In general terms, how does a page earn a higher position in the Google search engine results? I am going to assume that you already have a keyword that you are targeting and have done all of the on-page factors possible. You are already ranking somewhere for the search term you are targeting and have create a landing page that you want searchers to find. Now, earning a higher ranking with Google comes down to one simple thing, more anchor text from more pages.
It's hard to ignore the fact that large sites do better in the search results than small ones do. Amazon and Wikipedia get a ton of traffic each day through the search engines. Why? because they are able to fire a whole bunch of anchor text to their landing pages by using the content that is on their site. If you want to rank higher for a certain term, one way to help yourself is to write more content and in that content point anchor text using the keywords you are targeting to the appropriate page.
It isn't going to help if you have 1,000 pages on your site pointing to your landing page but none of them are indexed. You need enough external links pointing to your site that all of the pages get indexed. Only then will they even "count" towards helping your site rank.
Getting indexed isn't the end of the matter though, you also need more links to your page using the targeted keywords as the anchor text.
In the end it boils down to those two things. Do you have more internal pages on your site pointing to that page and do you have more external links pointing to that page? If you work towards getting a higher count both internally and externally than the pages that rank above you, you are going to move up the results. Once there, keep working so the sites below you can't catch up!
Posting a comment on a popular blog is a great way to get traffic coming to your site. However, due to the large number of spammers out there posting junk, blog owners are careful as to what they accept on their site. If you want to get your comment posted on a popular site you need to make sure you add value. Here is what I do to make sure my comments get accepted.
1. Read the Post
How are you going to post a comment on a post if you don't even know what it's about? If you take the time to read the post then you will be able to contribute something different, or add to the post rather than regurgitate what has already been said.
2. Read Other Comments
This kind of goes with point one from above. If you don't read the other comments then you run the risk of repeating what someone else has already said, and why does the blog owner need two of the same responses on the page?
3. Use Your Name Not Keywords
Most blog comments use the no-follow attribute with their links, meaning they aren't passing PageRank or anchor text. They do help your site get indexed though, so just use your name instead of stuffing keywords in there. It looks less spammy and works just as well.
4. Post Something with Value
Make an intelligent comment that contributes to the conversation. Even if you disagree with what the poster is saying, write a reason why you disagree. Don't commit spelling errors or use incorrect grammar either and "great post" isn't going to cut it.
If you follow those four steps, you will get more of your comments approved.
After my article on how many pages does your site have indexed there was some interest generated in how to actually go about getting more pages included in the index. The easy answer to that is to get a few links pointing to pages on your site that aren't in the index, but another problem could be your site design. PageRank sculpting is a trick that is used by webmasters to try and flow as much pagerank as possible to important pages, and to keep pages like privacy, login, register, terms of service, and contact us out of the index.
Back in 2009, Google changed how they view the nofollow attribute and posted this information on the Matt Cutts blog. It used to be that if you wanted to keep the search engines from indexing a page you could use nofollow. So if you had 10 links on a page and five of them were nofollowed, the other five links would get twice as much juice. Now it seems that Google still divides the pagerank by all outgoing links, but it just doesn't pass Pagerank to those links with the nofollow attribute, that pagerank just disappears.
Why not put similar information all on one page? If you link to the same page more than once, Google only passes the pagerank one time. So why not combine your login/register forms to a single page, the terms of service, privacy, and disclaimer to one legal page, and the about, bio, contact, and press information all on one?
To do this you have to be able to place an anchor in those pages. So when the user clicks privacy, they get taken to the privacy section of your legal page. Here is how to do it:
The anchor placed in your code where you want the link to jump to: <a name="yourNamedAnchor"></a>
Then in your menu the link should be: <a href="yourpage.html#yourNamedAnchor">TEXT HERE</a>
For established sites, I've already talked about how important it is to use your analytics to find keywords to target, but that was more along the lines of seeing if there are new pages you can create or if there were adjustments to be made to landing pages you already have. Another way established sites can get a boost in their traffic is to evaluate their rankings and look for places where they can make big improvements.
Taking another look at the AOL data posted on SEO Black Hat, you'll see how positions six through ten do not show a lot of traffic change by moving up or down a position. Once you get to the fifth spot though, every move up the later will give you a jump in traffic, the biggest coming when you hit the holy grail found at the top position.
When evaluating my keyword optimization, my goal is to get as many no. 1 positions as I possibly can. Take a look at your analytics to find the top producing keywords, then open up a spreadsheet and in the next column enter your position in the results pages. If you find any high traffic keywords were you are in positions two through five, you need to really hit these keywords hard to try and get to the top spot.
For every keyword that you hold the top spot, your goal is to maintain it. Monitor those terms each week, and to make things easier we have found a rankings tracker that will do all of the work for you. If any of these terms slip, they become your top priority until you regain your spot. Remember in our how many keywords to target article we said to limit your efforts to only a few at one time, and lost no. 1's are your best chance at getting to the top of the heap.
Even if some of your top keywords that you would like to target are on page 2, don't worry about them at the expense of those already on page 1. You'll get more value out of moving those terms up to no. 1 than you will by starting fresh on another term you covet.
One of the best keywords tools that older sites have at their disposal are the traffic stats they have accumulated through analytics. When you have been building content for your site and getting some incoming links, you are going to start ranking for certain keywords. Ideally, you will be making headway with the ones you are intending to but as a little bonus you are going to see traffic coming in for terms that you are not intentionally targeting. This unintended traffic can help you discover additional terms to go after.
If the search term is long tail, low traffic and is hitting the correct landing page then check where you rank for it. If you are on the first page then it's possible that tweaking the page's title tag a little bit, making search the term is in the content, and doing some internal linking to the page with the keyword anchor text could boost you to no. 1. Not much effort involved and a decent return.
If the search term is a close match, but not a perfect fit for the landing page it's going to then consider adding an additional page and optimizing it for that specific keyword. This will help you improve your conversion rate so you can take advantage of that traffic, plus it should help you get a higher ranking for that term.
The key to understanding the SEO game is being effective at managing your resources. You only have so much time in the day, plus you don't want to spend more money than you have to or you won't make as much in profit as you could.
Most of the traffic you will see from the search engines comes from being on the first page. This article on SEO Black Hat shows AOL data that shows almost 90% of all click throughs take place on the first page. You will also see just how important it is to be no. 1 as 42.1% of all clickthroughs are for the first result. It's great to be no. 1, but you also have to be realistic. Getting on the first page for even competitive keywords is a goal that you should be able to reach with a little hard work.
Now that you know how important it is to reach a first page ranking, how do you choose which keywords to go after? This depends on how much you can make for a first page ranking.
I do not like it when people throw hard numbers out there that is a cutoff for what is worth their time and what isn't. If a keyword has 1,000 searches per month but those visitors spend about 5 cents per click, would you rather target that keyword over another with 100 per month and $5 per click?
Let's just say you can get onto the first page for whatever keyword you want. I'll round the estimate up to a 5% clickthrough rate for a first page result, since we aren't really taking position into account. If you go to Google's Keyword Research Tool, enter your keywords and check their search volume. How much profit would you be making if you had 5% of those visitors each month? If you don't know your profit margins or earnings per lead then use the PPC cost for those keywords to give you a rough idea.
After you have your list of keywords check for the ones with the highest return on investment. That is how keyword targeting should work, based on profits and not just traffic numbers.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people doing SEO make is to jump right in and try to get ranked for 50 keywords at a time. All this does is stretch out your time and resources too thin. You'll end up with 50 keywords that you don't rank very well for and you'll come away thinking about what a big waste of time it all was.
Instead, try going after only a few at a time. If you are short on time, start with one landing page and go hard at the keywords for that page. If you are marketing your site full-time then dig in and go up to three landing pages at one time. If you follow my strategy of targeting only 1-3 keywords per page that means you will be going after anywhere from 1-9 keywords at once. Deciding which keywords to target depends on what kind of site you have.
If you are working with a new site that doesn't have very many backlinks and is low on authority, the first keywords to target should be relatively easy. This will help you get ranked faster and you'll start seeing some traffic come into your site.
When working with an established site that is already seeing some traffic then you can start going after both middle of the range terms, and the high volume, high traffic dream keywords that you would love to be high on the first page for.
For advanced search engine marketers they like to go after the big fish first. You need to realize that is going to take more time and money to get ranked for those before you start seeing the results, but there is a nice payoff. If you can get ranked on the first page for the tough keywords then the authority that you have built up doing so will make it easier for you to get the middle of the road and easy keywords ranked high fast. Then, working on those secondary keywords will help boost your difficult keywords up even higher.
In talking about what pagerank is we touched on not all links being worth the same amount. As a page increase the number of links, each link takes a smaller percentage of the outgoing pagerank. That is just one of the ways that links differ in how much juice they give you. Here are some other factors to look at when evaluating links.
Some sites get penalized. Google does not like sites that sell links and can remove those sites from the index or prevent them from flowing pagerank. If a site links to bad neighborhoods, is easy for spammers to jam full of bad links, or anything else that is shady trust in that site goes down and outgoing links will be de-valued.
Other links have the "nofollow" attribute put on them by the person giving the link. This is a sign to the search engine that the site owner doesn't really trust the site it is linking to. Most blog comments are like this and the smart site owners who sell links are doing this now to keep from getting penalized. These links won't pass pagerank at all.
Only one outgoing link per unique URL per page will count. If you link to the same URL several times from the same page, it doesn't give you an added boost. It's a waste.
Search engine optimization (SEO) doesn't have to be hard. A lot of internet marketing experts like to make it look difficult so they can charge extravagant fees for their courses or consultations. Sure there are a few tricks that you can use, but it all boils down to three things: the right keywords, quality content and incoming links.
Don't overreach here. Go after a select few keywords at a time and make sure you do enough analysis to know you can attain a first page listing. Plus, this will give you plenty ideas for writing content on your site, which is the next piece of the puzzlie.
The more pages you have, the more traffic you will receive from long tail keywords, the more authority your site will have, and the more you will be able to sculpt your pagerank to the appropriate landing pages.
You can easily control how much content you create, what's more difficult to control is if another site gives you a link. That is why search engines like links so much, it's tougher to game the system. Links tell the engines if your site is important and the anchor text used tells them what your site is all about.
My SEO strategy focuses soley on those two factors. I want to create a lot of content that is relevant to my niche. I also want to get a lot of quality links back to several different pages on my site. For my landing pages, I want the anchor text to be the keywords that I am targeting. However, I also try to get links to my archive pages or deep down into the content of my site so the engines index more of my pages.
There it is. SEO boiled down to two simple factors. If you can create quality content and get links pointing to your site, you will have success getting free traffic via the organic results. In later articles I will break down tactics I use to create quality content, and how I go about getting links to my pages.