By Michael Small (c) 2008
Does dominating Google rankings quick and easy sound too good to be true? It really isn't. Following are a bunch of surefire SEO tips that have kept hundreds of my clients' sites on top of Google for years, with new ones every month.
There's a lot to cover and I hate long articles that drone on so I'll keep the info short and sweet. Let's start with the domain name.
Age:Make sure your domain name is at least six months old. If it's more than a year old, that's even better. Google often (but not always) likes domains to be at least six months old before indexing the site. How do they know? They use a "whois" database like the one at:
Go there and enter your domain if you want to see what Google (and anyone else in the world) can instantly know about your site.
TLD Type: TLD stands for Top Level Domain, which is to say the letters after the dot. The best ones to have are ".com, .net. .org and .edu." These get the most play in Google's top 3 rankings for just about every keyword you can imagine, with ".com" and ".edu" being the best.
Embedded Keywords: If you have your main keyword (and ONLY your main keyword) as a dotcom domain name with even just halfway decent page text and some good inbound links you can usually nail number one on Google for that keyword. I've done it dozens of times. It's a no brainer.
Dashes: Having a dash in your domain name might be bad for branding, but it can open whole new doors of opportuníty for your search engine optimization efforts. You see Google treats a dash as a null value (almost like a space) and can take them or leave them with equal indifference. So, if your main keyword phrase is a few words long, you can place a dash between each word. If that's taken, just try one dash separating the first and second words but leave the second and third word grouped together. You get the idea. Just keep trying combinations until you have one that works and scoop up the domain. Even if you sit on it for six months, you'll have it when you want it.
Now on to the next big item; keywords. The best keyword embedded domain name in the world will mean little if nobody is searching for that keyword. That said; let's find the best keywords possible for your site. Here's how...
Keywords in Demand: Let's snoop into Google's keyword database and find some winners. Go to Google Keyword Tool and enter any keyword or phrase you think your target audience is looking for. Now click on the top header link to sort by desired search volume to see which words get the most searches.
Go Long: And don't be afraid to use longer keywords as long as they get plenty of searches. Not only will this narrow the tasks of your workload for actual optimization but it will open all kinds of new options for finding great (dash laden) domain names and even help cut back on your competition.
Narrow Your Field: Now take the top ten or so relevant keywords and phrases and líst them in order of "Approximate Monthly Searches Performed." You might want to paste the keyword into one column of a spreadsheet and the number of searches into the next column. This next part takes a bit of math so we might as well let Excel do it.
Competition: Less is Better: "Less is better." Well that's the understatement of the year. But how do you know how much competition you will be up against? It's easy. Simple division does the trick nicely. Here's how...
Google It: Go to Google and paste in your first keyword phrase. Look in the upper right area of the page and see how many pages you will be competing against if you try to optimize for that keyword (Results 1 - 10 of about 123,000,000 for "keyword".) Now record that number in the cell to the right of "searches performed." You can go ahead and do the same for each keyword. When you have all the info you need have Excel divide the number of "competing pages" by the number of "searches performed." The lower the resulting ratio; the better your chances. Your best bet is to take the lowest ratio number with the highest number of "searches performed." This is your optimal target.
Even More: But we're not done yet! Now find the next best two runnerup keywords and write them down in order of importance. We'll need them soon.
The King Lives!: You're probably sick of hearing it but content really is king. Developing search engine friendly, well optimized content (for REAL people) is key to your success. Google can read a Web page just like a person thanks to its natural text algorithm. So keyword spamming and robotic writing do not work with Google. But here's what DOES work...
Keep it Real: Call a close fríend and tell him or her exactly what you want to tell your web visitors. Then as quick as you can write it down, as close to "word for word" as you can remember. Just let the words flow. You can fix spelling and grammar later.
Fitting In: Now, with your líst of three keywords, go back through your text and fit your most important keyword as close to the beginning of the first sentence as possible. Now go ahead and place your number two keyword someplace else toward the beginning of your first paragraph. Your third keyword should go into the beginning of the second paragraph if possible.
Now use only one of your keywords for each of the next three paragraphs. Try to make them fit naturally toward the beginning sentence or two of each paragraph.
Throw in a Curve: Now use a reverse order for the very last paragraph. Put your least important keyword (number 3 pick) at the beginning of the paragraph and your best keyword at the end. This shows consistency (at least as far as Google is concerned.)
Last but not least, do not repeat any keyword more than three or four times on a page. I stick with a 3 x 3 method and it works great (3 keywords each mentioned 3 times over the course of about 9 paragraphs.)
Getting Links and Monitoring Your Site:
Inbound Links: Having high quality inbound links can account for more than 75% of your search engine ranking success. Getting these links is the crucial step that will get you over the top. At the same time you need to monitor your progress and your site's status (how search engines REALLY see it). This will tell you not just where you are - but where you are likely to be. In the old days, we had to do all of the link work and monitoring by hand. And believe me, it took a long time (I averaged about 16 hours per week; per site!). My advice is to find a good SEO tool and let it do the tough and repetitive work for you. If you get hold of the right product, it's the best money you'll ever spend.
I started out with WebPosition Pro and used it for a couple years but switched to another tool that has automated linking, which I find to be the most time-consuming and now most important aspect of SEO on Google. This was probably a good call since Web Position was recently banned by Google for abuse.
Anyway, here are my results for both...
SE0elite Cost = $167 (lifetime free upgrades and no annual fees)
Personal Results: 121 top 5 rankings on Google in 3 weeks - Mostly 1's and 2's.
Best Features: Finds best link partners; Automates link process; Finds "Google "authority sites."
WebPosition Cost = $389 WebPosition Pro or $149 Standard (plus $99 per year subscription fees for either)
Personal Results: 44 top 5 rankings in Google in eight weeks - Mostly 3's and 4's.
Best Features: Site Monitoring (recently banned by Google); Great reporting; Site Critic
Now you're ready to dominate Google. Good luck!