So you want to be on the first page of Google? This is what most Domainers want when they put a website on their domain. It’s a great goal to have, in some niches a first-page spot could provide hundreds of thousands of visitors each month. The more competitive the niche the more challenging it is to rank well. Sure. you might have a great domain however this is only about 5% of what Google is looking at so won’t propel you to the first page.
Okay, let’s go over this one more time. The more competitive the niche the more challenging it is to rank well. This means that incredible insurance domain might be worth $500,000 but it may take $50,000 or more to get onto the first page of Google. It all depends on how competitive your niche is. This is what makes SEO such an art – it is completely different for every niche and every keyword you are optimizing for. The problem I am seeing more and more now is Domainers thinking that their five-page mini-site will get them great rankings for a term that competitors are spending six-figures on SEO.
So what’s the magic secret? How do you get on the first page of Google? It’s all about the links baby.
Now for the bad news. If you want to get on the first page of Google in a month or two for a highly competitive term it’s probably not going to happen, no matter how much money you throw at the problem. Google has gotten better and better at identifying link-building campaigns and keeping them out of the top search results. This doesn’t mean you can’t beat your competitors in the link game, you’ll just need to do it over a period of time and match the caliber of links they have.
So how do you know how many links your competitors have? I use SEOMoz Linkscape – it’s completely free and shows some great data. The Pro version really kicks butt but you can start with using Linkscape as is. Let’s say that I wanted to rank on the first page of Google for the keyword “find insurance” – I see that the person in the #1 spot is InsuranceFinder.com. Using Linkscape I can see how many incoming links they have and who is linking to them passing on that wonderful link juice:
The two metrics you really want to pay attention to are root domains linking in and total links.
Looking at this data I can see that the top competitor has 299 root domains linking in. This means that I would like to shoot for around 300 backlinks total in order to really ensure my spot at the top. However you can’t just create a bunch of junky unrelated links and expect to rank well. You will want to focus on do-follow links from high PR sources.
When you put a website on your domain you’re saying to the search community, “I’m ready to play ball.” However you don’t start playing the game until you have some people linking back to you. Yes – there are some smaller niches that you’ll only need a few links to rank well but most of the competitive niches will require real link-building. Along with great unique content and a reason for your visitor to return to your site good backlinks are the key to success.
At this point you might be saying, “Okay Morgan, you’re leading us on. Tell us how to get on page one!” To get on page one you have to do it the right way, build a compelling site, one that creates repeat visitors, a site that provides useful information and start telling the world. If you’ve built something truly great people will link back to you and you can focus on continuing to build a business. Of course you’ll want to do some marketing, buy some banner ads on sites in a related niche, write guest posts for blogs in the space, become your brand.
Next time you want to develop one of your domains, think long and hard about what your goals are. If you want to make thousands of dollars a month, building a website won’t do that for you, it’s just the first step. If you want to get significant traffic from search engines the next step will be building a real business. SEO and Link Building is essential to building-up a steady stream of organic traffic to your business. By engaging your visitors with social media you can turn each of them into a brand ambassador that continues to promote your brand even after they leave your site.
Okay – that’s all I’ve got folks, time to head to Hollywood for some great live music. Hope this gives you something to chew on when you start your week. The Domaining world is changing…are you changing with it?
(Pardon any typos, no time to proof-read this post)