(Note: The following post, while accurate in what it presents, is not meant to claim that one can dominate the first page of Google the way we did with any keyword desired. Nevertheless, we believe this to be a powerful demonstration of a well-rounded SEO strategy that includes Google+ and Google Authorship.)
I grew up in a Monopoly-playing family. Our games were always ruthlessly cutthroat because we all had the same strategy: the one with the most property will usually win. In the opening rounds of the game, everyone bought every property they landed on, meaning you were forced to cut sometimes-painful deals later on in order to get the coveted all-of-one-color group that you could develop with houses and hotels.
These days some of the most valuable real estate in the world are virtual, and not much of that is worth more than the front page of Google. Just getting one result there is the holy grail of SEO. Few ever dream that they could have a virtual monopoly of that page.
But more and more, I’m seeing it happen.
Owning 8 of the 10 First Page Google Results
Here’s an example from just this morning. Yesterday we launched a new tool (called Remove ‘Em) to help site owners hit by Google’s recent Penguin update to recover their rankings. It streamlines the tedious process of finding and removing the bad backlinks that are the main culprits behind such a hit.
Here is the first page of Google today for an “incognito” (not logged in to Google, cookies/history cleared, browser’s private mode) search for “backlinks removal tool.”
Every single one of the top 8 results is either a direct or indirect reference to our new tool.
They are a nice mix of social, regular organic, and third-party site results. The first three are all Google+ posts from my personal Google+ profile. The fourth is a Google+ post by another user sharing about our tool. The next three are all direct links to our removeem.com official site. The last is to an Inbound.org submission that links to our site.
Eight of the top ten results for our most valuable keyword on Google. This is better than owning Park Place and Boardwalk!
How to Get a Monopoly on Google’s First Page
Obviously our example above is an outlier, and it is not possible to replicate this for any given keyword. And yes, “backlink removal tool” is not a high volume keyword. But, it is extremely valuable to us, and it is growing steadily in search volume as more and more site owners become desperate to find a solution to their loss-of-rank nightmare.
With those things in mind, here’s what lies behind our monopoly of the Google front page:
- A good job of on-site optimization of our RemoveEm.com site for “backlink removal tool.”
- Having that keyword in the meta title so it shows up in social shares of our site.
- Getting shares from influential Google+ profiles. Google+ is now our most important social network simply because of the potential for things we post there to show up in Google search.
- Submitting your posts to social bookmarking sites that do well in search (such as Inbound.org).
Let me add one more thing to #3 concerning Google+. While I can’t directly prove how much difference it made in this particular result (if any), I’m convinced of the importance of properly connecting your personal content to your Google+ profile (using Google author verification) and your site to a Google+ business page (and properly verifying that page).
Flash: How to Own “How to Own First Page of Google”!
UPDATE: In a delicious piece of search engine irony, as of 12 July 2012, I own the #1 and #2 spots in an incognito Google search for “how to own the first page of google.”