Apr 07

How Google Decides to Rank Your Site (or Not)

One of our clients just requested an SEO proposal to help them rank for a very general term (“neck pain”). This is a request we get a lot, but never honor, because it’s usually in the worst interest of the client to do so. Wanna know why? Read on:

(This is a bit of an oversimplification, but in the interest of creating a common language, you must understand the following)

  1. Being Exactly on Topic Matters: The most important factor influencing your ranking is whether you have content that is exactly about the keyword typed. This is judged by whether you have a page (or better yet a full web address) with the exact keyword phrase in the title and headlines.
  2. SEO is a Popularity Contest.  The other major factor is how popular that content is as judged by the number of visitors and links to those specific pages.
  3. SEO Activities Can Only Focus on ONE Keyword Phrase at a time. If you want to rank for a keyword or keyword phrase, you must start by creating a page (or sometimes a micro-blogsite) named after that exact phrase, and generating a lot of highly targeted content. You repeat this activity for each keyword you want to rank for.
  4. Ranking for a general keyword phrase is expensive. The competition for general terms like “neck pain” or “cell phone” is intense and usually dominated by big, powerful players, so it takes a very extensive (and expensive!) SEO campaign to beat those out.
  5. Ranking for a general keyword phrase is also often not great for business. The audience typing a general term isn’t usually your best customer anyway. They’re usually doing research in the early phases of a decision or purchase. If you’re a doctor treating spinal issues, a phrase like “Back Doctor Scottsdale AZ” is more likely to be someone who has 1) decided to seek treatment; and 2) is in the target geographic location. As a point of reference, there are only two competing pages for this phrase. If the website owner created content specific to this phrase they would rank as soon as Google indexed the page.

If you think you need to do better in the search engines, you need to first figure out which single keyword phrase is best suited to the kind of visitors you seek. SEO professionals have a slew of high-powered tools that give deep insights into what’s going on in the world of search, but if you want to do a first-level bit of research, check out Google’s External Keyword Tool to get a good starting point.

Next you need to create a page — or even better a blog —  with a new, keyword-rich title or domain (such as www.arizonabackdoctor.com) that has content very tightly focused around your target keyword phrase, and pre-sells your services with educational info, and links back to your site. You should also promotes the new pages or blog to your existing tribe of loyal customers with a monthly newsletter to driving traffic to your site and possibly earn links from other websites or social media profiles.

As you probably guessed, we offer everything you would need to start ranking for your best target keyword, from keyword research to our SEO-optimized SMART blogsite. Check out our pricing packages to get started!


  1. Bob Pascual

    Great info Jenny! I just tweeted it out. Hope all is well.

  2. Pingback: How to Repurpose Content to Stay Consistent | Content Marketing Institute

  3. What about “natural back pain treatment” search engine optimization, would it do the trick… 🙂

    What’s your opinion about (keyword) semantic optimization or something like that. I know I heard the term quite a few times lately.


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