Google

SEO 101

I often get asked what I believe the ‘fundamentals’ of SEO & link-building are. These have never really changed for me, but many of these steps get completely ignored by many SEO’s; usually to their detriment.

A lot of the Google Panda & Penguin issues have come about largely because people have either ignored or not known about the effects these factors have. All of them are really ‘common-sense’ when you think about them, and there shouldn’t be anything here that surprises anyone. But it’s the full application of all these factors in aggregate that make for the kind of solid foundation that will out-last most of the problems that the SE’s can push on us.

1. Never stop building links… (Drip… Drip… Drip…)

Never stop means just that; keep building links constantly so that pages are regularly revisited and re-cached. Because of the way Google is now using social signals and other ‘activity’ effects as part of their ranking factors, it’s becoming increasingly important to move away from the concept of pure volume of links as the primary ranking mechanism. A steady drip-drip-drip of links and an established link-velocity are now fundamental to Google’s approach. This is where Backlink Banzai can help.

Many SEO experts now feel that a regular flow of diverse links and social signals are more important than high-PR links. It can often be better to receive a link from a low PR, but often visited and re-cached page, than some high-PR page that never gets any social interaction. And remember that ‘social activity’ isn’t just contained inside the major social networks. Social activity is any continual link signal that keeps your site looking like it’s being discussed – and that it remains ‘relevant’ to people and therefore the Search Engines.

2. Build diverse back-links… (Updated For Google Penguin)

Use highly diverse anchor texts, creating a ‘bell-curve’ distribution with your main keywords featuring slightly more prominently, and other words extending and modifying the overall profile. Since Google Penguin, you ideally want around 10% – 1/3rd of your anchor texts to ‘contain’ your main keywords & themed equivalents (to avoid over-use of specific words), but be highly varied and extended. The other 2/3rds+ should be generic ‘Click Here’ style phrases and URL/brand/company anchors. For example:

10%-33% of your anchors using ‘phrase-match’ & themed extended keywords… e.g.
Considering Weight Loss|Rapid Fat Loss|Investigating Fast Dieting Methods|Ideas For Losing Weight

1/3rd (33%)+ of anchors using variations of your URL… e.g.
http://weightloss.com, weightloss.com, www.weightloss.com, www.squidoo.com/my-weightloss-blog

1/3rd (33%) of anchors using generic terms… e.g.
Click here|Try these out|Check this site out (using hundreds of variations!)

This is now the safest mix since Google Penguin; where you avoid any high level of keyword concentration. Google has gotten very good at reading and categorising the surrounding content, so you don’t need that many keyword-related anchors at all anymore. It also looks far more natural to say things in a multitude of different ways; so it avoids the look of artificial manipulation (SEO!)

You should also obtain your links from highly diverse sources & IP addresses, as well as different CMS systems/platforms. And if you’re doing any mass-submissions, then ensure your submission timings and footprints are as random and mixed as possible. Again, Backlink Banzai can help, as can a number of the UberToolz modules.

3. Build deep-links…

Link to your entire site; not just the pages you want to rank! One of the prime failures of many SEO strategies is over-linking the home-page. Treat your home-page like any other page, and have a distinct small set of keywords that it is attempting to rank for; don’t try to get your home-page to rank for all your keywords. Each different keyword should be targeted by it’s own sub-page.

The larger the site, the more important it is to build links throughout. Pointing an unnaturally high proportion of your links at the home-page (or some key ‘money’ page) is an immediate red-flag to the Search Engines.

4. Use buffer sites, 2.0’s and link tiers…

Insulate yourself from Google’s changes by avoiding over direct-linking, and create ‘asset-quality’ buffer sites. These should be manually created and good enough to pass any manual review.

These buffer sites will link directly to your sites and key pages – and can then have a good quantity of links thrown at them without ‘risking’ your main page. The content quality of these pages should be excellent and you should treat these assets as part of your web-estate.

Building links like this, in tiers, means you can build much larger volumes of links over time and avoid the flags that would be raised by sending them all to your main sites. You can build tiers several levels deep, and at the lower levels you can use much lower quality links to ‘juice’ the tiers above up.

5. Constantly build new web-estate to add breadth to your sales funnel…

The goal here is two-fold..

First, you want a wide variety of different ranking assets across each keyword, so that if one/some are ‘lost’ due to a Search Engine algorithm change or SEO ‘mistake’, you have others in place to keep driving traffic to your business.

Second, you want to achieve multiple top 30 results for your keywords. That way, you have several stabs at getting traffic from a searcher. It’s usually better to have a few lower spots on page #1 than to just have the top spot. Most searchers will click on several options, so you want to increase your chances of getting at least one of these clicks.

The idea is to eventually have hundreds or even thousands of ranking assets driving traffic & leads to your sites. Many businesses using this technique don’t perform any kind of SEO on their prime/brand sites; they perform all SEO on secondary ‘disposable’ assets so that there’s zero risk to the prime sites.

6. Regularly add unique content to your key sites…

Show Google that the site is constantly evolving and worthy of re-visiting/re-caching. The Search Engines have always loved new content, so give it to them! Also, larger sites are much more resistant to a variety of SEO ‘problems’ that could occur. If you want your site to gain authority, then it needs to gain mass!

7. Start All link-building slowly and build gradually…

The most common of all ‘newbie’ mistakes. When you’re starting with SEO and link-building, more is NOT better! Link-building needs to grown in pace, and should be seen as a smoothly accelerating curve. Many of the Search Engine’s ‘triggers’ for looking more closely are based on ‘rate of change’. i.e. if they see a sudden big swing in something, they may take a closer look. You want to avoid this!

The bottom-line is: You can always accelerate, but it’s very hard to go backwards and correct an over-zealous mistake.

Always record your activity and progress – so you have a clear overall picture of what you’re doing, and can track it over the months/years. It’s very easy to forget what you’ve done otherwise.

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