Ranking your website is something that you probably think about morning, noon and night, as an Internet marketer.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the step-by-step processes that you need to take to get your site to rank in just 2 to 10 weeks.
This is something that anyone can do no matter their SEO skill level, but I’m assuming that you have at least basic SEO knowledge.
So whether you’re a beginner or intermediate marketer, if you want to learn the best way to rank your site, you’re in the right place.
The two things we’re going to discuss are content and keywords. These are vital aspects of ranking well, and if you get these two things right, everything else will be easier to achieve in your quest to get your site ranked at the top.
So let’s get right to it, shall we?
1. Keyword Research
When it comes to working with keywords, you need to work smarter and not harder. Keyword research doesn’t have to be as complicated as some people make it out to be. And it can actually be fun if you know what you’re doing.
Right now, I’m going to show you how to do effective keyword research in a simple and easy way.
Some of the biggest mistakes that people make include choosing keywords that are either too broad, have too much competition, don’t get enough traffic, and those that don’t convert.
Yet another mistake we make is to try and rank for a single keyword at a time.
A much easier and more profitable way is to try to rank for hundreds and even thousands of long-tail keywords using the same piece of content.
So instead of trying to rank for one keyword like ‘shoes’, you need to aim your project around a sort of keyword theme where you have lots of different related keywords that you can focus on, for example:
- ‘black high-heeled shoes’
- ‘winter shoes’
- ‘best summer shoes for women 2019’
- …and so on
Get the picture?
How to Develop Your Keyword Theme
By using a theme for your keywords, you will be solving a ton of problems.
So instead of killing yourself trying to rank for a single holy-Grail keyword, a much smarter goal is to do your best to rank for a lot of different keywords that are focused around one major idea.
When done right, you will experience amazing results with your content marketing.
Of course, I’m assuming that you already know enough about your particular business to fully understand the type of visitor that you are seeking. You already know if you’re searching for traffic, trying to boost conversions, or doing both.
Regardless, there is one simple rule that holds true. And that is:
A theme that is defined clearly will make it a lot easier to rank.
This stuff is basic – however, it bears repeating. So, for instance, if your topic is Online Marketing, you might find it very hard to rank first for that term, but it could be slightly easier to rank for ‘free online marketing tools’ or even something like “best online marketing tips for beginners 2020”.
It’s not important to focus on specific words just yet. All you need at this point is a topic and in the next step, you’re going to find the perfect keyword qualifiers.
How to Get Specific Using Keyword Qualifiers
A keyword qualifier is simply a word that brings specificity to a keyword or phrase and helps to define intent.
Qualifiers may take different forms:
- Time or Date: e.g. 2019, January, evening, etc.
- Price or Quality: e.g. best, cheap, most popular, etc.
- Intent: e.g. find, shop, buy, etc.
- Location: e.g. online, outdoors, New York, etc.
The idea here is to find many qualifiers that fit your ideal audience. This is where a great keyword tool comes in really handy.
All you need to do is to run a simple query then export the suggested keywords – all of which will be based on Google’s autocomplete feature, which is based on actual searches conducted by users on the search engine.
Finding Keyword Gems
By now you have at least a few dozen keywords that you can pull into Google’s Keyword Plan.
While it’s technically possible to run 100 or more keyword phrases at one time using Google’s keyword planner, you’ll be able to get more variety by limiting your search to just five or 10 words at a time.
Using the exact search criteria, look for about 10 to 15 keyword phrases that are closely related and that have a decent search volume without too much competition.
Just don’t trust the competition column in Google’s keyword planner too much, as it refers to the bids on paid terms and not organic search.
Use Competition Strategically
Now that you have a basic keyword set, it’s time to determine if you can actually rank for those phrases. There are two basic methods you can use to rank the competition:
The first is by using the keyword difficulty feature in your keyword research tool to calculate the difficulty of ranking for each of your keywords on a 100-point scale.
If a keyword or phrase is rated over 60, it typically means that it’s very competitive while keywords that are rated below 40 are considerably easier to rank for.
If you want to better understand your own strengths, simply take one of the most competitive keywords that you currently rank for in first or second place and run it through that tool.
But even with automated tools such as this one, the absolute best way for sizing up the competition involves checking out the SERPs.
Simply run a non-personalized search query for your keywords then ask yourself these questions:
- Are the top results optimized for that keyword?
- Is the keyword found in the title tag? URL? Or on the page?
- What is the URLs page or domain authority?
- Are the top results authorities on the subject?
- What is the inbound anchor text?
- Do you think that you could deliver higher quality resource focused on this keyword?
It’s important to realize that you don’t actually have to rank first for any of the keywords you choose in order to get traffic, but your goal should be to at least crack the top five.
The funny thing is, when it comes to keyword themes, success often comes from keywords you didn’t even think about.
The word content implies text on the page or a commodity that is produced apart from the value it creates.
As a marketer, you already know that any content that doesn’t have value is just spam. To develop your keyword theme, the first thing you need to determine is how you can produce value.
Value is a lot harder to create than mere words, but it’s rewarded 100 times more!
When you focus on value your content is future-proof and algorithm-proof. It builds links by itself and creates loyal fans with minimal effort on your part.
Value can take various forms, and can be a mix of:
- Emotional Response
- Positive point of view
- Negative point of view
- Perceived Value (such as the author’s fame)
Your content doesn’t have to include all of these characteristics, but it needs to excel in at least one of them if you wanted to be successful.
Drive Your Content Vehicle
You need to create at least one kind of link bait, which means that now is a great time to start thinking about the structure of your site content. Given your theme, what would be the best way for you to deliver value to your audience?
Could it be an infographic, a new tool, a video series, a how-to guide, or an interview series?
You could also try using a slide deck, Q&A, a webinar, a simple blog post, or even all of them combined. The more ways you can find to deliver valuable content and the more channels you are able to leverage, the better off you are going to be.
Not all content you produce needs to go viral, but it’s necessary for you to create at least one epic piece of content that is better than anything else on the Internet.
It should be something that you can proudly hang your hat on.
Length versus Depth
The most important work in creating an article goes to crafting a compelling title.
But we’re not going to talk about that right now, if you want to learn more about headline formulas that work, I’ve written a post about it on my blog.
Right now, let’s talk about the length of your content and why it matters.
Most marketers ask how long content should be, but the better question would be how deep it needs to be. Simply striving for the word-count metric isn’t the way to create successful content.
But focusing on content depth will help you rank in many different ways:
- It adds to the ‘uniqueness’ threshold to help you avoid duplicate content
- A deeper exploration of your topic focuses your content on more subtopics
- In-depth content has more long-tail keywords
- Longer, high-quality content is associated with a lot more links and much higher rankings
Any content you publish has to meet Google’s minimum uniqueness threshold for it to rank. Also the deeper your content is, the more search queries it answers well. So make sure you explore your topics in depth if you want your content to rank well.
The more queries you can properly answer in search, the more traffic you will earn, the more money you will make.
Google crawlers are continually reading your content in an effort to determine its relevance to search queries. Everything from paragraphs and photographs to subject headings and more is assessed to find out what your pages are about.
This means that in-depth content will obviously send a lot more relevancy signals than just a few short sentences.
The correlation between the depth of your content, its length, and links has been proven by studies conducted over the years. It has been shown that there is a positive relationship between the number of words a document has and its position in the rankings.
Although these factors aren’t implemented in the algorithm, they do give a good indication of what Google wants – and that is quality content, which in the majority of cases means long and in-depth (or sufficiently lengthy pages, at the very least).
So if you’re not focusing on word counts, what is the best way to add quality ‘depth’?
There are a lot of other metrics that define quality as far as Google is concerned. These include grammar, spelling, reading level, and even author rank.
Of course, most of it is speculation, but it has become clear that Google does use certain guidelines in separating good content from bad.
Create a Content Hub
Content works better with a sort of hub or center. This is the master document which acts as the gateway to all the other individual pieces of content on your website.
It should be an authority page, a category level page, or you can even make it a link bait page.
It’s typically a page that has the highest number of inbound links and could be a landing page for various other sections of your website.
But you don’t begin there. When you first start creating content for your website it’s impossible to know which page will work best as your hub.
But after you’ve created a lot of pages that explore all the different aspects of your broad topic, only then can you start to link them together before determining your center.
The Final Word
Content and keywords are two of the most important factors that play a massive role in determining your rankings. Use the tips outlined above to ensure that you get your ranking efforts off to the right start.
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Updated: Originally published April 29th 2019