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What does it take to get ranked #1 in Google?

Image by Leo Reynolds via Flickr

Here’s a very common question that get’s asked almost daily in the forums.

Pay per click or PPC advertising has been around for a long time and it has proven to be a great way to gain sales. It can also be a great tool to use as part of your keyword research program. If you use PPC for keyword research you need to get prepared and take a small gamble. If successful the dividends in the form of leads or sales could potentially be huge, particularly if they are free through organic search results.

How many links does it take to get ranked number 1 in Google?

Here’s the only way it can be answered - it depends 100% on your keyword. For a keyword that is not competitive in the least, it might only take 1link. For a keyword that’s super competitive, it might take hundred thousand or more links.

So to drill down how to figure this out, this is probably the best way to go about it.

Search for the keyword in Google and save the top four websites that come up.

Go to Yahoo and do link searches on each site from your initial Google search. Yahoo will then list all of the pages that are linking to each of these four domains.

Observe the total number of in links shown. This is the number that you’ll probably have to beat, but to be more exact you’ll have to also follow the next step.

Check the Google PageRank of each page that’s linking to your competitors’ pages. Calculate the number of links that have certain PageRank numbers. After you complete this process you should know how many pages have PR10 right down to PR0. This is the basis of your actions. So in order to rank number 1 in Google you will essentially have to find out what they have in their link profile and beat them.

For example let’s say that after checking your competitor’s links you discover that the strongest site has the following link structure 5 PR-3 links, 18 PR-2, 60 PR-1, and 130 PR-0 links. So in order to beat them you’ll need to top their link numbers, it’s really quite a simple equation. The task can be done in slightly different ways, either by gaining higher PR links or a combination of increasing the lower PRs with the higher PRs.

Overall this process is not that hard. You have to map out what your competitor is doing then beat them.

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13 comments to What does it take to get ranked #1 in Google?

  • You make a very good point in this article. I’ve found Market Samurai to be one of the best software options for digging into a keyword to determine difficulty. I’m not even sure what it costs these days, but it is a great way to do the keyword research that you discuss here.


    Bill MassonNo Gravatar Reply:

    @Justin, I agree that samuria is a good program, a lot of warriors sware by it! but don’t you think there are enough free SEO and Keyword extensions out ther to do the same job?
    Thanks for your comment


  • It probably takes a lot of money to be #1 on google. Interesting article, great ideas.


    Bill MassonNo Gravatar Reply:

    @Promotional Products,Hello,

    I suppose it would if the keyword were super competitive, then again reaching the first page is quite an achievement lol. You can still get in the top 10 by using organic means, even if it means grafting to get backlinks. If you do enough research you can get to the #1 spot relatively cheaply especially in more niche orientated areas.

    Thanks for your comment


  • I do agree that there are plenty of great free seo programs and services to accomplish the same goals. As with most of the marketing/SEO products that are actually worth their cost, I think you are really paying for time savings in many cases. I guess it comes down to each person’s budget and how much time they can devote to researching keywords.

    I think you make a very important point that all of the necessary research and information can be obtained without spending money on expensive software…but it sure can save time if you can afford it :)


    Bill MassonNo Gravatar Reply:

    @Justin, I agree, along with outsourcing other tedious jobs you can just take a cruise (-:


  • seo

    I agree with you. Competition is a major factor effecting SERP. But our on-page optimization is also very important.


  • There are no of factors which Google considers among which some are as follows:
    1) The keyword is the most important factors it relate to the use of search query terms in determining the rank of a particular page. Thus keywords are called as a king of the search Engine.

    2) Further Page Attributes which comprises how Google interprets specific data about a web page independent of keywords.

    3) Site/Domain attributes : This factor below contributes to Google rankings based on the site/domain on which a page resides.


    Bill MassonNo Gravatar Reply:

    Hi, you raise some good points, yes your keyword is important, and your second point is all about your landing page quality which can edge you ahead of your rivals. But as you say there are several points that Google takes into account that will determine where they position you. A lot of mistakes are made when the initial adwords campaign is set-up, for instance your bids and fund allocation for your campaign does have a real effect too, so if you set them to low then you won’t get a look in.
    Thanks for your comment


  • How to Get Six Pack FastNo Gravatar

    I can tell that this is not the first time you write about the topic. Why have you chosen it again?


    Bill MassonNo Gravatar Reply:

    I guess you found me out! I must be interested in the subject….no
    Its a subject that gets discussed a lot on the web, so why not.
    perhaps you can share your thoughts on the matter

    Thanks for your comment,


  • Kim

    Thank you for the great information, even if you have been “found out” and have written about it before. I also appreciate “some of” the responses, especially the discussions that were raised.
    Thank you.


    Bill Masson (WWAH)No Gravatar Reply:

    @Kim, Hi, and thanks for your compliments, I guess your right after all isn’t that what blogging is all about. I love to hear different viewpoints from experts and newbies, it doesn’t matter as long as the chat is stimulating.

    Bill Masson (WWAH)´s last blog post..Is there a better alternative to


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