I don't know if any of you remember, but I had a thread a few months back titled 'The Google Dance Thread'. When I started it, my main niche site had gone from number 17 down to 52, then after 3 weeks or so settled at number 13, where it has pretty much stayed since. I've been working pretty hard the last few days to get it moving upwards again, and I just checked it's ranking and it now sits nicely at number 10
I'm really pleased with this - the site is in a very competitive niche full of authority sites(articles, web 2.0's etc rarely appear on the first two or three pages). The keyword phrase gets around 15,000+ searches per month.
I only really started seriously turning my attention towards making it rank higher again in the last 7-10 days. I do think consistency and link variation(i.e in terms of backlink sources) is key.
I haven't built a profile backlink to it for nearly 3 months now, and won't be building any more. Don't get me wrong, I think profile backlinks can be great for establishing a site, particularly when it's new, but once on the first 2 pages I usually stop building them.
I built this site back in August(with help from my wife) - if I had been more consistent I know I could have got it into the top 10 much quicker, and maybe even in the top 5. I think the key really is consistency. OK, enough about this - if I was building a new site today, here is how I would plan on getting it to rank in the top 10, regardless of niche, competition and everything else after everything I have learned:-
1. I'd of course add some content to it. If it was in the form of articles/blog posts I would first do some keyword research. I'd make sure the phrase I targeted in each article would have at least 100 searches per month - ideally many more. I'd also make the effort to try and include the main keyword phrases I was targeting for the entire site throughout these articles - making it look natural to the reader of course. I'd say at least 2 articles to get started, but even better 3 or 4. I like to go for 500+ words for each one where I can.
2. Assuming a sitemap is present, it has been submitted to the search engines and everything is taken care of in terms of meta tag, description and keywords I would then use the free Website Auditor module from Link Assistant SEO Tools to see how my site rated for onpage SEO. I'd look at the scores for the top 10 sites ranking for the keyword phrases I was targeting and follow the instructions to get a percentage close to, or higher than all of them. Things like bold keywords, inter linking between articles/pages, keyword density, alt image tags etc etc. This is vital to get things off on the right foot in terms of when Google and the other search engines come to visit.
3. I'd submit my site to some of the top social bookmarking sites - Digg, Propellor, Redditt etc etc. I use Socialbot for this but what's important is that you do at least a few - it helps with being indexed, and of course brings some lovely link juice. I like to vary my titles and description when I'm submitting to a large amount of them.
4. I'd submit my RSS feed to some of the top agreggators. I use RSS Bot for this, and also some manually too. These agreggators often have a high PR, and remember - new content = fresh backlinks bringing juice to your site as a whole.
5. I'd make a promise to myself to update content on a regular basis. A new article/post each day is great, but more realistically 2-3 per week is more manageable and will make the site look relevant and fresh to the search engines.
6. I'd write a press release. No matter what the niche, there are a lot of free high PR press release sites that are great for link juice and traffic. This is an important step in creating a prescence for a site in my opinion. To start with, I'd submit my release to the following free sites:-
PR Log - Free Press Release Distribution & Free Press Release Submission
Free Press Release - Online Press Release Distribution Service
BigNews.biz Is Your Free Press Release and World News Distribution Center
Those 4 alone are great and will bring some nice link juice, but in addition I would also submit to the 25 included in PressBot.
7. I'd turn my attention towards traffic and backlinks from article directories. I'd both rewrite the articles on my site and write fresh ones. I use the spinner at TheRichJerksNet's Article Productions to create unique versions of articles. It completely rewrite each title and paragraph 3 times, giving me at least 20 unique articles as a result for each one article. I submit the first 10 to the top directories - EZA, Articlesbase, Go Articles, Article Productions etc etc.
This list is great for picking out the top directories by traffic and PR:-
List Of Top 50 Article Directories By Traffic, PageRank
8. I'd then submit some more of my unique articles to some web 2.0 properties - Weebly, Wetpaint, Blog, Blogger, Zimbio, Squidoo, Hubpages etc etc.
9. I'd put one of my unused spins into a tool like Article Tool Chest or The Best Spinner, to get it into Syntax format and make it further unique then submit it to the hundreds of directories in Article Bot(can you tell I love Incansoft tools :p )
10. I'd backlink some of these articles and web 2.0 properties by social bookmarking and submitting the RSS feeds.
That is how I'd establish the site, I'd like to think I could do all that comfortably in a week, although spreading it out over 2 weeks to a month might be better. I'd check my ranking, but wouldn't be too concerned about where it is sitting, because I'd know I'm going to put in consistent effort to help it rise. Here is an overview of what I'd try to do every single day:-
(BTW, I pay no attention to 'nofollow' and such - a link is a link in my eyes)
I have found I can leave 5+ blog comments in 20 mins - half an hour comfortably. I simply go to Google Blog Search, go to 'advanced search', put in the keywords I want it to find, and those I don't, set it to find blogs from the last day and off I go. I always try to contribute with my comments, and offer good feedback on the topic I'm commenting on. I don't always use my keyword phrase as my name/link - maybe one in every 3.
If I'm honest, if I didn't have Directory Bot I'm not sure I would do this, but as I have I usually automatically submit my site to 50 directories a day. I make sure to rotate the description of my site.
Yes, I know it's nofollow - but does nofollow = no link juice? I'm not convinced it does. Besides, it's a great way to get traffic too.
Although I have moved away from these recently, if I was in a competitive niche I think I would do maybe 3-5 of them each day to get things moving for a new site.
I'd of course keep building my site with new content, keep submitting articles to directories and much more - but the above is pretty much step by step what I'd do to establish a new site and get it rising in the SERPS from the off. I hope it helps some of you