The Love of Your Life on Valentine’s Day
UPDATE: Within 5 hours we were #1 (below the snippets) for “Finding the Love of Your Life on Valentine’s Day”
An SEO Ranking Exercise
This year we are going to have some more fun with Valentine’s Day, while at the same time teaching a little bit about SEO. We are going to try to get found for “Finding The Love of your life on Valentine’s Day” in Google. Now I will put this out there on Valentine’s morning and hopefully I can update with a ranking later in the day or in the week, but the point is seeing the process of trying to rank for something.
The Competition for The Love of Your Life
First, we should take a look at the competition to see if we have any shot at ranking highly for this term anyway. We analyze the link strength of the pages ranking on page 1 in Google for the term and see a number of articles. Since links are still the top individual factor for ranking, if we see pages that have incredibly strong link strength all over the first page, we know that we don’t have a shot. Luckily, though we are going to be behind the leaders here, they are not out of our league. You can see a few of the pages have no inbound links to them, as we won’t, at least when we initially publish. We hope to make up for this with some on-page factors and recency. The top page’s ranking are all fairly old and Google has been favoring newer content for ranking in the past year. We are hoping to take advantage of that with this exercise, and having a reputable domain that our low strength site is attached to.
Where we Trail the Competition for “The Love of Your Life”
So now we know we are behind a bit in page link strength, and actually, our domain is a little behind the leaders, but competitive with those other than urban dictionary. Every search is relative to the content and strength of the other sites trying to rank, so the requirements may shift based on the competition.
We also have to look at relevance. Here we are competing with sites that typically talk about relationships and social sciences, whereas my site is usually talking about search engine marketing, so Google may not view my site as relevant to general relationship searches for the term. This post in itself isn’t really about what people may actually be searching for, so once ranked, it may not last over time.
We take a look at the pages ranking highly for “The Love of Your Life” and see what words and phrases are also included on the pages that rank in the top 10. With Google RankBrain and semantic search, it isn’t just focusing on one keyword phrase anymore. Google understands other important words and phrases that should also be included on pages that rank highly. Phrases that appear on the pages where searchers go and stay, rather than coming right back. We may be in a little bit of trouble here considering we are talking about ranking and not actually finding the love of our lives.
However, we are going to try to catch up with some other factors that we control on our own site. So let’s narrow down where we are lacking, which may cost us for making the first page.
Where We can Catch the Competition for “The Love of Your Life”
So we are going to try to catch the competitors with on-page factors, such as using the term in our titles and headlines without keyword stuffing. We don’t want to unnaturally jam the phrase in over and over, but where it is relevant, and in headings, we can make the most of it. We also want to use our images properly and label them in a relevant way without abusing them and stuffing them. You can see the image here shows the alt text and labels for the image above with the link strength. Labeling it as the Link Strength for The Love of Your Life is a true and understandable label that adds to the relevancy.
We also noticed that only about half of the URL’s ranking on the first page used Google AMP on their sites. This helps speed up content and though not having AMP doesn’t necessarily mean that you are slower, Google AMP helps you know you can reach a certain level of speed. If this were a more important keyword term, we would potentially dig into competition page speed too, but that may be getting a little too complex for this exercise. With AMP on our side, we should at least be on par with the others for page speed.
We are also going to be sure to use the “Article” rich snippet tool to make sure we are taking advantage of everything Google wants. The search engines will see this labeled as an article and help it show up in news searches or in the snippets at the top of the page. Most likely we won’t make it there with our current page strength, but it is worth adding to make sure we are covering our bases. I recommend getting a rich snippet plugin if you are WordPress site and labeling all of your posts as articles.
Standard On Page Tags
You also need to make sure you label your pages properly with the title tag, which is a direct ranking factor, and your description, which helps get more people to click on your link, making it a secondary ranking factor. Now, this is just part of the ABC’s of SEO, but you should always keep it in mind. The Title tag is like the old tab sticking up on the folder in the filing cabinet, only this is for Google’s virtual filing cabinet with billions and billions of files. It gets you into that ranking conversation. Make sure you take care of these. Title tags should be less than 55 characters and descriptions have recently lengthened to up to 230 characters.
Content Length for The Love of Your Life
The average URL ranking #1 in Google has over 2,000 words. It is important to have thorough content that answers the search query. I tell small businesses to be sure to have at least 350 words, and ideally 500. In this case, we are fairly safe on this front, though not approaching 2,000 words, we are well over 1,000 and it should be enough to keep us in the conversation.
We are going to run with this and see what happens. Check back later, after we have posted to all of our social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and my Google Business page, to get things indexed. You can also do a specific fetch on the article in your Google Search Console. We will check back later to see if we made the first page.