This post is a follow on from a previous post “The Truth About Domain Age“, just let me recap before we continue.
The previous post proved that domain age only plays a minor role in terms of search engine optimisation. In fact 23% of sites were ranking for massively competitive terms within 3 years of domain registration, some as quick as 18 months.
If your looking to make an impact on the SERPS sooner rather than later then you really need to read this post. You see if you are targeting competitive terms (terms with over 10000 searches a month) your going to have to dedicate a lot of time to SEO, but which areas should you focus on? continue reading
I picked 10 sites that were all ranking for keywords such as seo, seo services, search engine optimisation, seo company etc… Not only were they ranking but they had achieved it within an average of 2 years 3 months. I analysed all the sites to pick out correlating optimisation factors between them. The last post was graph heavy and probably easier on the eye, there is a lot more text in this but I cannot express the importance of reading it, especially if your wanting better rankings quicker.
The first area that caught my attention was the title tag. 100% of the sites had a 100% keyword prominence.
The keyword prominence is how close the keyword appears to beginning of the analysed area. If your targeting “SEO Master” this needs to be the first keyword in your title tag. This is important and simply implementing it will have an effect on rankings.
There are a couple of side issues with regards to title tags:-
1) 95% of the sites had the title tag as the first line of code in the head tag, I’m not sure how important this is but it was interesting to note.
2) The keyword density within the title tag was typically 25% and generally title tags were no more than 9 words. I think this is definitely something to keep in mind, don’t stuff keywords in the title tag.
All the sites used their targeted keywords within their META description tag but only 50% used it in the META keywords tag. This confirms that no real weight is given to the keywords, but is the description taken into account???
The results I found here may surprise some, but the average keyword density was 1.9%, this is much lower than 99% of SEO’s recommend yet these sites are still ranking high. It seems keyword density may only be a significant factor if your site lacks a solid link profile.
On the other hand you really need to be considering where you have used your target keyword in the body text of your page. The average keyword prominence was 95%! This means pretty much all the sites were implementing their target keywords within the first sentence of their body text. You should be too!!
H tags and Alt tags
The study showed no real link to high rankings based on these factors, however that’s not to say they hold no weight. The sites that did not optimise them correctly had bigger link profiles than the sites that did. So still implement them as they could be the difference between you and a competitor.
How many links are pointing to your site?? Well the average link popularity on these sites was 22,000 inbound links. This means these top sites have averaged 814 inbound links a month since the domain was registered!!!! This is a huge amount, how does a new site generate that many links???
Keep on reading and all will be revealed.
As a side note the average link diversity was 3.2%, so does it really make that big a difference, the debate is still open.
Relevance and Anchor Texts
The study highlighted that an average of 59% of inbound links were coming from pages with the keyword present on them. This to me plays a huge role in higher rankings, relevancy is key.
According to the data you should be aiming for around a 40% anchor distribution. I have stated many times before at SEOwizz that you should not target 100% of your anchor texts towards a given keyword, mix it around using different variations, however for every 10 links you get try and use the exact anchor text 4 times.
PageRank and Link Quality
All the sites tested were a PageRank 4 to 5.
However the really interesting data came when looking at the quality of the links. After testing all the sites, an average of 63% of links came from directories, article directories and PR’s.
Why is this a big deal??? Anybody can create links using these methods, I am not saying only use these methods but definitely give them 50% of your allocated link building time, why?? Because they clearly work regardless of what any of the ‘Top Guns’ say.
An average of 68% links coming to these top ranking sites carried zero PageRank!!!!!!!!!, who says you need high PR links to rank highly? Just a shed load of PR zeros will do the trick:)
OK here’s my guide to quicker, higher rankings.
- Make sure your keyword is 100% prominent in the title tag
- Make sure your keyword is prominent in your body text
- Attempt to acquire between 300 and 500 new links a month
- Use all ethical means to build one way relevant links
- Anchor 40% of your links with the exact keyword you are targeting
- Don’t be afraid to use article directories, press releases and other valuable directories
- Produce great content that will drive links to your site naturally
SEO is not magic, it’s hard work and constant analysis. I like the way Aaron Wall summed up SEO at SEObook.com.
Same goes with SEO. When there is a lot of competition, you need to be more determined than your competition in order to succeed
Are you willing to put in the hours? Are you working harder than your competitors? Are you willing to invest in order to see a return 2 – 3 years down the line?? If not your not ready to play where the big boys plays.
(I haven’t included a link to the sites I looked at as this is sensitive data and I don’t want a nosey webmaster to use it to sling mud at Google for allowing these sites to rank with low quality links)
As an SEO we figure out how to ethically gain rankings and then implement.Line Break
Author: Tim (292 Articles)
Tim Grice is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 7 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Head of Search at Branded3, an SEO agency in Leeds.