Yes, Google makes billions of dollars per year from Adwords which is their pay per click platform. With Adwords though, the business is having to spend money to be found on the front page of Google.
And this is something that gets old real quick for most businesses. Primarily because most businesses fail to see the return on investment in Adwords.
But by no means does this translate into business owners seeing no value in being found on the front page of Google. In fact, businesses are usually willing to spend more money in getting their business onto the front page of Google in the natural search results, versus spending money on pay per click advertising with Google Adwords. The primary reason people have a hard time spending money on Google Adwords over the long term is because once a business stops paying for Adwords, their business disappears from Google’s front page. And when that happens, the business is now back to square one of the problem they had in the first place – no exposure on Google’s front page.
This one simple keyword strategy can change everything…
Assuming you are one of those local business owners that’s not able to stomach a big investment into Google Adwords, I’d like to show you a simple strategy that can help you quickly, efficiently, and “legally” stand out on the front page of Google’s natural search results. This keyword strategy will help your business elevate to the front page of Google, and possibly even to the #1 spot in Google, faster than just about any other strategy that’s available.
And no…. this keyword strategy is not “spam”!
And Google will not penalize your website or your rankings because of it.
What it IS though is smart, keyword optimization of content that gives you an edge over your competitors.
And this “edge” is, in a lot of cases, enough to elevate you to the front page of Google’s natural search results.
Ok, so what is this magical keyword strategy that I’m talking about?
The strategy is to create a consistent presence of your targeted keyword phrase throughout a new piece of content, or a new page (or article, or blog post, etc…) that’s published on your website.
And the best way I can explain this consistent keyword presence strategy is to give you an example.
Let’s say I’m a carpet cleaner in Alpharetta, Georgia. For your business, just replace the service or product with your own and then tag on your targeted metro area at the end. Obviously, it behooves my business to be found on the front page of Google whenever someone in Alpharetta is searching for “carpet cleaning” or “carpet cleaning services”, etc… And at the moment, my business is no where to be found on the front page of Google when I type “carpet cleaning in alpharetta” or “alpharetta carpet cleaning”.
So what am I to do? How can I get a presence on Google’s front page and connect with my customers who are searching for “carpet cleaning in alpharetta?”
#1) Identify your targeted keyword phrase
Ok, this seems obvious, but it’s a critical first step. You have to first identify your targeted keyword phrase. In my example above, I’m targeting “carpet cleaning” in my metro area of “alpharetta, ga”. So my targeted keyword phrase is “carpet cleaning alpharetta ga”. Simple enough right…?
This is something that’s critically important because by defining your targeted keyword phrase up front, it will help you to remain focused as you build out the content of your new web page, or blog post.
Think of it like a shopping list.
If you head to Wal-Mart and you don’t have a shopping list, then you are more than likely going to walk out of there with a bunch of things that you didn’t really need. Wal-Mart is EXTREMELY good at getting you to do this. However, if you walk in there with a shopping list and you are focused, fixated even, on the particular items you are going to purchase, then you will more than likely remain focused no only those items. And in the end, your trip to Wal-Mart will be much more efficient and effective.
The same is true when building content for your targeted keyword phrase.
Before you begin building a new page of content, and before you can give yourself even half a chance of competing with your toughest competitors on the front page of Google, you have to get very focused and disciplined on what each of your targeted web pages, or blog posts, are going to target as a keyword phrase.
So again, the keyword phrase I’m going to target is “carpet cleaning alpharetta ga”.
This is my pre-determined keyword phrase, and everything I do from this point forward is going to be about building a web page, article, or blog post on my website that has as it’s foundation the keyword phrase “carpet cleaning alpharetta ga”.
#2) Building the title
Now that I know “carpet cleaning in alpharetta ga” is my targeted keyword phrase, I need to first figure out a way to get that phrase into the title of my web page, blog post, or article. One of the most important pieces of any web page, from an Google search optimization perspective that is, is the title of your web page or blog post. The title, in most cases, is what’s called your <h1> tag. The <h1> tag is usually what Google crawls and indexes first when it finds a new page. And they get signals from this <h1> tag that will tell the crawlers what this web page is about, or what to expect from the rest of the content within the particular page.
So it’s critically important that if your targeted keyword phrase is “carpet cleaning alpharetta ga”, that you include this phrase in your title.
Here’s a couple of title examples that might work:
How Carpet Cleaning Services in Alpharetta, Ga. Help The Local Economy Grow
Carpet Cleaning in Alpharetta, Ga. – The Best Solution For Alpharetta Homeowners
How Carpet Cleaners in Alpharetta, Ga. Are Benefiting The Environment
Those are just a few to consider… it’s best to write out 3 – 5 different titles for your article first, and then chose from the best one to go with. But the point here is that no matter what title you chose, it has to include the keyword phrase “carpet cleaning alpharetta ga”. And again, this is important because your title is your <h1> tag, and Google looks to this tag first to determine what to expect from the rest of your web page or blog post.
And because Google puts such a strong emphasis on the title of your web page or article, this is your best opportunity to influence what your web page or article will rank for in Google search results.
#3) Optimizing the URL
Now that we’ve included the targeted keyword phrase in our title, and is both comprehensive and compelling to readers, it’s time to move on to the next important element of your web page or blog post where you want to ensure you include your targeted keyword phrase, and that is the URL.
Here’s what a URL looks like:
You see that? That’s exactly what a URL is. And as the local carpet cleaning business in Alpharetta, you can to maximize your chances of getting found on the front page of Google for your targeted keyword phrase “carpet cleaning alpharetta ga”.
So you’ve already included your targeted keyword phrase in your title, and now it’s time to get that same keyword phrase into the URL of your website. I mentioned above that Google looks first to the title (or the <h1>) tag to find out exactly what your web page is all about.
The next important element that Google will look to in attributing value and authority for a particular keyword phrase is the URL. For most content management systems like WordPress, Joomla, or even website building platforms like GoDaddy or Weebly, you have complete control over what the URL of your web page will be.
Notice the URL of this web page that you are reading right now. I purposely set the url to read:
Now, I’m not necessarily writing this article to target a particular keyword phrase. I’m writing it to actually help you, and teach you, how to build your own article or web page that’s targeting a particular keyword phrase. But I just wanted to show you how it’s possible to customize the URL of your web page or blog post, and what it should look like.
In keeping on track with our example targeted keyword phrase, here’s what I would set the custom URL to if I were building a web page or blog post to target the keyword phrase “carpet cleaning alpharetta ga”:
And there it is!
Now you have a URL that is customized and optimized to target a very specific keyword phrase.
In a lot of cases, if you built a web page or blog post and you followed only #1 and #2 above, you’ll probably be on your way to outranking the majority of your competitors in Google search.
But we aren’t going to stop there because first, you want to not only get found on the front page of Google, but you also want to get your business into the very top search results on the front page of Google. And if we are going to do that, we need to give your web page more fire power than just the title and URL. We need to start writing high quality content that readers will find valuable AND that has your targeted keyword phrase integrated throughout your content.
#4) Keyword targeted content
This is probably the trickiest part of the entire process!
If you are going to build a web page that will earn the respect of Google’s standard for high quality content, you CANNOT put together a web page that’s full of nonsense and that’s littered with your targeted keyword phrases.
Google favors quality content – not garbage.
Google’s most recent updates, which were Panda and Penguin, were designed primarily to devalue low quality content. Basically, Google has figured out a way to sift out low quality content. And web pages that are published with garbage and stuffed full of a targeted keyword phrase, would quickly and easily come up on Google’s radar as low quality content. And as a result, that web page will probably never see the light of day.
So how do you build a high quality web page, or article, that can find favor in Google’s search results? It’s simple…
Build a web page that would be valuable to a random reader or visitor to your website!
This is critically important for two reasons:
- If you build a web page, or article, that provides valuable information to your readers, then you are going to be doing a lot to build the credibility and brand of your business.
- If your web page, or article, does a lot to build the brand and credibility of your business, then Google will identify your article as consisting of “high quality content” and will do whatever it can to present your article in their search results.
You see, Google has this amazing algorithm that somehow, someway, is able to behave with human like mannerisms. The ranking algorithm is human-like in a sense that it can tell if the quality of your content is garbage, or premium. Google can tell if you’ve actually gone through and proof-read your article, done a spell check, and checked for proper sentence structure etc…
I probably can’t say, or reiterate, this point enough but in today’s search environment, Google is all about quality. The higher quality your content, the better you can expect it to perform in Google search – period.
Google’s obsession with high quality content
If you think about it, whenever someone is searching for something using Google, they are in essence Google’s customer at that particular point in time. And at the end of the day, Google cares about customer service. They way Google ensures the highest quality product is being delivered to their customer (that’s you, me, and anyone else who’s searching using Google) is to ensure that the top search results consist of nothing but high quality articles and web pages.
So really, you can think of Google’s algorithm updates as a quality control process, one in which Google is striving to deliver high quality search results on their front page.
Creating high quality content that’s keyword targeted
Ok, we know the way to gain favor with Google is to produce high quality content. And if we produce garbage content then we know we can’t expect any great results from the standpoint of gaining exposure on Google’s front page.
But let’s say we hunker down and produce a high quality article with the intent of optimizing that article for our targeted keyword phrase, which is “carpet cleaning alpharetta ga”. How exactly do we do this? How do we optimize an article for a targeted keyword phrase AND create a high quality article, all at the same time? Is this even possible?
I say – absolutely!
Of course, half your battle is won by following tips #2 and #3 above – including your targeted keyword phrase in your title and in the URL of your webpage or blog post.
But now we have to include the targeted keyword phrase throughout the content of the article as well. As I said earlier, this can be tricky because you are don’t want to go overboard with forcing the keyword phrase unnaturally throughout the article. If you do that, then your article will lean toward the side of “spammy” and “garbage”, something that will work against you in Google. But then again, if you don’t include the keyword phrase at all throughout the content of the article, then your article isn’t going to be highly optimized for your targeted keyword phrase.
The 100 word rule
So the answer is to find a balance between your high quality content and your targeted keyword phrase presence, like the 100 word rule.
One rule of thumb in finding this balance is to use what I call the 100 word rule which states you don’t include your specific targeted keyword phrase at a rate that exceeds once every 100 words throughout your article. By following the 100 word rule, you’ll be ensuring that your keyword phrase density isn’t going overboard – meaning, there’s just too many occurrences of your keyword phrase which is making your article sound unnatural. However, following the 100 word rule is frequent enough to keep your article on track for being highly optimized for your targeted keyword phrase.
#5) Building keyword targeted backlinks
No keyword optimization strategy would be complete without discussing back links. However, I have found – in my experience working with small and local businesses – a few things that tell me backlinking isn’t as critical as you’d come to expect; at least not for the small and local business search optimization strategy that is.
But let me first tell you about the backlinking strategy, how to go about building backlinks, and why it’s important. And then I’ll get more into the reasons as to why it may not be as important for small and local businesses as you might think.
The “How & Why” about backlinks
First the “why” – why do you want to build backlinks to your website? And let me just clarify something here… we don’t just want to build “any” backlinks to our website. Remember, we are after the goal of driving our business, and our business website, to the front page of Google for the targeted keyword phrase “carpet cleaning alpharatta ga”. So we want to build backlinks to our website, or our blog post, that target our primary keyword phrase which is “carpet cleaning alpharatta ga”.
When Larry Page and Sergey Brin first launched Google, the algorithm was optimized to almost exclusively analyze the backlinks – both volume and quality – that were pointing back to a particular webpage. And based on this backlinking analysis, Google would sort the search results accordingly. The problem with the search results resting solely on the analysis of backlinks is that it was easy to spam Google. All someone had to do is go out and build a ton of backlinks to a website and more than likely that website would rank well in Google.
So Google started updating their search engine, and primarily the algorithm that drives the search results, in order to discredit the manually built links. After all, if all someone had to do was build a bunch of links back to any particular web page, then obviously the search results would be very skewed.
So fast forward all the way to today, and we now have a search engine that relies heavily on high quality, informative content that Google can confidently deliver on the front page of Google without the user – that is, the person who’s searching for something – feeling disappointed in the search results.
Backlinking isn’t totally dead
But that doesn’t mean backlinking is totally dead. In fact, one backlink from a highly authoritative source and mean the difference between your webpage ranking #1 or not even being on the front page. The point here is that the backlinking that does occur, and the backlinks that are going to be given the most weight in Google are the ones that occur naturally, or appear to be built in a more natural way.
One of the things I do regarding backlinking and I’ll typically write an article or two, publish them in places like Squidoo or Hub Pages, and include a backlink within the articles. And then any other backlinking that does occur to my targeted web pages or blog posts are backlinks that have occurred naturally.
Again, you don’t want to build links back to your webpage or targeted blog post in an un-natural fashion. This artificial backlink building will more than likely trigger one of Google’s anti-spam mechanisms and your web page could get penalized. And if that occurs, then you’ve just lost any and all hope of your web page ever reaching the front page of Google.
Is backlinking even necessary for local search results?
Finally, let me conclude with my thoughts and experience on the relevance of backlink building, and the role of backlinks in local search results. In summary, I don’t believe backlinks are critically important when it comes to a local business competing in Google’s search results.
Again, let me use our example targeted keyword phrase here which is “carpet cleaning alpharetta ga”.
If you Google this particular keyword phrase, you’ll see the majority of the front page of Google is made up of what’s called Google’s local search results, or listings, that are typically annotated as being listed by the letters A – G. These are local businesses, in Alpharetta, who have “carpet cleaning” listed as a primary or secondary service that they offer.
And then above and below those local search results (search results A – G) you may then find other web pages which are non-local search results. These web pages are simply pages that have enough authority to actually outrank the entire local search element. Or if they don’t actually outrank the local A – G search results, then they have enough authority to be on the front page of Google, but just below the A – G local search results.
The reason I don’t believe backlinking is critically important local search result exposure is because comparatively speaking, very few local web pages have any substantial, or high quality backlinks to be begin with. So if you are trying to compete in Google for the keyword phrase “carpet cleaning alpharetta ga”, then instead of fixating on building high quality backlinks, I’d propose that a much more valuable area of focus would be building a web page or blog post that consists of high quality content.
Basically what I’m saying is for small and local business search results in Google, focusing on high quality content that is also keyword optimized (see #4 above) is a much more valuable use of your time and effort than worrying about building backlinks.
In my experience, I’ve been able to drive clients to the front page of Google for highly competitive local keyword phrases simply by producing a nice, long, high quality and keyword optimized article. And not only drive them to the front page, but also watch as their rankings continued to climb all the way into the top 3 or even the number 1 search result in Google.
So what do you think about the strategy of building high quality, keyword optimized content for reaching the front page of Google search results? Do you agree that for local search results, it’s more important to focus on keyword quality content than it is building backlinks?
What do you think?
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