Get the first page in Google searches: SEO (search engine optimization) basics and tips

Do you want to get the first page in Google? If you have a website or blog, it’s probably already the first page for some searches. With a little bit of SEO, you can get the first page in more searches. And it’s simple.

The first and most obvious step is to think about what words or phrases you want to appear on the first page.

Once you have that list, determine how many people are searching for those terms. To check how popular a search is, you’ll need a tool. I use Wordtracker (there is a free version online). The higher the number, the more popular the search will be. There is no point in trying to optimize for a word or phrase that is rarely searched for.

There is also no point in trying to optimize for a word that is too popular because ranking high will be next to impossible.

Think “long tail”

Think about how people will search. People often search with a question. For example, where do I find X? Or where do I find Y in Canada. The longer the chain, the less competition you will have, so the easier it will be to rank for you.

So make the list of phrases you want to “own” and the ones you are realistic to “own”.

Now it’s simple. Simply put these words and phrases in your titles, image descriptions, videos, and in your text. Titles are the most important. That’s why a blog called “Shrimp Chowder Recipes” will get some serious Google juice on all 4 words. So searching for “Shrimp Soup” will get you the first page. Or “fish soup recipes” or “shrimp recipes” etc.

Yes, you want to repeat your words and phrases often in the text. That said, write naturally. Never let SEO be a substitute for good content.

So you do this and you’re still not page one. That’s because you don’t have enough credibility with Google. You need another free tool to check this. I use a free firefox plugin called searchstatus. It gives me both the PageRank and the Alexa rating of any web page. Higher PageRank numbers are better. High credibility is your ultimate goal as that is what gets you ranked first and Alexa tells you the traffic (lower number is better)

How do you increase your PageRank?

These are quality inbound links. You want people with high credibility (PageRank 4+) to link to you, eg Wall St Journal would be great. More is better and link rank is almost logarithmic, so a PageRank of 6 is worth 10 times a PageRank of 5, etc.

That said, getting a link from an 8 ranked site like would not increase your ranking in the business genre. Sites are ranked according to their relevance.

The best inbound links are contextual. So someone who blogs and says I’ve heard time management guru John Doe talk and direct links from “time management guru” are great for John Doe. Second best, “John Doe” active link. Third, you just have a link in a blogroll without any context.

You rank higher if you update your content regularly. That’s why having a blog on your site is a good way to increase your rankings.

Moderate cross-linking within your own material will also increase your rank and make it clearer to Google what you do.

3 ways to get links to your site:

1 – Ask politely. You may not always get a link, but it never hurts to ask.

2 – Comment on other relevant blogs (and have your PageRank turned on so you ignore low PageRank and high Alexa). Please note that most comments themselves do not constitute a link. But being there makes people look at you. You need people to look at your stuff so they’re inspired to link it.

3- Have good material. People associate with quality. But of course they have to see it, so promote your content:

Have your URL on all your printed material, business cards, letterhead, email signature file, etc.

Write guest posts and blogs in the right (high traffic) places (see Alexa).

PR – get written about

Contribute to other sites. EG write reviews on Amazon, join the conversations.

And a word of warning. Never play games (such as buy links).

In the end it is about having good quality material. And be there for people to look at your material. People relate to quality without your asking, as long as they know.

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