They say second is the best, but that’s not true when it comes to getting your blog post noticed by Google.
The first search result usually gets clicked 33% of the time, while the second result, on average, is clicked 18% of the time; the third, 12%.
I got my pet blog post to rank as the first result when you Google any variation of “transition from puppy pads to outside” – and it wasn’t by accident. It also didn’t happen overnight.
About nine months ago, the day I published my post on Little Dog Tips, I was looking for information on the topic for my own personal education. I was surprised to find that there was no specific blog post addressing my question, though there were a few, somewhat related results. The top results didn’t have the most accurate, most extensive information.
But now that my blog post is the #1 result – not just on the first page, but the first result on the first page – almost everyone who googles this question will land on my blog.
Every month, over 1000 visitors come to my blog from this #1 search ranking. This is about 1/3 of my monthly visitors, so this 9-month old post is bringing in a ton of my traffic.
Choosing Your Target Keywords
Though it’s hard to remember 9 months back, I believe a query similar to “transition from puppy pads to outside” appeared in the related searches at the bottom of the page.
In fact, I can now see what I probably noticed that day: “how to transition from puppy pads to outside” – no wonder I chose this exact title!
If a search query shows up here, there’s a strong chance that many people are using this exact phrase to conduct their searches.
When you have an idea for a blog post topic, be sure to Google it to check out the competition, and scroll down for ideas on phrasing. Judging by my traffic, plenty of people use the word “transition” to describe this doggy potty-training process. Take into consideration what your target audience will be typing in hopes of finding a blog post like yours.
How I Wrote A #1 Ranking Blog Post
Now that I had a long-form keyword with little competition, I was ready to publish a great blog post on the topic.
No other blog had described in detail how to get a dog to stop peeing on puppy pads and going to the bathroom outdoors. I had just achieved this with my dog, so with little research I was able to write a fully detailed, 958-word blog post.
While I did predict an opportunity for the first page (as a brand new blogger, I wasn’t expecting to make the top result!) my first priority was solving the reader’s problem. Like me, they were tired of using puppy pads, but when they ran out of pads, their dog was having accidents because it was never trained to relieve itself outdoors. I did my best to provide a foolproof solution, and step-by-step instructions.
When you’re writing (or hiring a freelance pet blogger) your audience should come first. Genuinely valuable posts have the best chance of ranking, but they only occur when you write with your audience in mind – not traffic.
Optimizing For My Keyword Phrase
My full keyword phrase was “how to transition from puppy pads to outside,” but I couldn’t use this entire phrase anywhere in the blog post except the title.
I used “transition from puppy pads to outside” again, with several other occurrences of “puppy pads,” sometimes in the H2 headings. “Puppy pads” also appears in the image alt text.
“Transition from puppy pads to outside” also comes up in the snippet I created in the Yoast snippet editor, though in my search results I’m noticing that you won’t always see the same snippet.
Google Knows What You Mean
When I search for a slightly different phrase, including “potty pads,” not “puppy pads,” I get the same result. My blog post may also appear for people looking for “quitting potty pads” and similar phrases, even though I did not use those phrases in my post.
Choose just one phrase to focus on in your blog post instead of trying to rank for near matches.
How Long It Took To Reach The Top
I published my blog post on September 2, 2015.
My Google Analytics shows that extra search traffic did not come rushing in until February 25, 2016.
For a while between, my blog post was the second search result, it only recently became the first.
I only launched my blog in June 2015, so when the blog post was first published, my site did not have the authority to get high search rankings.
Additionally, I edited the post several times over the past few months to make it more SEO-friendly, and saw a direct result in the post’s ranking.
Other Things I Did
Do you ever comment on someone else’s blog, where you’re able to add your Name, Email Address and Website? This is the default WordPress blog commenting format, and it’s a good way to build links and get traffic.
Here’s a little secret: you don’t always have to put your website homepage as the Website. You can also paste a link to your blog post. This may have boosted my post’s SEO while getting those first few visitors.
An even littler secret: I made sure to comment on blogs that were on a very closely related topic. I googled (“Your email address will not be published” + puppy pads) to find WordPress blogs that allowed comments with links and were close to my topic. Backlinks on related posts might have been very good for my post’s SEO ranking, though I’m not entirely sure it’s relevant. This is my untested theory, though it does seem to work!
I also shared my blog post on social media, but oddly enough, much lesser than most of my other posts. It’s an evergreen topic that never gets outdated, but it only applies to people in a specific situation. So, it’s not a must-read for most of my audience. Always share your posts and try to get others to share, too, but don’t worry if your post doesn’t go viral on social media.
Boosting Your Old Blog Posts
It took 6 months for Google to notice my post. Building your blog’s authority takes months. As you publish new posts, make sure to go back and check your old blog posts, change your focus keywords, edit H2 headings, photo alt tags, and add social media friendly images. Share old posts on social media, and link to them in your comment URL (not in the body of your comment).
The longer your focus keyword, the better chance you have of writing a blog post that ranks highly for it. The more you write, the more chances you’ll get at publishing a #1 post.
Last of all, don’t get discouraged if you’ve been blogging for months and don’t seem to be getting much traffic from Google. Your breakthrough is right around the corner.
Need Help Climbing To The Top?
It takes time, patience, and plenty of well-written content to start seeing your blog posts reach Google’s front page. Hiring an experienced freelance pet blogger like me helps you get there without spending time away from your business. Subscribe to my email list to get your free copy of Content Marketing for Dog Businesses and stay up to date with my blog posts – I’ll be sharing many more helpful, free tips!