High rankings in Google

Associate Programs Newsletter #243

Today I describe how I create web pages that get high rankings in Google.

I use a fairly simple process that works for me.

One of the tricky things about publishing a newsletter is deciding who to write for. I hope this article isn't too basic. I'd love some feedback on it.


1. From nowhere to No.3 in Google in 4 days
2. You can give away Phil's movies
3. Remember TeknoSurf?
4. How to get a good, cheap logo
5. Thought for today: Success


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1. From nowhere to No.3 in Google in 48 hours ========================================

(This article frequently uses a word that may get caught in email filters. I'll call the word "spm". Here's a clue: Add the first letter of the alphabet.)

I created a new web page last week and it's now ranked No.3 in Google for a useful phrase. Here's how I did it.

For experienced marketers this article will seem fairly basic. However, judging by questions asked on my forum, quite a few people don't know how to do this.

This is the process I follow for every web page I create.

STEP ONE: Choose your topic.

Whole books have been written about how to do this. You can get ideas from all sorts of places, such as books, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, email discussion lists, forums, your competitors' web sites ... even from watching TV.

I'll assume you're going to choose a topic that somehow relates to your web site's main theme.

In this case, the idea arrived in one of Ken Evoy's newsletters.

He's sick and tired of having legitimate, opt-in business emails filtered by ISPs and mail services. He's launched a "Deliver My Mail" campaign - http://makemy.sitesell.com/deliver-my-mail/ - to try to do something about it.

It's a vitally important issue that affects all small businesses so it's a good topic for a page.

STEP TWO: Do keyword research:

This is the step newcomers to Internet marketing often miss out.

Before you write a single word, you need to find out what words people are typing into search engines.

There's no point in being ranked No.1 in Google for "blue-green widgets" if no one searches for "blue-green widgets".

For the article I planned to write I was faced with a huge choice of possible key phrases.

Ken's "Deliver My Mail" eight-page campaign covers a wide range of related topics - spm, anti-spm, spm filters, mail services, whitelisting, false-positives, Hotmail, Brightmail, AOL, MSN, Comcast, Earthlink, bonded services, Habeaus, SPF, ISPs, MAPS, blacklists, and so on.

I was amazed to learn from Ken's explanation how easily SPF could solve so many of our problems. Spread the word.

(Unfortunately, if you build a web page optimized for "SPF" you'll be visited by people who are trying to find sunblock.)

I could even have chosen "class action lawsuits" as my key phrase because - as a last resort - Ken is threatening a possible class action lawsuit.

Ken and friends versus the world's richest man? Sounds like an uneven fight to me. Watch out, Bill.

One place you can start your keyword research without paying a cent is http://www.pixelfast.com/overture/ .

You can type in various phrases and find out how many searches were done last month at Overture.

You'll probably find related phrases you hadn't thought of.

For example, for "spm filters" it tells us there were 239,917 searches at Overture's network of sites last month. This is a VERY popular topic.

However, if you're not used to the way Overture works, it's easy to jump to wrong conclusions.

Unfortunately, if you ask Overture how many people searched for "spm filters" it doesn't really tell you. Instead it lumps together the results of all the following searches:

spm filter
spm filters
filter spm
filter spms
filters spm
filters spms

Imagine how tricky it gets if you're targeting a three-word phrase.

Keyword research tools that use Overture stats can give you all sorts of useful ideas. However, for precise stats, I always use Wordtracker - http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/wordtracker .

I used to buy a one-day or one-week subscription, but now I have a yearly subscription so I can use it for keyword research every time I build a new page.

Wordtracker has a trial version, but it's fairly limited.

Using the paid version you can see, for example, the estimated number of searches done in all the main search engines for any phrase in the past two months.

You can also see the number of web pages on which that exact phrase exists. As well, Wordtracker shows you the figures for up to 500 related phrases, giving you heaps of ideas for new pages.

Wordtracker lists the results so that phrases with a high KEI (keyword effectiveness index) are at the top.

In theory, the higher the KEI, the better your chances of building a page that will be found. With a high KEI, you have lots of searches for the phrase and a relatively small number of pages where the phrase appears.

For example, the phrase I chose, "fool spm filters" has an unusually high KEI of 1773 (above 10 is good).

"Comply with spm filters" more accurately describes the topic of my article. However, Wordtracker showed me that no one searches for that phrase, so I didn't use it.

STEP FOUR: Study the competition:

Type the phrase you've selected into Google and have a quick look at the top 10 sites listed.

When I did this, I found several pages in the top 10 that didn't appear to be optimized for the phrase I'd chosen.

Most important, the phrase didn't appear in the most important spot, the Title, of several of those pages.

I decided I had a reasonable chance of outranking them.

Another example: If you do a search at Google for SPF, you'll see that only four of the top 10 sites have "SPF" in the Title. It should be possible to get a page in the top 10 for "SPF".

You can also use the Google Toolbar to see how many "backlinks" (links to them) these pages have. From your point of view, the fewer the better.

STEP FIVE: Chase the money

Let's assume you're going to place an AdSense ad on the page. It would be handy to have an idea of the value of the key phrase you've chosen.

You can do some quick and easy keyword research at http://www.pixelfast.com/overture/ .

Surprise! When I looked NO ONE was bidding for "fool spm filters" at Overture. However, there were plenty of bids for "spm filter" or "spm filters".

Four people were bidding more than $4 per click for that phrase.

That was good enough for me. I didn't look further. I'd found my phrase. Anything over 50 cents would have satisfied me.

To get a more accurate idea of the value of the phrase, you can go into AdWords - https://adwords.google.com.au/select/ - as though you're planning to start an ad campaign and find out how much you'd have to bid on your key phrase.

AdSense users receive a percentage of what people pay to advertise on AdWords.

STEP SIX: Write your article.

Write an article using your key phrase several times. Also use several synonyms. Search engines like that.

Alan Webb, moderator of the seochat.com forum, did some research a few months ago and calculated that a key phrase density of just over 2% was ideal.

I don't calculate key phrase density. I just make sure I use the phrase naturally a few times near the start of the article, in the middle, and at the end.

Weave an affiliate link or two into the article, promoting a product you're really enthusiastic about. I won't go into detail here - AssociatePrograms.com has hundreds of pages of advice on affiliate programs.

STEP SEVEN: Build your web page

Here's the web page I created:

How to fool spam filters

(LAST-MINUTE UPDATE: When I placed the keyword phrase in the file name I hadn't received the latest research from the experts at Planet Ocean - http://www.searchenginehelp.com/signup - which suggests that placing a key phrase in the file name may actually HINDER your ranking at Google now. It pays to keep up to date with this stuff.)

There was some debate about the validity of that research reported by Planet Ocean. I'm still placing keywords in file names. It still seems to be a good idea.]

The page is very simple, the sort search engines like.

If you view it using Internet Explorer and click on View/Source, you'll see I've used my key phrase "fool spm filters" in the Title, in the meta tags, in the heading, in the introduction, in a sub-heading, in the body, in bold and near the end of the article. The phrase also appears in a link on the page.

If there was a graphic on the page, I'd have used the phrase in the graphic alt tag.

(While optimizing the page for "fool spm filters" I also happen to have optimized it for "spm filters" but I don't expect to rank well for that phrase because it's so competitive. Ranking well for "spm filters" would be a wonderful bonus.)

If your page doesn't rank well, you could try tinkering with it, perhaps placing your phrase in a link very high on the page.

However, often the most useful thing you can do is put your energy into getting more links to the page or to your site.

STEP EIGHT: Create an AdSense channel

In AdSense, create a new channel just for this one page.

A couple of days later, your channel stats will be available and you'll be able to see how profitable your key phrase is.

If it's nicely profitable, consider creating more pages - perhaps a whole new section of your site - on closely related topics.

STEP NINE: Link to the page

I use SSI (server side includes) on AssociatePrograms.com. This allows me to add a few words to one file and instantly add a link to my new page in the footer of hundreds of pages.

You may be able to do the same thing using your navigation bar.

I also added a link on my main page and site map page.

THE TRICK: Don't be too optimistic

The "trick" - if there's any trick involved - is to avoid being too optimistic.

I could have chosen "hotmail" as my keyword. If I'd done that, I'd have been competing with 2.1 million other web pages.

Instead, according to Wordtracker, I'm competing with 934 pages. Perhaps that sounds a lot, but it's not nearly as bad as it looks. Most of those pages are NOT optimized for my phrase. The phrase just happens to occur on them.

The more good links you've acquired to your site, the better chance you'll have of success.


If you build a page following these instructions will your page rank highly in Google?

Maybe. Maybe not.

The process works for me because I'm building the pages on a large site that has many other sites linking to it.

If you own a small site that has few pages and few other sites linking to it, you face a much tougher challenge.

One thing you can do to increase your confidence is use Wordtracker to find fairly obscure phrases. Look for ones that appear on very few web pages. Build some pages optimized for phrases like that.

The first time you do this, you'll get a real thrill when you find you have a No.1 ranking in Google.

After you're successful with such pages, aim a little higher. Try building pages optimized for slightly more competitive phrases.

As your site grows and you get more links to it, you'll find you can aim higher and higher for the phrases you target.

If at first your pages don't rank well, don't fret.

Don't waste your time endlessly fiddling with your pages trying to get them to rank higher.

Google takes its own sweet time to spider sites. You may have to wait four to six weeks before any changes you make are reflected in search engine results.

Instead, spend your time creating more keyword-rich pages and getting more links to your site.


Two days after creating the page, it jumped straight into the No.2 spot in Google for a search on "fool spm filters". The next day it vanished, and then it settled into the No.3 spot.

Will it still rank No.3 in a month or so? Maybe. We'll see.

I've found that pages created this way usually hold their positions OK.

My AdSense earnings per click for this page are good (AdSense won't allow me to tell you details).

The click-through rate is mediocre.

That's fine with me. My main goal with this page is to persuade visitors to have a look at Ken's "Deliver My Mail" campaign - http://makemy.sitesell.com/deliver-my-mail/ .

(I hope you'll help spread the word, too, by building a page about this issue. It's vitally important to everyone who uses email.)


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2. You can give away Phil's movies

An old friend, Phil Tanny, is doing some innovative, experimental stuff that should interest you if you have a nature or travel site.

"We've set up a system that makes it very easy for other webmasters to give away 12 of our movies on their sites," Phil says.

The techniques and strategies he's using may be of use to anyone publishing anything in multimedia.

You can read about it on the forum:

"Going viral, wanna come"



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3. Remember TeknoSurf?

Do you remember TeknoSurf? It became Advertising.com, an ad network with 800 advertisers and 1,500 publishers.

(AOL has just agreed to buy Advertising.com for $435 million.)

4. How to get a good, cheap logo

If you need a nice graphic or logo for your site, one way to get it is to buy Photoshop, learn how to use it and create your own.

John Swart, a nurseryman who owns http://orchidmagic.com [UPDATE: This site no longer exists.] used a cheaper, quicker method.

He launched a logo contest at Sitepoint and now has several logos to choose from.

You can read how he did it on the forum. The discussion starts with Rent-a-Coder and WriterFind and moves on to logos:



5. Thought for today: Success

"I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it."

- Jonathan Winters

All the best

Allan Gardyne

July 1, 2004

Comments (1)

Said this on January 2, 2010 At 04:11 pm


In checking links I ran across this article referencing a site of mine and to quote.

Allan said:
"John Swart, a nurseryman who owns http://orchidmagic.com [UPDATE: This site no longer exists.] used a cheaper, quicker method."

Just wanted to let you know that the site is coming back...slowly...with SBI of course! Block builder is what I am using now but will have a custom site back up in the next couple of months.

I went with SBI and paid the extra because they are worth it!

Hope to be back soon,

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