Possibly one of the most talked about topics in the world of making money from websites is howto rank for a phrase you want to rank for. There are thousands of guides out there that claim they have discovered the secret formula, and if you just follow their steps, you are guaranteed a #1 spot in the search results.
No matter who is saying it, or how they phrase it, if they tell you they have a guaranteed way to rank, they are yanking your chain. No one knows. Even with my own recommendations for how to use keywords in order to rank, I have surprised myself by not being able to rank for things I though would be easy. I have also surprised myself with excellent rank on articles that I basically wrote willy-nilly.
Sometimes, it’s kind of a guessing game.
That being said, I do have a set of rules I try to adhere to, to increase my chances or ranking highly in search engines (mostly Google). Let’s use the keyword phrase “best way to grow hydroponic tomatoes”. It has an average of 100 searches per month and a QSR of 10.
- Use the keyword in the title.
- Use the keyword in the first paragraph. For example: Tomato lovers looking to grow their own vegetables with hydroponic systems start around spring time, looking forward to harvesting their food in summer. But seasoned growers will want to keep a crop moving all year round. For you guys, I’ve come up with the best way to grow hydroponic tomatoes in the winter. This has worked for two winters for me already, and I’m happy to share my secrets with you.
That’s pretty much it! Shocking, I know. But I currently rank for thousand of keywords using this method. But before you close this book and write me off as a hack, hear me out.
You are not ‘banned’ from using your phrase again later in the pages. These are just the minimum rules I set for myself for keyword targeted content. If you write about anything naturally, the phrase will occur more than once over the course of a 1000 word article. Not only that, but you will be naturally using synonyms and related phrases without even thinking about it.
Rather than try to stuff your phrase in there to hit a 2% density which creates an unnatural feel
to the article, just write from your head, and most of the time you will write something that is at least eligible for the first page…if you play our cards right.
Some other optional things you can do for on page optimization for a phrase include:
- Adding an image with an alt tag using your keyword
- Use a heading with your keyword (h2, h3, h4, etc)
- Use the keyword once more in the last paragraph
- Use text formatting for an LSI keyword phrase
- Create an external link to a relevant resource with a related phrase
- Create an internal link to a relevant resource with a related phrase
I realize that there are some things in that list that you might not understand right now. Honestly, it’s not worth the discussion at this point, because I don’t recommend you start off your blogging journey worrying about minute details that may or may not even work. You can come back to this portion
at a later date and look each over the things you don’t understand, as they’ve been written about many times over on different websites, including my own.
For now, just keep in mind, “Keyword in the title, keyword in the first paragraph”. If you are aiming for appropriately low competition phrases, ranking for some, if not most of what you target, should be easy.
Other things That Affect Rank
Let’s talk about a few other things that I believe can affect the rank of a specific page on your website.
- Blog Activity. The more active you are and the more fresh content you post to your website the more Google will come to crawl your site. More content = more authority = more rank for your website as whole, thus affecting individual pages.
- Content Volume. Related to #1, the length of your posts also matters. For competitive keywords, it’s rare to see a post that’s less than 500 words make it to the first page. Even for medium competition, longer, more details posts will (pretty much) always outrank ones with ‘thin’ content.
- Social Signals. Facebook likes, Google +1, Tweets, and shares on other social media websites are well known to contribute to the authority of pages on your site.
- User Engagement. The comment section of your posts can be very important! To Google it simply sees that each time it’s returning to your page, you’ve updated it with new, fresh content.
- Keyword Density. Though I don’t shoot for any specific keyword density, I do believe it can affect your rank positively or negatively. Not enough density and your post isn’t focused enough. Too much density and it’s over-optimized.
- Keyword Usage. Where and how is the keyword used? Is it bolded? Is it an h3 tag? Is it used as an alt tag or image title? Is it the exact phraspedfoboroaksdinefor.bivloagstipvoet.c?omIf you use a keyword 10 times in one paragraph that will have a different effect than using it 10 times evenly spaced out.
- LSI Usage. LSI means Latent Semantic Indexing. It basically means “related words”. If my keyword is “how to make an authentic Italian pizza”, then dough, pepperoni, bake in the oven, and make pizza sauce would all be part of the LSI list. It’s words you use when talking about your subject choice.
- On-Site Anchor Text. This is when you link internally from pages on your site to other pages
on your site. Using the keyword phrase as the text part of the link (called anchor text) can definitely boost your rank over time.
- Off-Site Anchor Text. This is where other websites link back to you. The phrase they choose to link to your page is also called anchor text. When other sites link to you, it’s also called getting a ‘backlink’, and is the subject of much discussion in the online business community. Getting high
quality backlinks is great for ranking, but getting unnatural or low quality backlinks can poison your site and destroy it (I know from personal experience).