How I Actually Ranked #1 For The Keyword "Best Musician of 2019"
"It Started Off as a Joke..."
As any good story should begin, this really all started off as a horrible attempt at humor that ended up getting taken to a whole new level.
You may already be thinking by the picture, "is this actually real?".
I promise you, every bit of information I ever share is held in extremely high regard, you'll never get cherry-picked, sugarcoated, or just plain wrong information from, including something of this caliber... As of right now as I've typed up this blog post, that keyword is STILL there... and has been sitting there for about a month now.
It has turned into a powerful lesson for me, and an interesting learning experience for those hungry to know more about search engine optimization; furthermore the lesson if anything you can glean from this is pretty simple-- it's Uncle Ben's quote from Spiderman "with great power comes great responsibility"... and in the case of this particular experiment I surely have accidentally tread into some grey area.
So before I teach you how I ranked for that keyword, it's best to establish where I draw the line ethically. Good people rely on accurate information to tell them what they need to know, just because you may be as sophisticated as someone like I am at SEO at this point, doesn't mean you should abuse this power to be some kind of hotshot smart mouth... I can't overestimate how crucially important this is to use ethics in this industry as well as your business. End of that discussion.
So Here's the Scoop...
I run an ongoing "round-table", if you will, of business owners that all keep each other accountable. For the most part we're actually very serious people that are constantly in communication, shooting ideas, consulting, resources, jabs, motivational quips, and criticisms to each other virtually on the hour, every hour, making sure everyone is sticking to their schedule.
It's a really pleasant group of decision-makers committed to making this year the most productive year of our lives to date. It's a mastermind! But we do enjoy cracking jokes every once in a while to lighten the otherwise slightly combative framework.
One night upon working on a clients website my friend Wolf chimes in with his feelings on something or other I couldn't recall. What happened next was an escalating roast of each other and other members of the group until the point I decided I was going to make both of us look incredibly dumb, although my intention was only to roast him.
A bit of a background on Wolf before I share what happens next. Wolf is a great guy, incredibly good shape, and just a focused, diligent worker. He's currently living the digital nomad lifestyle because of his employment and traveling internship with a Forbes featured Entrepreneur whom created an innovated website that delivers financial device like no other site. So all respect to Wolf but I decided to roll with the punches he gave me, and make him into an internet sensation.
In Comes the Technical SEO (How I ranked for that keyword)
It came as much as a jaw-dropper as it was a knee-slapper, when Wolf typed in "Best Musician of 2019" and saw a purposefully terribly written article loaded with insufferably poor grammar and really weird inside jokes, accompanied with his face photoshopped onto a horse rider so he could dawn his musician name "Wolf the Horselord."
Yes, within 15 minutes of simple Onsite SEO work, I had created as much of a legendary Hard Rock musician as I had a monstrous Frankensteining mockery of what Search Engine Optimization SHOULD BE .
The Brass Tacks: How Did I Take #1 So Quickly
So it's not the answer you'd expect. This 15-minute post was realistically MONTHS in the making. I'm talking about a concept in SEO known as Domain Authority and Page Authority.
The thing about it is, you really CAN'T just start up a new website, optimize the on page SEO, and expect it just to rank immediately, otherwise, the market would be LITTERED with BAD information, something Google actually REALLY is opposed to. Google is so opposed to bad information they have their own algorithms set up for niches like medicine, law, financial advice, etc... called "Your Money Your Life"... meaning that it's very difficult to "game" or "fool" the search engines for how valuable your information is, because they are deadly serious about providing the very best information for these very serious inquiries.
So off the bat, I didn't really have to stress that because the intention of the searcher/user when they are typing in "the best musician of 2019" is someone
A- Looking for Gossip
B- Wanting an Opinion
But WHY and HOW did Google decide that one of the websites I own was trusted enough to give them that title of "best musician of 2019" so easily?
Again this goes back to DA and PA... so lets expand on this a bit more.
Domain Authority and Page Authority is all about how much Google Trusts your website... DA and PA kind of remind me like Credit.
There are a lot of components that go into Good Credit, some outweigh the others like Payment history, the amount owed being at the top, and new credit lines, types of credit at the bottom. At the end of the day, they're all vitally important, and you get the BEST results by optimizing all categories, and it's the EXACT same with SEO.
Getting Higher Domain Authority
Google has a recipe for creating domain authority and here's what it is.
1- Original Content on All Pages
2- Citations/ Local Business Directories
3- Relevant Anchor Text
4- Great Site Architecture
5- Avoiding a Top Heavy Penalty
Original Content on All Pages
So here's a no-brainer question for you, "if you were the proudest and happiest heart surgeon in the world, and someone came in needing heart surgery... would you be happy to help?"
Exactly, of course you would be, because why not, your job is to be a heart surgeon and you're overjoyed doing the job. Google is the same way. Google is a READING MACHINE, so if you came up to Google and said hey Google I have this article for you to read... do you want to read it? Google is overjoyed at doing that for you.
Google WANTS original content, do not recycle and reuse someone else's content, it's like requesting surgery on a heart that has already been fixed. So when trying to raise your Domain Authority to make sure you don't have any duplicate content...
How do you check if you have duplicate content you ask?
Personally, I really enjoy looking through tools like screaming frog, beam us up, and here's one you can use online called Site Liner.
Having original content and a lot of it is a check mark on your list that you're somebody worth listening to, because if you really think about it, it only makes sense. Why?- Because you always have something new and exciting for Google to get jazzed up over-- that's why, nobody in their right mind wants to listen to someone who just keeps repeating themself right?
Build Links that Make Sense
Here's where things get a bit dicier. Link building is still relevant, you just need to understand what kind of links to use.
For the most part using social profiles, as well as business listings and citations in local directories is what will help you with Domain Authority the most. Google wants to know you're a real business. So by having links coming into your website from highly trusted 3rd parties like yelp, yellowpages, bing, yahoo! and etc... it's a clear honest signal to Google that your business has a heartbeat. Even more powerful is when people start leaving you reviews ON those citation sites, because Google then looks at your business website with more credibility.
Relevant Anchor Text
Perhaps the easiest way to relate this would be just by showing you below what to do and what not to do.
Subject: Buying an SEO Audit
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When you create a link whether that's:
Internal Linking (between pages)
External Linking (linking from one site to another)
What Google wants to see is that you're at least making an attempt to explain to Google where you're taking someone.
Put simply, the words you choose to use when you're linking offsite and inside are similar to you giving directions to a lost traveler...make an attempt to give good directions and Google will trust your website more.
Why is this important?
Internal linking just makes sense to Google, it's similar to a resume. Highlight the most impressive features of yourself and Google will highly favor them... if your resume just lacks relevancy, and you can't clearly communicate what you're about... how do you expect Google to just KNOW that you're the best person for the job for you?
So on the page that ranked #1 (and still does) for the best musician of 2019, I also linked off to a YouTube video with the Title: The Best Musician of 2019.... see how that makes sense? It's relevant, it's neat, and it works.
Have Great Site Structure
In my career as a Search Engine Optimization professional, I've been quite proud to work with some very high-level people and businesses... One of which was an attorney that has settled over $250,000,000 in the court of law. I was asked to make onsite optimizations to his business, and this is where this idea actually spawned from.
As I was working to improve the relevancy of it all on Google, it kind of hit me that essentially I was creating a "virtual college campus". As I've already displayed that I, humbly speaking, have a knack for useful metaphors let's flesh this out a bit more.
When you're on a College Campus, VIRTUALLY EVERYTHING is labeled. The water fountain, directions to the food court, the floor you're on, the exits, what dorm you're in, what wing you're in, how do you get to the other wing... this is all spelled out in precise detail.
So your business website needs to take one out of the college's books.... help people get to where they need. Have rich inner linking, confusion-free content, clear ways for people to get in touch if they have to... this all matters... down to the URL you have in your description.
A standard un-optimized URL would typically look like this:
An optimized keyword would look like this:
So when I created that page what I did was put the keywords in the URL.
So it effectively read website.com/best-musician-of-2019/
Google doesn't have to have an imagination running wild to figure out what the second URL is most likely about, especially when you stack on the keywords and inner linking.... the total picture becomes crytal clear.
Avoiding a Top Heavy Penalty (My Secret Sauce)
This is really what did it for me to be honest. My website is just POWERFUL.
✔ Great Content
✔ Trusted Content (99% of The Content on the Website is Held in High Regard and Is Designed to Deliver Valuable Service Information)
✔ Amazing Links Coming in With Social Profiles and Business Listings
It's because I have more traffic and links coming into my homepage that Google trusts my website. If you try sending all these different links to JUST the page you're trying to rank, you're actually risking looking fake and disingenuous to Google.
You need to understand how to properly distribute links throughout your business website.
The last analogy I'll leave you with is SEO is like making a cake... You just don't put all the icing on one piece of the cake, it needs to be evenly distributed for the cake to look natural.
In summary, this link didn't just POP up out of nowhere, my website has earned status in Googe's eyes, because of all the hard work and white hat SEO that was put into it.
If you're like me to give your website the power to compete with some of these titans I beat in search results let me know by either getting in touch with me personally or signing up for one of my local SEO packages, which are a fantastic start.