Getting knocked down by your competition? This post will outline exactly what I do when I hear this from a new client partner. These steps often takes 2-3 months but will increase your rankings.

pie-chart-256Will they sock a right hook to your competitors? Usually yes. You need to think about changing your strategy from try, hope and pray to a tactical approach. But why do sites rank in the first place? Here’s a list of the usual suspects…

  1. Domain age: this is usually one of the biggies why the guys down the street rank higher than you. There’s no way around it. Sure you may have heard about buying an aged domain to replace yours. Nope. You see, unless you take over an existing domain that’s actively owned, you’re doomed. Buying a domain name that’s 15 years old resets once you purchase it. So don’t bother.
  2. Backlinks: now this is a tricky subject. I’ve ranked many client sites with just a handful of backlinks. However, before April 2012 (when Google Penguin was launched) sites that survived Penguin were grandfathered. My point is if they have 10,000 links and rank, their non-spam backlinks help their rankings. But DO NOt think backlinking your site will improve your rankings. The technique is a dead duck.
  3. Google relevancy: it may sound complicated but it’s actually very simple. Sites hold first page search engine positions because their content is relevant to G/Yahoo! and Bing for their target keyword. If you can improve your relevancy standards for your keywords, you’ll do well over time.

Google Relevancy

Ask any SEO guru about relevancy standards and they’ll most likely say huh? In the last few years, the big G has been awarding sites with phenomenal ranks which provide genuine, rich content. Usually it’s websites that also contain embedded video. Here’s my process (in order) which is more of a marathon than a race to the top…

Step 1: develop a set of core target keywords. They should be exact-searched keys that have between 200-1000 searches per month.

performance based seoStep 2: write one post or article on your site for each keyword. Make sure your word count is at least 450-500 words for each page.

Step 2.2: create a unique url path to each page. Thus, if your site url is ABC.com and your page’s target keyword is ‘muffler shop newark’ your full url to the page would read ABC.com/muffler-shop-newark. This is called a canonical url path and the SEs love it.

Step 3: set a goal of using your keyword density between 2-2.5%. So for every 100 words in your article, your target keyword will display once.

Step 3.1: display a copyright-free image or graphic and include your keyword phrase as an ‘alt image tag’ to it. Alternative image tagging is an often overlooked five second technique that will increase your relevancy score.

Step 3.2: include your target keyword as an anchor hyperlink to another page on your site. Anchor text indicates to Google your page is relevant to your target keyword so be certain it matches your keyword. Here’s an example: organic SEO marketing.

Step 3.3: create a unique url path to each page. Thus, if your site url is ABC.com and your page’s target keyword is ‘muffler shop newark’ your full url to the page would read ABC.com/muffler-shop-newark. This is called a canonical url path and the SEs love it.

Step 4: twice a week update each article. I recommend you begin to increase your keyword density at least .05% per update. Obviously you’ll be adding additional text. However, be certain you don’t go hog wild with your densities. Ramping up to 4-5% is a bad idea. The reason is you want to give Google time to spider your site and notice your content is being updated regularly, yet conservatively. The goal is to add more relevant text (at least 800-1000 words).

Step 4.1: in your article title as well as inside the first and last sentences, make sure to include your keyword phrase in them. Although it sounds simple, this formatting tells the search engines your content is relevant to your target keyword.

vintage-tv-icon-128x128Step 5: add video to each post or page. This is a little secret so many SEO firms ignore because it takes video production in order to follow my technique. Video is a powerful relevancy factor which indicates to the search engines you have multi-dimensional content (text, graphics & video). I also recommend you optimize each video for your core target keywords. Thus, using a YouTube or Vimeo account is wise to host your videos.

Will it Work?

Big time. Although it takes time and structure to follow this format, I have used this exact format in most of my client projects. What you should try to avoid are short-term SEO gimmicks which don’t work.

As you can probably figure out, it takes writing and lots of it. So if you need help, it may make sense to hire a freelance writer. So often site owners who rank well do so because they have hundreds of pages and posts with highly relevant content.

This process can be done with your internal staff. Although many companies may not have someone who has a degree in writing, you can usually find a few employees interested in the writing process. Don’t feel as if you need to start with 1000 words of text per page or post. Starting small and grow content slowly makes much more sense. Especially as the search engines notice you’re updating your site content frequently.

Remember the SEs love fresh, relevant content. When they notice you’re adding reams of it to your site, your rankings will grow.