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By Richard James

There is no denying the power of Google. The search engine has become so popular that the term “Googling” has become synonymous with the very idea of looking something up. The only problem is that while people look to Google for answers, they do not look very hard.

Most people never look past the first page of results. This means that falling to the second page is almost as bad as being on the tenth page. Given that the vast majority of people begin online by using a search engine, this is not something any successful website can afford.

Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO) is the key to landing a prime position on the front page. However, competing with big businesses who have monopolised all the most popular words and phrases can be more than a little intimidating. That is not even mentioning all the other businesses and blogs out there who are fighting for the same position.

Not to worry though! There are several relatively simple tips and tricks that can give anyone the edge they need. The reason why everyone is not taking advantage of these techniques is that they are not the most intuitive since it involves working with the inherent disadvantages rather than trying to get rid of them.

The Disadvantages

In order to turn these so-called weaknesses into strengths, the first step is to understand what they are. To begin with, no-one is going to be able to compete with big industry names when it comes to popular phrases from the start.

Websites have a domain authority score rated out of 100. This score is heavily influenced by how many external links there are to that particular site. The big-name popular sites will have tens of thousands of links meaning that their domain score is often 70+.

So competing directly is very hard. Achieving that kind of domain score would require years of work and a huge monetary investment. Fortunately, there are other ways to make it on to Google’s front page. All that is required is a little creative thinking.

Long-Tail Keywords

Since no-one can fight the big names for popular phrases, the next best thing will have to be used instead. Long-tail keywords are longer and more precise phrases used to search for items.

Take this guide for example. The popular “head” keyword would be “ First Page of Google “. A long-tail search might look something like “ How do I get my Website on the First Page of Google Search “. The thing is, that the majority of Internet users search with phrases that are long-tail keywords. People want answers to their specific problems. So, if these searches can be predicted then there is no need to fight over head keywords. It is like casting ten smaller but more accurate nets instead of one larger one.

The great thing about this strategy is that when a relevant website appears when someone has searched for a long-tail keyword, people are more likely to stick around. This is because they asked for something specific and got a result so they believe the thing they are looking for must be somewhere within the site.

While it is true that head keywords are searched more often than any long-tailed keyword the difference does not matter that much. Long-tailed keywords have a much higher conversion rate which is the truly desirable result. It is better to have 20,000 users with an 80% conversion rate than it is to have 60,000 users with 20% conversions.

Write More Posts

The problem with utilising a strategy focused on long-tail keywords is that it requires a lot of content to back it up. A good blog post will feature a couple of keywords at the most. To capitalise on all the different keywords that will bring a website to the front page require a lot of different posts to catch a lot of different search terms.

So how many posts is enough? The industry standard is to write at least 16 posts per month, probably a little more. This means that the competition is averaging a new post slightly more often than every second day.

These are not low-quality, short-form posts either. Most posts that turn up on Google’s front page are over 2,000 words in length. Write guides with lots of useful details to help people fix their specific problems. Again, being specific is better since it allows for more long-tail keywords to be spread out across multiple posts. It is also harder to run out of things to talk about if the topic is not exhausted quickly.

Still, a brand new 2,000-word article every 2 days in 3 is a lot of content. At that point, it may be worth finding a dedicated content creator. Fortunately, content marketing is the cheapest form marketing available right now and it generates the most leads.

As well as being informative, the content needs to generate the highest CTR possible. This means optimising both the headline and the meta description. Then, as CTR increases the search engine ranking also increases.

One common trick is to figure out a headline that is the opposite of common wisdom. For example, if someone is searching “How to do X” and they see a headline saying “Learning How to do X is a Bad Idea!” they are going to stop and read a little more. Subverting expectations is a great way to stand out from the competition.

Become Featured Elsewhere

Generating all that content is a lot of work so it’s time to supplement it with something that requires far less effort. As mentioned before, all of the competition, including the big names, rely on content generation. This can be turned into an advantage.

A lot of these sites write content round-ups and features about other sites and blogs. All that is required is to be featured in their work. It is like advertising, except without the fees attached. Both sides win since one needs content to feature and the other needs to be featured. The result is essentially free advertising.

The thing about sites dedicated to ranking other sites and services is that people trust them. Customers believe that their work has been done for them and so they are free to choose the site from the ranking that suits them the best. For anyone who makes it on to these lists, it means competing with 4 to 9 other websites instead of hundreds.

This method requires very little time or effort. All that is needed is to reach out to the site ranking hosts with a pitch. It does not cost anything at all and there are huge returns for every successful attempt.

The key factors to ranking in Google are;

Quality and depth of your content

You need to cover your subject in an in-depth way and provide users with quality content and answers to their search queries.

Quality and number of inbound links

You need to get other quality website to link to your website, which can be done by content distribution to other high-quality website from within your niche. Always focus on quality and not quantity.

Fast Loading

Make sure your website load quickly for users, as nobody likes to wait for slow loading websites. You can test your website speed with Google. Click here

Mobile friendly

With the majority of users now using mobile devices it is imperative that your website is optimised for mobile use, and they can find the content they require quickly.

Domain Authority

You need to build the authority of your website using both content you publish on your website and by having external links to your website from high authority and related websites.

Security

You should ensure your website is free from any viruses or malware, and make sure it is hosted on a secure server and is accessible from https and make use of a SSL certificate.

Paid Advertisements

Paying for AdWords is probably not the first thing that comes to mind for anyone thinking about trying to reach Google’s front page. There is a strategy here and as always, it is about building an advantage from an unusual angle.

Results from AdWords are typically irrelevant to most searches. This is because the people who pay for it are not interested in being part of the organic search. Conversely, most people who want to be part of the organic search are not thinking about the ads that everyone has to scroll past to reach their search results.

Take a search for “best car insurance” for example. Someone entering this term is likely looking for a list comparing different insurance providers so that they can make an informed decision. There is no way any insurance provider is going to appear in these search results. Still, the insurance providers want a chance to capture some customers who are searching for this term and so they pay for AdWords.

A well-positioned advert that is actually relevant to the searcher’s intent is going to generate traffic. Also, because the adverts appear before the organic search results it is a little like skipping the line to be top of the list. So long as the advert is built to look like one of the results the user is actually looking for it is going to work. The more focused your ads is and the landing page you send them to the better results you will get. For example if you users was searching for “bmw 5 series car insurance, and your ads says “Best price BMW 5 Series car insurance” the users is much more likely to click on the ad and if the landing page is about BMW 5 series car insurance the user is much more likely to convert into a customer or enquiry.

Summary

No-one is going to make it on to Google’s first page of results immediately. A lot of the best keywords have long since been eaten up by the biggest names. These companies have long reputations that make competing directly extremely difficult.

There are ways to get around the limitations and still make it with enough time and hard work. First, use long-tail keywords. Finding the right ones takes some research but it is well worth the effort since they boast a much higher conversion rate than shorter phrases anyway.

Next is content. Content provides the platform for the keywords to come into play. Make sure to produce constantly and make sure that the posts are detailed with a narrow focus. Once enough has been produced it can be submitted to review sites. Making it onto a top 5 or a top 10 list is always going to generate a lot of attention.

Finally, it is always possible to utilise ads. AdWords results that look enough like organic search results will generate extra traffic. It is simply a matter of being creative and doing the proper research beforehand to make sure the advert has the correct look and feel.

These tips are not conclusive but they are a good place to start. The thing they have all have in common is creative thinking and with enough imagination, it is possible to go much further. Any site can sit right beside the biggest names with the right approach.

By Richard James

Has worked for many Internet marketing companies over the years, and has contributed to many online publications. If there is a story, he will find it.

Sourced from The Tribune World