Reaching the top of the SERPs

Time to spill some SEO beans again 😉 Lets say you have a blog or a web site and you want to rank as high as possible in Google, Bing and other search engines, how would you do that? You need a plan! First you need to know your key words you want to rank for. Lets say your blog, or web site is about Gardening, now if you just try to rank for “gardening” it might work, in a few years, perhaps 10-12. But if you start a niche about “gardening tools”, the competition is lower. It is still a highly competitive niche, but it might be possible if you know how.

First of all, you have to create a list of all the keywords you want to rank for. You can do this by using Googles’ external keyword tool or you can use Market Samurai (remember you get a longer trial if you sign up, for free, for the 30 day challenge. Doesn’t matter how you do it, but you should find around 50-100 keywords that relate to your niche. Keywords that people would use to search for a site or blog like yours.
Now you group your keyword list from less competitive to highly competitive. Take “Black and Decker Garden Tools”, it is quite easy to rank for, or “Lawn and Garden Tools”. It will take some time to get this list sorted, you want to know for each keyword the potential earnings, how strong the competition for reaching the first page on Google is and how many people do search actually for these terms.
For a smaller Niche three groups might be enough, for a more competitive niche you might look towards 5 groups or more. And now comes the trick:

You must concentrate your efforts first on those keywords that have the lowest competition. Concentrate on them, write content about them, build backlinks back to your site that are anchored with them. Monitor your efforts and as soon as you have reached top rankings for them, you can tackle the next, a bit more competitive, group. Do the same with them, you will now notice that it actually becomes easier now, Google starts to think of your site of a growing authority for “garden tools”. After you managed to reach top rankings for those keywords, start with the next, even more competitive group of keywords. Rinse and repeat until you have reached the number one position for “Garden Tools” in Google. The most difficult part is to built your keyword list and assign each keyword the right group, the rest ties just nicely in with content and backlink creation 😉

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17 comments to Reaching the top of the SERPs

  • Nice secrets!!! I need to work on being more clear in my keyword work to build more serp power. This was a great reminder. Thanks.

  • hospitalera

    Yep, I have the same problem with this blog, how do you define the keywords for it? My niche blogs, web sites are easy-peasy in comparison, SY

  • I am so in agreement about having specific keywords, especially if you are hoping to rank for something as general as gardening. That definitely will take 10 years! I am always surprised when I talk to people about SEO, and they do not understand that they need to be more specific in the keywords that they are ranking for.

  • The other advantage too of longer KW phrases is that someone who searches for “gardening” could be looking for anything from tips on growing roses to wear to employ someone to do the lawns. If they search on “black and decker power trimmer” you can be a lot more certain that they are actually going to buy something!

    Remember too this is more an art than a science – the figures for searches are highly unreliable – you only really know if there is traffic when you start ranking for #1 or #2 for the term. Also once you start ranking pay attention to what phrases people are actually using to find your site and write content and bet backlinks for those too

  • hospitalera

    Absolute correct! Perhaps it is the German in me that wants to break down an art form into logical steps 😉 Good tip with the keywords people found your site with, sometimes I am astonished for what keywords my site ranks. SY

  • Your logic is fine SY but then you have to go with the flow when you actually start having the facts of what your site actually ranks for and play it by ear from there (is there an equivalent German expression for that? LOL) Griz has a great post today on this very subject.

  • hospitalera

    I think the real secret is to strike a balance between being too organized / structured / not spontaneous enough and going too much with the flow / just floating around. If you are too structured you might overlook possibilities / keywords that are “outside the box” and if you are floating too much around you might have problems to stay focused on your goal. SY

  • Hey that’s a cool way and a very useful tip, its likewise i used the beginner scrapbooking, I am actually making all the niche keywords and working on them just to see if it actually bring in some great results.Sometimes when your niche subject is really remote you have a problem finding a proper keyword for them but as for the normal topics we can invent few very easily by keeping in mind the USP of our blog. I just wish it works fine for me and get me that page rank which i am aiming for.

  • Jez

    just commented on another post that you may want to check this out

    keywordresearchpro dot com

    That is better than anything else I have used for finding longtails… though the truth is that there is nothing on the market that will actually show you the longtails, they just give you a “theme”… you only really get the LT’s from your stats / traffic.

    Another good way to find them is to generate thousands of longtails phrases and run adwords on them with [exact match]. You can then see the number of impressions as well as clicks, if you bid low so you are in lower positions you don’t get many clicks, so it doesn’t cost too much… again, you are after impressions rather than clicks… course you need to be able to convert the clicks you do get… and be prepared to lose some money on it!

  • hospitalera


    Like I re-commented, I will check it out when I have exhausted Market samurai 😉 But, like you said “the truth is that there is nothing on the market that will actually show you the longtails” I checked some successful sites I have, and build before I stumbled over Market Samurai, and found its predictions / keywords and the like rather accurate.
    The second method you suggest sounds interesting also, but I have avoided to run any adword campaigns so far as I have still a lot to learn how adwords work. But I might spend my $25 Adword voucher that came with my hostgator hosting account on this 😉

    But the most important thing is “to be able to convert the clicks” rofl, I have some sites that I build before I understood “profitable keywords” that rank on the first page of Google, one even on position one that make me only very few money because it are “information niches” and not “buy niches”. Never mind, they still are valuable in other respects 😉 SY

  • Jez

    Yeah you need transactional keywords…

    What I meant when I said no tool shows you the longtails, compare your stats to what something like MS produces and there is a huge difference.

    MS may give you a good idea of which direction to go in, but its still way short of what you would see / learn from your stats.

    Dunno if you read makemoneyonlineforbeginners, guessing you do, but Griz wrote yesterday on how he uses really loooonnngggg posts to flush out the best LT’s…

  • Jez

    Ref guest post, a friend of mine runs and would do an SEO type of guest post for you if you are interested…. he is pretty good… some of the stuff he has on his site is pretty slick… that site is not WordPress BTW, its his own application… if you drop me a mail Ill pass you details.


  • hospitalera

    Yes, I read Grizz’s blog 😉 But lately I don’t like his writing style anymore, so I check still from time to time but I unsubscribed from his feed. Grizz lessons are pretty easy to understand:

    1. Find profitable niche
    2. Put a lot, lot, lot of original content on it (mainly in blog form)
    3. Target every related keyword in the world and build backlinks with it.

    I learned two things from him, a) not to agonize over the layout of a niche site and b) to write longer posts.

    Regarding your friend, I just send you an email! Thanks for thinking of me, SY

  • I like your method, its a great approach to gradually a little extra. Most people would try to go straight for the high competition keywords and end up banging their head against the wall. And giving up. I took an approach like yours and, although it took time (about 7 months), I am now ranking high for my less competitive keywords and am starting to work on the rest.

  • hospitalera

    Exactly, easing your way into the Google index is far better, and more successful, then trying to break in the front door! SY

  • nice post, worth mentioning a steady growth in backlinks and ever adding content help too. You can use RSS on your site and someone elses feed to update content more often if you are not able to change the site/add to it that often
    .-= Ecommerce Advisor´s last blog ..Using PPC/Adwords in a B2B environment =-.

  • hospitalera

    @Ecommerce Advisor
    A method that has to be used with care, I am not a big fan of scraping other people’s content if that is what you are referring to, SY