however, will always work. She will always send you traffic because she will come to love your site and see you as an authority in your field if you will just resolve to treat her well.
Now, that said, here’s how to do the on-page optimisation. First decide what keyword you want your site to be ranked for in the serps, then put that keyword in your title tag, keywords tag and page heading. Then write the text of the page as an article, using the keyword phrase naturally as it occurs i.e. do not attempt to overuse it – just write naturally about the subject. If you do this, you will naturally use words that are semantically related, and that’s all Google wants. Yes really, just that: a well-written, original article of reasonable length on the subject of the title of the page. That’s how easy your on-page optimisation is.
Now for the off-page optimisation: in order to rank well, you need a good number of decently ranked, relevant pages pointing to your page. There’s a lot in there. You need a good number of external links (also known as backlinks) pointing to your page. Now here’s where lots of people go wrong. They get drawn into the old dark hat routine. They see offers to get thousands of links created for them automatically and quickly. Well, most of those services are just a waste of your money. Sure they can get you backlinks, but many are from profile pages of low value and some services will get you tons of very low quality links from sites that are completely irrelevant.
Will getting these low quality links harm your site? Personally, I don’t believe so, but they certainly won’t do you any good either, so this is not the right way to go about link-building. There are people who will go about trying to trade or swap links with other sites. Again, this is a very low leverage activity. Reciprocal linking won’t harm your rankings, but again, if the links are not relevant, they won’t help, one jot, either. Another common method is to write articles and submit them to tons of directories for the backlinks. This is a strategy which has worked in the past for some people, but I believe will become increasingly less effective as the web matures.
Let me make it clear that there is no problem at all with you joining a few forums themed around topics related to your site and creating profile pages containing links to your site. There is also no problem with you linking out to other sites that are useful and relevant to your visitor and there is no problem allowing other relevant sites to link to yours. Similarly, there is no difficulty with you joining one or two article directories and submitting some useful articles on the theme of your site including a link pointing back to your site. And there is no issue with making a few comments on blogs related to the theme of your site. You should do all of these things, in my opinion, because doing that is just taking part in the online discussion around your subject.
Doing what is in the previous paragraph will get your site indexed (registered) in the search engines but, and it is a big but, you should not use these tactics for ongoing link-building. Sure there are many people who will tell you that these things work, There are only two problems with what such people are telling you: 1) they probably have never built a high-traffic site themselves and 2) they are sucking you in to a strategy that Google may well, at some future stage, deem to be that old dark hat stuff. Remember that, as far as we are concerned, black hat is any tactic Google deems inappropriate.
So in your link-building activity, you need to be doing something that the vast majority of people are not doing. What is that? You should be writing original, quality articles on subjects related to the theme of your site; and you should be doing this one thing regularly. What will happen is that gradually, other people will find your site and, if the content is good enough (and you have to make sure that it is) they will link to you naturally, referring their visitors because of the quality of your writing. Yes, this strategy is slow, but perhaps you remember that we discussed how quickly you want to get rich here … Making Money – The Secret … and we know that you want to get rich slow, don’t we?
Now, I am sure that there will be people who will read this article and think that I am doing something that I have not told, but they are simply wrong. Here you have my exact strategy. I have been running this site for about 7 years now, and we have consistently ranked very well for hotly-competed-for keywords just by doing what I have outlined. Remember that you need to do those three things: get your on-page optimisation right, get your site noticed by using the article directories, blog comments etc, and then write your heart out. Stay white hat and Google will eventually fall in love with you and when that happens she will send you all the traffic you can handle.
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