I want to help people become rich through effective communication. But before you can start communicating, your audience have to find you. And where does everyone search today? Google.
This article explains the basics of how to climb the ranks of Google and be in a position where people can find you. It is very detailed, but assumes no prior knowledge – yet although a basic guide, follow it consistently and you will get to the top.
I use a real example to help, and it is of my brother, Terry Church who manages the reputations of Dance Music DJs. He wanted to increase his own brand image (note – not increase traffic, that was an indirect result) by ranking #1 on Google for relevant search terms.
Keep reading if you want to do the same.
Search on Google.co.uk ‘terry church’, ‘terry church pr’, ‘dj pr’, ‘electronic music pr’ and ‘dance music pr’ and for each one, terrychurchpr.com will show in the top three results. A basic understanding of how Google was formed will explain why.
How Google was invented, understanding the very basics.
The founders of Google attended Standford University. In a garage, they discussed the idea of indexing the internet. It was already being done by other search engines, but none were fast enough to keep up with all the new content being produced. How should they go about it?
They thought about the scientific journals they had read at university, and how certain articles were chosen over others. The most famous of scientists, they realised, were those that concentrated on one field consistently. Einstein and physics, for example, Darwin and evolution…
Furthermore, these scientists were not only consistent in the topics they discussed, but they were also the most referenced. Other scientists would refer back to their work again and again. This is why when I say “evolution”, you think “Darwin”. He is always referenced when talking about the topic.
There was one other revelation they had as well. And that was that some references are worth more than others. For instance, if Stephen Hawking says that Joe Bloggs has written a great article, you are more likely to trust the judgement than if John Smith (random person) says Joe Bloggs has written a great article. Some references carry more ‘rank’.
When relating this all back to the internet, Google essentially analyses webpages by asking these three questions:
- What is this person talking about, and how consistent are they?
- Who has referenced them?
- What value do those references have?
Terry manages the reputations of DJs and produces online content for them - these videos for instance. He wanted to promote himself to attract new clients, and to also generate more traffic for existing clients. The first step then, was to find out what people were searching for.
Step One – Choose Your Search Terms
You will probably already know what market you are interested in: Helping people in career change; Carpet bags; Teaching the Laws of Attraction; London Events (all real examples from attendees of my workshop). But these are not really your search terms. These are your products. Search terms, also called keywords are the phrases people search for on Google – “fuck I lost my job”, “bag made of red tapestry”, “how to get my ex-boyfriend back”, “golf trip London”… These are some of the many things people are more likely to search.
How to choose your search terms
To find which search terms or keywords to use, there are two main things to consider:
- How much traffic do they generate?
- How much competition do they have?
The second keyword generation tool is provided by Google itself (click here). All you have to do is type in your main search term ‘dance music pr’ in my brother Terry’s case, choose the location you want to get results for, and click ‘search’ (see image below).
Once you click search, Google will provide a list of about 50 keyword ideas. Next to the words are some data that you can use to determine which are the best.
You can see here in the screenshot above, you have the keyword ideas listed next to ‘competition’ and ‘global monthly searches’. As I explained earlier, competition means how many other webpages contain that keyword.
- You want LOW competition + LARGE searches.
So once you have generated relevant keywords using either Market Samurai or Google’s Keyword Tool, you analyse them to see which have LOW competition + LARGE searches/traffic. Make sure that data is true of your target country!
Step Two – Optimise Your Website (SEO)
Once you have created your website and have chosen your search terms, it’s time to optimise. In short, this means putting your search terms everywhere. And I mean everywhere:
- Tags & Categories
The meta of your website is invisible to the reader. It is a piece of HTML code that goes at the beginning of every web page. To see an example, right click on a web page and click ‘View Page Source’. This will show you the HTML code of the website you are presently on.
Using Terry’s website as an example, you can see the Meta keywords near the top:
But remember, Meta is invisible to normal readers, but the first thing a search engine reads. This is like a super-quick way of telling search engines what your web page is about and the relevant keywords.
- Using a self-hosted WordPress installation? Download and install the ‘SEO Ultimate‘ plugin. This enables you to change the meta descriptions and tags of every single page and post (look at this image from Terry’s plugin installation and note how every post includes the search term ‘dance music pr’).
- Using a hosted WordPress.com installation? It’s tough luck. WordPress.com does not let you change your meta keywords properly.
- Creating a website using pure HTML? i.e. from scratch? Then follow this tutorial to learn how to include Meta descriptions and tags.
Put your keyword(s) in your URL. e.g. www.keyword.com. Or, www.example.com/keyword. If you are targeting multiple keywords, then you could have www.example.com/keyword1, and www.example.com/keyword2. Such is the benefit of blogging platforms, because they enable you to very quickly produce new content each with its own unique URL.
- Using a self-hosted WordPress installation? Make sure pretty-permalinks is on.
Put your keyword in the title of your website. In HTML, this is written as follows:
Google recognises the words within a title to be important, and pays special attention to them. So it’s crucial to have your keywords within this title.
By this I really mean just the first paragraph of your text. Like how a journalist puts the most important details down in the first few lines of a newspaper article, so should you on a webpage. You want Google to know exactly what you’re about immediately. You could even put your keywords in bold. (Yes that makes a difference!)
This refers to the main chunk of text in your webpage. Repeat the keyword in the ‘body’ of the article, several times if you can – but not too much so that it’s incomprehensible to a human reader.
Tags & Categories
If you have a blog, you’re normally able to associate some tags with the blog post. These should be your keywords, plus maybe a few others as well. You can normally assign a blog post to a category too. Make the category name the same as your keyword.
Tangent – Following the Case Study of TerryChurchPR.com
To optimise your website, you want to repeat your keywords again, and again, and again. Which is why blogs are excellent tools for helping you climb Google ranks for they provide the opportunity to produce new, optimised content. Before you go on, you should write a dozen or so blog posts and optimise them. Terry had fifteen optimised articles ready to go before the next step.
The quickest way to achieve this with style is using WordPress.org. Within two days I had customised a premium theme for Terry and written a plugin to get the website doing exactly what he wanted. Now Terry could start writing articles and publish them under his own company name, alongside the videos and podcasts he was producing.
- If you visit the website, you’ll note how it’s seamlessly integrated with Facebook and Twitter. The comments are powered by Facebook using the plugin ‘Facebook Comments for Wordpress’, the Like buttons are done by ‘Facebook Like Box‘, and the Fan box is ‘WordPress Facebook Fan Box Widget‘. The Twitter box in the sidebar is a plugin called ‘Tweet Blender‘.
Terry’s primary concern was to increase the brand image of his own PR company. He increases fan engagement for his clients, not himself, so he wanted to maintain a solid position on Google for when new or current clients Google search him. Therefore, the search terms (otherwise known as ‘keywords’) he chose to boost were not those that were searched the most, nor those that received the most traffic, but those that were of the greatest relevance to him: ‘DJ PR’, ‘Dance Music PR’, ‘Electronic Music PR’…
The decision to market these keywords helped hugely in the longrun because they didn’t have too much competition. And that’s one of the greatest keys to success in Google rankings – choose the right search term to market.
Step Three – Let Google Know About Your Website
Now your website has optimised content, it’s ready to be indexed by Google if it hasn’t already. The best way to do this is to go to Pingler.com. This free service literally sends out a ‘ping’ to almost a hundred search engine servers (a server is a computer without a screen, connected to the internet) letting them know that your website is waiting to be indexed. Within 24 hours, Google will have looked at your website, and remembered it. But that doesn’t mean it’ll immediately put you at the top!
Step Four – Be Patient and Produce More Content
It took three months for Terry’s website to reach page one on Google results, and six months to reach rank one. So be patient. Keep producing new optimised content and use Pingler once or twice a week. There’s no right or wrong in terms of how much or how frequent your content should be, because your content should be for your readers first, and search engines second.
- Again, if you use a WordPress website (either hosted or self-hosted this time), pings will automatically be sent to Google each time you publish a new blog post unless you turn the setting off manually.
- If you change your search terms, Google will re-index them so don’t worry – you can change your content if you make a mistake!
Step Five – Build Backlinks and Destroy Your Competition
To re-cap: You found relevant keywords that are searched often and that have low competition. Then you optimised your website for those keywords by repeating them everywhere. Afterwards, you then ‘pinged’ Google and got it to come and index your website. You continue to create new, optimised content and are finally at the last point – getting those pesky scientists to reference you!
Remember how I explained at the beginning that there are three main components to Google success:
- What is this person talking about, and how consistent are they?
- Who has referenced them?
- What value do those references have?
- To search how many backlinks a website has, one free way to do it is just to Google search, ‘link: example.com’. This will provide results of webpages with that link within it, but it won’t say what ranking those sites are.
- Assess the pagerank of webpages either using Market Samurai or by installing a free toolbar.
Because Terry was writing articles for famous DJs, these clients already had highly ranked websites. At the bottom of every article, Terry would include a link back to his own website. From doing this, he built up his backlinks and gained the #1 spot on Google over six months. You can do the same by writing guest posts on other blogs.
- To find relevant blogs that are of a high rank, and the contact information of the authors, I recommend a tool called Group High. I was a tester for them when they were in the Beta stage, and the product made it very simple to see a list of blogs that are a) still being used, b) read by many people, and c) of a high pagerank. Send them an email with a proposal of writing a guest post, in the bottom of which you’d include a link back to your own website.
Step Seven – Relax but Take Note
Since I got Terry’s website to the top ranks of Google, they haven’t strayed. Terry continues to write new, optimised articles and builds backlinks through the PR work that he does. This ensures that the distance between him and his competitors continues to grow.
There are many guides and tutorials available online explaining how to climb Google ranks, and also many products to help. What I have explained here is a case study of the strategies used for just one website. A real example so that you can understand what someone else did that worked. It wasn’t a heroic task, nor rocket science and most of the three-to-six months was just waiting. There are many other strategies, including link wheels, auto-blogging, article marketing, social bookmarking… but these all have one commonality – they’re trying to cheat Google. Over time, as it did with the Panda Update, Google recognises these tactics and voids all efforts. It’s best to stick to the legitimate methods that will survive a lifetime.
- Learn more at my workshop in London, where I’m teaching Google For Beginners.
If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments below and I’ll answer them as best I can. I’m not an internet marketing guru, what I did for Terry and several others has worked.