Google Gives #1 Rankings for Free

Thanks to Google, there’s a page on one of my websites that constantly is in the top 10, if not #1 for phrase x; and Google handed me that phrase on a silver platter! I didn’t have to spend hours researching keywords and search phrases. I didn’t have to mess with Google Analytics. And I didn’t have to pay a dime for an Adwords campaign.

What’s so special about me and my site? Nothing really. The key is what is not-so-special about the other sites competing for that phrase.

Before we move on here, I realize that for the most part all rankings on Google are free. We do not pay Google directly to rank well for our targeted keyword phrases. It would be so much easier if Google would tell us ahead of time what keyword phrases are easy to rank for. It’s too bad we couldn’t ask Google the topics where they can’t find relevant information. It’s too bad there wasn’t a list somewhere we could check.

We all know how it works. People visit Google, Yahoo! and the many other search engines, type in a search phrase, and if we rank well for that term; we get traffic. The problem is that Google, like all of the other search engines, relies on computers to determine if a site has relevant content for that search phrase. As we all know, sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t.

In a recent blog post by Tim Nash entitled In search of relevancy – or why you should be buying Venice Etchings, he uses a few simple examples to show how complex our language can be and how hard it can be for even humans to determine relevancy. While this inability to comprehend meaning by the search engines is most often a problem, it can easily lead to opportunities.

Yes, I’m finally getting to the part about Google giving me a #1 ranking for free.

Google was sending a page of my main business website hits for a particular phrase and a number of its variants. The page topic did not relate to that keyword phrase and the phrase only appeared on the page one time. Doing my own search for that phrase (I’ll refer to it as phrase x from now on), I found there were indeed several results that did actually talk about that topic. But, my page, with one instance of the keyword phrase, still outranked them!

The first time this happened on one of my sites, I wondered if I could write a targeted article for phrase x that could easily assume the top spot and stay there.

It is a wonderment how sometimes two seemingly unrelated events come together. Some time prior to when Google began sending me these hits, I had happened to buy a short book on the very topic of that phrase. It had been on the “we can’t get rid of these, so we’ve marked them down to almost nothing” table in a local bookstore and I thought it would make a good addition to my library.

Anyway, I used that book and my own knowledge to craft an article specifically geared for the phrase Google was already sending me traffic for and added it to a different site of mine. A handful backlinks later, the article steadily worked it’s way to the top position and stayed there.

Oh, but that’s not the end of this story. In my excitement to get this article online fast and see how my idea worked, I missed a spelling error. The page, with one of the words of phrase x spelled incorrectly was also ranking high in the SERPs. Hmm, could it be I was just handed another freebie? After a little research, I realized that non-native English speakers often make that same misspelling. So, once again I grab my trusty keyboard, add a new paragraph for my foreign friends with the misspelling and boom – another top 10 ranking!

It’s been over a year and that page consistently receives the most traffic of any page on that site. As I write this blog entry, the site is #1 for the two main variants of the phrase, #1 for one version with the misspelling and #4 for another.

At least three #1 positions and a fourth place position handed to me for free by Google. Yes, there was a bit of work on my part; after all, I did have to write the article.

The combination of Google’s inability to determine relevant sites for the term and the apparent weakness of the sites already competing for that term handed me what many consider the Holy Grail when it comes to SEO – the #1 position in the SERPs! Gotta love it when that happens. 😀

I’m off now to check my site logs. Maybe Google’s given me another freebie!

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