Bear Poop on Mars | How to Increase Page Ranking
To understand how to increase page rank in organic (free) search results on competitive keywords, there are two pieces of the puzzle that must be clearly understood by Google’s algorithm: On-page Optimization and External Links.
On-page Optimization gives Google and Bing the clearest understanding of what is on each page. If you have no competition and the content on one of your pages discusses, “bear poop on Mars,” or something just as obscure, and the page has been crawled and indexed into the search engine’s database, if someone typed “bear poop on Mars” into the search query box, that page would most assuredly appear on Page-one of the search engine results page (SERP). If you were lucky enough to be the first to discover “bear poop on Mars,” packaged it and demand for the gem soared overnight, life would be good. Try it! Do a Google search on “bear poop on mars.” Hopefully, you will soon see this post!
So, you found it, right? Bear Poop on Mars has a #1 page ranking. Why? Because the on-page optimization for this blog post (which is the same as a page) told Google that the content found here is relevant to Bear Poop on Mars, which is the first step. The keyword was found in the page title, the Meta description and within the content in a natural way. Secondly, there are no competitors trying to optimize a page on that keyword.
I remember a story about a new song by Madonna that referred to “yellow eye shadow.” The next day, searches for “yellow eye shadow” went through the roof. No one at the time sold it, but success belonged to those companies agile enough to create a page optimized on that keyword. (By the way, in SEO lingo, a keyword can be one or more words. In fact, with Google’s recent algorithm update called Hummingbird, long questions can now more easily be considered keywords. “What should I wear to a party on a yacht?” for example.)
When competition enters the picture, SEO becomes a bit more complicated. When your business requires traffic based on more competitive keywords, such as “SEO Consultant” or “financial planning,” on-page optimization becomes like a pair of running shoes — required to protect your feet, but far from the reason you won the race.
So let’s say you are in a highly competitive industry. Each page of your website is optimized fully with compelling content, great design, and you’ve researched and placed unique and relevant keywords naturally within that content. Your web team has gone behind the scenes to insure that those keywords are also present in the page’s meta title, meta description, URL and in the image alt tags that describe any image on the page. Your selected keywords have been chosen wisely away from the most sought after and competitive keywords in your market. Perhaps using “SEO contractor,” for example, would help to rank that page higher in the SERPs. The number of monthly searches on “SEO contractor” might be far less than the more ideal “SEO Consultant,” but in a competitive industry, it is many times the case of “less versus NONE.” If you are a new company and if the keyword “SEO in CT” (that gets say 10 searches a month) is the only keyword that will bring you to Page-one, use it!
The most important piece of the On-page optimization is the content itself. Google measures everything and can differentiate between well-written content and poorly-written content even to a degree of distinguishing between grade school writing levels. This has created a boon for the SEO copywriting industry. Your page must be matched perfectly to the chosen keyword or people will abandon the page almost immediately. These “bounces,” are measured and used as a ranking determinant within the algorithm. If your hard work manages to get one of your pages to be ranked on Page-one, and you “win the click” (remember you are competing at that point with 8 to 10 other choices), no one, including Google, wants to see a bounce. It’s the kiss of death. It tells Google (who measures everything) that either they were wrong for placing you on Page-one, that your page was not inline with that keyword, or the experience was not compelling enough for that searcher to stay.
But, on the other hand, if Google sees that they did stay, that they spent much time on that page, that they viewed many other pages, perhaps returning many times to that page and ultimately conducted a transaction or a purchase, now that Page-one ranking gets a star, perhaps climbs higher and certainly makes it more difficult to be dethroned in the future by a competitor.
Okay, so now imagine the most competitive brands in the most competitive industry all trying to get to Page-one using the most competitive, highly searched keywords on their fully-optimized pages.
Enter Inbound Marketing – the art and science behind generating visibility on the web – the metrics of which are used by the search engines to determine some very powerful and lucrative rankings. The most important metric is the number of high-value external links that point back to your page.
Next post – Link Building 101.