June 11, 2008
Online marketers frequently struggle with the question of how to compete when Google fails to look positively upon a particular website. In this article, I will focus on how to build rankings and drive traffic to your website, using Google and the other search engines.
What Motivates Google’s Algorithm
Over the years, many have tried to claim, even in court, that Google was unfairly keeping their website out of the top of Google’s search results. But, the truth is that Google is not beholden to the needs and desires of the webmasters who want to be on page one of Google’s natural search results.
Instead, Google is beholden to its stockholders and its need to earn profits. Google has determined that the best way to keep profits high is to keep Internet users flocking to its websites. Google accomplishes that by giving its users the kind of information they are looking to find, and Google weights its search algorithm towards what Google believes its search audience wants to see in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
It is important for online marketers to understand that it is not always in Google’s best interest for our websites to rank well in Google.
How Important Is Google In Search?
Worldwide, Google is currently providing 78% of all searches (http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=4).
But in 2007, Google only provided 52% of my website’s total search traffic. Yahoo, Windows Live, Ask, and MSN provided the next 42%. The remaining 6% of my website’s search traffic came from another 55 smaller search engines.
On my website, only 48.8% of my 2007 traffic actually came from search engines. The remaining 51.2% of my website’s quarter million visitors came directly from article placements on other websites, recommendations from other people, forum posts, and from people who have bookmarks for my website.
Tips For Ranking Well For Specific Keywords
It has been my experience that it is easier to rank in 1) MSN / Windows Live, 2) Yahoo, and then 3) Google, in that order. Quite frankly, I have always ignored the role of Ask in the search market. While MSN is the easiest search engine to rank in, it only delivered 4.6% of my total search traffic in 2007.
I read a question in a forum, where the poster was asking how he could get his website to rank well in Google for the search term, “software”.
The truth is that it is nearly impossible in nearly every search engine to rank well in the natural results for such a singular keyword, such as “software”. In a nutshell, if you want to rank well in Google, you need to build inbound links (IBLs) to your website with your targeted keywords in the links.
But, you don’t want to put all of your links together with one keyword phrase. One of Google’s red flags is when they notice a link to a particular website appearing more than 60% of the time with one specific keyword phrase.
Utilizing a variety of long-tail keywords will actually serve you better in the search-engine ranking puzzle, in more ways than one. After all, when I do a search for software, I don’t type in the search word, “software”. I type in search phrases like: “accounting software”, “small business accounting software”, “windows software accounting small business”, “windows image editing software”, “windows software image editor”, “windows xp photo album manager”, etc.
People searching the keyword “software” have yet to figure out that they are looking for specific kinds of software. Once they do an initial search, they are going to type in more specific search terms to find what they actually want. So, once you start targeting a variety of long-tail keyword phrases, then you will start seeing more success in your search marketing efforts.
How To Start Your Search Engine Optimization Journey
If you are wanting to get into the natural search results of Google and the other search engines, you must know before you dive into the project that getting good rankings in the search engines for your chosen keywords can take a really long time, before you begin seeing results.
While inbound links to your website, targeted to your chosen keywords, will help your website climb in the search results of your favorite search engines, it may be a frustrating journey.
Your competitors want to rank well for the same search terms you do. And since only ten of you can be on page one of the search results, you may have to work really hard to topple those guys already on page one of the results, and you will have to fight to keep your ranking once you get it.
There are some keyword phrases that are nearly impossible to rank for, even if you have really deep pockets. For example, most every keyword phrase for the financial industry will be extremely difficult to rank for in Google. Competition in this industry is fierce, so achieving top search rankings will be tough to say the least.
This is the reason why so many SEO experts encourage marketers to target “low-hanging fruit”. It may be fairly easy to rank well for a four- or five-word search phrase, and extremely expensive to target a two- or three-word search phrase.
My personal approach has always been to rotate through a list of more than 100 target keyword phrases, over a longer period of time. In doing so, I capture a lot of low-hanging fruit quickly, and at the end of the loop, I am a bit closer to snagging the fruit in the upper branches of the tree. At the end of my list, I analyze my keywords again to see where I am strong and to see where I am still weak, and then I begin the process again. (According to SEOdigger.com, I have better than 950 keyword phrases in the top twenty results of Google.)
How To Get Links
The challenge most people face when they begin building links to a website is where to get those essential links.
Article marketing is my chosen method for getting inbound links.
Because of Google’s news feed strategy, the initial placement of your article might appear immediately in the SERPs, but then it will disappear. During the news cycle phase of the Google algorithm, new materials are given an added boost in ranking. Once the news cycle is done, any new pages will sink back down to where they would be based on the general Google algorithm.
If you are honest with yourself, you know that every page on the Internet started life with a PageRank Zero, but given enough time, many pages will gain in PageRank, as they begin to be linked. For a more detailed look at the process of how reprint articles gain value for a website in Google’s search index, see my article about “Fishing for Links in Google”.
Utilizing article marketing as a link building method, I have put one website on the map in as little as eight weeks, with only three articles. This website has one #1, one #2, eight results on page one, and twelve results in the top twenty listings of Google. Most of those keywords also rank well in Yahoo and MSN.
On the other hand, on my main website, I started looking at the keyword phrase “article marketing” just eighteen months ago, when my website sat at #79. Today, my website sits at #12 in Google for that keyword phrase.
I believe that given enough time, investment and commitment, I can use article marketing to elevate any web page on the Internet to multiple page-one listings in Google. But, not everyone is willing to make the kind of investment and commitment one needs to get to the top of Google’s search results…
What To Do When You Need Results Now
If you simply cannot wait as long as it takes to build top rankings naturally, then you need to look seriously at Pay-Per-Click advertising models, such those offered through Google Adwords and Yahoo Search Marketing.
About The Author:
Bill Platt offers Article Distribution and Article Ghost Writing services through his website at: http://www.thephantomwriters.com He has written an ebook that has been designed to help people create more effective articles. One customer said of his ebook, “I’ve read almost every ebook out there on article writing and article marketing and this one tops it all.” To learn more about Bill’s ebook or to get your own copy, please click this link.