How to Rank number 1 when you are Coming from Behind

If you are not currently number one, then you are coming from behind. So the title is a bit redundant. The point that I would like to make is that when you enter the market for a keyword, you are behind in a race that is constantly being ran. To reach number one, you must outperform the number one website in the key metrics, by enough of a margin to close the gap and then by enough to maintain your lead.

To do this, you need to know what goes into making a number 1 ranking and then you need to set about creating as much as possible for your own site consistently.

Recent trends and changes in the way that Google displays results mean that it is more valuable than ever to have a number one spot. You need to be above the fold and in the top 3 but the number one spot can get as much as twice as many clicks as position 2 and 3 combined.

Also, some studies have showed that lower positions actually have lower conversion rates, meaning that visitors are more likely to buy if you are higher up in the results.

So, you need to aim for the highest value keyword that has an exploitable gap. This could be relatively weak competition or some sort of advantage that you have in the niece.

The Factors in a Number 1 Rank.

It basically comes down to 3 things. The authority of your site, anchor text (links) pointing to your page and the content on your site.

So, you can Grow the authority of your site by getting more high quality links pointing in, you can get more links pointing to your page or you can grow your content which allows you to get more pages indexed and send more links to your target page.

The easiest way and the one that you have most control over is growing your content.

As a side note, ‘churn’ is the norm below the fold. Most sites lack a good foundation and so experience a lot of movement. By getting more pages indexed, you build that foundation.

You can build this foundation by getting more high quality links pointing to your site as well, but growing your own content is far easier.

So, the process for building your content and ranking a page is:

  • Grow content
  • Get it indexed
  • Use anchor text wisely

There are a number of common content mistakes that you should avoid.

  • Low value Content – Scraping content, spinning articles and other similar techniques are a big no no. Use good quality content and use the question of “Does this add value to the market?” as your yard stick.
  • Hiding additional pages so don’t get indexed or more commonly just not making them accessible to the search engines through your internal navigation and linking. If your content can’t be found, it won’t help you.
  • Outgrowing your ability to get new pages indexed. At some point, you will have used up all of the authority that you have coming in through external links and Google will stop indexing new pages on your domain. At this point you need to get some high quality links coming in so that you can keep growing your site and getting new pages indexed. Until that point growing your site is an easy win. Most sites could grow a lot!

How to grow your Content.

The simplest way is to add a blog to your site. Use it to post tips and news on your subject or whatever you feel would be of benefit to your visitors.

The key thing that you must do is integrate it into your navigation. As mentioned above, if your content can’t be found, it isn’t going to do you much good.

Once you start building up your content, you can fire links from your posts to your target pages.

The Method.

We have covered what you need to do, so now I will walk you through the steps you ned to take to actually do it.

1. Find blogs, sites that are relevant to your market, are of high quality and post frequently.

A Google alert is an excellent tool for finding relevant content as it is published.

Collect the RSS feed of all of these sites in a reader. I recommend Google reader as it is a solid feed reader and its free. There are more functional readers out there but start with this one until you know what you want.

Try to collect at least 10 great sites. You want a steady stream of content every day so you need enough sites to serve that content.

2. Select the items that you want to use.

Your criteria needs to be your own and will be different from any one else’s, but use quality and value as a starting point.

3. Write descriptions of the content.


  • A link to the original source.
  • A Title – different from the original.
  • Describe what is it, where is it from, who has written it.
  • Who the post is aimed at and why it is good, useful and  interesting.
  • How it relates to your site and your visitors

Aim for around 200 words. No shorter, but that is all you need and writing more will just mean the whole process takes longer.

Mix in own original material every now and again.

4. Publish your content.

There are many tools that you can use to speed up this process and do it all in one go. For example, Scribefire for Firefox and Newsnetwire.

The important point is that you are publishing it to your blog.
Post immediately unless you are writing a week’s content all in one go.

5. Optimise posts and internal links

At some point, not necessarily when the post is written, it should be optimised for SEO and links to the appropriate target page should be included.

Each task here is a prime target for ‘chunking’ tasks where you focus on doing one very similar task for a set period of time without distractions.

So, find all of your posts in one go, then at a later time, write all of the descriptions etc. You will be much more productive be breaking the tasks down in this way.


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