How do you get top search engine rankings?
That’s what everybody really wants to know, right? It’s amazing how often that question is posed and, to this day, nobody has been able (or willing!) to provide a definitive answer. When asked, SEOs dance all around it, never quite giving you something to grasp on to.
You hear answers like, “There is no magic formula,” “The search engines look at a lot of different factors” and “The search results are different for everyone.” None of these answers provide much comfort — or value — to the average business owner or newbie web marketer who’s looking to push their site to the top.
It’s time someone stepped up and truly answered the unanswerable question. Like a magician who reveals his tricks, I’m going to put myself up for ridicule, open hostility and possibly even excommunication from the “club.”
However, I can be silent no longer. There is a formula to #1 rankings and I will now reveal it to the world!
If you want to get #1 rankings on Google, then you have to start with a solid base of education. More and more colleges are offering courses on online marketing, but there is no better education than getting down in the trenches. The most up-to-date information you’ll find regarding web marketing strategies can be found online.
Be careful though. You can’t believe everything you read. You’ll have to learn which sources and individuals you can trust to provide the most accurate information. But even still, most everything you see online is opinion-based. It’s an educated opinion, but still an opinion.
There are a lot of people out there publishing their tests of algorithms. You can learn from those, but the best education is your own testing. Learn by doing. Start with optimization best practices and then begin to branch out with your own theories. Test them and see what does and doesn’t work.
Most importantly, never stop educating yourself. Web marketing changes rapidly, and if you don’t continue to read, share and politely argue thoughts and ideas, you’ll find yourself stuck doing yesterday’s web marketing tactics for tomorrows algorithms. Keep current. Don’t stop learning, ever.
2. Hard Work
Your education only pays off with old fashioned hard work. There are very few sites that we market that don’t have a good deal of issues that need to be worked through and fixed. Whether it’s keyword research, fixing site architectural issues, or developing an on-going promotion plan, there is a lot of time, energy and effort that goes into each web marketing campaign.
There are a lot of quick fixes on websites, but each one is only part of the solution. I love seeing results quickly, but the real results generally come with time invested in the campaign. The work you do marketing a site may change — today it’s architecture, tomorrow optimization, the next day social promotion — but the hard work never ceases.
3. Build Authority
Google doesn’t want to rank sites because you were able to manipulate the algorithm. They want to rank sites that have already proven that they deserve to be there. And what makes you worthy? You have to have a site that people love.
That means you need to build authority into your site. Authority moves you closer to the top for your keywords because Google sees that you have created a site that people have already demonstrated they love.
Authority is created in many ways. It starts with having content that demonstrates that you know what you’re talking about. If you’ve proven your knowledge, you then have to provide it in a way that your visitors enjoy. Finally, you have to engage with your audience, answering their questions, pointing them to other resources, and simply making them feel valued.
Doing these things on a regular and consistent basis will earn you authority points that will ultimately translate into better rankings. It’s simply all about delivering what your audience wants.
4. Invest More Than The Other Guy
Moving past all the other sites that currently hold top search engine rankings for your keywords is, ultimately, a matter of investment. I’m not just talking money here. I’m talking about time, skill, know-how and money. Money only works if you’re paying someone else to do all your web marketing. And that’s fine. But it still comes down to time; theirs instead of yours.
So let’s wrap all that into a single word: invest. How much are you investing in your web marketing campaign? If your competitors are investing more, you’re going to lose. If that other site you’re trying to overtake in the search results is doing a better job investing in social media, you’re going to fail. If they are investing more in building a better web site, you’re going to fail. If they are investing more in customer outreach, you’re going to fail.
See the pattern here? You are simply unlikely to outperform anyone who is investing more than you. So that means you have to go one better. And depending on how much of a lead they have, you might need to do more than one better, maybe five or ten better, just to catch up.
Everything in web marketing takes time. If you’re smart, you’ll go after some quick wins so you can start seeing some benefit of the work going into your campaign. But those quick wins are small victories compared to the big victories that come with time.
It takes time to fix a site’s architecture. It takes time to research, organize, select and optimize for keywords. It takes time to build up a strong social presence. So give yourself time to succeed. Don’t expect to be at the top overnight.
So there it is, the five unbeatable tactics that get you to #1. Do these five things and you will get the success you want. If you don’t get to #1 after doing these five things, it just means you haven’t done them right. Don’t expect to earn rankings you truly don’t deserve. How do you know if you do deserve to be ranked #1? You’re already there!