Archive for August, 2015

5 Effective SEO Chores

The search engine optimisation of any website covers a multitude of different areas. Some SEO tasks are done once and never touched again.

An example of a “fire and forget” SEO task is setting the domain name. Whether your domain will be an exact match to your targeted keyword or more of a specific brand name is something that is set at the start and never changed, generally, for the lifetime of the website.

But there is just so much more to getting your website and its pages seen by the search engines than merely deciding on a domain name. Once content is written, updating on a fairly regular basis, outgoing links are in place as well as backlinks, there are some tasks that could and probably should be done daily in order to keep your website’s relationship with the search engines pristine.

Let’s take a look at five of those tasks right here, right now:

1. First things first, every day if you can, keep your links clean and tidy. Go through all your outgoing links and make sure they are all live, meaning there is a page with content on it at the end of the link. If any of them are dead, and links do die from time to time, remove them or don’t link to them.

This might mean recreating some content if it relies on that particular external link. Do not tolerate dead links littering your site.

Check all incoming links. Make sure you are happy with who is linking to you every day. Backlinks are good to have but they need to be coming from reputable and relevant sites. Bad backlinks can harm your SEO.

You may have a lot of links on your site, if so you should monitor them for relevance and make sure they are all formatted correctly. Another thing is to ensure that the anchor text is tidy and clear, reflecting the intention of the placement of its link.

2. Make sure all links are in a good order, have the best and most relevant ones first if they are in a list.

You might consider categorising the links if there are a large number of them on different topics. A good rule of thumb is that if you have a page with more than 25 links, make it into a directory. If you are gathering backlinks you can have an exchange program with your link on another website for a link on the directory on your website.

If you make this deal then you have another daily task to check that your links are indeed on the other sites with whom you made the deal.

3. If you have a visible website with a decent amount of traffic in your niche, you are likely to receive link requests frequently. These can come in either by email, instant message and possibly even by phone.It’s important to respond to these requests quickly as they are part and parcel of the SEO game.

You will get some spam in this area so you’ll have to check the requested link to see if it is something that will be a good fit for your website.

Send a brief note back to the requester and tell them the reason for your refusal, if you do decline their request. You may have conflicting offers for the same or similar products, so giving a reason why you decline will clear the air. You could also send back conditions on which you will accept their link and if they change certain things you might be able to work with them.

In the professional world, webmasters will try to respond to link a request within two or three days from having received it. Quality personalised messages are highly prized here and will enhance your reputation as someone good with whom to do business in the future.

4. Monitor any link exchanges of which you may be a part.

You could view this as a reverse situation of the link directories on your site.

Yes, not only will you need to check that your own website is ship-shape and up to scratch, you have to be sure that sites linking to you are behaving themselves too. Of course, if you are following this guide, you cannot reasonably expect others to keep up the same standards as you. What needs not to happen though, is that the site linking to you devolves into a terrible center of spam and low quality. At that point, you cut all ties with them and move on.

When you see that a site with your link on it is slipping in standards to levels that are below acceptable, you ought to make efforts to inform the owners or webmasters responsible for that site of your findings. This way you are giving them a chance to correct themselves, which will not only benefit them but you as well through your association with them. If search engines suspect foul play, or that a site is turning into a link farm, it will devalue that site with rapidity. That devaluing will have a knock on effect to your own website.

This is not something to worry about as it is rare that it happens, but one should bear it in mind during the day to day maintenance of the SEO tasks.

5. The last thing that should be done every day on your website is to check each feature that is installed there to ensure that it works properly.

If you have content generators then the timing of those should be checked to make sure everything is happening as it should, without causing confusion for your readers or content going to areas where it should not be going.

If you have an email list and are messaging them, be sure that the timing of your emails is acceptable for your subscribers and they are not getting multiple emails per day from you, for example.

If you offer free or paid downloads as part of the content then you should ensure that those downloads are happening as intended and the correct content is being delivered.

The more time you spend on your website checking and testing every day the better.

Continually update and tweak every aspect of your site. Regular updates will get your site crawled more often, resulting in more frequent appearances in search engine results. You will be ranked for search terms that you may not have even thought of yourself if you can produce fresh and diverse content that stays on topic within the theme of your website.

Updates are actually of vital importance. By following the methods here outlined of ensuring high quality and precision, it will be easy for you to be able to think of different ways and means to lock in your visitors satisfaction.

This will translate quickly to increased traffic.

You should be very shrewd about accepting a link to your site without getting one in reciprocity. Occasionally, you will be contacted by a consummate professional who will have far better content than one of the links that you are already displaying on your website. If that link is already not reciprocal, then in that case you might accept the one way link, as it has improved the quality of your own outgoing links on the same subject. This case is rare though and you may also receive offers of payment for link placement. Do your due diligence in such cases.

Now here’s a bonus part to this article.

Deep checks to make on your inbound links.

Do this stuff and gain an edge over your competition who are just indiscriminately hauling in backlinks, as many as they can get from absolutely anywhere.

Not you, check this out:

Certain web masters believe that outgoing links are harmful to their own SEO (they are not), yet they may still want to have those links on their site for whatever reason.

These types of paranoid sites will use robots.txt to dissuade search engines from indexing their links pages.

You can examine a site’s robots.txt file by typing in the URL where it is located.

In order for search engines to read this file, it has to be locatable via the following format: http://www.example.com/robots.txt.

Check this file and if you see a page on which reads “Disallow” as well as the URL of the links page of that website, then they do not want that page indexed by search engines.

If you exchange links with that site, bear that in mind and if you offer them an indexed link then the exchange is not always equal in value.

Check for any cloaking of the website and if you find it report it to the search engines. Search engines do not take kindly to cloaked websites and might actually de-index and blacklist a site engaging in any cloaking activities.

Check the site’s pagerank before settling on a link exchange deal. If your site ranks higher then they are getting a better deal in a straight exchange. The pagerank can actually change per page on a website, so you need to check the PR of the actual page on which your link appears.

You may be happy with an exchange from a lower PR site, but you should be aware of the differences and implications.

Observe the number of links that are already on the page. In general, anything up to 20 links is okay, but do not entertain the idea of adding your link to a page with a higher number than that. Too many links on a page resembles a link farm to the search engines.

If your site is on a link farm, your rankings will be penalised.

If it is really easy to get a link and you find many different topics represented there, in no particular order, then it’s time to bounce.

Those sites are beneath you.

Some Off The Wall Ideas For Backlinks

Out there on the internet, just a keyword search term away, is tons of great information all about the best ways to get high quality backlinks coming back to your website.

If you’ve done your reading then you will know all about writing guest posts in other people’s blogs, submitting your link to different types of user-generated content sites, perhaps doing some article marketing (yes we all know this one isn’t as effective as it used to be, but still works to an extent) as well as several other quite niche backlinking strategies. In fact you can find 17 excellent ones at backlinko.com/17-untapped-backlink-sources.

I’m going to mix things up a little bit here and try something different: 5 ways to get backlinks that are totally and utterly unique. You are guaranteed to have never seen or heard of these backlinking ideas anywhere, ever. Some of my ideas might seem quite strange or even esoteric, because I am going for totally unique content here and everything else has already been covered multiple times before, so here goes:

1. Pray for Backlinks

Yes, you could directly ask a higher power to deliver you backlinks, but that’s not what I mean. My idea is to go to a place of worship, pray, and then after the praying is done, start talking to the other worshippers there. Find out if they have businesses and websites of their own. You already have something in common; presumably your religion, so you can help each other out by backlinking your respective websites.

It would help if the websites were related by theme or topic in some way, then the links would have meaning to the search engines and carry a bit more weight. Failing that, try to get backlinks from sites with a higher page rank than your own website.

If you think business and religion doesn’t really mix, read here for some perspective.

2. Cold Call for Backlinks

First go through every business directory. Determine the businesses that are similar enough to your website topic and make a list of the ones who also have an online presence. Next go through that list one by one and make calls. Keep talking until you get to the person who can put your link on their website.

Why would they link to you? You can offer them many different types of reasons. The simplest one for you is that your website is on-topic with theirs and outlinking to you will look good to the search engines. You might offer a reciprocal link. You might promote their business in a blog post or article on your own website in exchange for a measly link on theirs.

If you don’t mind swallowing your pride and possibly being perceived as somewhat annoying, you can keep calling that list over and over until most or all of them are backlinking to you on their websites. Here you are not limited to local businesses. You can go global. For a bit of work and possibly an increased phone bill, the opportunities are infinite (they are not really, but from your point of view they may as well be).

3. Wear a Sandwich Board

Reminder: these are “off the wall” ideas to get backlinks to your website. You might have even noticed that they are quite “old school” so far, borrowed from marketing methods employed during pre-internet years (how on earth did they survive?). We remember the iconic image of someone walking around a populated area advertising a local store by wearing a sandwich board.

Ask yourself this: if it never worked and no business ever gained anything from having someone walk around the streets wearing that board, then why would the practice still persist to this day? The answer is because it does actually work. Why would it not work for getting backlinks too?

The general idea is that your board would have attractive graphics on it and whatever witty, catchy message that would entice people to take notice and read. You could offer something free in exchange for a backlink, or you could just ask for them to give you what you want outright. If you wanted to get fancy you could design a sandwich board that is digitally interactive, made of giant touchscreens that are connected to the internet. Brave folks could insert your backlink to their website directly from your sandwich board.

 4. Hire a Pilot

Ever been on the beach and seen a light aircraft flying overhead while towing a big banner displaying some message or another? Now this idea will cost a bit, possibly a lot, but is sure to generate a lot of backlinks. At least locally.

So you just hire the plane for the day and it tows its banner with your website written on it around all day. If you do it somewhere that it’s quite obnoxious like over a parade or carnival, then people will take pictures, write articles and make complaints; all while describing and linking to your website.

You’d have to ride out the storm of negative publicity for a while but as they say: “any publicity is good publicity”. After the anger and outrage has blown over, you’d have all those backlinks making your site relevant left in the blogosphere archives.

5. Door to Door Backlinking

Why not just start knocking on doors? Websites are made by people and people live in houses. It’s a numbers game and would be very arduous, but you would not be trying to get the prospects to buy anything. All you would be asking for is for them to place a link to your website.

You could optimise this approach by only going around business areas. Small businesses, large businesses, most of them have an online presence these days. All you have to do is talk the site owner into putting a link on their website.

If the business does not yet have a website, offer to put one in place for them. This could be a simple affair with some content and pictures on a WordPress theme. Of course in exchange for this valuable service you would get – a prominent backlink to your own website. The better you make the business owner’s website, the more weight would be given to its outgoing links by the search engines.

3 Rather Good Off-Page Search Engine Optimisation Tricks

The gist of it:

On-page SEO can be a blighter of a task to complete and that is covered elsewhere on this website. In the meantime here are three capital ways to increase your off-page SEO.

Cracking on…

On-page search engine optimization is undoubtedly one of the key methods that a website owner would undertake in order to improve their website’s search engine visibility. Something to note though is that on-page SEO often requires certain technical knowledge. What kind of technical knowledge? Well it helps to be familiar with HTML at least, as well as knowing how and why a webpage loads the way it does. Often things of this nature need to be adjusted in order to optimise web pages more fully.

Let’s approach the task of SEO from a different angle now. Imagine that all your on-page optimization is sorted out either by yourself or someone who actually knows what they are doing. There are things that you can do to attract the attention of search engines that are “off-page”. That is that they are done away from the code and content of your visible website. You ought to be able to do some of these things yourself . Actually the main objective of the off page stuff is to accumulate one-way backlinks. Read around on this very website and it should be hammered home by now. Evaluating the links that lead to your website is how those fat cat search engines like Google, Yahoo! and MSN deal with sorting out who’s who in the world of relevant websites. Of course the main criteria of ranking is good content, but a lot can be and is achieved by gathering backlinks.

*********************************

Now follows the three search optimisation tricks that I promised to reveal to the good reader. These are not “easy” tasks, though they are simple to understand. They are certainly less tedious than learning HTML, particularly if you have no interest in or time for adjusting HTML code. Without further ado, here are the three off-page SEO tips, which for some of you will just be a reminder:

1. Article Marketing

For most intents and purposes, the most critical component of any website is the content that it holds. There exist entire websites dedicated to the task of hosting, displaying and distributing the very articles written by thine own fair hand. Most of the article directories insist on a certain level of quality in the written article. Good use of English, as well as minimum lengths are normal requirements.  Also, there are usually limitations on the type and number of self-serving outgoing links that you can include in the articles. The reward for producing high quality written content is self promotion at the end of the article via a resource box. The resource box can say a bit about the author and link to a related website. That related website can just as easily be your website.

So to summarise article marketing:

  • You write a high quality, well researched article.
  • You add a resource box with a link back to your website.
  • You submit the article to your chosen article directory.
  • Other website owners copy and paste your article on their websites with the resource box intact.
  • Hey presto, your website has multiple one-way backlinks from (mostly, hopefully) topic related websites.

2. Forum Participation

Unless your website is in an extremely specialised niche, then there are almost certainly other websites in existence that are built around the same topic as yours. Some of these websites include discussion forums where others can participate in talking about the particular topic. Not only on websites that are about your subject is one able to discuss it. There are a few very high quality discussion websites that are a wealth of knowledge on a huge range of subjects.

You can participate in these forum discussions too. If you are able to offer very good information about the forum topic, then you will become known and valuable within that community. If you leave a signature at the end of each of your posts, not only will you produce traffic from the link that you include but this is also what will do the work as part of your off-page SEO campaign. This method is effective up to a point. The search engine crawlers are quite smart these days. They can see that the forum link is repeated by the same poster over and over and so I speculate that they give these types of backlinks less weight after a point. This will be more effective if you use multiple users on multiple forums, preferably of a high page rank. But now it starts to sound like you are gaming the system, which of course search engines do not like…

3. Blogging

There are a couple of options when it comes to blogging as part of your SEO strategy. It is quite usual for a website to have a blog (web log) attached to it as an extra area for the reader to visit. A blog which is run well with compelling, top quality content can create lifelong and dedicated followers who are always on the lookout for your updates.

The options are to have the the blog integrated with your website, as mentioned, to have the blog running on a separate domain and a third is to have both situations happening simultaneously. Of course this increases the workload of updating and maintaining each blog that you start but if done well the results can be spectacular in their own right. You may even find that your blog eclipses your website in terms of views, traffic and general user participation. The key to blogging for SEO purposes is not to “blog for SEO purposes”, but to actually enjoy updating your audience with the current affairs within your topical field. Enthusiasm is infectious and this is what will take care of the SEO that you are looking to achieve.

The upshot of it all.

What I have shown you here is the “low hanging fruit” of off page SEO, in the form of very accessible backlink building methods. The objective of off page SEO is to get your website noticed by the search engines. Your main focus of your website should be to have the very best content that you can possibly create just sitting there for the readers to find. After that it is really a case of shouting about it. If something newsworthy happens related to your website then you will generate thousands of high quality backlinks and media attention almost instantly. You will rank in the search engines over night for certain keywords that people are looking for to find out what the buzz is. Big splashes in the news world are not always easy to create, so while mustering up the courage to do something “newsworthy”, you can keep picking that low hanging fruit of article marketing, forum posting and blogging. These three will keep your head above water.

12 Months Of No SEO

An online marketer I know who meticulously studies almost every internet marketing method ever made, came to a realisation over a year ago that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was, or was rapidly approaching becoming, a colossal waste of time. By the time he reached this conclusion, he had kicked the habit of spending an hour a day generating backlinks by using many of the methods you can read about on other parts of this website.

The question to which the first paragraph leads is a very curious “why?”. What information causes an experienced, knowledgeable and more than slightly sceptical internet marketer to decide to drop all traditional SEO tactics? He was going against the grain of all the advice and consensus out there. It’s all about backlinks! Do whatever you can to get them. Be sure to place your keywords in exactly the right positions and frequencies. Use related terms but only just enough so as not to arouse suspicion of SEO from the search engines as they don’t like it when you obviously try to optimise them. All this mainstream advice simply didn’t make sense to him and for good reasons. Read on.

My friend was from an old-school marketing background. That is a relative term but pre-internet marketing was much closer to certain fundamentals than the maelstrom we see, hear and experience today. He fell back to those fundamental marketing principles and was able to cut through the “fog of war”.

One of the fundamental tenets of marketing that appeared to be getting overlooked by the hyping, frothing masses is to know and understand the marketplace at the deepest possible levels. The internet search market has but a handful of major players with one of them massively overshadowing all others. Part of knowing your marketplace is to understand it from the point of view of these major players. How will they regard all the hype and screaming about backlinks, blog comments and articles?

The point that a lot of internet marketers and SEO gurus miss is that the search engines, such as Google, make the rules and program the algorithms. Heck, the SE’s can even manually place their chosen website at the top of any search term that they choose. There seems to be a mentality that if my mediocre website has enough links pointing to it, by absolutely any means whatsoever, then I will “win” in the rankings. Following that was the rise of link buying, blog spamming, link building and a host of other artificial, borderline black hat SEO strategies.

My friend began to see that the entire backlinking marketplace had become a murky area full of spam and misinformation.  It would seem obvious that  Google, Bing and Yahoo! did not actually have a preference for a website simply because the site owner had the time and resources to thrash around the internet placing backlinks to their own site. It is just illogical to think that way. This goes the same for buying links. The search engines are looking for good quality relevant content first and foremost. All the links in and out are mere indicators of the usefulness of the content.

What is important to the giants of internet search, is to deliver the best, most relevant and useful to the user web sites for a particular search term . It is only a matter of time before a mediocre or sub standard website is exposed by one which has superior content no matter how much artificial link building, blog spamming, site scraping and extreme SEO-ing anyone does. Would Google prefer to rank a great relevant website with no backlinks lower than a bad one with thousands of backlinks in blog comments everywhere? I for one think not.

With these ideas in mind, my friend started up two new web sites with a completely different approach to SEO. That approach was to completely disregard almost all touted SEO methods altogether. He is a writer and a good one at that, and so would put all his focus on doing what he was best at. He was going to provide the search engines with exactly what they wanted; original and unique content that is totally relevant to what the search terms that people entered into their search bar. Title and description tags were kept in place and filled in well, but the rest of the content was written in a pure writing style. There was no thought to keyword density, latent semantic indexing or sprinkling the keywords correctly throughout the text. He would simply write as he always had done without using any tools  or methods to check keyword optimisation.

The niche of self improvement is highly competitive and chock full of very established businesses and personalities with massive budgets . This is the very niche that my friend went into purely on a wing and a prayer (and a very good writing style). He thought he would be placed in the Google sandbox for a while, which seemed to be the case, but he wasn’t deterred and just kept churning out quality, relevant content. The Google sandbox is a theoretical waiting period for a website before it is included fully in the ranking algorithms.

After around twelve months of writing and waiting, Google had an update named after some obscure animal. Right after that his self improvement website was appearing on front page, high ranking positions, with a few keywords having his pages at the number one spot. It seemed that after Google had noticed his website and thrown him to the top spot, the other search engines followed suit. Personally I have found that Bing and Yahoo! are quite independent of Google’s ideas and often have good sites ranked before Google.

So by doing the absolute bare minimum of deliberate on-page SEO, just adding title and description tags, and really nothing else other than write good content, he was able to outrank all the other cut-throat competitive web masters who will sell their grandmothers for a backlink. This fact gave him and those of us who followed his progression the idea that SEO is actually incredibly simple and has been massively overcomplicated by people looking for a shortcut to the front page of Google.

After quite a long time of having his head buried in the creation of his site’s content, he came up to the surface to look around and see what the situation was regarding SEO. He was happy with the results he had thus far achieved but knew that there was a lot more that could be done to refine the discoverability of his website. The main thing he then did was to add CSS to all his sites, as this is more efficient for the crawlers and combined with the rich content, simply magnified the value.

Many SEO gurus will say that it’s all well and good, congratulations and everything but you could have achieved those results even faster by adding backlink building, blog commenting article marketing and probably some fancy scraping software as well into the mix. While that may in fact be true, those murky off-page methods are highly susceptible to changes in the ranking algorithm, policy decisions and technological whims. The core of high quality, relevant content will always be undeniably the best metric for search engines to rank websites and this is all the protection any website needs.

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons