All your life you may have been told, "don't act up", "don't brag", "don't be the center of attention". Unless your the guy at the party with the lamp shade on his head, most of us shy away from that kind of popularity. But that is not the person Google is looking for anyway. So it might not seem intuitive to want to be "that guy" when it comes to your website. On the web, THAT GUY is the center of attention (or appears to be). He seems to know a lot. He seems to have good authority and a lot of people seem to be listening. THAT is exactly who you want to be. Google is looking for THAT GUY! You can be THAT GUY!
Google is looking for the authority on the subject associated with the search. Metaphorically Google is looking for the center of the universe associated with each search. Each search phrase has its own universe. Somewhere in the center of that Universe is a density that is thicker and richer than all of the other universes around it. That needs to be your website. The universes around the center are similar but not exactly the same. Let's build on this idea:
There's a program I love called visual thesaurus. I used the word "search". You type a word and it provides a universe of words similar to the one you typed. Let's then say that each word in that universe has a website associated with it. (I added the spheres to represent this). Sometimes those websites overlap (link to) your website (represented by overlaps in the image). Sometimes they are the authority for their respective words. You can see how quickly complex this universe becomes even if associated with one simple word. Now you know the beauty of Google: to have the ability to find the center of the universe associated with each word in a matter of milliseconds!
So? How do you become the center of the universe? In a perfect world - and Google is getting there - it would be the website that has a lot of content relative to the subject and crossover from sites with similar subject matter. You can figure this out without knowing a thing about Google's algorithms and I maintain that it's better if you don't - so long as Google's intent remains pure. Here's what we do for our clients and it works:
1. Blog from the website. Be an authority on the subject. Blog relative to the keywords you'd like to rank for.
2. Create your own overlaps. Push your blog out to social media sites that have high credibility. Done correctly, your blog will link back to your site (overlap). Publish press releases about products and services linking back to content within your website providing more detail (more overlap).
3. Pay attention to citations and fill with as much detail as you can. Citations are directories like Google MAPS, Yellow Pages, Yahoo Local, Bing, Angie's list, Manta, Merchant Circle and a myriad of other. These citations carry some of their own clout and you can overlap them with your site in terms of both links and content.
4. Articles can be published about keywords you want to promote and then linked back to your site so the reader can gain even deeper insight.
5. Web pages should be specific to the subject. From a top down approach, your website should go from general to specific. Link keywords between pages so the search engines don't have to work as hard trying to figure out what each page is about. One rule here: pages about a lot of things are as good as pages about nothing! Don't try to cram everything that you do onto a single page. Break your website up into sections so that your readers can drill down to what interests them and so the search engines can too.
At this point, if you're like most business owners, you'll be saying: "OK? when do I have time for all this?". I'm not embarrassed to say that this blog is shameless self promotion. If you are working your business correctly, you DON'T have time for all this. If you did, I'd be out of business. So, in answer to that: find an SEO company that understands the value of authority (your authority) and marry them! Let that company shamelessly promote your company!