Getting to the top of Google!

How long does it take to get to the top of the Google rankings? How do you get your site listed on the search engines?  What is this SEO stuff that I keep hearing about?

These are some of the questions we get asked the most at Rebel Business School.

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And for good reason! Where do you go and search if you are looking for something???  Most people, whether looking for a restaurant, product or business, search online (according to recent research this is higher than 80% of searches) and of those in the UK 80% are on Google!  So if you are launching a business, you want to show up where people are searching!

That is going to be what this post and this SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) experiment are all about.

The beginning of the experiment

It was on my list of 2018 goals to launch Alandonegan.com so I had a platform to share my crazy ideas, thoughts and experiments that I do.  Rebel Business School has some amazing content but I was not finding it easy to put my content out on there in a consistent way so I wanted to just launch my own website.  It took 11 months but I finally got round to it.  After Website Wednesday in Croydon on the 28th of November 2018, I inspired myself to build the website so I sat down in the Airbnb after the workshop and built the website you have in front of you now.  It didn’t have much content but it was done!  

Then I came back the next week after the second Website Wednesday on the 5th of December and added some content, plugged in Google Analytics, and got the website to the next level.

The date is now the 2nd of January 2019, so just over a month since the first page of the website was created, and I wanted to start a series of posts about getting to the top of the Google search results as this comes up so much, and I have an opportunity with a new blank website to show you how I have done it from the start.

In this article I want to do 4 things:

  1. Answer what the hell is a keyword? Define which one I am going after
  2. Set a base line for where I am in Google at the moment
  3. Show you what I have done so far
  4. Set out a plan for what I am going to do next

What is a keyword?

Every day, people like you and me are searching for things on Google all around the world.  Currently Google handles 40,000 searches a second!!!!!  That is 3.5 billion searches a day!!!

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Those people are typing all sorts of things into Google and searching for things.  What they type into Google are keywords and key phrases. What we want to do is work out what they will be typing in that we want to show up for.  So if we are a florist in Kent then we want to show up in Google if someone types in “florist Kent”; this would be one of our keywords for our website.  If we were a photographer we might want to show up for “wedding photographer Kent” or “the best wedding photographer in Kent”.  

The keywords and key phrases (because people don’t often just type one word into Google) are the things we want to work to get our website to show up for!

For the sake of this experiment I am choosing the key phrase ‘Alan Donegan’ to work to get my website to show up for.  Now for most people it is a ‘nice to have’ to show up for your own name or business name because when you first start out no one is going to be searching for you in this way.  No one even knows you exist.  As you progress in business it is important that you show up for your own name and company name because as people hear of you they will start to Google you.

One of the reasons for doing this experiment on my own site is that I always like to test out the Rebel Business School content and check it is still relevant and works. Let’s see if the Rebel stuff works and how easy it is to do it.

Setting the SEO Baseline

Let’s work out where we are now!  The key phrase I want to work to get this website to show up for as an experiment is ‘Alan Donegan’.  To know if it is going to work or not, we need to know where we are so far.

We know that before the 28th of November 2018, this website didn’t rank anywhere on Google as it didn’t exist!  I hadn’t built it!

It is now the 2nd of January and let’s see where we are now.  To set a baseline I want to open up a private browser (if you are using Microsoft Edge) or an incognito browser (if you are using Google Chrome) so that Google doesn’t show me results based on my search history.

Click on the three dots on the top right corner of your browser and then select open a private browser if you are using edge or incognito browser if you are using Chrome.

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How to open an incognito browser in Google Chrome

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How to open a private browser in Microsoft Edge

Once you are in private or incognito mode, you are ready to search and set a baseline.  So I am going to search for “Alan Donegan” to see what comes up!

This is what shows up on page 1 of Google for my name:

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The first thing that comes up is my Twitter account, which Google currently thinks is the most relevant thing people want to see when they are searching for my name. 

Then my Facebook page, and third my bio on my company ‘about us’ page.  Fourth on Google is the announcement in 2015 that I had won the Entrepreneur of the Year award at the Inspire Awards.  Then a set of videos from Google.

This isn’t entirely what I want to show up for my name!  I am happy with the Rebel page but I want to get my new website to show up on page 1!

​I am now going to keep searching down the Google listings to see where currently my new website shows up!

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I got down to page 4 on the Google searches before I found my new website, which I am actually really happy about!  I was ranked #45 in the listings for my own name!  Not too bad considering I only launched a month ago!

I will show you what I have done so far to get that far below.  For now I wanted to set the baseline for where I am in the listings and then I am going to track this each month along with showing you what I have done that month and whether it has any impact on my Google ranking!

Alan Donegan Ranked #45 on Google

So far we have looked at what a keyword or phrase actually is. 

And we have set a baseline for the keyword (Alan Donegan) that I want to show up for.  We are #45 on the Google rankings.

Next I want to show you what  I have done so far to get to #45 and then come up with a plan for what I am going to do over the coming month to increase my Google Ranking.

How to start SEO on your website

Here is what I have done so far to get to #45 on the Google rankings:

  • I chose a domain name with my keyword or phrase in it

I knew that I wanted to show up for my own name; people are starting to discover my work as I appear on podcasts like ChooseFI and other places, and I want to my website to show up when they search for me. 

So the first step was to choose a domain name (website address) that had my keywords in it.  So I chose Alandonegan.com

For our two examples above (a florist in Kent or a Wedding Photographer in Kent) we would have chosen a domain name like www.Kentflorist.co.uk or www.weddingphotographerkent.co.uk

  • I filled out the SEO information in Weebly making sure that I use my keyword as often as possible

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The things I filled out were Site Description and Meta Keywords.  I made sure it included Alan Donegan in both.

  • Used my keyword throughout the site

The next thing I did was make sure that throughout the site I used my keyword in the titles, picture descriptions and in the text.

  • Linked my site to Google Analytics

I also linked my site to Google Analytics, which lets Google know it exists and allows me to track accurate data for who is visiting my site.    More on this later and I am going to ask Henry from Rebel to do a video showing how to do this!

So that is what I have done so far.  4 main things.  It has taken me a total of about 2 hours to do this SEO work, which has got me to #45 in the rankings!  But that is not where I want to be!  Who actually goes to page 4 of the search results!  Most people never search past page 1!!!!!

So I need to work to get my site onto page 1 and beat all the other websites that are listed for my name.  Which brings me onto the plan.

What I am going to do next to get to page 1 of Google

So here is my plan for what I am going to do next to get to page 1 of the Google rankings.  You can play along with your own website and see if it works for you as well!

I will write another post in a month’s time and we can see what, if any, progress I made up the rankings!

Here is what I am going to do next:

  1. Go through the SEO settings for each individual page for my website on Weebly and fill them out using my keyword in each area
  2. Make sure that each page has my keyword on page.  For example, in the titles, text and pictures
  3. I am going to leave blog comments on other blogs that will link back to my website.  This will create back links back to my site.  More on what  a back link is later

This is probably enough to get me going for now.  I am not planning on spending a huge amount of time on this.  I just want to test and experiment to see how easy it is to get a site to rank on Google for a specific term.

If you want to find out what happens and if I make it further up the listings then make sure you sign up to my mailing list and I will send you the next article next month.

If you have your own site then what I would love you to do is play along!  Copy the actions I have taken above and do the plan with me.  I would love to know how your site gets along and whether you can start to get it to rank for your keywords as well!

Here’s to your success in business and life, and I hope that this blog inspires you to just start and work to make things happen!

Happy New Year and here is to an amazing 2019!

​Alan

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