Combined Arms is as necessary in SEO as it is in warfare

Any army general or historian will tell you that in order to win a battle, you need to use all the different types of offensive weaponry available, this being the same across the ages, from the time of 1066 (and earlier) to today.

This is called ‘Combined Arms’ it being the process where an army will use the three main types of fighting unit together in order to win. In the past, these were represented by the Infantry, the cavalry and the artillery. Over time of course this has changed, the role/type of cavalry changing the most, with tanks replacing the horse.

the three arms of SEO

You need to use the 3 arms of SEO just as you do when at war.

But regardless of the change, all three are needed. The artillery to subdue the enemy before the main attack, with the cavalry, after performing the important job of reconnaissance, taking on the task of pinning the enemy in place, thus allowing  the infantry to advance to take the objective.

Of course all this has changed since the days of Napoleon, but they are still basically the same today, all being  needed (with air power taking over a large part of the role of artillery of course).

I understand all of this, not because I have ever fought in a war (or am an acclaimed war historian) but rather because of my hobby, that of wargaming. I play games that cover battles fought by the Vikings, the Persians, the Crusaders, as well as the Napoleonic period. My favourite being that of World War Two. Here I have ‘fought’ in the deserts of Egypt, the steppes of Russian in Normandy, of which have been immensely  enjoyable.  In each battle I have learnt of the importance of using the three different arms together, something that lies at the heart of the hobby.

But what has this got to do with Search Engine Optimisation?

Well, putting it quite simply, there is no ‘magic bullet’ when it comes to getting the best possible rankings on Google (other search engines are available). Instead, you have to make sure that the three areas of Technical Site Build, Content, and Linking Structure are all properly attended too. It is vitally important that these three areas work together just as the three ‘arms’ on  the battlefield, if success is wanted.

The reason for this is that Google look at all three areas, giving ‘marks’ for each. To fail on any of them risks loosing the chance to get a top ranking, the reasons, and the details of each one being covered below:-

Technical Site Build

This is an area that is often forgotten, but is vital, as if the site is not built to allow Google to find all the pages easily, the site will fail at the very first step. Besides this, it is also vital to allow users to move around the site easily and to make the navigation easy to understand and use.

Perhaps the greatest area is however that of site speed, Google now more than ever (with the advent of the Mobile Index) looking for sites that download in the shortest times possible. If they are built in a manner that slows the page delivery  down, or are placed on a server that is overloaded, Google will downgrade the site severely, preventing it from gaining the high positions that it otherwise may deserve.

Content

The reasons that people visit sites are many, but in all cases they are looking for something, maybe the answer to a problem, or for a particular product or service. If the pages of a site do not provide these answers, or give enough detail on a product or service, they will fail to meet the needs of any visitor. And hence, as Google’s aim is to only list pages that are ‘worth the time of their users’ they will fail this important test.

It is therefore necessary to ensure that the pages of a site meet the needs of the visitor. This means that there is not only enough text on the page, but also that it contains pictures and where possible video content (this being another example of ‘combined arms’).

There is by the way a ‘hidden’ advantage to having lots of text on a page (as long as this is laid out in a manner that allows it to be easily absorbed – ‘walls of text’ not being a good idea – whitespace being important). This is all to do with what is known as ‘long tail keywords’ and the capturing of such searches on Google.

Long Tail Keyword Search Phrases.

It is well understood that users use different types of search phrases when they are looking for a product or service. For example, when looking for a TV, they may search for ‘large screen TV’ only to find that the number of search results is too large and that it is impossible to know where to start.

In such cases it is normal for the search phrased to be changed with a view  to getting a better list of sites to check. Perhaps the phrase will be altered to ’40 inch Smart TV’ at this stage.

Further pages and terms will be used until the searcher finds out the model that they want. This is the ‘buying stage’ of the search ‘lifecycle’ and is therefore most important. A term that is used here could be ‘Sony 40EXDB Smart TV in black’. In such cases, it is vital to make sure that your website is in the position to capture such a query.

There are many examples of long tail keywords, and in many cases they are the best ones to capture, as they are often used towards the end of a search for a product etc, at the very time the searcher is ready to purchase.

This is just what using a lot of text on a page can do for any website owner, it allowing them in effect to put more hooks in the ‘water’ of the internet. More hooks lead to more fish being caught, this translating to more visitors and thus hopefully sales.

The overlap with Technical SEO

There is also an overlap with the area of technical search engine optimisation to consider here, that of ensuring that the important areas on a page are used to best effect. These include the Title of a page (the most important real estate a page has) to the Header tags (the H1 being the most important and is best used only once). Besides this, using the other attribute tags like Bold, Italic and List should not be overlooked, these all being places where a part of the content of a page will be placed.

Linking Structure

The third arm of SEO trilogy is still very important today, but it must be said is not as all powerful as it was in the not so distant past (when it was said to be possible to get a blank page to position 1 on Google).

Today, it is still necessary to ensure that a domain, and the pages within the site, have a good number of links, the numbers needed being very different from market sector to market sector and from niche to niche, some being more highly contested than others.

There was a big change in the recent past however, a very big change, one that was started with the introduction of the so called  ‘Penguin’ update by Google. Google felt that they had to make these changes to their algorithm as SEO professionals started creating links in huge numbers to get the pages they wanted to the top of the SERPs.

Basically, this algorithm checked (it is now not run every now and then, but is integrated into the rule set that is used every day) on the links pointing to a site, penalising those that had created too many ‘spammy’ links or a linking structure that use too high a percentage of ‘money keywords’ (these are the phrases that are thought to bring in the sales / enquiries).

All of this means that this part of the ‘combined arms’ team needs to be very carefully handled indeed. So carefully that at Serendipity Online Marketing use specially designed software to handle the whole process, thus ensuring that we only build links that will enhance the standing of sites we work on.

 

So that is it, to succeed in SEO you have to use all three ‘arms’ and use them correctly.

 

Search Engine Optimisation and Link Building in 2018

Let’s face it, SEO is considered by many to be a ‘black art’, by others to be a waste of time, whilst those who do agree that SEO is worthwhile will endlessly debate about what is good and what is bad, what tactics are ‘white’ and what are ‘black’.

“If you ask six SEO experts a question you will probably get 7 answers….”

Then again, if you turned to Google to ask them about SEO, they appear to suggest that they disagree with the concept (wanting their results to be natural and not manipulated), whilst at the same time knowing that without someone to help all the website owners ‘understand’ how to set up their sites so that Google can read them properly, they (Google) would be lost.

The Death of Link Building Announced Again (and Again and Again)

When it comes to the thorny topic of Link Building, not only do we see Google denouncing the process because it is not natural, we also see them desperate for some help in deciding what sites to list and what ones not to bother with. Like it or not Google needs links..

BUT, not all links are equal and there is definitely a way of gaining Google’s displeasure when it comes to building them. Do it the wrong way and your site is doomed, that is one of the known Google rules and is put into play all the time.

Turning to the Experts

This is why many businesses turn to the experts, as here they can rest easy, knowing their site will be built in a way that Google can read and the content will be created to suit the Search Engines and their readers alike. They will also know that the links built to their site will be created in such a way that it will not be penalised by Google. They will then expect that their site gets better rankings and more traffic. In many cases this is exactly what happens, but in some it does not, and sometimes it is impossible for anyone to discover just what has gone wrong, what appears to be working in one area, fails to do so in another…

Either way, you can be pretty sure that the website owner will not really be aware of what is going on and that there are many ways of creating a ‘buzz’ and the boost of (relevant) traffic that all website owners want.

The Key to Top Class Traffic

If you own a business which has a website, you will, I am sure, have been inundated with telephone calls and emails promising you top rankings on Google, sometimes for little cost. You will also have seen countless bits of software that will boost your site, often, they say, at the touch of a button….

Some of these claims will be by bona fide companies and of the software – particularly research software – can be useful, but what few of them will tell you is that it will be the CONTENT of the site that will win the day, both for getting traffic and for converting your visitors to customers.

The True Power of Content

So why is content so very important? This may seem to be a strange question, but many site owners do not give it much attention. They spend a get deal of time discussing format and presentation, but often give scant regard to the content the pages are to hold. So doing things this way is simply not going to work because there is nothing for Google to get its ’teeth’ into, so the rankings are poor. When (and if) a potential customer arrives, there is nothing to ‘make’ them want to buy or at least to take the relationship any further.

The correct way of approaching any market place (and the keyword market place of the web is no different) is to see what people want. When it comes to Google, this means finding out what phrases people use in the market sector which relate to your products, and thus the pages of your site that will be selling those products.

Reverse Engineering and Latent Semantic Indexing

Then you can start writing content that uses those phrases (and similar words using a technique called LSI (or Latent Semantic Indexing) – this being vital as Google gets cleverer and cleverer). You can even reverse engineer the top sites in Google for a given phrase, therefore TELLING you what words to use.

Pages written this way will not only give Google what it wants, but will also give the visitor the information that will enable them to decide if your product is for them or if you can help them solve the problem that drove them to search for help in the first place.
This content ought to include images, videos, flow charts and anything else that will help them to make a good decision (which hopefully means doing business with you).

The OTHER reason for TOP QUALITY CONTENT

Saying all this, content has another VITAL job to do in the battle for traffic and sales. Having good content will mean that others will link to the site and mention it in their Social Media postings, after all they will have good reason to, they will have something WORTH SHARING.

content is king internet concept

content is king internet concept

But, it is not always easy getting people to notice how good your copy is. The whole thing is a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation. After all, your fantastic copy can’t get links until someone finds it, and reads it. Without rankings or some form of Social Media chatter, no one will ever know it is there..

Priming the Pump (and keeping the pressure up too)

This is where SEO, Paid Search and Social Media come into play. By using all or some of these systems, website owners can start the ball rolling so that people can see just how good they, and their all important copy, is.

Great Copy Required

This is where the need for the top rate copy comes in, as even though the SEO and Social Media work above will bring in the visits, if there is nothing there to grip the audience, all the time and effort will have been wasted as no sales will be made and perhaps as importantly, no one will find anything worthwhile to come back for, mention or link to.

Without these mentions and links Google will not get the signals it wants to give the site repeatedly better rankings and thus more effort is needed to keep things going. If, however, there is something to ‘write home about’ then the links will come in, your site / product will be mentioned on Social Media, and what is more you will get repeat visits.

Are you Getting Returning Visitors?

This is just one area where Google Analytics can help. Just as having lots of New Visitors is good, a low percentage of Returning visitors indicates that you site is not delivering and people are not coming back for more.

 

Are you getting a high enough level of returning visitors?

Are you getting a high enough level of returning visitors?

If your site is one with a poor level of returning visitors, then a long hard look at the contents is a must…

The Different Processes of SEO

The term Search Engine Optimisation covers a host of things, usually divided (basically) into Technical, On Page, Off Page and Social Media.

Technical SEO

This covers the way a site is built, how fast it is, how easy it can be read and navigated as well as topics like Rich Snippets and Schema. Some of this is easy to do, some of it a bit more difficult, and not all website developers or SEO professionals cover all of these areas.

On Page SEO

Here we are talking about the words on the pages and the placement of the ‘target keywords’ in the important places on the page, all with a view of ensuring that Google finds what it needs in the ‘appropriate places’ on a sites’ pages. Of course this includes the copy / content of a site, but that is not SEO.SEO is how you make sure that the copy is found, not the actual copy itself (except that SEO will help you find out what to talk about in the first place via the Keyword / Market Research phase).

Off Page SEO

This area covers the issue of Links (and to a degree Social Media). It is these ‘signals’ that attract Googles attention and that will get the rankings and ‘seed’ traffic needed. Creating links also helps to keep the pot boiling while the site builds up its momentum.

Social Media

This is included here because even though this is nothing to do with SEO per say, it is important when considering the process of getting the site, brand and product noticed and talked about in a way that will enhance the site in Google’s eyes and extend the reach of the site beyond that of the Search Engine Results.

The Basic SEO process

In all cases it is necessary to carry out the keyword research so that you can target the phrases that are relevant to your market place AND are being used today.

The site must then be built the right way (the technical SEO bit), and then the copy created. This should be of a high quality, but does not have to be as good as it has to be for ‘Top Notch SEO’, for reasons that will be apparent later. Things such as internal linking should be carried out of course, but basically this is a ‘quick’ method of SEO.

Then the link building starts. These are built in the right way at the right speed, using techniques like ‘Power Link Structures’. Social Media signals are also created using this method. In some cases the pump is also primed by actually creating a small amount of traffic to some of the articles and posts that form a part of the linking structure.

Guest Posts Are Used in the quick method too

Guest posts are included in the ‘quick’ method too of course, but they are used differently. As you will see later on, the ‘proper way’ of placing Guest posts is to find a top Infuencer site, chat to them and get them to accept the post (or pay an lot of money for the privilege). However, this process is a LOT more expensive than just placing an article on a relevant site, so for those clients with limited budgets this is the way we go. Basically, these Guest Posts are ‘link vehicles’ and as long as they are well written (no article spinning here at SOM) and contain links that are not going to trigger a Penguin penalty, they do help, we have many examples  the prove the point.

Carrying out SEO in this manner DOES work and is the way the majority of SEO companies work.

The Top Quality SEO process

If you talk to those SEO professionals who practice only the whitest of white SEO, then they will say this is the only way, everything else being a waste of time. Well I disagree with that, but there is no doubt that this process is superior and offers a greater chance of success, BUT, it is a lot harder and thus more expensive in time and money.

This process includes all the On page SEO that Basic SEO requires, including things such as having explanatory ‘Category Pages’ for Ecommerce sites. These are needed as most sites of this type have lots of product pages that (a) often use the same words as a host of other sites and (b) are also often far too short. Thus these Category pages allow the owner to present the products they sell, with links of course to the product pages themselves. These pages can be much better at getting rankings and thus their use should be seriously considered for all levels of SEO.

Power Pages

Remember, this whole process is based on having TOP QUALITY content on your site. Such pages are often called ‘Power Pages’, their contents varying from ‘How to do something’ to a great infographic, anything that would be interesting to visitors and has not been done before (or at least as sufficiently).

Text based Power Pages need to be around 2,000 words long and contain images, videos and links to other authoritative content on the web, PLUS of course the areas in your site that you want people to see and the pages that will result in conversions and sales. Infographics can be just that, but having some words on the page as well can help in my opinion (just as having a transcript of the words used in a video can).

What to Create the Power Page About

The Keyword Research for the site would of course have been carried out first, so the target phrases are known and understood. Using these words, the bulk of the site, (the ‘normal’ pages) will be written and optimised, this including interlinking relevant pages (Google likes this).

Power pages, however, have a different mission. Their job is to get noticed BIG TIME, to become a fount of knowledge and a ‘go to’ source of information on a particular subject (relevant to the products and services of the hosting website). With this in mind it is easy to see that the very first thing you have to know is what subject to write about.

Research into Trends (or try to start one yourself)

This is where checking on trending posts and web pages can be a great help, as it allows you to see what people have become interested in over a period of time (which you can set). You can then have a look at these posts / pages and use them as a basis of your own works, all in the knowledge that people are INTERESTED in the topic.

finding trending topics

 

Of course you can also plough your own farrow, choosing a topic that is relevant to your market place, for instance ‘What is the History of Plastering’ or ‘How to choose the right lawnmower’. There are countless topics to choose from. Besides Kudani, you could also use Buzzsumo.

Writing the Page

Either way, you can start your research into what to talk about, and that will mean looking not only at the trending sites, but also at all the top INFLUENCER sites, in this instance the ones that are at the top of the Search Engines’ results for some top terms.

All the while it is vital to make sure that the page will be ‘entertaining’ and fulfil one of its main purposes, that of being WORTH SHARING.

Note, for a great definition of what an Influencer is, click this link.

Supporting Guest Posts

One important part of this SEO process is to make sure that there are links to the Power Page from trusted sites, but as it can take some time to get an INFUENCER to mention the page or allow a Guest Post on their site, the first thing that needs to be done is to place a well written ‘taster’ post on a High Domain Authority site.

Thus one post (perhaps more) is written and placed on some relevant sites. In most instances this means paying a ‘publishing fee’. Here I must state that there are some SEO’s who think that placing a post on a site that is known to take money for the privilege is worthless. However when you know that high profile sites like the HuffingtonPost take money for Guest posts, you can see that their argument holds little water.

Converting the Influencers

This starts at the website level, where some selected sites are contacted with a view to them mentioning the Power Page or by having a Guest post placed on their site. It need not contain a DO FOLLOW link as we are after traffic as much as link juice, but if they will allow a FOLLOW link then all the better.

It is best if these influences have been contacted and nurtured for some time before you make a request to place a guest post on their site (this also being the case with Social Media Influencers).
Hopefully one of the sites you contact will allow the publication and thus provide you with a link and the potential for a lot of relevant traffic.

Create a Press Release

Press Releases are a well known way of creating a ‘buzz’ in a manner in which Google approves. All the posts are the same of course, but as the links are always NO FOLLOW this does not matter. Google, it is said, really loves press releases and so one pointing to your power page and telling all about how interesting it is and how they should not miss it, is a good idea.

Posting on your Own Social Media Channels

Presuming you have some Social Media accounts, now is the time to start posting about the power page, (although maybe you have been talking about it coming for a few weeks already – another neat trick). Remember that you will have to post again and again here, Social Media posts being, for the most part, short lived, as they are soon replaced with the next tweet and thus scroll off peoples screens. This makes choosing the right time to post important too.

Contacting the Social Media Influencers

Now is the time to start contacting the Social Media Influencers. There are various ways the leaders in a field can be found and once found the ‘nurturing process’ needs to be continued. This process needs to have been started before the power page is posted, the SEO Agency in question having to have commenced this process some time before.

The idea here is to mention that they may be interested in the Power Page’s contents, perhaps also mentioning the Guest Posts that have already been posted and the Press Release. All of this with the aim of getting them to ‘add their weight’ to the campaign.
This is important, as if they can be convinced to mention the power page on their Social Media accounts, the ripples will build and build, all resulting in more traffic and higher rankings.

Monitor and Interact

Hopefully you will have had some comments on your Social Media channels and on the Guest Posts (where the sites allow). It is VITAL that you monitor these and respond as that will only strengthen the whole campaign.

In Conclusion

So there we have it, a brief summary of what SEO is, and how the two main types differ. Hopefully you can see the differences between the two approaches and can understand why SEO carried out ‘by the book’ is such a long, complicated and thus expensive process.

The good news for businesses with shallower pockets is that the ‘basic SEO’ does work in most markets, you just have to choose to approach any highly competitive areas in a cleverer manner, and not try to charge headlong in to get top rankings for highly competitive keyword phrases.

SEO Ho Ho – Search Engine Optimisation in 2016 – Xmas Message

The year is nearly at an end and Xmas has been and gone, but there is still a lot of cheer in the air and pleasant memories of all the festivities to boot (amongst them our company Xmas card – see the image below) which went down very well with our customers).

seo-ho-ho-card

But there are other reasons to be grateful about 2016, in that in my view Google has made some really good moves to make the results fairer and more accurate, the latest Penguin update really sorting things out.

This has been somewhat of a relief to SOM as we have been ‘preaching’ what we call ‘Proper’, ‘Scientific’ SEO. What we mean by this is that we research the words that people are searching for in a market area, find the words that Google ‘wants to see’ for these phrases so that they can be incorporated in to the copy. Then we add some relevant links (with a natural anchor text and source type mix) and he presto , things start to happen.

The best part of this is that it is all totally ‘Google legal’  and can never in our view be subject to any penalties that Google may dream up at some time. We can say this as all we are trying to do is to make sure that any site we optimise offers some of the best information there is on a given subject, and of course we make sure that there are enough links to the site’s pages so that Google thinks the same. We call this link building programme ‘priming the pump’ as once the site gets traffic, the links will start building organically. Link building is still required in many cases, but perhaps, only because others are trying to get their sites rankings higher too…

As to the blog post we have included below, we certainly agree about the rise of AI and believe that Google searchers have for some time been ‘rats in the Google maze’, in that they have been analysing what we click on and what sites we like, thus getting closer and closer their goal of truly understanding the real intent behind a given search term.

The other interesting thing raised here is the increased importance that mobile search is being given these days, not really surprising when you realise that people are accessing the web using mobile devices more and more these days.

For 2017 we see it as more of the same, Google getting cleverer and cleverer at spotting the good sites (the ones that deserve rankings) from the ones that don’t, all of which means you just have to ‘Do SEO properly’ or suffer the consequences…

To see the full article on SEO in 2016 and some predictions for 2017 please click the link.

What we’ve learned about SEO in 2016?

Since the inception of the search engine, SEO has been an important, yet often misunderstood industry. For some, these three little letters bring massive pain and frustration. For others, SEO has saved their business. One thing is for sure: having a clear and strategic search strategy is what often separates those who succeed from those who don’t.

As we wrap up 2016, let’s take a look at how the industry has grown and shifted over the past year, and then look ahead to 2017.

A growing industry

It was only a few years ago when the internet was pummeled with thousands of “SEO is Dead” posts. Well, here we are, and the industry is still as alive as ever. SEO’s reputation has grown over the past few years, due in great part to the awesome work of the real pros out there. Today, the industry is worth more than $65 billion. Companies large and small are seeing how a good search strategy has the power to change their business.

As search engines and users continue to evolve, SEO is no longer just an added service brought to you by freelance web designers. With the amount of data, knowledge, tools and experience out there, SEO has become a power industry all on its own.

Over the course of the year, my agency alone has earned a number of new contracts from other agencies that are no longer able to provide their own search efforts. A large divide between those that can deliver SEO and those that can’t is beginning to open up across the board.

The rise of AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now prevalent in many of our lives. Google, IBM, Amazon and Apple are very active in developing and using Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI). ANI can be used to automate repetitive tasks, like looking up product details, shipping dates and order histories and performing countless other customer requests.

The consumer is becoming more and more comfortable with this technology and has even grown to trust its results. Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, announced during his Google I/O keynote that 20 percent of queries on its mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches.

RankBrain, Google’s machine-learning artificial intelligence system, is now among the top three ranking signals for Google’s search algorithm. Why? Google handles more than 3.5 billion searches per a day, and 16 to 20 percent of those are unique queries that have never been searched before. To handle this, the team at Google has harnessed the power of machine learning to help deliver better results.

While we can’t “control” RankBrain, what we can do is learn more about how Google is using it and then help the tool by creating good content that earns shares and links, building connections with others in our niche or related niches, and building trust in very targeted topics.

We are still in the beginning stages of this technology, but as more and more homes become equipped with smart tools like Amazon Echo and Google Home, we can be sure that these tech giants will use the knowledge they gain from voice search to power their AI technology.

The “Google Dance”

Every so often, Google likes to surprise us with a major algorithm update that has a significant impact on search results — some years we get one, and other years we get a little more.
While they do make nearly 500 tweaks to the algorithm each year, some are big enough to garner more attention. Let’s look back at four of 2016’s most memorable updates.

Mobile-friendly algorithm boost

A little under a year after “Mobilegeddon,” an event marked by the launch of Google’s mobile-friendly ranking algorithm, the search giant announced that it would soon be increasing the effects of this algorithm to further benefit mobile-friendly sites on mobile search. That boost rolled out on May 12, 2016, though the impact was not nearly as significant as when the mobile-friendly ranking algorithm initially launched.

Penguin 4.0

While this ended up being a two-phase rollout, Penguin 4.0 made its entrance on September 23, 2016. This has been considered the “gentler” Penguin algorithm, which devalues bad links instead of penalizing sites. The second phase of Penguin 4.0 was the recovery period, in which sites impacted by previous Penguin updates began to finally see a recovery — assuming steps were taken to help clean up their link profiles.

“Possum”

While this update was never confirmed by Google, the local SEO community noted a major shake-up in local pack and Google Maps results in early September 2016.

Fellow Search Engine Land columnist Joy Hawkins noted that this was quite possibly the largest update seen in in the local SEO world since Pigeon was released in 2014. Based on her findings, she believes the update’s goal was “to diversify the local results and also prevent spam from ranking as well.”
Divided index

As mobile search continues to account for more and more of the global share of search queries, Google is increasingly taking steps to become a mobile-first company. In November, Google announced that it was experimenting with using a mobile-first index, meaning that the mobile version of a website would be considered the “default” version for ranking purposes instead of the desktop version:

“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.”

The time to say goodbye to 2016 is fast approaching, and I am truly excited to see what 2017 has in store for the world of SEO!

WHAT IS SCIENTIFIC SEO?

First a bit of history about Search Engine Optimisation

SEO can trace its history way back to 1994 when the early pioneers discovered that they could use the Internet to drive traffic to their sites and hence sell their goods. As this idea became more accepted, people started competing with each other for traffic and that meant that they had to ‘convince’ the Search Engine of the day to list their site for appropriate terms.

The Search Engine of the Day has changed over the years, Alta Vista, Ask Jeaves and Yahoo all being the top dog at some time. However, today, the big player is Google and thus that is the engine everyone wants to get listings on, and that of course means you have to understand the rules.

 

The Rules of The Old SEO

The rules that the Search Engines use have altered drastically over the years, as they have become more and more sophisticated. At the start, it was easy to ‘trick’ the Engines, all you needed to do was to stuff the pages with your keywords and get some links to the site (Google’s first stab at SEO was based on something called PageRank which basically is all about the number of links to  a site – and not much else).

These ‘old’ rules however had one big problem, in that the SEO professionals of the day kept finding ways around them and thus the Engines had to keep taking steps to close these ‘holes’ in their rule sets.

This process escalated over the years, especially since 2010, and basically Google decided that enough was enough and decided on a whole new approach, one that could not be
tricked and relied on one thing, perceived quality.

 

The New SEO and Perceived Quality

Today, with the advent of something called ‘SEMANTIC SEO’ (the meaning of a site, what it is really all about), things are a lot different, it being all about the quality of the content of a site.

But Why use the term Perceived Quality?

I use this term as I believe that there are limits to what Google can do, in that its computer algorithms cannot ‘really’ decide on what is real ‘quality’ content and what is not. Also, as mentioned above, links had, and still have a vital role to play in how Google decides what site to list for what.  But it cannot always tell if these links are ‘real’ or have been created, thus in all cases Google looks at a page/site and decides (using it’s rule sets) if it is quality or not.

This is why I say it is the quality that Google perceives in a site that is important. So how can you convince Google that your content is good enough to get a top ranking??

The Rules of the NEW SEO in Detail

Despite all the changes that have taken place in the world of SEO since 1994, but all of them are based on four things, one of these only recently coming to the fore.

The Four Things SEO is and was Based Upon

 Site Construction

The way a site is built is important as if it is constructed in the wrong way then Google cannot (or may just not want to be bothered to) find all the pages in a site. Also if the site is built in such a way that it is very slow, or is not mobile friendly, then too Google will downgrade the site in various ways.

One thing that does not cause so much of a problem today is that of the ‘Code to Text’ ratio (the amount of code that is used to build a site versus the number of words visible to the visitor). In the old days, too much ‘construction code’ was an issue, but today, with the advent of WordPress and the like, Google has been ‘forced’ to ignore this area, virtually all sites being very code heavy.

You MUST however ensure that the site can easily be navigated, a failure in that department being very serious indeed. Plus you should also use a fair number of internal links (not just the navigation) to highlight to Google what each page is about.

Words, Pictures and Videos

This is the area most affected by the new SEMANTIC SEO, it being vitally important to use all the ‘right’ words in a page. Gone are the days of just stuffing a page with the words you want to be found for. Today you need to understand what words Google wants to see and then make sure you include them in the copy, also making sure that you include pictures and where possible audio and video content on the page.

Reverse Engineering is the Key

This is where reverse engineering can help, the idea being that if you know what words are being used on the top pages (for a given term) then by including them (using correct grammar of course, as this is also checked) you must be getting closer to the perfect page.

Links

In the early days of SEO Links were vitally important, in fact they could, all by themselves get a page listed. However, today things have changed a lot. Links are still important counting for some 40% of the reason for a site getting a rank, but they are not as all powerful as they used to be.

Google is Watching You

Besides not being as important as they used to be, the links to a site are now carefully checked by Google. Their aim?, to make sure that the links to a site are ‘natural’ and not all built by an SEO company (although they know of course that the practice goes on all the time).

This checking is carried out by Google, the process being labelled as ‘Penguin’. Basically this checks a sites linking structure to see if it complies with the ‘rules’ and is hence seen to be natural. Here the number of links using the domain or URL of the site as the anchor text (the bit we humans click on) are checked, as are the number of links using ‘money words’ (the terms that a site wants to be found for) and those ‘noise’ links, like ‘see this site’, or ‘click here’. If the balance is not right, or they seem to have been created too fast, then a site can be heavily penalised.

This means that a site’s links have to be built very carefully over time and not all in a rush.

Social Media

This is very new in SEO terms and the amount of ‘power’ that social media chit chat, comments on Facebook and Twitter provide is not fully understood. In my view, the importance of Social Media is more to do with other marketing channels, but nevertheless, obtaining links via things like ‘Social Bookmarks’ can be useful.

Putting it All Together – Scientific SEO

So, what does all this mean?? Basically, it means that you must

 

  1. Find the words you want your site to be found for – KEYWORD RESEARCH
  2. Find the words you need to include in the copy of the page(s) using Reverse Engineering – CONTENT RESEARCH
  3. Build the links to the site, CAREFULLY
  4. If you can get some Social Media comments going (more important for sites selling direct to the public than B2B sites)
  5. Monitor the progress and make changes to improve matters further

 

 

I hope this helps you understand how the matter of SEO has to be approached today.

What Google Wants…

So What Does Google Want?

If the full answer to this question was indeed understood, you can bet just about every site that wanted top rankings would make changes to the way their site looked and worked in pretty short order, the prize, that top place on the first page of Google being worth a lot of money…

But of course, Google won’t tell anyone just what they want, instead they just give out information about some of the things they want to see and as importantly, don’t want to see. Whilst the knowledge that is imparted is useful, it only gives us a part of the picture.

 

wpid-2555-2555-Googles_RankBrain_3x29gn.jpg

A Vital Point – Google Often Ignores Its Own Rules

The biggest problem, from my point of view (as a SEO Professional) is that Google don’t only not tell you the rules, they also don’t keep to the ones you know about. This makes applying any scientific approach to the process difficult, its just like trying to find the boiling point of water when someone  is altering the  air pressure all the time. One time water will boil at 100’C, whilst at another it will boil at 90’C….

You can see this ‘not following their own rules’ phenomenon all the time (if you know what to look for) sites that break the rules still enjoying top ranking positions. This does make life difficult, but does not invalidate the data you can obtain by checking a site’s linking or page structure as it is more than possible (especially when it comes to links) that Google have yet to impose some form of penalty, the site then potentially losing the rankings it currently has.

Some of the Known SEO Rules

Keyword Stuffing

In the early days of the web, it was quite easy to trick the Search Engines into providing a first page rank simply by using the target words over and over again…. Things have moved  on now though, and if you try this trick today you will (more than likely) get worse rankings and not better ones.

Status – Avoid…

Use of Title Tag

The Title tag is not on the page, but is shown in the Browser Window and is used by Google to ‘understand’ what topic the page I question is all  about. It also, importantly forms the phrase that is seen when a site is listed by a Search Engine, so is something that needs to be carefully chosen.

Status – Use Wisely (best to keep to 65-70chrs)

Meta Description Tag

Like the Title tag, the words in this area are not  shown on  the actual page, instead they are used in the Search Engine listings and are to all intents and purposes an ‘elevator speech’. Their effect on SEO is very limited, expect that if they the same text is used on lots of pages that is. In such instances, it is believed that they may have a negative effect.

Status – Ensure that your website has a unique ‘elevator speech’ and is 165 – 170 characters long.

Header Tags

These tags have a long history, their use dating back to the days when newspapers were printed using lead type in blocks. More recently, they formed a part of the postscript language that allowed computers to communicate with printers. They were then subsumed into HTML and at the very start of the Internet, were the only way of creating bigger text on the screen. There are 6 Header styles, from H1 (the most important) to H6 (the least).

Google have stated in the past that they use the text within these tags <H1>the text</H1> as pointers about what the page is about, but now, as CSS styles are used to  control the size of the text on pages there is some debate that Google also treat any BIG text as important..

Status – Use, but only for important phrases (not for Navigation) and only have one H1 tag.

Word Count

There is evidence that the top pages for many search terms are ones that have over 1,000 words of copy, although this ‘requirement’ can go up and down depending on the level of competition. The most important factor here is to use the ‘right words’ on the page (this best found by reverse engineering the top sites  for any term) and to use as many as you can. Size is important here for two reasons, the first is (as explained above) that Google likes lots of words (words are its food after all) but there is another, as important reason  to have lot of text.

This second reason is based on the fact that obtaining traffic for ’long tail searches’ can be great for business, such search terms (normally 4 words or longer) often being used by people who are nearer the end of the buying process and thus that more likely to convert.

Status – Try to create pages that are 1,000 words or longer which contain relevant words and terms

Tabs and Accordions (Copy Triggerd by User Interaction)

One of the reasons that pages are often to light in copy is that the site owner (and the designer) rightly points out that a page that looks like  a ‘wall of text’ is likely to be off putting to viewers and would therefore increase bounce rates and reduce conversion rates.

There is a way of placing the text on the page so that Google can read it, but at the same time ‘hide’ it from viewers, until that is they want to see it. There are various methods doing this, but in every case, it is a user action  that causes the text to be made visible. This process is not treated as hiding text (in the old days people used white text on a white background would  you believe), something that Google frown upon and which could get a site banned, but is a practice that Google have reportedly said they are not altogether happy about.

I find this stance of Google’s somewhat strange as they also want sites to offer the best possible ‘user experience’ and  makes me feel that Google want the cake and to eat it too. But as I don’t believe they are actively  penalising sites that use this in their interface, it seems the  best way of providing Google with the words it needs whilst giving users the best way of assimilating the site’s message.

Status – Use with caution.

Internal Links and Links From Your Site

The power of links to sites are well understood, the right type and number enhancing the possibility of a site getting better rankings. However, it is not so widely understood that the links from a site also have their place. The reason that they are important is that they ‘prove’ to Google that the site is a part of the wider community (in that market area) as well as potentially helping users locate other relevant information.

Internal links also have a role in that they allow users to move through a site in an easier way than just using the navigation system. Used carefully these link types can really assist in improving both the ‘user experience’ and Search Engine rankings.

Status – Do implement links to relevant sites, the more powerful the better. Also, consider what internal  links you could place on your pages.

 

Links To Your Site.

Links to a site are still very powerful, accounting for at least 50% of the reason that a site is selected by Google for a ranking and form a VITAL part of any plan to get better Search Engine listings.

There are however some important factors to bear in mind…

  • Ensure that the links come from a wide number of locations / sites
  • Make sure that the anchor text used contains no more than 25% of ‘money phrases’
  • Check to see that the number of ‘other phrases’ is high, at least 30-40%.
  • Remember that a site is more than just a home page, links to internal pages also being needed
  • Plus when building links, make sure that you don’t build too many too quickly..

 

There is more to SEO of course, so please do see our site for more details and assistance.

Backlinks Are As Important As Ever

Linking has become a bit of a dirty work in SEO however, it can still be a valuable part of your online marketing strategy. If you do wish to make use of linking, you must be careful about which sites yours has links with. It is essential that any backlinks are relevant and niche specific, this means that high quality authority sites are the most desirable to link to. It’s not easy to get links to these sites but if you can, it will raise the ‘value’ of your website in the eyes of the search engines.

In the past, it was common practice to buy links and to use link farms to get lots of backlinks to a website. This is known to be very bad practice and will get your site in penalty faster than you can say ‘backlink’, so do not even consider this as a way of obtaining links. Linking needs to be done naturally and one of the best ways of doing this, is to have a blog that you update regularly with interesting and useful articles. The information contained within will then be noticed by people who will read it, share it, like and recommend it to their friends. The links gained here are very valuable over time because they tell the search engines that real people are visiting your site, that they like it and that they want to share it. These links are natural and will take time to cultivate so any time spent creating the content is time well spent, this is an investment in your site and this is how you should look at it. Quality attracts quality and once you have a good number of high quality articles that show you as an authority in your field, you should start reaping the rewards of your hard work and investment by attracting backlinks to authority sites.

It is very useful to promote yourself as an authority in your niche, by using professional sites like LinkedIn and Google+, you can really make yourself known. This can really help raise the profile of your business blog and website which in the grand scheme of things, is the goal. Having a prominent online profile and a high authority rating will do wonders for your business on the internet.

Social media links have been thought not to be very valuable however, more and more people use at least one social media platform and what they like, share, watch and recommend is in fact highly useful to your linking strategy. The more views, likes, shares and recommends you get, the better as these will raise your site’s profile which in turn leads to more traffic, which in turn leads to more sales, and that is the bottom line, increasing sales.

It can be hard to keep up with all the changes that seem to constantly occur with the search engines, the one constant though, is to keep your SEO natural, do things slowly and carefully so that the search engines notice your site for all the right reasons.

 

 

Creating compelling, customer-centric content isn’t enough to win rankings and shoppers. Without a strong internal linking structure, even the best content will still fail to perform in natural search.

The three strongest factors that Google uses to determine which pages will be ranked on page one are content, links, and Google’s proprietary machine-learning artificial intelligence system called RankBrain, part of its Hummingbird search algorithm.

Content for search engine optimization boils down to words that send signals of relevance to search engines. When combined with the signals of authority that internal and external links send to search engines, these two make up the first and second most important factors that Google uses to rank content for search results.

The third most important ranking factor, RankBrain, is out of our control to change. But while we can’t hope to impact the way that RankBrain functions, we can directly influence the content and internal linking structures within our own sites.

The three strongest factors that Google uses to determine which pages will be ranked on page one are content, links, and Google’s proprietary machine-learning artificial intelligence system…

Content Is King

First, you need to actually create great content. Search engine optimization professionals have been espousing the need for customer-centric content since the beginning of SEO. Some less reputable SEO professionals will settle for any mash up of words that contain keywords. Yuck.

No one wants to read what I call “SEO content” because it has no value to the consumer. And Google — as well as Bing and other modern search engines — absolutely do know the difference. Poorly written, keyword-overstuffed, duplicative, solely SEO-centric content will not improve natural search performance. Plus, it’s unpleasant for shoppers to read and does nothing to improve your brand perception.

If you’re hesitant to put it on a page that shoppers will see and buy from, or reluctant to link to it on your site, that’s a good sign that it’s the bad kind of SEO content.

“Great content” is useful and desirable to your shoppers. Depending on your industry, your specific area of product offerings, great content may describe products that need to be used together to work effectively, a list of critical products everyone should own, or a how-to piece that helps a shopper figure out what to buy or how to use a product.

Great content usually has some sort of visual component like checklists, pictures, illustrations, or video that aids in shopper digestion. But to influence SEO performance, great content needs to have some textual, descriptive explanation to go along with the visual aids to describe what the content is about, using keywords — the words that real shoppers use when they talk about the products.

Great content takes planning and effort to create. Yes, it can be hard, especially if you have a blog and are releasing great new content on a regular basis. Think of your customers’ questions, check social media, ask customer support, dig into keyword research data, or get ideas from reputable sources, such as our monthly “5 Content Marketing Ideas” list to make it easier to create useful content.

Links Are Gold

Great content is linked to, and in turn links out to the rest of the site as a valuable resource. When content lacks links, no matter how great that content is, it lacks the authority signals that Google requires to rank pages in search results.

Links from other sites — external links — are the most valuable because they send the strongest signals to search engines that your content is authoritative. However, external links take time to acquire and are harder to influence. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t work with the rest of the marketing department on a strong content marketing strategy. You should. But it takes time, skill, and luck for those efforts to mature into links.

Great content is linked to, and in turn links out to the rest of the site as a valuable resource.

Internal links — the links you build on your own site to cross-link pages — are easier to achieve and manage over time. They’re also important indicators of value to search engines because the pages that are linked to most frequently from other pages are deemed most valuable to searchers.

Said another way, if you want something to rank, you need to link to it from as many pages on the site as makes sense from a shopper’s experience standpoint.

And if you want great content to rank, or pass its value to ecommerce pages so that the ecommerce pages can rank, it also needs to be linked to in ways that send authority signals and adds value for your shoppers.

Blogs are good examples. They can be excellent for ecommerce SEO if they are regularly updated with compelling content and interlinked strongly with the ecommerce site. Nearly all of the sites I’ve worked with that have blogs lament their poor performance, but nearly all of them use their blogs poorly for SEO. They only link one way.

Ecommerce instinct is to keep the ecommerce pages pure, and link to them from any resource, tips, trends, or blog pages. That’s a one-way linking arrangement that is meant to feed authoritative value from the content through the links to the ecommerce pages.
What they don’t realize is that the content pages need to have value before they can pass value.

Read more: http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/125368-SEO-Content-Is-King-but-Links-Are-Gold

Top Tips on how NOT to Do Link Building for SEO in 2016

At Serendipity Online Marketing, we are always amazed at the paradox that is SEO, particularly as far as Google is concerned…

Recently we have seen that Google wants rich content, loving it seems pages that are 1,000 plus words long (which is a lot of text believe me), whilst at the same time saying that the use of ‘tabbed content’ (where the words are there for SEO by are not visible until called into being so to speak by the user clicking a button) is frowned upon.

The reason this is strange is simple in that Google also want sites to offer a great user experience. One would seem to be at odds with the other, in that the tabbed content stops pages looking like a ‘wall of words’ and thus harder to read.

Linking – Another Paradox.

The issue with links is perhaps even more strange in that Google ‘needs’ links to sites as they use them to decide what is good content or not, and yet they do not really want anyone to build them (in any artificial manner) as they want them to grow ‘naturally’ as people find and link to the content on a site.

All this is fine, but there is that large chicken and egg question here, as for new sites at least, how do people find the content (so that they can link to it) in the first place. Without links the site is not likely to get good rankings and thus cannot get links, which means it can’t get ranks…

Of course, other means can be used to get people to a site so that they can ‘like and link to it’s content’, perhaps using Google Adwords…..

However, there is a school of thought that says that building links the right way (as long as there is something good to point too – which means also attending to the content of the site as well) is a GREAT way of boosting rankings, and the tests and experience we have proves this 100%, building links the RIGHT WAY ALWAYS increases traffic.

BUT, and it is a big BUT, there is a wrong way of building links and if you do too much of any of the things below, you are more than likely steering a course for disaster, at least as far as getting rankings and thus traffic from the Search Engines (particulary Google).

For the full article on how not to build links click the link!

Link building has had a rough year. Thanks in part to Google’s John Mueller’s comments that link building, in general, is a strategy to avoid, a number of SEO practitioners have moved away from the practice.

Naturally Acquired Links are Best

More specifically, they’ve flocked to a more natural form of link building involving the creation, syndication and promotion of thoroughly researched original content; the idea here is to attract or earn links naturally without ever manually building a link on an outside source.

I’m a big fan of this approach. It’s safe, natural and can earn you a ton of links if your content is good enough. However, I still believe there’s a place for manual link building — as long as your focus is on providing valuable content to your readers.

Good and Bad Links

So what exactly differentiates a “good” link from a “bad” link in Google’s eyes? How can you be sure that a link you’ve manually built isn’t just going to get your website penalized?

As long as you can avoid these seven characteristics, all of which can make a link “bad,” you’ll remain in good standing:

1. It’s On A Low-Authority Or Questionable Domain

The higher your site’s authority is, the higher you’re going to rank in Google. Links on already-high authority sites pass far more authority to your site than those on low-authority sites. If your link appears on a site with a poor reputation, it could do active harm to your organic search visibility.

Generally, unless you’re perusing spam sites or blacklisted pages, you won’t have to worry much about this. Google looks for patterns that it can verify with a high level of certainty, so a single low-authority link won’t hurt you; but hundreds or thousands sustained over the course of a month or more certainly could.

Overall, it’s in your best interest to get links on the highest-authority sources you can find, while avoiding disreputable ones.

2. It’s Pointing To A Source Irrelevant To Its Content

Context is important in Google’s modern search algorithm. It’s not enough to have a link pointing to your site — that link needs to be associated with content that’s somehow relevant to your site, as well.

For example, if you’re a manufacturer, and you post a link to your site in an article about hamburger production in a butcher shop forum, chances are it will raise some red flags.

Keep all your links context-specific, and pay close attention to the types of sources you rely on — the closer they are to your industry, the better.

3. It’s Repeated Too Many Times On The Domain

Quantity is important when it comes to links, but more links isn’t always better. Diversity is also important. If Google sees too many links pointing back to your domain on a certain site, it may flag that as suspicious.

Instead, Google likes to see lots of links pointing to your domain from multiple sources. Since each link after the first on a single domain suffers a downgrade in value, it’s in your best interest to diversify your link sources.

4. It’s A Part Of A Reciprocal Exchange

If you have a buddy who owns a similar site, it might seem like a clever idea to exchange links between the two in an effort to boost both your domains.

5. It’s Embedded In Suspiciously Keyword-Matched Anchor Text

Back in the days when keyword-focused optimization was synonymous with SEO, anchor text for links was a big deal. It was a best practice to embed your link in anchor text using the exact keyword you wanted to rank for — today that isn’t going to work.

6. It’s Isolated From Any Meaningful Content

Posting any kind of link without content accompanying it is bad—it doesn’t matter if you do it in a blog comment, forum post or any other medium.

Your links need to have some kind of semantic context to them, and preferably in the body of a detailed, meaningful post. Guest posts on outside blogs are your best friends here. Use them.

7. It’s A Part Of A Scheme

Link schemes aren’t as popular as they used to be, but somehow they’re still floating around. Participating in complex systems like link wheels or link pyramids is a violation of Google’s terms of service.

If you’re caught deliberately participating in a link scheme, you won’t just drop a rank or two — you could earn a bona fide Google penalty.
Final Thoughts

Thoroughly comb through your existing link profile to make sure none of your links possess these seven characteristics. You can use Moz’s Open Site Explorer, Ahrefs, Majestic or any other tool that functions as a search engine for links.

If you notice any that are questionable, work to remove them. It’s far better to remove a dubious link than leave it and suffer the potential consequences. Then, put safeguards in place to ensure your future link building efforts avoid these factors at all costs.

The Importance Of Correct Linking Strategy

Building links is a very effective part of any SEO strategy but it must be done carefully and naturally. It is important that the quality of the sites you are planning to link to is taken into account, you should choose sites that are in a similar or parallel niche to your own, do not be tempted to create back links with sites that have nothing to do with your niche, regardless of how good they are, using such links will only draw the wrong kind of attention to your site and you might find yourself losing places on the organic listings or being completely delisted.

Link building takes a lot of time and effort, it is not something that can be done in a short space of time and nor should it be. It’s a bit like gardening, you plant the seeds, take care of them and then watch them grow before you can harvest the fruits of your labours.

There are a number of strategies that you can use to achieve quality links and here are a few of them.

The first thing you need to do is to ensure that your own website has got enough high quality unique content. This is what will make your site valuable to others which in turn will encourage linking. It cannot be stressed highly enough the importance of the content on your site. You should invest as much time and effort as you can in order to provide your site with the best possible content. You will not only build value but you will also attract larger volumes of traffic.

Now, you might be thinking that adding content is not really going to be possible because you have an ecommerce site. However, there is a lot you can do to create that valuable content, for example, if you sell makeup, you could include some advice on how to use it. Don’t be one dimensional, you could create videos as well, video content is becoming highly valuable so is something you should consider. Think laterally and keep your options open, offer that valuable information to your site’s visitors, it will pay huge dividends.

Make use of relevant directories. Most directories should be avoided like the plague, they don’t offer anything of value, so choose carefully. Look for local business directories in your area that you can submit to. Directories that are niche specific are also worth looking at, don’t discount directories attached to local newspapers either as the ‘local’ aspect can be of value.

Blogging is a very effective way of generating links. Ideally, you will submit blogs regularly in order to interest readers who will then, if they like what you have written, share your piece on social media, which creates valuable links. Again, you needn’t write your blogs, video blogging is just as valuable if it contains excellent content. If you can provide information that is seen as being expert, this will raise not only your profile but also trust. Information from a trusted source is always going to trump that of a lesser source.

As you can see, there are many ways to generate links but they all take time, there are no shortcuts and the more time you spend cultivating your linking, the higher the payoff. If you don’t have the time to do this yourself, talk to us about helping you with your linking strategy.

 

Link building has had a rough year. Thanks in part to Google’s John Mueller’s comments that link building, in general, is a strategy to avoid, a number of SEO practitioners have moved away from the practice.

More specifically, they’ve flocked to a more natural form of link building involving the creation, syndication and promotion of thoroughly researched original content; the idea here is to attract or earn links naturally without ever manually building a link on an outside source.

I’m a big fan of this approach. It’s safe, natural and can earn you a ton of links if your content is good enough. However, I still believe there’s a place for manual link building — as long as your focus is on providing valuable content to your readers.

So what exactly differentiates a “good” link from a “bad” link in Google’s eyes? How can you be sure that a link you’ve manually built isn’t just going to get your website penalized?

As long as you can avoid these seven characteristics, all of which can make a link “bad,” you’ll remain in good standing:

1. It’s On A Low-Authority Or Questionable Domain

The higher your site’s authority is, the higher you’re going to rank in Google. Links on already-high authority sites pass far more authority to your site than those on low-authority sites. If your link appears on a site with a poor reputation, it could do active harm to your organic search visibility.

Generally, unless you’re perusing spam sites or blacklisted pages, you won’t have to worry much about this. Google looks for patterns that it can verify with a high level of certainty, so a single low-authority link won’t hurt you; but hundreds or thousands sustained over the course of a month or more certainly could.

Overall, it’s in your best interest to get links on the highest-authority sources you can find, while avoiding disreputable ones.

2. It’s Pointing To A Source Irrelevant To Its Content

Context is important in Google’s modern search algorithm. It’s not enough to have a link pointing to your site — that link needs to be associated with content that’s somehow relevant to your site, as well.

For example, if you’re a manufacturer, and you post a link to your site in an article about hamburger production in a butcher shop forum, chances are it will raise some red flags. Keep all your links context-specific, and pay close attention to the types of sources you rely on — the closer they are to your industry, the better.

3. It’s Repeated Too Many Times On The Domain

Quantity is important when it comes to links, but more links isn’t always better. Diversity is also important. If Google sees too many links pointing back to your domain on a certain site, it may flag that as suspicious.

Instead, Google likes to see lots of links pointing to your domain from multiple sources. Since each link after the first on a single domain suffers a downgrade in value, it’s in your best interest to diversify your link sources.

4. It’s A Part Of A Reciprocal Exchange

If you have a buddy who owns a similar site, it might seem like a clever idea to exchange links between the two in an effort to boost both your domains.

Unfortunately, this could end up harming more than helping. Google is wise to this “reciprocal exchange” scheme, and if it notices an excessive number of traded links between two sources, it could negatively affect your domain authority. Again, keep source diversity toward the top of your list of priorities.

5. It’s Embedded In Suspiciously Keyword-Matched Anchor Text

Back in the days when keyword-focused optimization was synonymous with SEO, anchor text for links was a big deal. It was a best practice to embed your link in anchor text using the exact keyword you wanted to rank for — today that isn’t going to work.

In fact, it’s the quickest way to land yourself a manual penalty that can be extremely difficult — sometimes impossible — to recover from. Google has an intricate understanding of semantics and link context, and it strongly favors links in natural journalistic context.

6. It’s Isolated From Any Meaningful Content

Posting any kind of link without content accompanying it is bad—it doesn’t matter if you do it in a blog comment, forum post or any other medium.

Your links need to have some kind of semantic context to them, and preferably in the body of a detailed, meaningful post. Guest posts on outside blogs are your best friends here. Use them.

7. It’s A Part Of A Scheme

Link schemes aren’t as popular as they used to be, but somehow they’re still floating around. Participating in complex systems like link wheels or link pyramids is a violation of Google’s terms of service.

If you’re caught deliberately participating in a link scheme, you won’t just drop a rank or two — you could earn a bona fide Google penalty.

Read more: http://searchengineland.com/7-characteristics-can-make-link-bad-seo-237477

SEO Tips That Will Give Your Site A Boost

 

Content marketing and building links are incredibly different subjects, however, there are indeed ways by which you can use 1 for the development of the other. Basically, articles or blog posts marketing are the reason you are willing to make use of link-building strategies.

Listed here are several ways through which it is possible to build links by making use of content marketing:

Guest Posting: Guest blog websites draw in visitors. However, it is important to reach for high quality written content that happen to be packed with information and facts appropriate for your niche. This will help to appeal to viewers and also build links to your site.

Press Releases: Important updates and information and facts about your business could be publicized by making use of press releases. They are effective at obtaining the focus of media and bloggers therefore you might obtain backlinks from influential organizations and web sites.

Interviews: Among the best ways to spread a word is as simple as carrying out interviews. Either in-person or by telephone or e-mail, an audience conducted can help you to develop connections that will ultimately aid your objective. You can increase your network and stay involved with important industry experts.

Establishing Faulty Links: Making use of Search engine optimization tools and checkers you can easily verify if there are any faulty backlinks in any domains that contain links to your own website. Then you may point it out to the individual site owners and suggest them a web link of your website to replace the damaged links.

Focussing on Infographics: many top SEO experts make use of Infographics to boost promotion. Despite the fact that these are alone not sufficient, however, content rich pieces along with essential keywords and phrases tagged together with visual representations have the power to achieve momentum.

Creating Guides: Content is the most important feature of an internet site that draws audience. Guides, which are a natural part of content, are specialist write-ups that appreciate their struggles and give your visitors a knowledge or how-to for their difficulties.

Connect to Your Community: Answering your followers in the feedback and emails can certainly make your website well-liked by the audience not to mention help obtain their trust.

Getting Listed on Directories: Detailing your business on a local website directory will help obtain links. It is important that your company name and contact details are consistent in all the directories in which they are submitted.

The aforementioned techniques are enough to take your organization to a level where you will find many audiences visiting your site. If carried out properly, these could be boons for advertising your brand and you will experience steep development and popularity.

 

 

Gone are the days when search engine optimization was enough to land your website onto Google’s good graces.

Now you must to add content marketing to your arsenal of digital marketing tool if you want to gain search engines’ approval and ultimately win the heart of online users.

Given the important role content marketing now plays in the success of online business, it’s time that SEO ties the knot with content marketing.

The two digital marketing tools that were once viewed as separate entities are now an inseparable couple, promising to inch businesses closer to the proverbial “overnight success. ”The amazing duo can greatly help your online business reach the pinnacle of success and outwit your competitors.

Here are 10 ways you can ensure that the two digital marketing tools work in harmony:

1. Set common goals.

Setting common goals is the first step to make SEO and content marketing work together to bring additional revenues.

Ask yourself what activities overlap between the two digital marketing techniques. Is it increased online traffic, rankings or links? How can you align the activities to achieve common goals?

The answers to these and other similar questions will give you a starting point in creating an integrated SEO and content marketing strategy with clear and focused goals and strong communication.

2. Establish key performance indicators.

Another way to optimize synergy between SEO and Content Marketing is to establish key KPIs that will track performance, and ensure that it is on track for achieving common goals.

These KPIs include content sharing, links to content, online user engagement, call-to-action conversion rates and several others.

3. Understand your target audience.

Understanding your audience is the key part of an SEO and content marketing strategy. Create personas of the target audience and develop a unique digital marketing strategy for each group. The personas can be based on age, location, gender, hobbies or interests.

Don’t undertake any digital marketing activity without considering what your audience wants, and also what you want them to do in return of fulfilling their demand.

4. Create SEO-optimized content.

Google places great emphasis on quality content. You can make the content more relevant for the search engine by incorporating high-impression keywords. Optimizing the content in this way will allow your Web pages to become visible to online users by appearing on the search results.

Avoid overstuffing keywords into website content. In order to play it safe, limit the keyword density to 1 percent or less. This will ensure that your site doesn’t get penalized by the search engine, decreasing online traffic.

5. Research high-impression and relevant keywords.

Include high impression and relevant keywords in the website. Each keyword that you select should be researched properly using online tools such as Google Planner, Google Trend, Word Stream and other similar tools.

Optimizing your content in this way will ensure that your online content is able to attract maximum number of online users.

6. Attract online consumers through link building.

Another way you can make SEO and content marketing work together is through link building. Link building is a pure SEO strategy that results in distribution of online content to a large number of targeted, qualified audiences. You can greatly increase your content’s effectiveness through these efforts.

The links pointing to the published online content is placed on various high authority and high page ranked sites. These sites attract thousands of online visitors that can be diverted to your site by placing targeted links on the site they first visited.

Enlist SEO professionals to enhance your link building strategy. Here are some reputed SEO companies, based on user reviews:

7. Focus on internal link building.

Internal link building works wonders in increasing your website’s ranking along with your published content. Moreover, creating internal links will also result in improved user experience due to easy navigation around the site.

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/251522

Why Linking Is So Important In Any SEO Strategy

In order to achieve success in the organic searches, there are some rules that should be followed. Many people think that SEO is about submitting as much content as they can or they haven’t a clue and it’s all jiggery pokery.

The first think you need to do, is to take a good look at your website. Your website is the first point of call for many customers and if it doesn’t tell them much or isn’t well laid out, they won’t hang around, they will go off to one of your competitors. Make sure that your site has relevant, high quality unique content that provides information that the visitor wants. It is important that you have a wide selection of relevant keywords interspersed in the text and that all your tags contain at least 1 relevant keyword. Every page on your website needs to have a suitable title that reflects what the page is about.

Take a good look at the sort of phrases that people are using when they make a search for the products or services you sell. This is a significant factor and it is why you must do a thorough keyword research project before you implement your SEO strategy. If you are using keywords and key phrases that people are using when they perform a search, you are more likely to appear in the search results.

Linking is still very important and the number of links to relevant highly rated sites is more important than ever today. The number of inbound links your site has will be a factor in its ranking on the search engines. If you compare your site to a celebrity, the more you are talked about, the more popular you become. When the people talking about you are important, this means that some of that importance rubs off onto you. The number of important websites that refer to your site is what determines how important the search engines consider it to be.

The quantity or inbound links isn’t enough to get you noticed, the links have to be good quality. What this means is that the sites containing links to your site, need to be relevant to your niche and be important themselves. They need to rank as highly or higher than yours on the search engines. As such, these links are very valuable.

Social media has its place, after all, if you have written a piece for your blog and millions of people are liking and sharing it, then it must be good. The think with social media is that it does require work and it is only one part of an SEO strategy, it cannot be the only thing you do to promote your business.

Video is a becoming more popular and businesses should consider making use of it as another string to their bow. The videos can be as serious or light hearted as you want however, they must be in keeping with the type of business you run. It would not be appropriate for a serious business to be producing silly videos, this does not mean that they can’t show the lighter side of that business but anyone looking for those particular services are probably wanting to see something informative and straightforward.

There are many facets to SEO and lots of people think that they can beat the search engines by taking short cuts, this will I’m afraid only lead to disaster. There are no shortcuts, this is why Google has developed and continues to fine tune its algorithms.

 

Landing high-quality backlinks from within your local community to aid your SEO effort is an important consideration for any small business, and a topic I’ve written about before. But the problem is, many local business owners assume all links are created equal, and that’s not the case at all.

In fact, this misconception often leads businesses to SEO firms that deliver what those businesses initially wanted — links — but in the long run the low quality and spammy links they receive cause more harm than good.

When local business owners receive a $500 monthly quote from one SEO consultant and a $2,000 monthly quote from another, the difference may seem to be $1,500 — but more is at stake here, because there aren’t any push-button solutions. What’s needed is a combination of outreach and relationship-building, and this takes time as well as experience.

So, to secure high-quality links, even with a limited budget, first understand what a high-quality link is by targeting backlinks with the following characteristics:

  • They’ll be seen by potential customers and therefore drive targeted referral traffic back to your website.
  • They have high-quality metrics, which will help increase your website’s authority.
  • They help improve your company’s image — so seek only link opportunities from websites you want your business to be associated with.

Now, here are five sources of links that are of high quality for your local SEO effort — and valuable as such, because links are the most influential ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.

1. The Better Business Bureau

This is a link any local business can acquire, as long as it meets the requirements to be an accredited member of your local BBB. A regular BBB listing doesn’t include an outbound link in the listing, while an accredited one does.

Even though there is an annual fee for that status, the benefits exceed just links. A coaching client told me, “I don’t really want to pay over $500 for a link,” but then I explained the additional benefits: credibility, trust and the reality that many consumers still make decisions based on whether or not a company is accredited by the BBB.

The added benefits beyond a link are particularly important for service-related businesses, such as plumbers, contractors, electricians and landscapers.

2. Local media

Local media outlets provide an abundant source of link opportunities. Imagine if you owned a local home-security company and your area was experiencing a large enough number of home invasions to warrant a news report. As soon as you see local media pick that story up, you should be contacting them with an offer to provide content for their website and information for their broadcast.

By staying connected with local media, you get a nice link and valuable branding and advertising for free. Even if you can’t watch the local news daily, give media websites a daily scan and be alert to what is happening in your area.

Another opportunity exists, beyond a breaking news story that relates to your business. Using the same home-security company example, you might consider contacting local media outlets and saying, “I own XYZ home security, and we just put together a 10-step home security checklist that I think would greatly benefit the community. Would you like me to send it over so you can put it on your website?” Most local outlets would take you up on the offer.

3. Local schools and nonprofits

Local schools and nonprofits often have sponsorship opportunities that highlight all donors on a dedicated page of their website. If you spend a couple of hours searching for these, you can typically uncover amazing link opportunities.

Find local school websites with Google, and use GuideStar to identify local charities and nonprofits to explore further. Even if a particular website doesn’t have a donor page, it never hurts to ask. A quick phone call or email can reveal opportunities that will cost as little as a $10-to-$25 donation.

4. Local partners and suppliers

The first thing I do when I work with a local business is to ask for a list of its suppliers. So, a restaurant’s list for example, will often include local produce companies, butchers and supply companies. These are established relationships — sometimes decades old — which makes the request easier, since it’s an established relationship. A simple, “Hey, since we have been working together for so long, we would love your listing us as one of your preferred buyers” can often be all that’s needed to secure a nice link.

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/250794