The Garner Citizen is a small, locally owned and operated newspaper just south of Raleigh. It has competition from two other papers, both owned by large news concerns not based in the area.
There are words and phrases that any business likes to rank for in search results. One of the most satisfying is “best so-and-so”. As of today, I’m going to start an experiment and see how long it takes for me to get the phrase best newspaper in garner to pull up The Garner Citizen as the #1 organic result.
Consider it a mini test case.
I’ll update this post with tactics and results as the become available.
June 2nd 2010 Update: Well, it’s now at the #1 spot from a variety of locations. I saw that my handy SEOmoz rank tracker showed that it had jumped seven places since the previous week.
So let’s go over the gigantic amount of work it took to accomplish this.
1. I wrote this post with the key phrase in the title tag, the meta description and in the body of the post.
2. I tweeted about it 4 or 5 times over the past month and a half.
3. I wrote one additional article using the same “secrets” I used in step 1 at another site.
When I asked for some help from my Twitter friends yesterday to see what result the Google query: best newspaper in garner was showing at the #1 spot – it socially reinforced the result.
That last part is an increasing important part of what the search engines are considering important. Lots of chatter and linking on Twitter and Facebook will help your site rank better.
The great response to my request for help got me thinking about general social reinforcement of a phrase or keyword by asking people on your social networks to chime in when needed.
I will blog more about that idea after I test out a few more things related to it.
Now the question is, can the Garner Citizen hold on to the phrase “best newspaper in garner” or will their competitors come after them – stay tuned.
Wow, this is cool. We often rank well for individual posts, but after you and I talked about Google search stories, I realized that there’s a lot of room for improvement for the general “Garner newspaper”-type search. I’m interested to see how this turns out. Thanks 🙂
Catherine M says
LOL, well now you can say that NONE of the newspapers are ranking well for this search phrase. Phil, you know hold this illustrious honor 🙂
Catherine M says
Oops, you “now” hold this honor. Don’t send the word usage police after me!
Phil Buckley says
Ha, I like that Catherine… don’t try this at home kids, I’m a trained professional 🙂
1. “Garner Citizen” in this page’s title
2. “Best Newspaper In Garner in this page’s title
3. “best newspaper in garner” the text link to Garner Citizen
4. 1918.com SEO carefully managed
Any other tactics not as obvious? I’m getting Garner Citizen in the #1 spot on June 2, 2010. This post in #2.
Phil Buckley says
@Joe – the thing is, it really is that obvious. It’s not a big bag of secret sauce.
I enjoyed this SEO lesson, and not just because it was about The Garner Citizen.
Phil, you and Ashley often talk about not trying to trick Google by loading up your site with misleading keywords. I think I should point out here that we have a fine product: a locally operated newspaper, owned by a resident — not a big corporation — that gets recognized for its coverage of important local issues AND gives back to the community. I’m really proud of the work we do and feel that this title, as unstable as it may be, is well-deserved. So thanks!
Chris @ rank tracker says
Really cool idea, I have to go back over some of my previous posts now.