If there is one major goal every blogger, marketer, online entrepreneur would like to achieve as fast as possible; is to get on page one of the Google search results. It is easy to get Google notice your new post, but it is much harder to earn the trust of Google’s AI…
Getting on Page One is the holy grail: an entire industry has built upon the different ways to get better Search Engine results. But as Google evolved, a lot of these techniques have become obsolete.
The tricks that worked 2-3 years ago are not so effective anymore. Sadly, a lot of these ‘old’ SEO techniques are still being sold as the ultimate and only solution for you (hello, backlink market). Instead of understanding how Google works, they try to trick the algorithm. And Google is not ‘stupid’ anymore…
Understanding How Google Works
We must go back to basics to understand what Google is about: it is a search engine. That’s obvious. In other words, it helps people find things. It helps people find answer to their questions. It helps people find the best answer to their questions. Even if it is a series of questions, Google will use the person’s search history to find out what may be the most relevant answers for their questions, as it was explained in a recent article on SEJournal.
As simple as that. Now I am not an SEO guru, but in my short career online – especially when my posts did not rank – I noticed a few things.
Talk to Google
In my truly unprofessional opinion Google’s algorithms should be treated like if you talked to someone who is very intelligent. When Google crawls your page is like someone was reading it. And I am pretty sure that Google understands it. It understands the context, understands why you refer to other pages (internal and external), understands keywords for the topic and understands keywords slightly off topic.
So, as long as you create high quality, helpful content, Google will notice you. In the light of this, SEO is none other than making it easier for Google to understand your content and help the AI presenting it to the human readers.
How to Get On Google
If your site is properly set up, Google would automatically notice if there is new content published on your website. You can make it quicker and notify Google of a new piece of content via the Search Console.
How long does it take to rank on Google for a new website?
For an established website with huge audience, large number of daily visitors and good quality content published consistently, it is easier to rank fast. Due to the vast number of people who would click on a new post just because they were on the site anyways, sends Google a signal that ‘hey…a lot of people reads this new post, so it must be great!’. So, it will rank much faster. (also explains how content goes viral for no apparent reason)
But it does not mean that the post will keep its rank in mid-to long term. Google will start looking at the behaviours of the readers, how long they stay on the article, where do they click next, do they interact?
Depending on hundreds of factors, Google starts ‘testing’ the new content. Over the coming weeks Google puts the post up front, to see how many people would click on it. Then pushes it back, to the second page or even further, to see how many people ‘want’ to find it that way, cause they did not find answer to their question in the previous 15-20 posts.
Than Google would show the post for neighbouring keywords (‘related searches’), testing that out too. Over time, the webpage will rank for other keywords too, not just the target keyword…This process takes much longer…it takes around 35 weeks: according to the investigation the guys at IncomeSchool carried out, the average time for a new post to reach 90% of its potential is 35 weeks.
How long does it take to rank for new websites?
Let me show you an example. I have posted this article on one of my niche websites a few weeks ago. As you can see it from the amount of traffic, it is quite a new website, only a few months old. The post ranked on Google in position 4 straight away. It did not stay there, but that is how Google works…Now it has started to regain its position and Google now sends some traffic its way.
It is very typical of Google to change the position of a webpage in the search results over time. A more typical example is when the newly published content starts at the bottom and works its way up in the ranking.
Let’s see another example.
Noticed the spike in the impressions right after I posted this article? That’s how Google tests your new posts, showing it to a lot of people. If they click and stay, it tells Google that the content is great.
Also interesting to see what difference in the number of impressions it made when this post went from page 3 to page 2. I am excited to see what happens when it makes its way to page 1, it is getting closer now. I think this post averages on position 11 or 12 now…
Now just to show you something I’d love to see every time I post something new.
This is straight to page 1, a bit over a thousand clicks in 6 weeks. You can see how Google tested the content too.
So what is so special about this post? Well, in fact, nothing.
- I did my keyword research
- Tried to understand what people search for, what they want to read about
- Placed my keywords strategically
- Wrote my post (around 1800 words)
- Posted it
But there’s something else really interesting here. It is obvious that this post has been on page 1 of the search result since day 1. What about the number of impressions then? Besides the initial surge of impressions, the first month has seen very little, while there is a noticeable jump at the beginning of the second month.
Are there simply more people searching for that keyword that this post targets? I don’t think so…
It is more likely that Google started to rank this post on the first page of other search queries, ie different keywords too. That explains that despite the straight line for the position, there is more and more traffic coming in…
Keyword Research & SEO Optimisation
So how did that post landed on Page 1 straight away and stayed there ever since? Keyword research is crucial part of making content that ranks on Google. But shoving a lot of keywords into your post won’t get you ranked.
Whenever you find a keyword for your next post, it is an absolute must to do a competitive research.
You can use your Keyword Research Tool for a quicker overview on;
- What pages rank already for that keyword
- How spot on they are?
- How long they are?
- Depending on the niche, how big an authority those ranking websites have
If you need to compete with huge authority websites, or Amazon, you probably better off keep searching for another long tail variation of that keyword.
If you see that smaller websites can rank too, then you have a pretty good chance to rank too.
If the search results include online forum entries, comments, or they are not really spot on, then it is going to be relatively easy to rank for that search phrase.
Keyword Research Tools
Keyword Research Tools can be very useful AS PART OF YOUR KEYWORD RESEARCH.
To be honest, I do not have much trust in those keyword research tools. Yes, they do give you a bunch of numbers, but I am not entirely sure that those numbers should always be driving your decision in your topics. They may be a good indicator of future traffic levels…but sometimes the numbers in the keyword tool do not have any connection with reality…
They must be read in conjunction with Google Autofill, Google Trends, the types of pages that currently rank for the search term, any neighbouring terms etc. You will notice, that each will give you a different number for expected search volume…so which one is right?
That’s why you don’t have to stress over finding the perfect keyword. Find one that is relevant for you niche, and let Google take care of the rest. If you do your keyword research, you will have a feel for it, no matter what the numbers suggest.
Google will ‘read’ the whole of your content…keywords are more like an indication of the topic itself.
This also means, that even with the most carefully selected ‘golden’ keyword, you can struggle to get a first page appearance in the SERP if one thing is not right: THAT IS CONTENT
Let’s recap how Google works:
- it must present the best answer to the questions people ask
- Google looks for the main keyword a.k.a search phrase
- Google tries to identify the user intent
- Google selects the best posts / websites that aligns with the user’s intent
- Displays the findings in a particulate order, determined by algorithms
- Displays a short excerpt of the post under the link that is most likely to capture the users attention (Google overwrites your meta-description)
If your content is not the best, well, you must work on it until it becomes the best.
What ‘best’ means, is that you must create content that meets the users’ intent.
Ranking will follow as a result, traffic will follow after that.
That’s why there’s no point cutting corners, using any ‘Black Hat’ SEO techniques. If your content is good, Google will find it, people will find it and read it.
However, from our AI reader viewpoint, keywords play a crucial role in putting the text into context. So you must make sure that Google can see your keyword & understand your content. This is a bit old-school but hey-ho, and even Google have confirmed it a number of times before that natural, helpful content comes always first, on page SEO is somewhere down the line. (A great summary of ranking factors – what Google says – under the link: here)
- keyword in the title
- keyword in the first 1-2 paragraph (if comes naturally)
- keyword in sub-headings (if possible)
- keyword in conclusion
- keyword in meta description (if comes naturally)
- keyword in permalink
In addition to the above, you must always stay on topic and keep your content relevant to what people would like to find out. I always use a combination of (mostly) free tools to better understand what people may be looking for when typing in the keyword. (I outlined them in this post: Where To Find Keywords For Blogging – Endless Source of Ideas )
Content That Ranks
Understanding the users’ intent is probably the most important step in creating content. Let’s see an example.
Say someone types ‘Silent RV Generators’ in the search box.
This is a very specific keyword, so whoever searches it is probably already familiar with RV generators, perhaps they have one already that is too noisy. Most likely they have an RV too that they use.
At this point you don’t know whether they just unable to rest because of the noise, but if you know your audience, know your niche, you can make a not too wild assumption that most campsites have rules on generator noise levels at a certain distance e.g 58dB at 7 metres.
So if you were to write a post on silent RV generators, you could address this specific problem to stand out, and have the greatest chance to rank. A ‘Top 10 Campsite Compatible Silent RV Generators’ or ’How To Keep Your RV Generator’s Noise Level Below 60dB’ or ‘This Silent RV Generator Saved My Holiday’ or something like these would surely catch attention.
After a few posts you will have a feel for it, the research won’t take as long, and you will start developing your own, unique style. And people will love you for that.
This does not necessarily mean that you will rank instantly, especially with a new website.
This takes time…a lot of time…but it is also a grace period.
- You can create a lot more content
- You can use WA’s SiteFeedback and SiteComment to improve your website and your posts
- You can sort out any bugs, try different themes on your website etc.
If you rely on Google’s organic traffic, there is one more thing…
There is a brilliant trick to bring as much traffic to your website as possible. The secret is in the content mix, the combination of different types of posts that will rank for different types of queries, covering the whole spectrum of a niche. So, you must create three types of articles.
Answer Posts – 1200-1500 words. These are posts that explain one specific idea, give a definition of a specific object or term that you use within your niche. These type of posts answer a very specific question, and these will be the ones rank on google first. These not only increase how authentic you look but may earn you a few backlinks as well from other (external) websites.
Staple posts – 1500-2200 words. These are the posts that will start with ’21 Great…’ or ‘Top 10…’. You can share these posts on social media easily and it will bring in additional traffic.
Pillar posts – in excess of 3500 words, researched to hell, your most valuable posts on your website. There are a lot of other internal pages linking to this page, and it links to a lot of others.
And actually, you need to write them in this order. Start with the shorter posts, write 10 of them. Let Google notice you and rank you for the long-tail keywords. Once Google trusts your website, you can try ranking for more competitive keywords.
The healthy combination of 1/3rd – 1/3rd – 1/3rd of these three types of articles will maximise your traffic. You don’t want to rely on one post to bring in the majority of organic search traffic. Once you can analyse your audience and have a bit of insight what seems to be more interesting for your readers, you can ‘replicate’ those posts, write similar ones.
Rank for neighbouring keywords
There is one more reason why you don’t need to stress over your keyword density etc. but instead, you must write naturally. A riveting content that stays on topic will contain not just your main keyword, but a lot of other keywords within the niche. As you could see above, the post that ranked #1 instantly, yet did not bring in hell of a lot of traffic.
Trust Google that it will notice those related keywords and will rank your posts for those too.
On one of my niche sites I wrote a TOP5 Cheap Product… type of post, where ‘cheap product’ was my main keyword. Naturally, there were 5 cheap products detailed in the post. I let the reader know straight away in the 3rd paragraph what those 5 were going to be, and how I had picked them. Then the H2 headers were obviously the names of the products. Then in the conclusion I summarised my post and recommended two of them.
I ranked for 4 of the products that I reviewed on the first page, but for the main keyword, it was only second page…
I wrote a simple review post on product A. A very detailed post, and of course I mentioned a few alternatives, cheaper ones, smaller ones. A few weeks later I noticed that one keyword that I had not write a post on brings in hundreds of clicks…
It was one of the products that I mentioned in this post off the tangent, as a similar item…
It is absolutely doable to get on Google page one, even with a new website. You must know what you are doing, and there are a few simple steps you must make sure you follow, otherwise you create content that nobody will read, not even Google. Nobody likes to create content for a ghost town, you put in the work so that people would read your posts. To create content that ranks, you must follow simple principles and a few simple steps;
- Do your keyword research, but do not stress over numbers
- Understand user intent
- Create high quality, helpful content that reflects on what people look for
- Watch your content mix
- Help Google read your content (Basic SEO)
- Notify Google of the new post
- Optional: share it on social media
So if you are just starting out and worried that you will never get readers, worry not. The more content you create along these principles above, the quicker your website will earn Google’s trust. And in no time, you will notice, that your new post brings in hundreds or thousands of readers the week after you have posted it…
So, the best thing you can do is to create more content.