Number 1 in Google

This article started as a challenge. I have a membership site with an enormous amount of information on SEO, traffic generation, sales conversions, and so on. A friend of mine however made a bet. He bet me that I couldn’t show the steps to ranking well in Google in 45 days or less, and do it in less than 2,000 words. Now ordinarily I’m not really the betting kind, but let’s just say he made the bet interesting.

Before I go into the actual techniques to getting a #1 listing in Google in 45 days or less, let me say something that should be obvious: "It isn’t easy."  Also, please keep in mind that this is not a scientific dissertation on the subject meant to cover all angles of the subject.

Don’t think that getting a #1 spot that fast is something you can do working on it only five minutes a day.  You can’t, not anymore.  There’s simply too much competition and EVERYONE is trying to rank well.

However, the rewards for getting to the #1 spot on Google are enormous, as I am sure you are aware.

With the preliminaries out of the way, there is an important thing to know about Google; it’s that Google is very "link centric."  In other words, ranking well is determined largely by who is linking to you and who you are linking to.  There are other factors which we’ll get into later, but that is the bulk of it.

Therefore, if you want to rank well, your site has to be "link worthy."  Or better put, your site should have reasons why someone would want to link to you (and if you have a plain ecommerce site we’ll get to how you do this).

You see, unless you want to spend a small fortune buying links (which largely don’t work), the only way to get them, and therefore the only way to rank well, is to have something on your site worth linking to.  This of course brings us to:

This is one of the best and easiest methods of getting traffic and links, yet it is also the one that is most often done wrong. All too many blogs for ecommerce sites are nothing more than "product posts."

So, let me say emphatically that:

People don’t care about you, your cat, or your products!

That may sound harsh, but it’s true, they don’t.  What your potential customers will care about is their problems, wants, and desires.  Therefore, your posts should play to the customer but target the niche to which you market.

Blogs should contain articles that will be of help and interest to your target market.  They should contain links to interesting news stories or bits of information.  In other words, your blog should be a valuable resource to your target market independent of what you sell. Additionally, you should post to your blog every day (and twice a day is better).

Once you’re doing that, you need to make sure that your blog is also "pinging" pingoat.com and that each article on your blog can be submitted to Digg, Reddit, and/or Del.icio.us.

The reason for this is simple.  Those services will help to get your blog articles read, and therefore improve the number of links to your site.  Pinging your blog will help to get it indexed by the major search engines that much quicker.

However, if you really want to rank well (and particularly rank well quickly), blogging isn’t enough.  You need to go to the next step and embrace Web 2.0.

But just trying to dive right in to social network marketing is likely to be a waste of time unless you already are heavily involved and active in one of the big services.

You see, before just trying to submit something to one of the social networks, it helps to know what works.

Sittin’ in Front of the ‘Tube

My favorite traffic and link generating service on this front is YouTube.  Now, just submitting funny home videos may result in you getting your videos looked at, but it may not result in your site getting any traffic, let alone any links, so let’s talk about a strategy that does both.

First, I’m not a big fan of trying to put together my own videos as a general rule.  Instead, I want other people to do it for me.  This is largely because creating a truly viral video requires an odd imagination and more than a little skill … so I leave it to them (time being money and all that).

So what I do is create a contest around the "best," "funniest," "sexiest," or whatever I’m going for with the market.  Videos are posted to YouTube, but you have to visit a location on my site to vote for it (and I have the software for this which I’ll give you free; see my site for details).  The video with the most votes wins. I usually give the winner a few hundred dollars – enough to make it interesting but small enough that I’m not breaking my own bank in the process.

Of course the page where the voting occurs also contains some "ads" for my main site.

What’s happening with this technique is more than you might think.  You’re turning your company into the "cool" site that is playing with web 2.0.  Links will come if for no reason than because the folks that submitted videos will want others to vote for their video.

And you’re tapping into the power of viral videos without ever needing to know how to create one yourself … how great is that?!

Now, if you stopped there, you just might make it.  However, you really should go one step farther.

I’m a huge fan of press releases as a mechanism to improve rankings.  While it isn’t cheap (cost is $80 per release and up, and you’ll want to send out at least one release a week), there is no denying how well it works.

I personally use PRWeb (it’s the one that charges $80) for its ease of use and how fast I can get a press release submitted and out the door.

When it comes to press releases there are very definitely right ways and wrong ways.  I spoke about this at some length in an audio seminar titled "The New Rules of PR." In it I talk about writing releases for as many things as you can.

Well, some press release ideas are the launch of the video contest, the first video submitted, the hundredth vote, and so on.  Each of those releases will link to your contest vote page and to your main site since you are sponsoring the contest.

You will be generating your own links to your site, but those links will be counted for more than simply buying them.  Further, the constant flow of press will give additional strength to your site from Google.  Then, as a final benefit, if you follow the advice from the link I gave you above, you’ll probably find that your press releases will get picked up by other news outlets.  This recently occurred with GreekforMe.com and a press release they wrote that was picked up by Canadian Runner and by ABC’s of Running.

Don’t Forget the Tried And True

Now that we’ve talked about blogs, direct to consumer PR, and YouTube, let’s not forget some of the things that are proven to work.  In this case I’m talking about commenting on blogs and in relevant discussion groups.  Now if you’re really smart, besides just occasionally being a participant, what about telling them about the contest, the press release, and some of the YouTube videos?

Now of course you will want to make sure that such things are kosher with the group you’re posting to, but generally, if it really is on topic, and you’re not just pushing some commercial, you’re fine.  This is especially true of blog posts.  If you find a blog post relating to one of the videos, the contest you’re doing, or anything like that, I’d definitely post a comment with a link.  Links in comments don’t help as far as the link count in Google goes (you can thank idiot comment spammers for that), but it just might get you some traffic and a mention (and a good link) in that blog’s actual posting later on.

All in all, getting links requires being worthy of receiving them.  It means doing things that will get people to want to link to you without you having to go out and ask for it.  Because being worthy of getting a link is actually a relatively non-time-consuming task, I no longer even have a "link building strategy" in the traditional sense of going out to sites and asking for it.

In the words of one of my favorite authors, Seth Godin, "you need a purple cow."  You need something that will get people to talk about you on their own, to go out and spread your message without your help or encouragement simply because what you’re doing is so cool, helpful, fills such a desire, or whatever.

Indeed, it is in the quest to be worthy that you will find that marketing your entire business becomes that much easier.  YouTube, despite starting after Google Video, completely trounced it.  The reason for such a beating had to do with all of the voting and community aspects that got people talking about YouTube and hardly even mentioning that Google Video existed.  This trouncing occurred in fact while the owners of YouTube were actually wishing fewer people would upload videos and such because bandwidth and server issues were making them broke fast.

I think you’ll agree however that growing too fast is a much better problem to have than not growing fast enough (or not at all).

In fact, that is the crux of this article.  Be worthy.  I’ve given you some strategies to use to help you get there.  It is only by being worthy that you’ll get to the top of Google.

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