Reaching the number one post on Google’s search page is a distant dream for many websites. You work hard trying to rank for your keywords and feel like you’re barely inching forward if you’re moving up in the rankings at all. The subject of our featured SEO case study, Alan Perlman, was experiencing the same grinding progress. After reaching out for help, he implemented six steps that can be applied to every single post on your website to help it come to rank number one.

This process isn’t an overnight solution to skyrocket into the top ranking articles, but it does offer a game plan to help you achieve that goal. For Alan, this took five months, but in the scheme of how things worked out for him, that time was well worth it. Implementing the following six steps requires a little bit of upfront work that will pay itself back.

1. Keyword and competition research

Before beginning work on any content, you should approach it from an angle of hitting target keywords. Many people work in the opposite direction, writing a post before finding keywords they hope it can rank for. This is backward thinking because the goal is to get to the top using those keywords. Shooting from the hip hoping to rank for a keyword or two will keep traffic low to your site because you will not be able to outcompete the websites that rank for 1,000 or more keywords.

Keyword research is made very easy using different programs that help you find keywords that relate to your topic. For Alan, the author in our SEO case study, the program used to help his site was the SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool. You’ll need an account to use this one. If you’re not crazy about the idea, there are free keyword research programs that are free. You may find that you get more in-depth information from one that you need to sign up for, however.

With the list of keywords that work for the genre you’ll be working in, you can choose the main ones depending on the number of searches they get each month. By working in several of these, you’re more likely to get seen than by using keywords that are only searched for a few times a month.

The next key to success with keyword research is to delve deep into ones that work well for your site. You want to try to hit all the possible notes you can to get your page landed on. If it has anything to do with the topic, go for it. These lesser keywords can be worked in throughout the body of the text.

Knowing your competitors helps you determine those keywords that will get you to the top of the rankings within a few months, like our author. Information like where they rank and backlink info gives you insight on where you need to be.

2. Creating quality content

If you’re okay with mediocre content, you should expect mediocre results. To get yourself to the number one position, you absolutely must approach content creation with that end goal in mind. To guarantee that his article was the best one, Alan was given a few tips to clean it up for user ease and make it a definitive guide on his subject.

Every article should be very well researched and planned out. The company helping Alan has a rule that your post should provide the same value in just one article as every other one on the top ten search results. This will typically lead to longer posts that need to be very authoritative.

Due to the length of top-ranking articles, a hyperlinked table of contents is a nice feature for visitors to your site. You let them navigate your article more efficiently and improve their experience. You should also ensure that you’re giving them information that they can readily apply, not fluff, to keep their experience with your site a positive one.

3. On-page optimization

To help get your page higher in the search results, you need to make sure that everything on your page is formatted correctly. Working these factors is very easy and does its share of the work by improving visitors’ experience on your site and giving Google some more information about the post to help it rank you. Focus on the following to see results:

  • Target keyword in the title
  • Include keywords strategically in the body of text
  • Use secondary keywords and variations
  • Judicious use of multimedia
  • Insert external links to other quality sites
  • Use internal links to other posts on your site
  • Optimize your website for fast loading speeds
  • Format for ease of readability

4. Build an email list

Email lists help you establish a relationship with customers on your website. Since the average consumer will interact with you seven to eight times before completing a purchase, those emails can get you closer to a sale without having to hope they choose to come to your website a half a dozen more times. There are a few useful strategies for building your email list quickly and getting better conversion rates.

The easiest way to get people to sign up for emails is by creating something called a lead magnet. In essence, you give people something useful in exchange for their email address. Think freebies like small ebooks, a mini-webinar, or videos. Give them something they may want that they have to register to get.

You also want to optimize your website to help get as many leads as possible. You can do this with popups, lead boxes, scroll mats, and several other methods. The one you choose will depend on the feel you want your website to have and how “pushy” you want to be about it.

5. Promote your content

While you’re working your way towards that number one spot, you want to get your post noticed. There are a few different approaches used in the SEO case study to accomplish this goal. The first is to set up an account on the Q&A website Quora and do a search on your topic. You’ll then answer any resulting questions in-depth with a link referring the reader to your article. This one requires a good investment in time but broadens the visibility of your page.

The second plan is similar but looks for forums that relate to your topic instead. You’ll try to entice other people on the forum to check out your site, which you have a good chance of because you know it is something that interests them.

The other two ways to promote your site is through the use of social media and using the platform Scoop.it. Your social media accounts will be used to make posts with links to the page that you want to promote. Writing an enticing lead up will help you get the results you want. Scoop.it is a curation platform where people amass their favorite content and make their pages. If they like what you have to offer, they may add you to their page.

Getting backlinks is a critical part of building the reputation of your site. If several people refer their readers to you, Google knows you must be pretty good at what you do. To capitalize on this as much as possible, you want to get backlinks from the highest quality sites you can. Anonymous bloggers are not going to help you rank well.

The SEO case study utilized a rather aggressive strategy to build a lot of links quickly. Their first step was to find blogs with links going to content that was not as comprehensive as their own and presenting it to the site owner. Offering a high-quality page to link to helps other bloggers build up their reputation as well. Or you can approach websites that have links to your competitors currently, and instead of asking to replace those links, ask them to include you as well.

One way to get backlinks without having to try to elbow out the other blogs is to pitch your article to websites the do “weekly best” posts. These may have links to ten or more sites all in one post. You can also use resources pages to send pitches for backlinks. All you have to do is send requests to websites that are looking for valuable content to refer their readers to.

You can do this, too.

Everything in this list is achievable with a little diligence in your prep work and execution. Your priority is always to add value – value for your readers, for other blogs, and Google. This relentless focus on being the best will drive you to the number one position better than anything else. There are too many other sites out there to be able to be seen without setting yourself apart.

Hunting for the best keywords and creating perfect content is the best place to start. You should also provide excellent user experience, offer freebies, and other valuable products to drive subscriptions and incentives for others to backlink. Finally, getting the word out about your unique content will see the growth you desire in a relatively short amount of time. We’d love to hear how you approach it and the results you achieve!