First, here’s rundown of some of terminology I’m going to use in this article –
Inbound Links – Links coming into your site Outbound Links – Links leaving your site Cross Links – Links that you have “traded” with another site (ie, they’ve got a link from their site to your and you’ve got a link from your site to theirs) PR (Page Ranking) – Google’s measure of how “important” your site is
SEO Is Not Dead
Ok, now lets talk about what you really want to hear – how to get those coveted 1-10 ranks for your keywords. Remember this - SEO is not dead. In fact, it is very much alive and important. The first thing to do in order to raise your site rank is target specific keywords. I say specific, because you need to target “keyphrases,” meaning more than one word keywords. Some people use words interchangeably (me included) so just ignore one-word keywords altogether. You will waste your money if you shoot for these, because chances are, there are other, MUCH larger companies who already have you beat, and will continue to have you beat unless you’ve got a bottomless wallet.
Check Out Your Competition
Take this example, for instance, if you sell computers, you should not try to optimize your site for keyword “computer” or “computers.” First, think about all of businesses that do ANYTHING with computers. Yeah, that’s a lot. They’ll all show up if you search for “computer.” Now try to think of who would show up at top of that list. I’ll make it easy, it’s Apple, Dell, Computer World, Computer Associates, IEEE, Computer History Museum, Webopedia, ASUSTeK, WhatIs.com, and HP. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I 99.9% guarantee you that you’ll never get into that top 10 list. The HP link has almost 5,000 backlinks (discussed later) and a PR of 7/10. Good luck.
Then What Should I Do?
So what should you try to target? Lets re-visit your computer store. What types do you sell? PCs, ok, what types of PCs? Custom. Ok, that’s a little better, “Custom Computers” is still a vague keyword, though. (How many people build custom computers?) What kind of components do you use? Intel? AMD? SoundBlaster? GeForce? There you go, that’s a little better – “Custom GeForce Computers.” That returned 476k results instead of our previous 633 million with “Computer.” Just a little bit less competition.
I Want More
Want to go further? Forget what types you sell, go for what do your customers want. What do they use your computers for? Gaming? Try “Custom Gaming Computers” - There are 672,000 results here, but #1 spot has a PR of 5/10 and only 41 backlinks. That shouldn’t be too hard to beat, we’ve just got to know who is linking to them, and beat them at backlink game.
Oh yeah, before we move on to beating pulp out of your competition, don’t forget to SEO optimize your site for your chosen keywords before spending any time on backlinks. Otherwise, this next section won’t mean much.
But I Digress…
Ok, now that your site is thoroughly optimized, how do we find out who their backlinks are? Well, you can do it by hand, or you can purchase a VERY helpful tool called SEO Elite (http://www.GetSEOElite.com) that will analyze all of backlinks to a site (and more). But, since you don’t have SEO Elite yet, we’ll do it long way.