SEO Matters:How to Get Ranked for Your Website Name

There’s a lot of advice out there on how to get ranked for some competitive keyword terms (like weight loss, credit cards and so on). What about first ranking for your websites name (if you have a new site)? If you create 2ndwebdesigner.com, for example, that doesn’t mean you’ll be #1 for ‘2ndwebdesigner’ or ‘2nd web designer’ immediately! Why?

Put in rough terms, Google ranks websites using 2 criteria:

  • Relevancy
  • Authority

Relevancy

Example: If you try to be #1 for ‘wedding flowers’ and have a page on your site for that term, Google will try to use several criteria to determine how relevant your page is for people that use that keyword ‘wedding flowers’ (or variations) and rank you accordingly.

Nobody knows all the factors Google uses to determine how relevant a page is for a specific keyword. The best type of evidence we got so far is 1) correlation evidence 2) making your own index of the web and trying to match it with Google’ index. A lot of resources are required to do both of those things (dedicated servers etc.)

Fortunately, for us, there are a few good companies that do this like SEOMoz who constantly find correlation data  and make various compartments. Their latest on relevancy is the LDA. It’s a very complex algorithm and it is suspected Google uses some variation of it in order to determine how  relevant a page is for a specific keyword.

But in your case, you just want to get ranked for your website name. So the fact that your URL (2ndwebdesigner.com in this example) matches the keyword ‘2ndwebdesigner or ‘2nd web designer’ tells Google that your homepage is EXTREMELY relevant for those keywords (if you want to learn more, read about navigational queires). Put in simple terms, a navigational queries is a keyword you type when you’re looking for a specific site, like Microsoft, or 800 Flowers.

Authority

This is where you need to focus on if you want to rank for your websites name. The primary reason why Google is not ranking you for your name is because you have no (or very little) links. Authority = links, put in rough terms.

Now, I wish things were that simple :) Authority = links, so go and get more links, right? Yes and no.

Yes, you need to get more links but if all of those links are from 1 unique root domain*, then your ‘authority’ is limited.

*unique root domain = a domain from 1 root URL. For example, if you get a link from a page on yahoo.com, then that’s 1 unique root domain. If you get a page from news.yahoo.com (a subdomain) that still counts as 1 root domain. If you get links from a page on cnn.com, bbc.com and news.cnn.com that’s 2 unique root domains.

Okay, why do links from unique root domains matter? Because search engines most probably use them as one of the major ranking factors. It is one of the hardest things to manipulate. You can easily get 300 links from 1 domain, but what about 300 links from 300 domains? It would take 10x, maybe 100x more time. Speaking generally, the harder a link is to get, the more valuable it is.

How can I build ‘authority’ in the eyes of the search engines?

We now know that we need links from a diverse number of domains in order to build authority in the eyes of the search engines. Now the hard part comes…where to get links from? To get ranked for your websites name, you can get started by submitting your site on some simple social bookmarking sites.

– http://friendsite.com (submit a bookmark)

– http://www.jamespot.com/

– http://www.jeteye.com/

– http://www.digg.com

– http://www.propeller.com

– http://www.mixx.com

– http://www.reddit.com

– http://b2blocal.net

There are many more…but I found these are a) reputable b) they are updated regularly.

Do a guest post

Know someone who owns a blog? Ask him for a guest post and add a link to your site at the end of the article. This should help a lot, especially if your friend’s site has some popularity. You can also ask strangers who have blogs to do a guest post for them, nowadays writing guest posts is a very hot topic :)

Explore more link building methods

There are so many link building methods out there, it’s impossible to explore them in one step. There’s one very popular forum on this topic and it’s called BacklinksForum. You can take a look at their classified ads sub-section and sort by the number of VIEWS and REPLIES. This is a great way to use the wisdom of crowds to make a good decision on which service to get.

One rule of thumb: Please avoid doing black hat things at any cost. Especially at the beginning. By black hat I mean doing things like buying links.

I would define buying links as DIRECTLY exchanging money for a link without any editorial control in the process. Buying link building services is NOT buying links because a) there’s an editorial control to check whether your site is family-friendly and b) you’re not exchanging money for links directly, you’re exchanging your money for some other persons’ TIME. That person will then use his time to go to websites that provide links for free and get them. You could easily obtain those links as well without any money investment.

Start lowly

If you’re not doing anything black hat (like using a software tool to blast 100.000 links in a day, which is obviously a way to game the search engines), you should be fine. I’m pretty careful with any new site I build and try to rank it first for its NAME. I’ve seen so many people who haven’t ranked their sites for their names and they go for phrases like ‘coding blog’ or whatever. In our example, you first want to be #1 for ‘2ndwebdesigner’ for ‘2ndwebdesigner’ and ‘2nd web designer’ before going for terms like ‘webdesign blog’ or a ‘design blog’.

So get ranked for the name before anything else would be a rule of thumb here :)

What about getting those links naturally?

You can do that as well! (actually search engines prefer you get natural links above all other types). If your site/page gets popular on Digg, StumbleUpon then you’ll get a bunch of natural links and you should rank for your websites name pretty fast. So that is an option too. Although I’m noticing that people who link naturally are migrating to Facebook/Twitter and search engines haven’t catched up yet (they need to give more weight to links from different profiles from Facebook and Twitter).

Good luck!

Darren

Executive editor of FinderMind magazine, a people search engine on helping you find long-lost friends.

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Comments

  1. Sara says

    A sound piece of SEO advice. The domain name really is the starting point of a seriois seo campaign. Great article. Sara x.

  2. Stan says

    Thank you for this post. Can you please make a guide on link building? I can’t find a good one.

  3. Benjamin says

    Keywords are the most important, you should always rank 1 for your business name

  4. says

    Excellent post, Darren. Now what would be a better strategy … use tons of bookmarking sites or just a handful? If you had an e-commerce site that needed a lot of pages bookmarked slowly over time as new products are added (mostly mid-tail terms) what sites would you use and how would you go about doing it? Thanks.

  5. says

    Somehow – results have to get ranked. If there is 15 million pages that have something to do with your search term, what then? You can’t look at them all and determine what is most relevant. Google is doing what has to be done.

  6. says

    Thanks a lot for great tips. I’m sure Google would have open the algo if there wasn’t a lot of spammers that would definitely abuse if they knew how it works exactly. I have just moved my web design business to Chicago and to establish rankings in the search engines I have started a new blog http://www.snapstech.com/blog

  7. Joseph McCullough says

    You really shouldn’t stress about ranking for your own business name…that will simply come with time. If you target actual revenue generating keywords and build links based off that, you’re going to rank for your own business name naturally AND bring in traffic from relevant keywords.

  8. Zoe Feast says

    What an outstanding article and well timed too. I have just moved my web design business to Chicago and to establish rankings in the search engines I have started a new blog . I selected the domain name based on the key words I am targeting and will be definitely using some of your ideas.

  9. Jose Rivera says

    What a coincidence. Just this morning I was using Google’s webmaster tools to submit my new weblog to Google.Your article make some good points about how you are ranked and the best ways to get backlinks.

  10. Jayman Pandya says

    Awesome… Strangely 1st web designer is coming with the articles that i am in need of at the right time… :D

  11. JohN says

    “Google will try to use several criteria to determine how relevant your page is …” and “Nobody knows all the factors Google uses to determine how relevant a page is …”

    How did we ever get this far. Someone else is determining what is relevant for me. A search algorithm that is not transparent looks to me as a food product without labels. Tasty but it could contain the cat of the neighbours.

    It seems that you need an academic degree to get your products under the attention of the consumer. I really hope there will come a time that the consumer can determine himself what is relevant or not with search criteria and algorithms that are open and transparent.

    • Darren says

      Yeah, good point. I’m sure Google would have open the algo if there wasn’t a lot of spammers that would definitely abuse if they knew how it works exactly.

      Google is trying to ultimately see what is relevant to their visitors, so it’s Google adjusting to what people think it’s relevant, not the other way around.