So you have a website and you have decided that you want to be #1 in Google. How do you do that? Let me start by saying it IS POSSIBLE if your expectations are realistic.  But I also must be brutally honest with you, it is going to take a lot of work.

For example, if you are an Indie Band trying to make it big, don’t expect to rank number 1 for “MP3” because it isn’t going to happen. And unless you are Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber, don’t plan on ranking anywhere near #1 for these 2 search terms because you aren’t them.

But if you are realistic and want to rank highly for something in your geographic area, for example, then it is quite possible and can be done in as little as 3 months.

In this article I will explain what you need to do to get yourself competitively ranked in your local niche and how to maintain your rankings once you get there.

Step 1 – Search Term Research!

As with any idea you need a plan and for this idea to work you need to know what term(s) you want to try and get to the first page of Google for. Now there are a couple ways you could go about this. First is to use your gut. You probably already know what you need to rank for but maybe you can refine that a bit.

If your gut isn’t telling you anything then you need to rely on some free tools to help you out.

I find the Google Adwords Keyword tool (link) is a great place to start. Whether you know what terms you want to rank for or not, this tool can help you chose some terms and even create a short list of the final terms.

To use the tool you have a couple options. If you know some terms you want to use, simply enter them in the box beside “Word or phrase”. If you are unsure of the terms you can also put in your website URL in the “Website” box and the tool will visit your website, gather the text found on it and provide you some suggested terms based on the text found on your site.

Shortly after you press the search button you will get a big list of suggested terms based on the suggestions you provided or the website URL you entered. You will see not only a list of search phrases but also a column titled “Competition”, a “Global Monthly Searches” and a “Local Monthly Searches”.

I wouldn’t spend a lot of time looking at these columns other than using them as indicators of how easy or difficult it might be to get yourself positioned on Google’s first page. For example, a phrase that has low competition but high local monthly searches could be a very good term while one with high competition and low monthly searches probably will not provide you with a good ROI.

Go through the list and pick the terms you like, paying some attention to the other columns, but try not to disqualify terms simply based on the numbers in these columns.

Once you have a list of terms do a Google search for them just to get a feel for who is currently ranking there. This is your competition. You may not find many of your “Brick and Mortar” competition but what you will find here are the websites which are competing for that coveted number 1 position. Make a note of them because you will need them later.

So by now you have a list of terms and a list of your competition for each of those terms it is time to turn your focus to your site. This will be the subject of our next article.

Click here to read part 2.