As a web designer and WordPress Consultant, I often have mixed feelings while working with clients on new sites.

On one hand, I share their enthusiasm and optimism for launching their sites, eager to see it resulting in lots of engagement and conversions.

On the other hand, I’m depressed for them, knowing the time and energy it takes for a site to achieve search engine ranking, especially if they’re unable to pay an SEO to nudge it.

Just think of the competition. Every day about 140,000 new websites are launched, with millions of new pages being loaded on the Internet.

Pun intended, it can be truly rankling to bust through all that digital clatter.

Time is on your side

Apart from keyword optimization and quality content, the only friend you have for ranking in search engines is time.

search engine ranking pyramid
This graph of search engine ranking for sites in the 1-10 position makes site ranking look like a pyramid scheme.

According to a study by Ahrefs, the average Top 10-ranked page is 2+ years old, and the page in the #1 spot for its keyword is about 3 years old.

Out of the sites they pulled, using 2 million keywords, they found that only 22% of pages under one-year old made it to the Top 10 ranking.

So clearly, the odds are stacked against newcomers to the Web.

This, BTW, is why I feel skeptical about blogging gurus who started their sites 10+ years ago preaching to neophytes how much money there is to be made in blogging.

The oldest bloggers make money because of their long-time search positions, while also profiting by selling courses to new bloggers who want to enter the fray.

Blogging is kind of like real estate; those who got in earlier make out the best.

What Ranking takes

The study’s author Tim Soulo breaks down the best combination of criteria for getting ranked, which involves having:

  • easy keywords to rank for
  • established domain/brand
  • big and loyal audience
  • cool piece of content

Waiting for ranking

If you can’t afford to pay a SEO, what do you do while you’re waiting for Google to discover your site and make you a star?

Paying for Google Adwords, using the less competitive, long-tail keywords reflected on your site, is perhaps the easiest method.

Adwords will definitely drive traffic to your site, but for a price.

Meanwhile, back at your website, you can work “On Page” and “Off Page” to expose yourself.

Here are 24 suggestions for page ranking, mostly pulled from

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages.

1. Start title tags with your target keyword

2. Use Keyword in first 100 words

3. Use Outbound Links

4. Write click-worthy meta descriptions

5. Put your target keyword in the URL

6. Add keywords strategically

7. Write Long-Form Content

8. Use Internal Links

9. Optimize Images

10. Target less competitive, longtail keywords

11. Use Latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords in post

12. Make your site lightening fast

13. Make your site mobile friendly

Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO goes beyond your website.

14. Build high-quality backlinks

15. Build broken links using Check My Links

15. Use the Skyscraper technique

16. Use the Guestographics method

17. Guest post on relevant blogs

18. Submit answers on

19. Comment on relevant blogs

20. Participate in link roundups

20. Be active on social media

21. Promote your site relentlessly

22. Stay updated with Google’s algorithm

23. Follow all Google guidelines including GMB

24. Create Social Profiles to Link From

Search engine ranking is hard to do

For the average web site owner, getting to Page 1 takes endless diligence and patience to achieve. I know.

Once a page starts ranking, that’s your cue to work on it more with updates, internal links, affiliate links, and ads to really take advantage of its prominence.

I’d love to know about your experiences. What pages do you have on Page 1, and how long did it take them to get there?