Ranking no # 1 in google search is the ultimate dream for many website owners and SEO agencies. Getting among the top 10 ranking in search engines can be very satisfying and lucrative for many webmasters. Ranking right at the top in Google search will always remain a mystery to most people trying to crack open that secret ranking formula. Google has carefully hidden their ranking secrets behind their thousands of patents and algorithms and AI machine learning.
The webmasters and gurus will manage to crack some rank clues, but not all the factors combined together. That “secret sauce” that helps you rank to no#1 will always be a highly guarded secret by Google and co.
Yet, there are enough clues available to get your website ranking to the top for your chosen keywords be it WordPress CMS or a Wix website. If you follow some of these “Ranking tips” revealed below by me in this blog post, you will definitely get closer to ranking at the coveted top position.
If you just want to rank quickly then you can skip this tutorial and just copy what top rankers are doing to reach no #1 in google with help from seo tools.
It is not hard to see what they are doing based on onpage and offpage SEO on their sites and even analyse their backlink structure. Some tools that may help you find out what top bloogers or competitors are doing are software like Ahrefs ( paid membership) , Semrush (paid monthly membership) and SEO PowerSuite that is standalone Desktop software(NO monthly membership – one off payment)
Yes I have listed on my blog profile about me writing about SEO and technology, but I really never written in detail about SEO, in spite of ranking for some big keywords. So I hope this post does some justice to my laziness in SEO content publishing – and you benefit from this article.
Yes, you can definitely rank for some keywords and get more traffic and earn some money as well if you are selling some products from your website/blog. Getting top ranking in google-search has made many a webmaster successful in the online world and let them quit their full-time jobs.
Black hatters today as well manage to “rank no #1 on google” with shady and blackhat tactics, however, It is no secret that content length of your article, content quality of your article and authority links ( good backlinks) pointing to it will always boost your website ranking. I break it down to you below:
The Ultimate SEO Guide for websites – Rank in 2018
The basics of ranking however, will always be these 4 main factors as given below:
1. Content-Length (Should be minimum 1200 + Words)
2. Content quality (should be well written, good grammar, no spelling mistakes, structured right and useful to the reader)
3. Backlinks ( should come from good websites with high authority and be relevant to your niche)
4. UX or Post/Article structure and design layout (your theme/template)
These four above factors will help you rank and is essentially the backbone for ranking in 2018, however, there are many more factors that add to this and which will help you shoot up your article popularity and rankings and they are given below. Condt…
But before that here is the “Freshest SEO TIPS section”
– Which feature the current SEO SIGNALS that matter right now
- Topical relevancy Silo-ing and Geo relevancy with building naked and branded links works right now
- Font size is important – it should be easily readable on smart devices Use LSI keywords for topical relevancy
- Optimum spacing between your content/paragraphs or within your articles
I will be updating this post on a regular basis to keep up with the latest SEO trends and updates happening so that you can also update your SEO game accordingly to keep your top ranking on the top. And so I would like to call this post “The Ultimate Guide to SEO”. Anyway Moving on..
To make it easier to read and digest this mega post, I will arrange my tips neatly into tips that you can take action with, or informational tips which you can digest and then decide to take some action with them or then label the tips as black Grey white Hat.
· (Action) = Tip that you can start implementing today on your blog/website
· (Info) = Tips that informs you about SEO as it is today or in 2018 and you can decide how you want to act on this information
· (BL/GR Tip) = Tips that borders on black hat grey hat methods and you should use at your own risk
I will put these items in brackets after every tip so that you can know what kind of tip it is and take action accordingly. SEO changes very rapidly and it is essential to stay on top of things – SO I will be updating these tips on a regular basis and the most recent tips will always be on the top (* that’s the reason why I have not numbered the tips)
Below i have also included some Bonus SEO FREE PDF’s that will further help you optimise your website to rank well with latest ranking factors
Let me explain the first 4 most important SEO tips I have given above
Content-Length (Action) – The label on this topic is (Action) and so it will benefit you if you immediately put this tip into action. Start making posts at least 1200 + words (2000 to 5,000 words also rank well today). Most blog posts and articles have a better chance of ranking no#1 to 10 if they are at least 1200 words at the minimum and have the other ranking factors listed above supporting it.
If you got blog posts or articles that are ranking well and are short of this figure, consider increasing the word count of your post after doing a quick review of a top ranking article in search engines -in your niche.
Content Quality (Action) – This is a no-brainer, if you have bad spelling and grammar you are already losing a lot of traffic due to looking unprofessional and giving the impression that your website is of low standard. Google search and Bing search have also become smarter and can detect low-quality articles. Make sure you check your article for grammatical mistakes and spelling mistakes after you write it.
A good structure or flow in the article also means that the flow of the article should be smooth, giving an overview, pros and cons, in-depth review and summary in the proper structure as per the needs of each article and subject.
This structure and flow can differ depending on the topic you are writing about. When you a read the article, it should read seamless and flow well as per the keywords or topic it is supposed to be ranking for. It should also cater to the user intent of the viewer.
Backlinks (Action) – This is one of the most important factor that all search engines count on to rank their top pages or websites, including Google. How does a successful website rank to the top?
It gets more and more links over a period of time as it churns out content and then more awesome content and gain more backlinks. If backlinks are dropping then your popularity is going to dip and Google thinks the same.
Make sure that you consistently have an awesome blog/website which is gaining links on a regular basis and at a steady pace.
[A healthy looking referring domain backlink profile]
Google is really a popularity engine (ref roger monti). The pages that satisfy the most users are what Google will rank at the top. That’s called matching web pages to user intent. User intent means what the person typing the search query means when they type any particular query and what they expect to see.
DOES BACKLINKS MATTER ?
As of today, Google is still giving importance to backlinks with these three criteria in order
· AUTHORITATIVE BACKLINKS
· BACKLINKS THAT GIVE YOUR BLOG TRAFFIC
· BACKLINKS WITH HIGH DOMAIN AND PAGE AUTHORITY AND TRUST
. RELEVANT BACKLINKS – Content on the page that is linking to you which means relevancy of the content on the page matters today.
Many webmasters use a (BL/GR Tip) version to back linking to reach the top of the ranking in search quickly in some easy niches. Many a time these do not last for very long and very rarely these rankings stick.
Blog Post/Article UX, Design or Structure (Action + Info) – This factor has become more important in several niches mid-2017 and into 2018. If you have a well-designed blog page or article with the proper structure on it then it will rank well.
Good sized visible fonts for viewers, structure,responsive and design to make the article look good on computers as well as tablets and Phones, well laid out content on page with relevant images and graphs and dot points and tables – they all contribute to a well-designed blog post or article and help your blog post rank better.
I suggest if you want to make your job easier for ranking on search engines, then go with a good wordpress theme provider that is responsive, html5 ready, has robust inbuilt SEO basics and speedy theme loading. I would recommend Genesis studiopress wordpress themes for this, you can read my review over here.
Does organic traffic help my blog rank?(info)
This is a trend that could change, but right now direct traffic definitely helps your rankings jump up and down when combined with constant organic traffic and already good rankings.
Yes, organic traffic does help rank better, but it does this – with other supporting factors like low bounce rate and direct traffic gained and supported by some social media traffic.
Below are some more factors that will help you rank apart from what I already mentioned above. These should also be implemented on your website and blog.
Placement of keyword
If you are looking to optimize for a “keyword”, you need to put it in the first 50 to 100 words of the article. If it’s a key phrase (two to three words) then break up the keywords and use it in the first 100 words on the page.
But I would say do research before adjusting this, as some niches rank without keyword placement as well, but it is safe to just do this at the start and then re-optimize later if you not getting the results you need.
I suggest also comparing the top 10 competitors ranking for that keyword and re-optimizing your keyword density and placement. You can check my copy at seo post(https://www.digitalgrog.com.au/make-money-blogging/why-seo-copycat-can-save-you-time/ ) that talks about this in much more detail.
Snippets or featured results
This is big right now (Featured snippets) – You know those results that show up right on top of Google search when you search for some keywords.
Featured snippets, also known as the quick answer or knowledge graph is an area at the top of page 1 in Google search where the searcher’s query is answered right then and there (like above pic). You can get more on how to rank with this in diggitys post referenced below.
Summarize with lists and link to sections in your blog post
If you are making an article like a step by step guide – Summarise the steps at the beginning of the article in point form and then link back from every point in the list to the description of the steps below.
Creating lists also help with featured snippets being taken from your article to be displayed on search if your article starts to rank in top 20.
Use synonyms/ LSI in your articles(info – BL/GR)
[You can easily use Microsoft word to research for synonyms by highlighting/right-clicking the word in the document and clicking synonyms to give you additional keywords]
Google’s algorithm is smart and getting smarter, but we do know for sure from many tests done by SEO’s that the search engine does detect synonyms for your keyword in your article to find out what the article is about which is also a relevance factor in ranking the article.
You need to help Google find what your article is about so synonyms help the search engine know what your article is about. Use them.
Freshness factor in ranking
Freshness is a new factor in the new search algorithm. Every time you update your website you get an instant brownie point from the search engine and your recent content gets a new life and attention. I’ve seen leads and traffic increase when I publish a new post.
Creating authority with authority (External linking)
Linking to established resources websites like Wikipedia and websites with good authority in the niche you are writing about/publishing on your blog will give your article some extra boost to your content. You could also mention Like a CEO or founder of a company you are writing about and link to their profile to gain some extra boost to your article. It’s like referencing authority (eg.in journals) and gaining some authority in exchange for your article.
Sometimes a top-ranked image in image search can pull a lot of traffic to your blog. And traffic helps your blog rank too. You could also align proper Keywords in your image name and post it right on the top of your page making it relevant to your blog post.
Monitor and Diversify links(BL/GR)
Often when you have good ranking articles and blog posts, you cannot control your backlinks as you automatically get links to your good articles. It is best to monitor what links you get as if you get too many links with a particular keyword, you could get penalized.
Very important – Diversify links to all pages in blogs – possibly backlink to main page 50 to 55% rest to other pages, Domains linking to main page 70% and to other pages 30 %. I’ve checked this with a $45 affiliate commission website I have been running successfully.
You have written an awesome article that ticks all the boxes, but it’s no use if nobody sees it. You have to promote it via doing outreach and getting guest posts and backlinks or other means. Social media promotion would also help get a boost to your new article.
Whenever you post a new post, start trying to gain back links to it for at least a month to give that initial boost. Once it’s got some solid boost/substance behind it with shares, backlinks etc the article will continue to grow and rank.
Content and article length
The new article post length is 2000 + words blog post if you want a decent chance to compete against top rankers with huge authority.
But saying that, I have got a lot of traction and leads from many 1200 word posts that I have written as well. So it’s not only the length of the article but a mix of everything backlinks, shares etc mixed with a length that makes it rank well.
https or secure sites
Well, Google is the king of search, so they can announce whatever they want to and they have said that they will show all websites that are not secure (without https) as not secure in Google Chrome browser. So obviously you get brownie points for having https in your domain name and it helps to rank as well, so they say.
AMP for ranking and SEO
The full form of AMP in Seo terms is “Accelerated Mobile Pages”, In simple terms when you implement amp on your website, your pages will render faster to your viewer and this benefits viewers on mobiles, tablets which is a growing audience. Google says 40% of users will abandon any website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Mobile pages often take at least 8 seconds to load.
How to implement AMP – If you got your website hosted with WordPress, it’s as simple as getting a WP plugin supporting amp. This is also a factor that is taken into account for ranking in the search engines. We just don’t know how much weight it carries.
Viral bait + Social Media sharing
While this topic sounds more like an alternative SEO method, it still can have a big impact on traffic and also impact seo.
These two are big for one main reason “traffic”. These both when implemented nicely could give a steady and regular traffic to your blog on facebook, twitter, Pinterest and Instagram and other social media platforms.
Relevant traffic to and from your niche helps you rank better as it also improves engagement and lowers bounce rate. But you need to be careful when using viral bait, so as not to affect your bounce rate in a bad way.
Technical factors for Search Engine Optimisation
Broken links on your blog internally or externally are not good for SEO and need to be fixed or redirected.
If you’re using wordpress and use a lot of plugins, do check all your plugins to see if they are slowing down your blog or then affecting your SEO in a bad way.
The loading speed of your website and its pages if slow can be bad SEO. Make sure you have a good speedy hosting company serving your website. Make use of CDNS and cache plugins if necessary. Do not use large images.
A website design or theme should be able to be seen seamlessly on all modern devices. A responsive design will improve search engine ranking. Your wordpress theme or website design should be responsive
Important Sub factors that improve your website visibility on search engines
Internal and inbound links:
- There should be topic relevance between the page linking and the page linked with internal links
- It’s good to have IPs from different IP classes (preferably us but some AU UK Etc.) linking to you
- Language match between linked page and linking page
- Context relevance of the text around your backlink pointing to your website will enhance your topic. Try to get niche relevant links
- Link to your website with full URL as anchor text (diversify this)
- Interlinking from your author bio to good posts on your blog
External Backlinks (to do – Action):
- Do not have too many links on the homepage. Try to keep it a minimum
- Avoid links to external spammy sites, link to only authority and niche relevant sites if possible.
- Get affiliate links to open in new window and pass no link juice.
- Use Majestic SEO, Ahrefs and …smallseotools.com
Here I will add and update information that I source from online SEO groups and general chatter on SEO online. I am connected to many good SEO consultants and so will add here what makes sense with the latest SEO trends and is buzzing in the SEO grapevine.
The grapevine content that I agree with, will also feature above on the – “Freshest SEO TIPS section” on the top of this article.
Currently on the GRAPEVINE:
Build naked and branded links to rank
Building anchors from and to internal pages and blog posts works for ranking
Relevancy of content linking back to you page nicche matters more and helps ranking.
(NEW)Build a table of content for blog, works for some affiliate websites too ( pic below)
Its best to place the table of contents at the top anywhere between 1 to 3 rd paragraphs
Position wise using a table of contents, might impact your new content in a positive way and bloggers have reported that it give your post a bit of a boost.
Some Online Resources for updated SEO News
Some Interesting posts by people I follow on SEO
OLD SEO METHODS THAT YOU Should Not DO ANYMORE
Anchor ratio breakdown: (do not do this – anchor ratios change according to keyword and niche)
- Naked URL’s (domain.com) – 15%
- Branded Anchors (brand name) – 75%
- Generic Anchors (any generic word) – 5%
- Partial Match/LSI Anchors (different variations of my main keywords – KeywordShitter is a great tool for this) – 3%
- Exact Anchors (main money keywords) – approx 2%
More Advanced COPYKAT tips
FINDING COMPETITORS’ BACKLINK SOURCES Rapido:
Here’s a small tip which you can use to get the same links your competition have. Credit to Ahrefs. For this, you’ll need an Ahrefs account. If you don’t want to pay for one, you sometimes can get it for $5 (1-month use) on Fiverr.
Now as we all probably know already – the “traditional” way of finding the links your competition is using is by doing a manual reverse engineering campaign.
With this technique, everything/majority of the process takes place inside Ahrefs. Once you’re logged in, you can use the “Link Intersect Tool” directly to find out all your competitors’ links. For example:
Once you have all your backlink data, either yourself (or your VA) now need to note down the “type” of anchor each one is. For example exact/partial-LSI/naked URL/generic/brand/other/etc.. you get the idea. And then calculate the % that type of anchor accounts for each site you’ve gathered data on.
Again, this strategy isn’t necessarily “quick” but this is often the first job I give my VA when once I’ve created my churn/burn sites.
You’ll then see something like this:
You can dig deeper and try to find their PBN links. Just because it’s blocked by Ahrefs/Majestic, doesn’t mean it’s blocked by every single crawler/bot. A method I use involves using newer/fresh backlink checker sites such as this. These are probably not going to be blocked by some PBN sites.
One other software that is just a one off price (not ongoing subscription) and does give you good data like above is Link Assistant Software
If you click on the “arrow” icon underneath each site, you’ll be given more information on the site, backlinks, anchor text used, etc.
These ranking signals and seo tips given above is mainly taking into account wordpress websites, but will surely also help many other platforms like Wix, Weebly , Squarespace & Blogpsot as well as they apply to all websites.
While the title says so “20 tips” I haven’t really numbered them, but they are more than 20tips.
To summarize all the tips i have given above, always monitor the top results in Google search for the keywords or topic your targeting and observe and analyse the top results for design , structure, backlinks content quality , content length and other factors mentioned above and you should then this should give you an idea how to start you ranking strategy for 2018.
If you think I have missed out on something, then do let me know about it in the comments, would appreciate your input.
I published this BlOG SEO GUIDE on 31 March 2018, below is the update log
Updated: 01/09/2018 – Table of contents image added to grapevine