Getting to page 1 of Google

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Google Guidelines state;

“No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google”

Matt Cutts of Google is on record as saying;

“someone walked up to me and pretended like he wanted to bribe me: $500,000 for a 1st place ranking. I turned him down, because no one can guarantee a #1 ranking, not even me.”

Google says: “Be wary of SEO firms that send you email out of the blue. Amazingly, we get these spam emails too: “Dear google.com, I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories…” Reserve the same scepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for “burn fat at night” diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators.”

I get at least one email a week guaranteeing that they can get my website to page 1 on Google. I am there occasionally depending on what I key in, whether I’ve cleared the cache recently or remembered to log out of Gmail.. or changed my keywords, upped my bids or bothered to promote my latest blog..

One company says, “You could be on the first page of google” and then says, “We also have strong expertise in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), which is the process of getting your website on Google in the Organic (Free/Natural) listings which are found in the middle of the page on Google.”

Which really means you have to pay to get there if it’s at all possible. Finding out how much isn’t easy.. They all say, “The exact cost of a high impact search engine optimisation campaign varies depending on what industry you are in and how competitive the keywords you want to target are, as this determines the amount of time and resources that need to be put into it.”

Article Page1Google

But there is some good advice.

  1. Backlinks matter. On average, the top 2 results on page 1 of Google equated to having 38% of all the backlinks from pages on page 1.
  2. On average, the higher up page 1 the result is, the greater the number of linking domains that the webpage has. Webpages ranking #1 had an average of 168% more linking domains than those ranking #5.
  3. Webpages on HTTPS had positive correlation with higher rankings, with 33% of all the sampled URL that ranked either #1, #2 or #3 using HTTPS.
  4. Anchor text is still a huge ranking signal. Webpages ranking #1 had an average of 5.42% of their anchor text actually including their target keyword. The further up page 1 you look, the higher this percentage goes.
  5. Top-ranking webpages tended to have shorter page titles, with the sweet spot nearing closer to 8 words in length.
  6. Webpages with their target keyword in their URL tended to rank higher in Google than those that didn’t.
  7. Including your target keyword within your page title positively correlated with higher search rankings. Of the sampled data, over 15% of all the page 1 rankings included the target keyword within its page title.
  8. Across the results of page 1, the average ratio of backlinks to linking domains was 37:1. This means that on average, each website that linked to page 1 content was linking from 37 different pages on their website.
  9. Top-ranking webpages in Google have shorter URLs, with position 1 URLs averaging 59 characters in length.

These statements result from someone doing some research and may be speculative or coincidental. Google doesn’t tell anyone how to do it – the game keeps rumbling on.

Some more good stuff.. If you ask google how you get to page one you get lots of results telling you  just how to do it.

More tips.

  1. Optimise for RankBrain - RankBrain is Google’s machine-learning AI system, which has been revealed by Google to one of the top three ranking signals in its vast array of contributing factors.

  2. Optimise for ‘near me’ search queries - This basically points to mobile as being the key driver for local search, and how essentially you should be optimising for exactly that.

  3. Optimise your local presence - Following on from the last point, it’s no good optimising for ‘near me’ search queries if you’re not actually ‘there’. So you need to sort out your local SEO.

  4. Optimise for natural language and voice search - The key to optimising for voice search therefore is to provide content for more direct questions. Those that are spoken in a far more natural language than the one we normally use when typing into a search engine, where keywords are dominant.

  5. Answer a question - Following on from optimising for natural language is being able to directly answer questions with your content. So find out what questions your site can answer and create content that does exactly that. It will help if you’re as succinct as possible, you phrase the question in the headline and you answer the question as soon in the article as possible.

  6. Pay for it - Some things are still very much a truism now as they were in 2013… You can just ignore all of these tips just by paying your way to the top with PPC ads. Although you will still need quality ad copy, relevant landing pages and high customer rated products (especially if your entering into the Product Listing Ads space), but yes, you can still throw money at the problem.

  7. Get in Top Stories, implement AMP - Getting your site into Google News has always been a certain way to drive short-term traffic to your content. Top Stories is the mobile equivalent of the desktop In the News section, and right now this section is filling up with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is Google’s open-source program that allows webmasters the ability to create super-quick, stripped-down, instantly loading versions of web-pages for mobile users. AMP isn’t a ranking signal yet, but if you’re appearing in Top Stories than having AMP pages will help improve user experience. Here’s a tutorial on how to implement AMP successfully.

  8. Be mobile optimised - You should have this nailed by now.

  9. Speed up your site - You do still need to prioritise the speed of your actual site, not just grafting on Google-owned patches. Site speed is a ranking factor, but there are many ways you can improve performance.

  10. Optimise your Twitter presence. One major change to the SERP in the last few years has been the introduction of tweets.

What should you do next?

Talk to Alchemy https://www.alchemyinteractive.co.uk/what-we-do/digital-strategy#

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