How hard is it to rank for general terms?

When talking to potential clients I often get asked the question “how hard is it to rank for general terms for their business. So, instead of answering this in mail as I have done so far, I will try to explain this in a post here so I can copy and paste the URL to the post to all of you 🙂

First of all – you need to ask yourself “what terms do I want my business to rank for – and why these terms?”.

The reason this is so important to do before you go on and start working on ranking for these terms is the fact that it takes a lot of time and effort to rank for the general terms. It’s difficult because all your competitors are trying to do the same – and as you know – the search results pages are devided in to 10 results in general – so there are only room for 10 links on the first page (not counting the sponsored links, local results or images/news results).

The above means that you better think this through before you proceed with ranking for “blue widgets” or any other really general term for your business.

Now – let us assume you have decided that despite the harsh competition for the term “blue widgets” with about 120,000,000 results in Google currently, you really want to rank for this term.

The check-list

I will list here the important things you need to go trough before you even consider building links for the blue widgets term.

  • URL – does it contain the general term in the address to the page? It needs to look like I have experimented earlier with placement of the search phrase in the URL, and the tests showed that it’s better to use – (dash) as devider of the words than _ (underscore). It’s better because the one with dash ranks higher that the one using underscore where all other factors are the same.
  • Title-tag – does it contain the phrase? It needs to be there to rank well.
  • Headline needs to be wrapped in the H1 tag.
  • The main text – The phrase needs to be included on many texts on the page – but not exaggerated. This is a fine balancing game. You need to stuff it in there without making it look key word stuffed. The text needs to be readable for the end user – not the search engines. The reason this is so important is obvious. Who wants to read a “great” machine text that does not make sense?
  • The internal linking on the site itself needs to be done right. Link from the front page to all the important pages to push as much link-juice to them as you possibly can.
  • Links from external sites needs to link directly to the page – with the link text blue widgets. This is one of the harder parts – how do you convince someone to link to your page?

After going through the check-list above, you should have a good understanding of how to have a chance at all to rank for general terms to your web site.

If you need further assistance, feel free to ask in the comments below, or contact us in the form on the right side.

Last Updated on May 21, 2022 by Bjorn Solstad

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