If you want to know how to rank for specific high competition keywords in Google I’m going to go over everything you need to know. I’ll show you all my best tips and tactics to boost your website’s rankings in the SERPs.
You need to succeed online and if you run a business you probably want to be found online for what it is you offer. In that case you’re definitely going to want to show up at the top of Google searches but what exactly does it take to get there?
There’s a lot that goes into proper SEO including what you put on your pages itself. How do you structure your pages, what content do you put on your pages and etc. Going into 2019 it’s still really important to have a lot of good external signals to your site which means backlinks.
Earn backlinks or build it the proper way
A backlink is just any time another website links to your site but the other thing you have to know about backlinks is they are not all created equal. Some come from really disreputable spammy sites and some could come from Forbes. On top of that some links are actually called nofollow links which means Google knows not to really count them- they can still help in some ways but they really aren’t counted in the traditional way that Google normally counts a link.
One of the biggest factors that really makes a link help you rank for a certain keyword is the anchor text or the words on the other website that link to your page or form that hyperlink. In this case it would be the words ‘click here,’ and I think the reason it’s such a big signal is simply because that really shows Google what your page is about. Not only are they seeing that keyword on your page but hey this other website thinks your page is so much about that topic that that’s the words that they chose to use to link!
Lots of SEO experts as well as Google themselves kind of go on record saying anchor text isn’t really that important anymore… I think it’s just because they don’t really want you to manipulate it. But so many tests have proved otherwise it is still a very important ranking signal in 2019 so you’re definitely going to want to pay attention to it. That sounds easy right; just build a bunch of links with the right anchor text for the the terms you want to rank for? Not so fast there’s a catch! Google really hates being manipulated and they don’t want anyone to actually go out there seeking links. In a perfect world for Google they want every link just to be earned.
Back in the day Google was not super smart about this tactic so you would just go out and get as many links as you can. Then you would just optimize the anchor text to be the keyword you want to rank for and you were good to go. Since then Google’s rolled out the Penguin update which basically seeks this kind of thing out and analyzes anybody with too many links that say the exact same thing. It looks unnatural like you had something to do with those links rather than a bunch of site owners just liking your content and naturally sharing it. Think about it if 10 different web sites were all to link to your website what are the odds that they would all use the same keyword phrase when linking to your site? Let’s say you’re a pet grooming business, I bet some would use pet grooming salon in your city the name of your business itself or the actual website address. What wouldn’t happen is all 10 of those websites using the same phrase pet grooming salon and London. It’s unnatural and Google’s just going to slap that down. The problem is, if you ever want to rank for a keyword, you do need some of these exact to match anchor text links but you can’t be too aggressive about it.
There’s an art to anchor texts for safe link building
I’ll show you the plan I use to figure out how many overall links you’re going to need; how many should be exact match anchor text and how you can go about building them safely.
The first place we’re going to is Keyword Finder. Now, I’m assuming you already have the keywords that you know you want to be found for. If not, I do have a blog post about SEO keyword research that shows you how to find the keywords you’re going to want to use.
Assuming you know the keyword you want to rank for and you’re signed up for Keyword Finder, go ahead and get started.. so let’s keep going with the pet grooming salon in London example. Let’s just type that in there, and what we’re paying attention to are the competition. Basically it’s going to show you these are all the guys that are showing up in the Google search right now for this term pet grooming salon in London, and it shows you the top 10. The name of the game here is just to do a little bit of spying and see who’s here and how likely you are to beat them.
Right at the top we have Yelp- this is very common especially for service based businesses you’ll see the Yelp listings at the top quite often and it’s going to be pretty hard to beat Yelp. There’s no sense to beat Yelp in the term pet grooming salon in London because they’ve got a really high domain authority. What I would want to focus on right here is the top ranking website for London local pet grooming salon, and find out its domain authority. Also find the website’s page authority and citation flow, trust flow. What you really want to look at is the number of links on your competitor’s website and click on them to see all the backlinks they have. Sort out the valuable do follow links, not the nofollow links which are more just standard directory links that don’t do as much good. Now we have a much clearer picture of what exactly your competitor’s do follow links are. Now find out the anchor text as well.
Look at your competitor’s anchor texts and see what they are ranking for. See how many exact match anchor links and if they are over optimised, just know that they could get into trouble with Google for it. When building links, you need to drip them out a bit so they look more natural and don’t build too quickly if you are a new site. If you’ve been around awhile and you already have a lot of links you can probably go a little faster but if you’re brand new it’s going to look really suspicious and shady.
Build links slowly and don’t over optimise!
In week or month one, you’re going to want to focus on basically these trust building links so these are mostly going to be nofollow. They’re going to come from mostly your social profiles and directories. Then in a week or month from there, you can start going for those more Authority links. You’re going to want to move kind of slowly and cautiously. Go for more naked URL so that’s basically just the website address-of your pet grooming salon in London, as well as branded anchors.
Branded anchors would be the name of your business- so if your pet grooming London company is called Perfect Paws London that’s what you would want to use as well and basically you’re going to want to try in week or month two to be building around 20% of the total links you need. Moving on to week or month three, you’re going to continue with those Authority links. You’re going to go for more branded anchors again because that’s your company name. Now you can start by trying for one or two exact match anchors so that’s the keyword phrase you want to rank for in this case pet grooming salon and London. Go ahead and do a couple of those and then do some blended so you’re blending your business name with the key word so would be Perfect Paws salon in London. In this time frame, you’re going to try to build out around 30% of those total links you need. In month four through six, you’re going to want to build in those last couple months with a variety of links. First try to find some related or synonyms to your keyword phrases and use anchor text based on that you know this might be something like pet grooming service in London or best pet salon in London, something like that. Then you can go for a few more exact match keyword phrases and then go for some more of those blended so that would be again be the brand mixed with the exact match.
You want to spread that out getting that remaining 50% of the total links you need and you’ll definitely want more exact match to links than your competition has but here’s the catch- you need to keep those two under 30 percent of your total links. If your competitor has seven exact match links you want at least eight exact matches plus a variety of 18 additional links you know these should be naked URLs branded with your company name, or synonym keywords and related keywords and you might even want more. You also want more total links then your competition.
You need to not only beat them in the exact match links but also beat their overall link numbers. It really depends on your competition level- you may have very little work to do or you may have quite a bit of SEO work to do as you research your competition. It may look like they’ve got way too many optimized anchor text links back to their site- but you don’t want to play that game because Google get smarter all the time. They’ve got new algorithms all the time and you don’t want to be caught with your pants down when they finally do the algorithm update!
It’s really important to do things the right safe way.
Pay attention to the quality of the links
So what about the quality of the links?
You’re definitely going to want to seek out good opportunities not spammy ones, so I want you to focus on websites with a domain Authority of over 20 and a trust flow score of over 15.
Keyword Finder will show you those scores when you’re researching a website. I will warn you that if you submit guest posts for links, those methods do make it kind of hard to control the anchor text that links back to your site. Since you’re dealing with other websites and their editorial guidelines so to get the exact match anchors might be a time-consuming process. You should probably outsource your backlink building.
The good news is you can control that anchor text with the links that a link building company can build for you. I recommend getting their links packages and ask questions about the anchor texts and whether they have control over that.