Crash Course in Getting a #1 Google Ranking
First, here’s the rundown of some of the terminology I’m going to use in this article.
Inbound Links :: Links coming into your site
Outbound Links :: Links leaving your site
Cross Links :: Links that you have “traded” with another site (i.e., they’ve got a link from their site to your and you’ve got a link from your site to theirs)
PR (Page Ranking) :: Google’s measure of how “important” your site is
SEO Is Not Dead
Okay, now lets talk about what you really want to hear how to get those coveted 1-10 ranks for your keywords. Remember this – SEO is not dead. In fact, it is very much alive and important. The first thing to do in order to raise your site rank is target specific keywords. I say specific, because you need to target “key phrases,” meaning more than one word keywords. Some people use the words interchangeably (me included) so just ignore one-word keywords altogether. You will waste your money if you shoot for these, because chances are, there are other, much larger companies who already have you beat, and will continue to have you beat unless you’ve got a bottomless wallet.
Check Out Your Competition
Take this example, for instance, if you sell computers, you should not try to optimize your site for the keyword “computer” or “computers.” First, think about all of the businesses that do anything with computers. Yeah, that’s a lot. They’ll all show up if you search for “computer.” Now try to think of who would show up at the top of that list. I’ll make it easy, it’s Apple, Dell, Computer World, Computer Associates, IEEE, Computer History Museum, Webopedia, ASUSTeK, WhatIs.com, and HP. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I 99.9% guarantee you that you’ll never get into that top 10 list. The HP link has almost 5,000 backlinks (discussed later) and a PR of 7/10. Good luck. Then What Should I Do?
So what should you try to target? Lets re-visit your computer store. What types do you sell? PCs, ok, what types of PCs? Custom. Ok, that’s a little better, “Custom Computers” is still a vague keyword, though. (How many people build custom computers?) What kind of components do you use? Intel? AMD? Sound Blaster? GeForce? There you go, that’s a little better “Custom GeForce Computers.” That returned 476k results instead of our previous 633 million with “Computer.” Just a little bit less competition.
I Want More
Want to go further? Forget what types you sell, go for what do your customers want. What do they use your computers for? Gaming? Try “Custom Gaming Computers” – There are 672,000 results here, but the # 1 spot has a PR of 5/10 and only 41 back links. That shouldn’t be too hard to beat, we’ve just got to know who is linking to them, and beat them at the back link game.
Oh yeah, before we move on to beating the pulp out of your competition, don’t forget to SEO optimize your site for your chosen keywords before spending any time on back links. Otherwise, this next section won’t mean much.
But I Digress…
Okay, now that your site is thoroughly optimized, how do we find out who their backlinks are? Well, you can do it by hand, or you can purchase a very helpful tool called SEO Elite that will analyze all of the backlinks to a site (and more). But, since you don’t have SEO Elite yet, we’ll do it the long way.
First, go to toolbar.google.com and download the Google toolbar, this will save you some time. Ok, now type in your keywords “Custom Gaming Computers.” The first link should be overdrivepc.com (if it’s not, then someone may have already read this column and risen above them!) click to go there. When the page loads, go to your Google Toolbar, click on Options >”More” Tab > Make sure the “Page Info” box is checked. Then, click on the blue circle with the i in it. (This is the aptly named: “Page Info”) It should drop down and allow you to select “Backward Links,” choose it. Now you should be looking at a Google search page again, but this one is different, it only shows pages that link to overdrivepc.com. (Wow, that’s handy!) At the time of this article, there are 41 pages that link to the site, and you can view them all. Some are other pages in the site, others are third parties.
Get Your Site Some Friends!
Follow each third party link and check out the page. Does it have to do with your business? Would their visitors benefit from coming to your site? (The answer is probably yes) If so, email the webmaster – there should be an email address somewhere on the site. Ask him or her if they would link to your site. Be willing to trade links with them, or to pay for a good link with a high PR. That reminds me ï¿½ look just to the left of the Page Info icon on your Google toolbar, and you should see a green bar. That is the Page Rank of the page you’re currently on. You want to target pages with higher page ranks than your own, because for each of those sites that link to yours, they effectively “give” you a little bit of their PR. Kinda like in high school when the head of the cheer leading squad flirted with the nerd in the hallway, she “gave” him more popularity.