How to be #1 in Google
Back in 2012 I wrote a short series of articles on how to rank yourself in Google in the number 1 position for searches important to you. In it I touched on some of the factors the Google deemed important in ranking sites back then.
It has been a few years so I thought I would revisit this topic to see just what’s changed in the almost 3 years since I originally wrote those articles on how to be #1 in Google.
So let’s review shall we?
Step 1 – Search Phrase Research
The first step to achieve top rankings in Google, as illustrated in part 1 of the series was search phrase research. This hasn’t changed. In fact it is more important than ever. That is because Google is always refining it’s search algorithms to allow for more search term matches for searches. That means you have even more opportunity to rank for phrases you may never have considered, but phrases which Google has deemed to be similar enough to rank you for.
Step 2 – Optimizing
Also, this step hasn’t changed much. The same basic principles apply – page length of about 400-600 words with 2 or 3 search phrases scattered throughout the text.
One thing I have noticed over the past few months is that Google prefers fewer phrases per page. That means if you can, try to have only 1 phrase per page. Make that page written specifically for that search phrase and have that phrase appear 2-3 times in the page.
It kinda goes back to the way Google used to work, back before Penguins and Pandas. Back to the “Google Dance” days when SEOs would sit back, hold their breath and wait for an update to be over to see how their sites now rank. Back then the best way to rank a site was through the use of “doorway” pages – landing pages specifically written around a single search phrase that was 300-400 words in length.
Really the tactics for how to be #1 in Google are the same as in 2012 – well written content, optimized <HEAD> tags (title and description) and perhaps a couple image alt and title tags just for good measure.
Step 3 – Link Building
Here is where the biggest change has happened. In part 3 we briefly touched on Link Building and while the basic premise is the same, the tactics surrounding link building are VERY different.
Back then, links from social media (for example) had less weight. Local based directories were considered another poor source of links. One way links from relevant websites were all you needed. They were the best links to get period.
Today you need a more blended approach. One-way links are still important but other links are also increasingly helpful. Local directories, which took big hits in traffic and visibility back in 2012 are slowly becoming more important again, especially when helping locally targeted sites rank for local search phrases.
Social sites such as Twitter and Facebook have had value as well, but so have many others, such as Pinterest, LinkedIn, Redditt, Digg and others. While some may not consider these as “social” websites the way they do Twitter and Facebook, the fact is they are driven by a community of users and therefore are considered “social”.
In reality, as I’ve always said, there is no such thing as a “bad” link. All links are good for your site. What is bad is when you acquire them too quickly or over too short of a time.
What is that magic number or duration? No one knows for sure. Personally I think it is industry and competition based. That is there is no hard and fast rule that applies across all sites on the web. It has to do more with what your competition is doing, both locally and globally.
Is SEO much different? No at its core it isn’t. That is because, at its core, Google (and the other engines) aren’t that much different. Sure they tweak their algorithms almost constantly, but not so much that the basic rules don’t apply anymore. In other words, if you want to learn how to be #1 in Google, try to follow the same rules that have been around for 15 years, but be aware that they have changed slightly.
Believe me, I do understand if you still find this confusing. I’ve been in the industry for over 15 years and sometimes even I’m a little surprised at what I see. But that’s why you can always contact us and let me help you learn how to be #1 in Google.