Ask Amanda About Marketing – Episode 14: What Needs to Get Done to Rank #1 [Ft. Dmitry Dragilev]

Amanda Milligan
By Amanda Milligan
July 19, 2017

Ranking #1 or #2 for your target keyword is every digital marketer's dream.

But getting your website to the top of Google takes a lot of work. After investing a lot of time, resources, and brain power to the endeavor, though, it's actually possible to achieve.

How do I know?

Dmitry Dragilev has done it. And we talked to him about it to get his awesome insights.


I'm excited to share the current iteration of the show, CASHING IN ON CONTENT MARKETING, with new episodes published weekly! 

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Episode 13: What Needs to Get Done to Rank #1 – Show Notes

This week's question is:

Is it still possible to rank for a highly competitive keyword?

Mentioned Links / Additional Resources:

I chatted with Dmitry Dragilev, founder of, about how he and his team were able to rank for a highly competitive term in a few months' time. (The technical steps he took are in the Moz case study linked to above, but we talked more about how he approaches the challenge of high-value objectives like this.)

Here's his insight.

Have Patience

When you run a paid ad, you see the number of click-throughs and the potential increase in site traffic almost immediately. As the campaign runs, you can track how your metrics are improving.

But that's not how other types of digital marketing channels work. Dmitry said he's seen a lot of people want their results very quickly when doing SEO or content marketing initiatives, but those successes don't occur overnight.

These strategies are very effective, but they're more of an investment, and it's important to set expectations appropriately.

Set Appropriate Goals

It's great to want to get mentioned on Inc and know you're excellent at email pitching and can write about it, but it's important to consider: How are these actions monetarily tied to your business? What is the impact you're trying to get out of the initiative?

It can be a personal or professional goal, but you need to identify it. Usually it's money, but sometimes it's because you want to be an authority on a topic and you're approaching it from a personal branding angle.

In Dmitry's case, he did a great deal of keyword research and marked down how much traffic he expected to get if he ranked on the first page for the different key terms, and then he estimated how many conversions they'd get based on prior conversion rates. Then he considered how many people would convert to an actual customer. All of these efforts helped determine how the marketing initiative would impact revenue overall.

If you don't have those numbers, you might just want to approximate how much traffic you'll be getting. You can look up generic conversion rates to further your estimations.

Look at Your Content as a Product

Dmitry looks at anything ranking in Google as a product, and he evaluates his product compared to the ones currently on Page 1. He asks himself: What topics haven't been covered or haven't been covered properly?

When they were researching "sales management," the articles they were looking at were poor user experiences, so even if the content is good, you need to consider the design of the article and how well the information is communicated.

He also considers domain authority to identify which "products" are comparable to his. If very popular brands are ranking, you may not be able to compete.

Don't Over-Optimize

SEO optimization is a great thing, but there is such a thing as focusing too much on the logistics and not enough on what is actually working with audiences.

For example, getting a lot of links that aren't actually clicked on isn't as impactful in Google's eyes as links that are actually clicked on. Anchor text that's adjusted to match your target keyword but doesn't seem as natural is likely to deter people from clicking through. And keyword stuffing a post won't seem organic, and people will catch on and exit out.

Always ask yourself: Is this adding value? If you get too deep into technical optimization, you might lose out on user experience and content quality.

Build Relationships With Writers/Editors

"Asking someone for a link up front is like telling them you never want to be a friend of theirs ever again," Dmitry said. "It's kind of spammy."

If you want to actually build a relationship, don't ask for a link immediately. Give them value up front. It takes time and effort, but it's worth it.

For example, if you see a Quora question and a certain person comes to mind who would be great for answering it, you can refer them to the question so they can get exposure. If they get publicity, they might reach out and you can begin a conversation that leads to future initiatives together.

This kind of approach feels genuine, and that matters.

Have a question you want to submit to the podcast?

Email me at or comment below!

Have any additional insight on SEO or any questions for Dmitry? Post it in the comments! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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